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I want to talk, but this seems to render him incapable (long - sorry)

(39 Posts)
trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 01:47:07

I've been with my boyfriend for just over a year now. He works in mental health in a senior position and his regular hours are 8 - 5 or 6 mon to fri. He also works on the nhs bank in the same field at a much lower grade - nurse technician. When we first got together he was doing ridiculous amounts of bank shifts, ie every weekend, some times both days, and several evening shifts in the week and occasional nights.

After observing this for a while (during which time I witnessed him doing so many bank shifts that he ended up taking a day off his proper job) I tackled him about it, and he agreed that he had difficulty saying no when extra bank shifts came up.

When I tackled the subject with him he first of all said he needed the money. This was utter bollocks and I gently pointed that out. We then got to a stage were he was able to see that working extra was a go to thing when he felt stressed. He then agreed that it was a shit stress buster as it left him fucked. He agreed to cut his bank shifts down to one every other month (this took a little while, he had to wean himself off) He admitted he liked the feeling that people needed him - even though he agreed that wasn't true.

Now, that was a little while ago, and he's still struggling with stress, although he tries to keep this to himself. (that's his answer to stress management!)

I have no problem with him doing bank shifts til they come out of his arse, but I do have issue with it affecting the rest of his life outside of work, cos he's knackered and miserable.

He rang today to say he'd be working late tonight (I take care of his dog during the day.) He sometimes has to in his normal job. He was much later than usual, though, and it suddenly came to me that he might be doing a 'sneaky' bank shift. He rang after he'd finished and started telling me all the reasons he'd had to stay late ie there was some problem on the ward that needed him there blah blah blah, and although they were all perfectly valid and true, I got the whiff of bullshit. I asked him outright, 'did you do a bank shift then?' and he said (after a long pause) yes.

I was livid, but said nothing on the phone. I feel like he's been evasive about it, and said so when I saw him. He got very defensive and said he hadn't meant to, and that's not what he'd set out to do.

I feel like he's being dishonest with himself, and my answer to any kind of problem like this is to try and talk through the issues and understand things more. This seems to bamboozle him and shut him down. I'm not sure how to proceed.

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 02:22:35

His job comes first. Your attempts to change that have failed and will probably always fail so you need to either accept that this is how it is and will always be or leave.

Why do you think that he doesnt need the money? After 1 year I wouldnt expect to know the ins and outs of my partners finances unless we lived together, he may have debts you dont know about.

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 02:24:43

Why does it matter if he is being dishonest with himself? And why do you need to talk everything through? He chooses to work those hours and was doing it when you met him, so to say now, a year down the line that he should change is a bit U.

purplewithred Sat 13-Apr-13 02:27:13

This sounds like an addiction - and he's a mental health nurse!

Some people are not just incapable of talking through problems, but are made panicky and stressed by talking them through. It does sound as though he's a bit like this.

Maybe approach it from the angle of 'if this was a patient of yours what would you think about them?' - let him detach and see it from the outside.

Also, important for him to understand clearly what exactly the problem is with him doing so much bank. In one way it makes him happy (or he wouldn't be doing it - so on the + side he feels needed and as if he's contributing). What is the price he's paying for this feeling?

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 02:45:20

purple yes I agree it does sounds like an addiction! And he agreed too when we initially discussed this. Or let's call it a coping strategy perhaps, except it definitely leads to him feeling overtired and more stressed, which is a vicious circle imo, and he has agreed with this.

The price he pays is his physical health deteriorate - he has back issues, and his sleep cycle suffers, which leads to greater stress.

bogey when we got together I pretty much 'set out my stall' from day one.

I have high expectations from myself and also from someone who wants to be in my life. I am always working towards being the best human being I can be. I've worked really hard to be the person I am today, and I'm proud of that, and will continue to. I expect the same from my partner, and he is up for that as a challenge, and is much happier in life generally since we met (those are his words, and his mother has privately told me the same)

we are not in conflict about anything else at all really, and get along bloody great most of the time.

The problem isn't actually the bank shift iyswim, it's that when there's an issue, I want to be able to discuss it, and this seems to distress him and shut down his verbal reasoning skills.

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 02:45:53

deteriorates I mean!

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 02:48:56

and he has told me unequivocally that he doesn't need the money. That's not to say he doesn't like having extra money, but he's earning a good wage and doesn't have debts I don't know about cos he has discussed his finances in detail with me when he wanted my advice relating to his mortgage

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 02:53:05

Fair enough.

In that case perhaps the "What if a patient did ......X...Y" would be a good idea. But ultimately, if he doesnt want to stop then he wont and you need to decide how important it is that he does.

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 03:08:48

I really don't mind if he doesn't stop bogey

I really do mind that he was evasive about it on the phone today/ I mind that when I said so, he said he felt genuinely that he was not. That then makes me feels like he's a) not being honest with me and b) not being honest with himself...

D'you know what I mean? He was doing 'excuse' type talk, like first of all saying stuff along the lines of 'I had to/There was this huge problem only I could solve'

Later on when I put these things to him he agrees that those things he said weren't entirely accurate, but he just kind of throws them out of his mouth without thinking. That leads me to think he's kidding himself about his motivations.
Now, my issue with this is, I can't be doing with bullshit. Have your reasons for doing what you do, and that's ok with me. If your spouting crap, and that can happen to the best of us - be prepared to be challenged on it. And not in a shitty way - reasonable discussion is what I'm after, as well as looking at things from both sides. But this panics him for some reason. When I've challanged him in the past he has taken a couple of days and then seen my point, but it's very frustrating not to be able to just sensibly discuss stuff.

on an entirely separate note - I'm blummin grateful you're still up and posting. I can't fecking sleep grin

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 03:10:03

excuse typos! challange.... guffaw

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 03:14:46

I am winding down after work, I really HATE late shifts!

I finished at 1pm, there was a really loud party so I am wide awake. Called in at Tesco on the way back and saw an old friend who just find out that his son died of his life limiting condition, 3 months ago. His fucking bitch ex didnt tell him, she eventually replied to his messages saying "I thought you knew".

She fucked off with his kids and her OM, rewrote history so my friend never existed and fought him to the point of my friend going bankrupt over access. He couldnt afford to keep going to court and hadnt seen them in 7 years. He learnt of his sons death third hand. So even if I was tired, I am not sure I could sleep sad

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 03:15:30

Sorry, didnt mean to rant at you, I think I just needed to get that out of my system!

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 03:17:29

And, to focus on YOUR thread blush if he is lying about it then he clearly knows that something isnt right. Like an alcoholic saying "it was a wedding, it would have been rude not to have champagne". It does sound like an addiction.

I am not sure what you can do though. If this was long standing marriage I would be suggesting counselling, but after a year of seeing each other I have to admit that I would probably bail. Relationships do have their ups and downs but it shouldnt be such hard work after one short year.

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 03:28:27

hey no worries about the rant. That sounds fucking dreadful! Your poor poor friend. I really can't get why people are like that.

Would you really bail? I'm shocked. This guy is an absolute sweetheart on basically every other level. He's clever, and kind, and everything I want in a partner. We haven't actually rowed about this, and he's terrible sorry that I feel like this and wants to make it better. I just wish it was easier for him to discuss it. In reality, I know that in a day or so he'll be all like 'I know you're right, and you only want what's best etc' I just want to work on the communication 'in extremis' part of our relationship. Other than that he's awesome and I reet fancy the pants off him and everything. I guess one doesn't usually say that though,eh?

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 03:30:16

I am going to exercise patience and wait this out grin

TheRealFellatio Sat 13-Apr-13 03:36:07

He coud be a workaholic, especially if he genuinely loves and is fascinated by his job, and he does have a true vocation so it wouldn't be surprising.

Bank work pays very well for nursing, so maybe he is just finds it hard to turn down such good money, and has become a bit obsessed by trying to accumulate it? Again, not surprising at a time when people fear redundancy and an unsettled future.

Both if these have to be his choices, his life. You've only been together a year - you can't start dictating to him.

However, I share your concern that he may be burning out, and it is not fair on his full time employers and patients if he cannot perform properly in that job due to spreading himself too thin merely for extra money.

But I want to know what is going on with the dog? What do you do all day if you have his dog? And what would he do with the poor dog if you were not available to dogsit?

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 03:41:02

I would bail because if this is how it is now, then it will only get worse. You will get fed up, he will get fed up of you being fed up and it will create a bad atmosphere. How do you feel about being second to his job all of the time? That feeling will get worse too.

Think about this in terms of a different addiction.....drugs, drink, gambling.....if he was making these excuses about those things, would you stay? Any addiction is destructive because it will always come before anything else. What if you had a child and he was still doing this hours? BAd enough that he takes time off his regular job to accomodate his bank work, but taking time off from being a father in order to service his work addiction would be worse.

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 03:41:48

Thanks btw. I dont know how she can be like that, the poor man works nights at Tesco because in his words "he has nothing to go home for" in the day, and she couldnt even tell him his son had passed away at the age of 20 sad

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 03:42:43

Ha ha, well, he landed on his feet slightly with the dog. I'm a professional dog walker/groomer/trainer, so my entire working day is focussed around walking and handling other peoples dogs. When we first got together, he used to get up at six to leave mine, and walk the dog before going to work all day. On 'long days' he'd send the dog to his mum. Needless to say the dog was fucking neurotic as fuck. It had all kinds of tweaky behaviours and then I said this was a bollocks idea, and the dog could hang out with me and my furry clients. Magically, all the dogs weirdness and ishoos have disappeared.... I dread to think what he'd do with the poor dog otherwise....

Bogeyface Sat 13-Apr-13 03:44:46

If you do bail, make sure you get custody of the poor dog.

piprabbit Sat 13-Apr-13 03:49:01

He might be being evasive because he knows it is 'wrong'. Or perhaps he doesn't think it is wrong at all, but he was evasive because he didn't want to have that conversation with you.

Perhaps this is something which you don't need to tackle head on, perhaps leave it until you are together, feeling relaxed and then mention to him that you've noticed he is working more again, that you know this can mean he is stressed and then ask him what is stressing him and how he plans to tackle the stress rather than working himself into the ground.
Make the conversation about him and changing his behaviour, rather than the fact that he has let you down, or back tracked on an agreement with you.

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 03:50:38

aargh x post. not ha ha-ing at that bogey.

We're not ever having kids. I've had all the bits you need removed! And I have dts who are eight. they adore him and he is lovely with them. Plus, he has totally cut the bank work out, I just am aware that it's something that can creep back in and that's why it's important to me he doesn't do stealth bank shifts, and tell himself it's just 'workin late' .....working late means doing the day job a bit later than usual, and a bank is a bank - otherwise it's dishonest. He has totally understood what I'm saying, it's just that he doesn't feel he agrees with my opinion of him being dishonest. I've left it with him that I'd like him to really think about what I've said, and he has agreed to do so, which is why I'll wait and see. He is really happy we're together, and has already said he's delighted with the changes he's made in his life since we got together.

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 03:51:45

ooh nice pip liking your style

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 03:52:09

I am not having a dog!!

trashcanjunkie Sat 13-Apr-13 04:00:45

okay bed calling now! Thanks so much everyone. I'll keep you posted

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