Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Anyone here married to a workaholic?(56 Posts)
just wondering how you all cope with not being your DHs top priority. I have been with DH for 11 years now, no kids if that is relevant. He is a GP and does a lot of overtime at the hospital etc too. He is extremely successful in his career and i am proud of him for that.
He has always been the same but i guess i wanted to believe him when he said work was not his main priority. There has always been a reason for the overtime eg saving for the wedding, moving house etc. always said it was just a temporary thing and he was doing it for the money to give us the life we wanted. Taken me a while to realise he is just kidding himself and me - we have loads of money sat in the bank, far more than we need or could sensibly wish to spend.
I know he is scared of being poor, and worrying about money, but on his income at would never happen. He also has his issues from childhood and this is a way that he can keep himself at a bit of an emotional distance, as people hurt you etc. he would not admit this is part of it. He also enjoys his job and gets a lot of personal validation from what he does.
We just seem to have different priorities. To me, work is just there to provide for the lifestyle you want, although obviously it is important to enjoy what you do too. I don't want the same emotional detachment that works so well for him, and i seek validation from bring loved and spending quality time with loved ones (i also have some hang ups from childhood, which means i never felt loved/ a priority by my parents).
I don't mind some time in my own company, i am an introvert so a little time alone suits me. But i do get bored and lonely at times and do resent him continually putting the job/ his own needs before me. He completely denies that it is for him, always says he is doing it for us, so we will have plenty of money. I think he is kidding himself.
And the emotional checking-out of our relationship is what really gets to me. He does love me but when we are together he will often check emails, take phone calls etc regardless of what's going on. And if we are together we just sit infront of the tv: in the evenings and most of every weekend. It is mindnumbingly dull. He cant seem to see the problem, thinks as long as he is with me that its ok.
I love him and know he will not change and perhaps he shouldn't have to. He has always been work focused. But how can i be happy and make the best of things? I don't want to leave him, but sometimes i do regret marrying him. I know i need to forge my own life, and be more independent, and i am trying. I have holidayed alone, have my own hobbies etc. But because I am a shy introvert, i don't really want to be out every night, going to evening classes etc. i am home-orientated: i want to be spending time with my Dh not living apart. But I'm not sure how to strike the balance. Hoping someone has some advice on making the best of my marriage, as i love him so much, and he is a good man.
It sounds as if you need to do more together. Do you go out much? Do you have DC's?
He is a workaholic and perhaps doesn't even like to spend money he earns.
Have you spoken to him calmly about it and how it affects you?
Is he actually having any time for exercise and good sleep? How is he looking after himself?
DH was until his dad was in his dying days. Then he realised what I'd always told him, that nobody goes to their grave wishing they'd worked more. He felt horribly guilty as he'd not seen much of his dad in his illness and his mum had died 12 years before and he'd felt the same with her.
Now he's cut right back and we have the life we ought to have, he's even taken up a hobby!
Hi OP. dunno if i'm married to a workaholic but he's been in a foreign country all week 'cos of work, got back last night, carried on working and is working again now so it feels a bit like it. He is getting a bit depressed from it too which doesn't help either of us. If he's working all the time, I wish it was at least something he wanted to do.
I don't like to go out in the evenings week nights either but I do have a weekly class and sometimes take up pilates or something too. I don't have any answers though, except friends and family! Ultimately though, if you fill your time doing your own thing while they work....well, what kind of a relationship is that? You'll have nothing in common and may as well be house mates.
Have you said to him how you feel?
Have you told him that his working hours are making you reconsider your marriage?
I was, but he's not one now. When we met, my husband worked crazy hours and would have come in at 10 at night every night if I'd been ok with that, admittedly a long commute too. In the end, I outlined what I thought was reasonable, so home by 7pm two nights a week and one day on weekend spent together as a family. It's much better now as he likes spending time with us and we watch plenty of movies curled up on the sofa as well.
It's fine to explain your minimum needs for intimacy/fun/relationship in this situation. He may be out still a lot, but if you know you are having a few times a week just for you, that would be great. If you don't want to sit in, make one of those weekend nights a night out, cinema, meal out, nothing is stopping you initiating this.
Some good advice here thank you. Will try to reply to all points. We don't have kids, but i do work. It's only part time though - initially due to circumstance but it's been three years now and suits us both well. It means i do pretty much everyhing round the house, decorating, currently doing our new house up bit by bit and all dogcare (got 2 dogs, including a deaf rescue dog who gets distressed if left for more than a few hours). Plus as i said we have more money than we need as it is. He is not tight with money or anything, i honestly think his own self worth is tied up in his job.
His sleep is ok but he does not do any exercise at all. Too tired most of time to do anything other than watch tv. I did hope that he would come to his senses earlier in the year when a colleague died unexpectedly. He was single with no family and few friends. Work was all he had and it made him unhappy. Everyone felt it was such a waste really, and how work was not everything etc. he was a lovely guy who would have loved his own family. But even this did not make DH reflect.
I have explained all this to him many times, but wrote him an email earlier today (we had a row and he went to work and i know he checks all emails as they come in). Had long talk when he got back, sid he was sorry, didnt want me to be unhappy, things would change etc. but i have heard it all before so am somewhat sceptical. But i could start trying to ringfence some of our time together for quality time, maybe have a few times when phones etc are not checked etc. maybe that could work.
I think you need to invest your time in something more meaningful to you. Whether that's getting a full time job in a field that's really rewarding, getting a cleaner so you're not tied to household duties - which are dull and generally done alone, or going forward to having kids...
You don't have that much in your life apart from your husband.
You're right, Twinkle. Sometimes it feels like my life revolves around my husband, which i know is not a good thing. Late 30s and kids are not an option, but i do need some sort of meaning/ purpose to my life. Think that will help somewhat
It does revolve around your husband, and that wouldn't matter so much if he wasn't so obsessed with work, and unwilling to do anything very interesting in his leisure time anyway.
There are so many jobs that need doing, so many people who need help in different areas, there must be something you can find that you could either do now, or train to do, that you would enjoy, that would bring a sense of fulfilment to your life.
If you can't have your own kids, adoption is always a possibility, or fostering etc. You obviously take good care of your dogs, you could do the same for children.
Sorry to mislead Twinkle but the kids thing is more a choice thing than any infertility etc. DH was totally against them and I am happy with that tbh. Just when I have mentioned it before in threads people have focused more on that than the issue at hand. Had so many ltb type comments that i try not to mention it now where possible
Just a tiny step, but get him to agree now that you will go to the theatre/a concert/cinema/football match on x, y and z dates. Book the tickets and make sure the dates are in his diary.
OP you sound really lovely. Have some My DH is a workaholic and I am not sure they can ever change. A lot has happened and he has not changed, e.g. Went to work on the morning of our wedding, couldn't come to the hospital or home when I had an MC, didn't take any pat leave, cancelled the afternoon off he was supposed to have on our DS' first birthday.
I have shed many tears over the fact that my DS and I don't mean as much to him as his work. I do not expect him to change though, I just have to force myself to live with this. A bit like your DH, I think he works to keep his personal demons at bay.
I have considered leaving many times but I just keep going. Sorry to not be more positive.
I agree start booking things and be more proactive.
I like the idea of just booking things for us to do together. I can definately do that! Sounds like i definately need to be more proactive. My problem is i tend to try to work round it best i can, seem to be doing fine, then something happens that brings it all to a head again and i find myself jealous/ angry/ resentful that work is number one for DH. I know he loves me and i am important to him, but now and then i feel upset that i am not THE most important thing in his life. I find it difficult to just accept, probably childish really as we have a nice life and i should just be grateful i am married to a kind man that loves and supports me, warts and all. Still a work in progress...
Thank you For the flowers Plarail. You're story makes me feel like i should just stop moaning really as you have had a much tougher time than me! I am sorry things have been so hard for you and your son! Pretty confident that DH would come to hospital with me if there was an emergency, he has done on a couple of occasions for his mum. I can't however imagine him nursing me for weeks on end or anything, and he has chosen extra shifts over birthdays, anniversaries and Valentines Day.
I guess part of the problem is i place him above anything else, and personally that is what i want my marriage to be like, so i kind of feel cheated when i know it is not the same for him. I was told years ago that there is always one that loves more, in a relationship, and i definately feel that way... But then part of me thinks it shouldnt really matter
FWIW, I find what your DH does pretty heroic. Working your arse off as GP is an undervalued and absolutely crucial vocation. The world needs more people like your DH. If he was the MD of a coathanger company then I would say he had screwed up priorities, but as it is I find it difficult to muster any serious criticism for him. Doubtless he is not a perfect human being, but who is?
What is your career OP? I'm assuming it's not something you find particularly rewarding?
My SIL is married to a workaholic. IME women in this position either decide to live their own lives, as she has, or get fed up and leave. There are a LOT of divorced lawyers.
I second the idea of booking events and also nights away together if possible. You don't mention holidays but ensure you have those and perhaps insist on one evening out together a week/ month? Is there any activity you enjoy doing together as a couple? If so, try to grow that. For me, choosing to do overtime on my birthday would be insulting and I'm not even bothered by birthdays very much.
You don't mention your ages but I'm guessing mid thirties onwards? My bil is now late forties. He's overweight, not at all healthy in a lot of serious ways and only very occasionally appears at family events. It is sad. I don't imagine yo will change your DH much but you can set some slightly firmer boundaries and manage things a little more. If he refuses to cooperate then that is very difficult.
Your realationahip sounds very like mine. My DH is a workaholic and it's incredibly lonely. I'm afraid to say that the longer it goes on the more I think it's likely to be why we split up. I've tried talking to him but it's in one ear and out the other. We've been together 11 years too and do have kids. He doesn't do anything with them either.
I agree with whoever says find something meaningful to pass your time. It's easier for me in the summer as my hobby is gardening. In the winter I drink a lot of wine.
DancingBear - i agree he does a crucial job and he is very good at it. For that you cannot criticise him. However, he does not do it for the patients. He freely admits that he does not really care for them and does this for academic challenge only. He says this makes him a better doctor and is proud that he does not care about the people involved. He became a doctor purely for the money and has worked out all his career goals with money and prestige in mind. I know he is not alone in this but i find it sad when i see how much some of the other gps care - i dont think it makes them bad at their jobs.
You are right i do not have a fulfilling career. I do admin at the same surgery as DH.
Matilda - i agree re birthdays. I dont care about mine that much either but it was upsetting that he just worked all evening. We are both in mid to late thirties. Holidays don't really happen - we have had a few but the last few years we haven't. Dh has a fear of flying so abroad a bit difficult. I try to persuade him to take dogs somewhere in uk together but that is difficult as he tends to pick up extra shifts in his annual leave too and doesn't really see the point in holidays. The last two times i have gone without him which suits him just fine. He is actually happy with his! But for the past three years neither of us have had a holiday, but i am going to away with my sister later in the year.
We like very few things that we share... Namely cinema and meals out (though thats difficult as am trying to lose some of the weight i have put on the last few years (i comfort eat when bored/ lonely)
Doctors do an important job, but this husband is working enough for two doctors, though all annual leave, weekends, birthdays, anniversaries, he just isn't putting anything into the relationship at all. At home, he puts his feet up, watches TV to recharge his batteries before he goes back to work.
This would make me really unhappy, I have to be honest. I like to spend a couple of evenings a week or a lunch date on Sat just having a cheap meal out or watching a film together and getting the popcorn in. Your husband has forgot about you, forgot you are an interesting person with any needs at all! If you want to lose weight, eat out somewhere you can have the type of meal that isn't too fattening, and don't have a pud, it's still nice to go out of the house.
I would book a few things and see whether it is just he's busy and forgotten and enjoys reconnecting with you or actually he really doesn't want to do stuff with you, sighs a lot and spends the whole time checking his phone. That will tell you whether this is something you can live with for another 30-40 years.
Thank you Thena, he definately works much longer hours than the other gps. To the point several of the other doctors have said he needs to spend time with me instead of working and comment on his lack of work-life balance.
He would definately enjoy it if I arranged things to do. It is not something he would prioritise that's all. When I am in a bad mood I guess I resent feeling like it's me that is doing all the chasing. Though he has been trying this afternoon: he cooked a nice dinner and we are watching a movie on Netflix. He is even sitting right next to me - usually opposite ends of the sofa! It's nice!
Precious - you are right in saying I should retrain and DH would fully support me in that. Only problem is I can't think of anything I would want to do/ am not particularly good at anything. I lack focus and tend to get bored/ depressed quickly. I have had a variety of jobs and even those I love tend to get me down after a while. DH is spot on that I have been happier working part time at the surgery than other jobs. Ideally I really want my own business but still work at the surgery and allow me to be around for the dogs too.... No idea what though which isn't helpful! How useless is that!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.