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My husband is a workaholic. How do I live with it without feeling angry? Grrr!(26 Posts)
This is the first time I've posted but I've been doing plenty of lurking. I am 54 but don't feel it in my head. I keep myself fit by walking over 3 hours a day, walking our dogs and my friends dogs while she's at work. I work from home part time doing something I really enjoy. I have plenty of friends who I socialise with and go on holiday with.I'm close with my mum and sister and my 3 children by my first marriage are in their 20s. I love my life on the whole, but it isn't how I envisaged how it would be in my 50s ( whose is I suppose?)
My dissatisfaction lies in my 2nd marriage of 12 years. I've known DH since infant school & we actually went out on one date when we were 17 & just about to go to university. I bumped into him when he was 21 and he looked very ill and I subsequently learnt he had been suffering from anorexia. The next time I saw him I was newly divorced at a school reunion. He looked very well, he had never married or had children. We started seeing each other and had a great 2-3 years in which time we got married. We obviously discussed how ill he'd been in his 20s but he seemed to be recovered although still a bit obsessive about exercising and going to the gym. He was great support bringing up my teenage children which can't have been easy. He's kind, generous and we have a good life style. The problem is over the last few years he is putting more and more hours into work and I hardly see him. His office is based locally and there are other offices who work within the team 2 hour drives away in 2 different cities. My DH doesn't like to work by conference calls and would prefer to deal with people face to face although IMO I think that's not necessary. Consequently he spends so much time travelling, his alarm goes off at 4am and most evenings he is not in until 9pm. On a Saturday and Sunday he is logged on doing work. On a Saturday night he goes to see his elderly parents. I've tried to break the pattern of suggesting other activities at the weekend and perhaps going to see his parents in the afternoon but he is reluctant to break his routine. He admits he over works and is inflexible. He started to have work related panic attacks, feeling depressed with obsessive thoughts about 6 months ago. He hoards things, the latest is hundreds of elastic bands the postman drops on his rounds my DH picks up. After much persuasion he went to see GP and has been taking ADs beta blockers which have helped with the anxiety.
I try and support him but I'm increasingly frustrated. We go out for an hour each week to the pub during which he texts work colleges until I had a massive rant at him a few weeks ago. He won't go on holiday and if he takes annual leave he just works from home and gets more stressed as he feels ' not in control' of work issues, for the same reason he won't go away for weekends. When he is at home I never feel he is engaged with me, I always feel he's preoccupied. He has never been affectionate although he texts me every day to say he loves me. Recently I've started sleeping in the spare room as I'm fed up of being woken up at the crack of dawn every morning. We have had no physical relationship for a few months but before then it was dwindling.
I keep my life full and busy but it was our wedding anniversary recently and he promised he'd be home for 7.30 and we'd go out. However he rang me to say there was some 'crisis' and he didn't get home until 9.30. At the back of my mind ( triggered by the recent Ashley Maddison hacking) a thought keeps coming into my mind....about 8 years ago when my dad was dying and I was v stressed my DH was very irritable & not supporting me, I don't normally snoop but I looked in his wallet & found a no strings dating site for married people. He denied it was anything to do with him and said someone else had written it until I pointed out it was his hand writing. He then said he was going to look at the site out of curiosity. In the end I let the matter go but I keep thinking back to it now. Sorry this is so long. I don't want to go through another divorce but is it possible things will ever change? I've almost given up discussing his long work hours with him now.
Stop press...I've learnt how to do these now so it might make my post a little less--fucking boring-- tedious
Ooh a massive fail on the crossing out bit! What did I do wrong ?
Hi mycat ; it does sound as though your DH has some sort of obsessive personality trait, which he finds hard to control. The beta blockers might be helping with the anxiety but I would imagine he needs some kind of counselling or therapy to sort out the other problems - if he's willing to try.
It does sound as though he knows his behaviour is unreasonable - what is his reaction if you raise the subject? Can you sit with him and explain how this is affecting you and ask whether he's prepared to seek help?
Hi Bestbefore, thanks for reading through my long post. I have raised this issue with him many times, sometimes he says he feels ill again ( like when he had his anorexia) and other times he will say "someone's got to pay the bills" or " ok I'll hand my notice in then shall I ?". When he admitted he felt ill is when I persuaded him to see the GP. Maybe I should encourage he seeks counselling although I doubt he will want to spare the time In the meantime I feel undervalued and just on the periphery of his life...
Well that's not a very good deal for you, is it? Not only is he completely absent but it turns out he was thinking of (or maybe actually?) playing away. Grim. You don't have a marriage. Completely pathetic that he is so disengaged that he 1. Kept that card in his wallet, didn't even bother to hide it, and 2. Denied all knowledge (did the fairies put it there then?) and you had to point out the completely obvious that it was his handwriting on the card. Cringe!
I think you're being far too kind and amenable. He is an addict, just like any other. Yy I appreciate eg anorexia is complex but so are all the other addictions; they all have a trauma root of some kind. As with all addictions, the addiction comes first, it is the top priority: he already has his wife and lover, you're way down the list, as you have seen.
Asking him nicely just isn't going to cut it. He needs treatment (the hard stuff, not 6 weeks on the NHS). If he is not prepared to invest in heavy duty treatment then there's your answer. You may not want to go through a second divorce but you are already a 'widow' and it is soul destroying, regardless how happy you are in other areas of your life.
Make it a condition that he gets treatment in order for your marriage to continue. Stick to it. Though I'd have to say it won't be an easy road even if he does invest and engage in treatment - addictions are notoriously tenacious and recovery can be a gruelling road for loved ones.
Sorry to be so bleak though
Thanks Springy. Please don't apologise for bleak, I need straight talking from someone impartial. My mum thinks I'm 'too nice' but I think she's biased. She really likes my DH but is annoyed with him for being absent in our marriage. I'm not sure if pursued the no strings website , he denied it ( now that's a surprise I never mention it now but thought of it recently. I think you're right re counselling but I'm not holding my breath.
By the way Springy the web address was written in a yellow stick it & he actually tried to tell me someone had written it as a joke and stuck it on his computer screen at work and it accidentally fell into his wallet
Mycat is there any chance your DH is unhappy with the marriage and copes with it by working ? I say that as i have suffered anorexia twice as a way of coping when i was younger and a bit when the dcs were babies and we had no money or support.The last decade people have said i was addicted to working though some of the time i was part time i would still go to work at the drop of a hat if they rang.1 to help out and 2 becuse i never wanted to be so skint again,I do suffer from low self esteem and working boosts this.Also it gives me time away from dh.He also has worked 60 hrs a week.Maybe his job is escapism or maybe he feels at a loss in social situations as i do so work is like a hobby.
Mycatlikesdreamies - Speaking bluntly, if I were you, I'd leave the marriage. I wouldn't be able to tolerate it a moment longer, and I have the strongest sense that he is not willing or able to change, and the lying would simply add fuel to my resolve.
I know - it's easy for me to say because I'm not emotionally involved. But you came on here to get some straight talking, and this is mine, with a lot of compassion to you too.
But, compassion aside: I would be leaving.
I couldn't live like that. What's the point? You don't see him! He doesn't have anything left for you (though he seemed to have something left over for the women on the site.)
Are you SURE he's not up to something now?
Could you afford to separate? Can you imagine living with him for another thirty years?
If you split you'd get half.
Sorry to be mercenary but what life is this? Then you'd be able to enjoy all the good stuff in your life - and, believe me, to have established and stable relationships (aside from your marriage, of course) is great riches. Not everybody has that, so why cling to something that sucks the life clean out of you.
And btw I just can't accept pp's suggestion that he is not happy in the marriage. He does this bcs this it's what he does, he checks out. Doesn't go for Real Life - or Real Wife.
I can only say that that is why ive worked more and had opposite days off in the past..it has kept the dcs together with their df and given me somewhere legitmate to go that i have enjoyed,Something to focus on if you like in the absence of affording to split up. Some of us like to work and you can get a real buzz from itIf no dcs are involved then that is of course a different thing.
There is absolutely no stigma in being divorced twice.
He knows what the issues are but he doesn't appear willing to address them. The dating site thing (which you are so casual about) is just AWFUL. Are you sure he is actually working and not seeing someone else, btw?
At 54 you still have another 30 or more years to look forward to hopefully. That is much longer than you have been married to your current partner and you deserve to be happy - either on your own or maybe in time with someone who actually wants to be with you.
You need to tell him clearly honestly and openly how you feel. Otherwise this will just carry out making you unhappy.
Hi mycat. This is such a hard situation & I don't want to be bleak but sadly have to be.
Personally I do think he's being unfaithful, if not in reality then in his mind / intentions. I suspect that he knows that you know but is playing along because he needs the solid base of his home life now order to live in the unreal bubble that he's created for himself.
I can imagine that you feel 'locked in' to the marriage though. Perhaps if you think about it all a little differently, you may feel a little more in control. So - where do you want to be in a year's time? In 5? In 10??
Unquestionably, you deserve to be happy.
From a purely practical perspective, do you know what you are worth financially, together? What's the mortgage situation? Would half the total equity be enough to buy you a flat? Take a hard look at this & perhaps it will give you a bit of confidence that you could actually manage independently.
Alternatively, you could:
1. Stay at home, carrying on as usual; you aren't in control then & risk him leaving when he wants to.
2. Sit tight & then when his fling falls apart you will be there to put him back together.
3. Kick him out & take control of your life.
4. Have a very hard conversation & tell him that you know, you aren't a fool, and that between you, you need to come to a joint conclusion about what you are going to do.
Just typed loads then lost it - grrr!!!
Blame the prosecco.
Oh yeah -
Sometimes us grown-ups lose our way. We forget where we belong. We dive into a secret fantasy world & think no one can see what we are doing. I fear this is where he is headed, if he is not there already. This is a dangerous place for him & others in his life.
I would counsel you to act cautiously & with the inner strength that you probably have forgotten that you have.
If you stay together, it needs to be with a level of honesty, trust & humility that may seem impossible at the moment (this is where therapy will be vital)
If you split, then you absolutely most protect yourself & your future both emotionally & financially. It doesn't have to be unpleasant, just matter of fact & fair.
Do you have friends to whom you can unload all of the stuff you're thinking about? It's a hell of a lot to keep inside you.
You deserve happiness.
ThoughtlessMess the OP hasn't been back on this thread for five months. Your advice is excellent but is unlikely to be seen.
Thank you O/P here ...I've had a name change since mycatlikesdreamies I'm glad of your advice. Situation slowly deteriorated since I last posted but I'm formulating a plan. My DH is a lovely person, he is kind & funny but from his actions he no longer loves me. I can't stay in this "relationship" forever but at the moment it's ok
His actions tell you something
Working very long hours
In pub, texting
No work life balance
Making no effort on anniversary
Post it note
You sleep in other room
You have asked him to spend more time with you
You say you already have a good network of family & friends
I would split up and find someone who wants to make a life and spend time with you and make you happy
It sounds like he has already checked out of the relationship with you
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