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Workaholic DP says I'M neglecting HIM!

(108 Posts)
happyclapper Thu 28-Feb-13 09:53:14

Have been with DP for 13 yrs. Have 2 DS 10 and 5. After 2 redundancies and a lot of debt which we are half way through clearing, DP now has a good, well paid job which means him working long hours, sometimes away for a night or 2. On top of that he has a hobby which brings in extra cash but which takes up alot of time in the evenings and at weekends.
He does nothing to do with the home apart from help with the kids when he can. Doesn't even change the proverbial light bulb. But thats fine with me as I have enough time to take care of those things and he definitely doesn't.
I work part-time in a job I enjoy but does not have the oppurtunity to increase hours.
DP is very stressed and unhappy in his job and has said almost on a weekly basis he is going to look for something else. This is fine by me, infact I want him to work less or drop his sideline to allow for more family time but in reality this isn't going to happen because he wont give anyhing up.
Our family time amounts to and hour before bedtime with the kids sometimes and a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon.
If he has a free hour in the evening he goes for a run and on Saturdays he plays football and is gone from 12.30 till 6.
I am not a very demonstrative person , except with my DS, but he has recently accused me of negleting him emotionaly and not giving him enough love.
I would like to know when ffs I am supposed to do this as he is never in the same f****ing room as me!
And excuse me, but what love do I get apart from when he wants sex which he is quite happy to have even when he knows I get nothing from it.
We have had sex counselling with regard to this which basically boiled down to the councilor telling him to make some time for me.
The thought of splitting up just makes me feel sick. I would do anything to keep us together for DS's sake but I can't fake feelings I don't have because I'm living with someone who is so wrapped up in his own life.

happyclapper Thu 28-Feb-13 13:59:55

Thank-you Charlotte. Really needed someone to say there is a glimmer of hope.
Sorry you are in a similar situation. Thought life was supposed to get easier as you got older!

Dahlen Thu 28-Feb-13 14:28:17

No one's saying that he's a bad person. The point being made is that unless you introduce consequences for his not changing, he won't change. Unfortunately, it look as though the only consequence serious enough to make him take note is the threat of losing you permanently.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 28-Feb-13 14:39:49

Am sure he is seen by (some of but not all) his friends as the "life and soul" etc - but they do not live with him day to day. If they did they would not want to tolerate this for any length of time.

It is interesting that you have seen hope from Charlotte's comments but she is right - you both have to put the work in. Also this lady is trying to extricate herself from her current position; you are undecided. Your man clearly does not want to address the issues and has disregarded what was said at counselling before now.

What does he do with the children on Saturday before 12.30 and after 6pm when his beloved football has finished?. In the meantime you have these children to look after (and you do this admirably). They notice their Dad is not there though, why is he not actually taking his children to the park for a kickabout with a ball himself?. Not suggesting he's never done that but what is he doing with either you or them when he is actually in your home?.

You work part time two days a week but you're really doing a 274/7 job.

And your sex life is crap to boot as well, I cannot see what you are getting out of this relationship at all. The fact that you have not directly answered that speaks volumes.

Dozer Thu 28-Feb-13 14:51:09

MN is not the place for offering "hope" - it is quite harsh!

Working long hours - even if this generates good income - is not necessarily for the good of the family or a noble thing. It can have pay-offs for the person (e.g. professional recognition, status, avoiding domestic responsibilities), and in this case your H spends many hours on hobbies in addition. So don't buy into the "he works so hard, I must service his needs" way of thinking.

I say this as the wife of someone who works long hours (and enjoys it, although sometimes gets stressed) and am also well aware of the demands of employers (mine and his). But when DH works so many hours I wouldn't stand for him spending lots of the time that's left on numerous hobbies, if this left no time for the children or me, or meant he made no contribution to running our household or parenting our DC.

IMO it does DC no favours to see their mum doing everything at home and dad nothing (except pursuing his own ambition and interests, to the neglect of them and his partner). Passing on the "must achieve, work work work" (while the women stay home and don't rock the boat?) ethos that he was brought up with.

He may well be happy for you to do your own thing. Because the quid pro-quo is that you don't require him to spend time with you and let him do what he wants socially, professionally and with his hobbies.

Suppose he could (since you want hope against the odds!) change, and you could push for that. But his criticism of you and attachment to his life as it is don't bode well. Or he could stay as he is and your choice then is to continue to put up with it, or leave.

In your shoes I would regard leaving as a better option than putting up with the situation, including for the DC. But it's not my life!

Fairenuff Thu 28-Feb-13 14:51:59

I think he's made his decision and is giving you a very clear message: It's my way or the highway.

That's your choice OP, sorry.

He doesn't want to 'work on the relationship' or 'save the marriage'. He wants it all his own way. That is coming across loud and clear.

happyclapper Thu 28-Feb-13 14:57:08

Attila, you are right . Our friends say words to the effect of ' oh He's great but I couldn't live with him'. And yes, Saturday if a right off as far ar kids are concerned.
I've just tried to list what I'm getting out of the relationship and have realised that it is just the material things.
If I could stay in our home with enough money to live off I'm not sure I do need him around. I'm living like a single parent most of the time anyway.
Don't know if I've got the courage to demand he changes or we split up. As you've gathered he seems unwilling or unable to so I would prob be ending it.
I can't do that to my boys. They do love him.
Sorry but won't be able to reply for a few hours but please keep your words of wisdom coming. I think I will need them.
Hopefully be online around 5.30.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 28-Feb-13 15:25:29

Hi HC,

re this part of your comment:-

"Don't know if I've got the courage to demand he changes or we split up. As you've gathered he seems unwilling or unable to so I would prob be ending it.
I can't do that to my boys. They do love him."

He knows that re first sentence already, you have tried to tell him how you feel both yourself and through counselling and he still does not want to hear you or the message.

Do not sacrifice both your own self and happiness for your children; they will not thank you long term for putting up with this for their sake. It will backfire on you bigtime. Do you really want them to think that it was they solely who kept the two of you together?. What would that tell them?. Staying solely for the children is rarely if ever a good idea. Better to be apart and happier than to be together and miserable.

Leaving would force change upon him one way or another and it may well buck his ideas up. It would be hard going undoubtedly for you but you are basically doing the childrearing single handedly most of the time now.

You cannot keep showing this role model of a relationship to your boys, what will they learn from this current role model?. They could likely follow the same role model as the damaged one you're both creating for them now.

Your boys love YOU as well I have you know and they do not or would want to see you unhappy but they are not responsible here for this situation. They could well be confused and upset by the underlying tensions between their dad and you; they see and hear far more than you realise and pick up on all the vibes. Can you imagine another 5 years of this self same treatment from him?. Where do you see yourself in a year's time?. DO you see yourself getting old and grey with him?. Be honest with yourself here.

Ginebra Thu 28-Feb-13 16:50:57

i agree with fairenuff's assessment.

clam Thu 28-Feb-13 17:04:20

I wouldn't get too stuck on the "he's working so hard" line. Often, people who work long hours do so because they like it and want to.

happyclapper Thu 28-Feb-13 18:14:51

Ok. I feel I must put this in a bit of perspective.
Everything I have previously said IS true and I still agree he is selfish inregard to his work and time BUT
he hates his job and would certainly not wish to spend any longer doing it than he has too. He does some work from home then travels so he's not sitting in a comfy office having water cooler moments. He has had to make several people redundant recently which he found very upsetting and he gets no support from higher managment.
Every spare moment he has with the boys, though few, is spent giving them his undivided attention to the point where sometimes I have to tell him to leave them to get on with a game. He has never lain on a sunbed or read a book on holiday. He will be with them in the pool ALL day or making up games, quizs, stories etc.
He doesn't spend any of his money on himself to the point where I have to force him to buy new clothes yet he will happily spend on the boys and me.
He still never expects me to cook for him even if I've been at home all day and is always appreciative when I do.
If I suggest going out of an evening he would never say no even if he was clearly exhausted.
If I want to do anything with friends again, he would never object.
He cooks the boys tea and does the whole bath time thing 2 evenings a week while I am at work always making it fun for them rather than just getting it done.
He will drop the car off for me at work and walk the 2 miles home so that I don't have to when I finish.
Thats why I think its worth fighting for.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 28-Feb-13 18:55:24

Now you are trying to justify him and his ways. Was waiting for that as well.

He seems to overcompensate and goes overboard on the few occasions when he is actually with them. All or nothing like that is not healthy for your children.

I think you are too afraid currently of going it alone as well as perhaps feeling that your boys will miss their dad if you were to separate. They are still not the glue that should bind you and this man together. Also you could be well wrestling with your own feelings of supposed "failure" re seperation if you were to separate which then calls into play your own judgment on choosing someone like this man to be your partner.

His main goal in life is to provide material things hence him spending money on you people but he's spending money rather than time on you all. Any spare time that he does get on the weekend or evenings is either spent going for a run or playing football. When he is not doing either of his activities you then get a look in. He thinks that spending money on you all is enough. Clearly from your writings it is not and you have good reason to be unhappy at this state of affairs. He is not listening and is adept at not wanting to hear or even listen to your own point of view. Why should he listen to you now when he has not listened before to either you or a counsellor. What has really changed here?. He holds all the cards here and you are totally dependent on him to boot.

He has not looked seriously for alternative employment although he moans about his job to you (you're his ready audience). He has not seemingly tried to obtain better working hours and or conditions for himself.

You previously stated that his time with the children consisted of one hour or so before their bedtime plus a bit of time on Sunday afternoon. His spare moments with his children are certainly few and far between.

When was the last time you either went out for the evening as a couple or on your own?. I would also argue that he is more than happy for you to do your own thing because a) you probably do not get much opportunity to go out and b) you do not then require him to go out with you so he can devote more time to his own profession and hobbies.

Is this really worth fighting for?. You cannot rescue or save what is a relationship with serious issues in it (his apparant selfishness with his time towards you people, his attitude to sex, his accusations of you neglecting him emotionally which is rich coming from someone whose hardly ever at home) by fighting to save it alone. He has to want to put the work in and meet you halfway. He is clearly not bothered, he gets what he wants from this relationship because you're doing all the donkey work and thus making his life easier. I think you will end up feeling even more downhearted and downtrodden which itself is not a good model to show your male children.

PureQuintessence Thu 28-Feb-13 19:00:28

Are you sure he really wants your love and affection, given that he is avoiding you when he is home, and out most of the time?

Are you sure he is not just paving the grounds for being even less present, and permitting himself to look elsewhere? Sorry to be blunt. He does not sound like a loving or love craving husband!

OxfordBags Thu 28-Feb-13 19:04:44

You are not responsible for him hating his job or not spending money on himself. These do not mitigate the rest of his shitness. They are irrelevant. It's his poor choices as an adult to stay in the job and to not buy anything. If he could treat you with any sort of true respect, you could negotiate you working more and him less, in a more suitable job, but I suspect that he loves the victim status of hating his job, as it gives him perfect ammo to guilt-trip you into feeling behoven to provide all this affection and sex he demands from you without reciprocation or deserving it.

And by staying you are doing the worse thing possible for your sons. You are letting them believe that men should be distant, absent workaholics who use that as blackmail to get everyone else asking when they say how high, and have eir life just as they like it and just saunter in and demand love or show a bit of intense interest in short burst, and eaually, beleive that women are basically skivvies responsible for men's emotions, needs and, well, everything. Your future DILs will not thank you, trust me. This is a future AIBU about fucked-up ILs waiting to happen. Sorry, but it's true.

AThingInYourLife Thu 28-Feb-13 19:11:08

That's exactly what I was thinking, PureQuintessence

happyclapper Thu 28-Feb-13 19:14:50

Sorry to be so predictable Attila. Again I know alot of what you say is true but he often instigates a night out even if its squeezed in. As I said before I get ample oppurtunity to go out and I know he doesn't want to devote any more time than he has to to his job etc he just can't draw the line. His 'hobbie' isn't something he gets great pleasure from it has just turned out to generate a bit of income so he wants to keep it going. It was the only way we survived when he was out of work so he sees it as a bit of a back-up should anything happen again. I think.
At christmas he agreed with my idea to go away even though he knew it would be very tiring and meant he wouldn't get a single day at home to chill out before going back to work because he knew the boys would love it.
No ones perfect and whose to say we all behave perfectly or appropriatley at all times.
Aren't we just all trying to get by , doing what we think is right. In his case providing for his family and making some mistakes along the way. Does he not get any credit for taking on all the burden himself even though he's going about it the wrong way?

happyclapper Thu 28-Feb-13 19:20:06

I take it some of you guys have great husbands/partners who never take you for granted and are caring in every way?
Thought most couples had their issues.

Fairenuff Thu 28-Feb-13 19:28:59

I take it some of you guys have great husbands/partners who never take you for granted and are caring in every way?

I do. We have had our issues as a couple and we have talked them through and compromised. We want to make life easier for each other, support each other and help each other.

I would never want to hurt my dh and he wouldn't want to hurt me. We respect each others feelings and opinions. That's really what a workable relationship is about. Otherwise it is unbalanced and just breeds resentment.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 28-Feb-13 19:32:39

Women in your position often end up trying to defend their partner's indefensible behaviour; that is why I called it predictable. It often happens in these types of threads.

What OxfordBags wrote earlier as well. By staying or choosing to stay you are creating your own poor role model for your sons to emulate.

My DH works damn hard and works long hours in a job that is high pressured but he does not in anyway treat me the way your man does. No relationship is perfect by any means and we do have our moments but I certainly do not have the underlying problems in my relationship that you have in yours.

You have a choice re your man; your children do not.

AnyFucker Thu 28-Feb-13 20:25:36

I am seeing OW in this scenario, sorry

Or at the very least he is paving the way

It's another variation on the "I don't know if I still love you" or "I love you but I'm not in love with you" situation

OP...all this time he spends away from you? At work, running, playing youth team football although he is not longer youthful. Are you very sure that is what he is doing ? (and I don't mean he simply tells you that is the case)

This "you don't give me enough affection" is the root of blaming you for something or some action of his that he cannot otherwise justify. Think very, very carefully and read between the lines of what he is saying.

CharlotteCollinsislost Thu 28-Feb-13 20:59:11

I would prob be ending it

Well, no - I think he's ending it by refusing to treat you as an equal partner with an equal voice. You'd just be recognising the implications of that.

Aren't we just all trying to get by , doing what we think is right. In his case providing for his family and making some mistakes along the way. Does he not get any credit for taking on all the burden himself even though he's going about it the wrong way?

Sure, but there is a fundamental problem here which is that he is making all these decisions by himself and dragging you along with them, not listening to your wish to do things differently.

So yes, if you were supportive of his approach of taking on all the burden himself, and you felt he was giving you enough time and attention, then he'd get credit for that. But then we wouldn't have a thread here, would we?

CharlotteCollinsislost Thu 28-Feb-13 21:05:07

Apart from leaving the car at work for you, your list of points in his defence include nothing that he contributes to the marriage, just to the children.

You were finding all the examination of your h's actions and motives difficult earlier. It's ok to look at him critically, you know. It doesn't mean you're betraying him or you don't love him enough.

HoneyandRum Thu 28-Feb-13 21:32:06

OP I have just skim read this thread so sorry if my comments are not relevant to the conversation. My DH also was a workaholic (driven by fear it seemed) he also worked almost 7 days a week and I barely saw him, to the point people thought I was a single mother. At his worst our three children were very small (newborn, 3 and 5). At least your kids are older. First I want to say things have improved tremendously he now only has one job (plus of course and on-line business and thousands of "projects") but that is SO MUCH better as we actually see him at the weekend! My DH is also amazingly intelligent and has a very specialized job for brainiacs.

I have a few suggestions.
Tell him you want to do X (something interesting and exciting) tell him you will arrange it plus childcare and ask him when he wants to book it into his schedule. If he doesn't, do it anyway. You need to shake up the power balance and also change roles where you are more of an active participant and he has to choose whether to be active or passive. Right now he is action man while you hold the fort. Change the dynamic.

Have a date night every week - on a week night. Again book it, arrange it and go even if he doesn't. I think you need to be doing more together.

Another idea - meet him for lunch at work.

There is no reason for you to stay at home waiting for him to appear, your children are old enough to have a babysitter. What about meeting him for lunch when he plays football. Or while he goes to football, go to the gym and then do something fun with the kids. Make sure you get out and enjoy yourself, you have enabled him to have what he wanted now make sure you get to have fun and be the fun parent, the fun partner.

At this point I wouldn't think OW. If your DH is anything like mine he just doesn't have the time or emotional energy left because he always has so many irons in the fire regarding work and projects.

Fairenuff Thu 28-Feb-13 21:34:45

If the only thing keeping you together is the children, I think that tells you all you need to know. The relationship is over. The marriage limps on.

HoneyandRum Thu 28-Feb-13 21:35:25

Sorry actually read the posts above mine now! I don't think your DH sounds terrible like so many posters have said. He is very driven and is a great provider for his family (as are you). He's certainly no slacker. You need to find a way to bring more balance into your marriage.

Fairenuff Thu 28-Feb-13 21:41:46

Honey how do you suggest she does that when he refuses to give up his weekend football, his hobby or change his job. When he refuses to try and resolve their sex problems by following the advice to make more time for her. When he has sex with her knowing that she doesn't want to?

Just wondering if you could offer the OP any practical suggestions because I'm buggered if I can see any.

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