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Talk to me about marriages/relationships where OH spends the week away...

(28 Posts)
OrlandoTheCat Mon 27-Feb-17 02:32:42

And is home for the weekend.
DH away but still in UK.
We have one young DC.
How do you find it? Does it work for you? What do you do to make it work?
What bugs you?

GwenStaceyRocks Mon 27-Feb-17 02:41:36

It very much depends on the health of your relationship and how much quality time you have together as a family at the weekend.
I know families who have had this type of arrangement for years and thrived. I know others where it pulled the family apart because the DH disengaged completely from family life. Which are you?

Normandy Mon 27-Feb-17 05:16:00

I spend the week away (or roughly half time). No children but I have lots of animals that OH cares for in my absence.

It works ok because it isn't super long term (few years), because we respect each other, and because he understands how important my job is to me. We've approached it as a way to renew the spark; our time together means something vs just always being there. He's also made the effort to come to my locale to surprise me (a change of clothes, address and time on a card left in my car, etc). It actually reminds me a bit of when we first started dating.

It's a conscious effort, needs both on board. A bit more challenging with children in the mix.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 27-Feb-17 05:54:51

It didn't work for us, or rather DH, simply because he missed DS, who was a baby at the time.

FritzDonovan Mon 27-Feb-17 05:56:41

Bit different with us, as he's not away every week, but we've had very long periods when he has been. When kids were very small I made sure we had a good routine so they knew what to expect, they found it hard when he left, so having things to look forward to helped distract them. Is your dc old enough to be upset /notice when dh leaves? I always found it hard to be left with distraught children, which he never had to deal with.
Obv the kids find it easier now they are a few years older and have become used to it. I find it hard at the moment because I've gradually lost job/friends/time to pursue interests as he is away so much, while he has sociable interactions/an interesting and fulfilling job/goes to interesting places. If there is little contact while he's away it is easy to become resentful of this. I would encourage you to keep up as much as possible for yourself and make sure you do things together as a family on a weekend. In my case, oh does lots of stuff while away that is organised for him, but can't be bothered/doesn't think about organising things as a family when he's back. I find that annoying, as after a week of organising house/kids/pet/work it would be nice to hand the responsibility over for a change. Try and get a bit of time to yourself when you're not responsible for anyone else (dc) and can actually relax properly. That's probably the equivalent of what your DH enjoys in the evenings?
Having said that, the there's less mess, no snoring etc so it's not all bad grin

OrlandoTheCat Mon 27-Feb-17 11:27:49

Thanks for your replies. DS has recently turned 2 so doesn't really understand that he won't see DH for a few days.
DH good at spending time with us as a family at the weekend (so far!). We speak almost every day during week (sometimes for just 5 minutes sometimes 20/25mins). We don't really do stuff with other people though which bothers me a bit.

FritzDonovan Mon 27-Feb-17 12:18:04

Do you mean with other adult friends, family, or other ppl with dc as friends for your son? There's not much time for any of the above unless you arrange a weekend date...
How long has dh been working away? How are you feeling about it?

Slothlikesundays Mon 27-Feb-17 12:23:45

We've done it for years. Dp has just got a more local job though as our dd is 6 mo and he really feels like he's missing out. It worked pre kids but now I'm sat home alone every night whilst dd sleeps and I've found it much harder than I thought.
Positives though:
I get all the jobs etc done during the week and the weekend is family/social time.
I do like my own space
Dd and I have a really good weekday routine
Dp never comes home tired in the evening. All our time is quality time together if that makes sense?

MoreProseccoNow Mon 27-Feb-17 15:52:43

My DP worked away/long hours during the week, and I really struggled with 2 young DC, working, commuting & domestic stuff.

I felt resentful that I had all the responsibility & juggling, while he just worked. It meant that I had no life Mon-Fri; I couldn't get out for exercise, meet friends or just unwind. I felt very unappreciated, worn down, resentful & exhausted.

He was knackered & stressed from the travelling, culminating in 6 months off work with burnout.

So he wanted to chill at home at weekends, while I had cabin fever & was desperate to get out the house.

I think if you have older DC, or don't work, perhaps a bit of family support then it's easier. I wouldn't recommend it.

picklemepopcorn Mon 27-Feb-17 15:58:31

It was brilliant for us. DH learned how to talk to me, as a daily phone call can be tricky if you don't talk. He had been one of those who felt their physical presence was enough.

CaveMum Mon 27-Feb-17 16:11:08

DH lives away from home Sunday night to Friday afternoon (military). It's our "normal" as in the 14 years we've been together he's only had 2 postings (jobs of about 2 years in length) that have enabled him to live at home.

We've got a DD (3) and I'm due DC2 in 6 weeks time. It's tough but we make it work. We took the decision that I would live at home to allow me to build a career while he lived on base and travelled about. We have an end goal in sight - he will leave the military when he qualifies for the top level of his pension in 2 years time which will give us financial stability.

As it is we FaceTime when he is away before DD goes to bed so she gets to see him. If he has the chance to finish a bit early on a Friday or start late on a Monday he takes it so that he gets some extra time at home.

OrlandoTheCat Mon 27-Feb-17 19:43:05

During week DH lives in a house we own elsewhere, so he doesn't get tired from travelling etc and his working hours aren't that long.

I don't have family nearby to help me, but we could afford babysitters. It's just tricky finding one who will do nursery pick up so that I don't have to come home from work first and then go on out (by which time I've lost the will/energy to go out at all!)

OrlandoTheCat Mon 27-Feb-17 19:47:10

Fritz I mean with other adults (whether they have kids or not)...

OrlandoTheCat Mon 27-Feb-17 19:47:45

I don't mean with family as his lives a 3 hour drive away, and mine are abroad...

drowninginpinkplastic Mon 27-Feb-17 19:49:17

I agree with the comments above. DH is away most weeks and although it is hard. The DD's find comfort in routine. I make sure that they have lots of time together when he is home. This helps my 2yo a lot as she struggles sometimes. Just plan your days and soon like most things it becomes routine. Plus my house is miles tidier!

OrlandoTheCat Mon 27-Feb-17 19:50:39

The irony is I'm the untidy one, and the one who snores!!!

FritzDonovan Mon 27-Feb-17 20:01:59

OP sounds a very similar situation to mine, I sympathise. All I can suggest is a sitter for evenings to make sure you get that adult contact, you just have to push yourself to get out, if it's important enough. And plan ahead for weekend activities.
Agree with a lot of what prosecco says. Ive worked while having my kids while dh was away, and ultimately it was too much to sustain and do a good job (involved evening and weekend work, very little support available to help with kids, he was away full time for the greater part of the year), and although it is easier without that job, a more flexible one now would help keep me sane (adult contact /interest/self esteem)... So if possible try to hang on to a job...

MelindaGordon Mon 27-Feb-17 20:04:35

We did it - for a year although originally though we could do it longer term. We knew other couples who had been doing it for several years seemingly successfully. We've three children who were 10, 7 and 4 at the time. I did have family support nearby however I also had a very demanding ft job that I loved. Initially we thought it would work and it was great in that we made the extra effort to talk on the phone during the week and prioritise weekends as family time. However as others had said, dh was socialising a fair bit while away as part of his job and came home tired and equally I was tired at the weekends from working and keeping everything together at home. It quickly became quite wearing. The main issue was that he missed the children dreadfully, we missed each other but mainly I realised that to make it work, I would have to accept living a life that for us was about having to live well together, apart. I realised that I didn't want that. It was different for us also in that dh's job was permanent, not a contract. So we made the difficult decision to relocate to another part of the UK near his base as his work his quite niche and we knew it might be years before he could find similar work at home. For me I hated having to uproot children and I was leaving a job I loved, close family and lifelong friends. But I felt for our relationship and our children it was the only option. Fwiw a year or two down the line we love our new lives, settled really well and now view it as a fantastic opportunity we weren't expecting. I do know others who have made it work and spent time talking to them and reading mumsnet for evidence of how to make it work. I am a strong, independent person but realised it wasn't for me/us.

Airbiscuits Mon 27-Feb-17 20:07:41

I have had years like this when the children were small. It was ok during the week, but when I wasn't happy it was because my husband would do something for himself at the weekend (skiing, his hobbies, umpteen school reunions etc). That did make me feel abandoned. I felt he should have prioritised us more over his social life.

Now my kids are 7 and 9 and I am the one working away during the week. I do devote my entire weekends to them and my husband, and I miss them all horribly during the week. Although it's quite nice to focus 100pct on work. Basically any "me" time has gone though. I think that has to be the price you pay, if it is to work.

OrlandoTheCat Mon 27-Feb-17 20:17:24

lots of interesting thoughts and suggestions. Thank you.
Incidentally, on reflection, I'm not actually particularly messy at's just relative to DH (who is super tidy), I am.
Fortunately, I can work just 3 days a week which is nice as it gives me adult contact which I miss terribly.

MoreProseccoNow Mon 27-Feb-17 20:27:46

I think if you have only 1 or school-age DC, have the resources to pay for childcare, cleaners etc then it is easier. Also if you have flexible working, can WFH or have family nearby etc. Online shopping deliveries, and a good local support circle were essentials. I had reciprocal agreements with local mums if I was delayed from work & couldn't get to nursery before it shut; luckily I never had to use them.

My DC were both pre-school & I was just starting back at work after maternity leave, so I was always the one taking time off work if the DC were ill my employer was not happy.

It really was a struggle for me.

Ditto what PP said about DH wanting to do hobbies at the weekend - I wanted to kill him with my bare hands when I'd struggled like hell to keep all the plates spinning during the week & really needed a break.

Laska5772 Mon 27-Feb-17 20:28:20

We have all our relationship / marriage except for the first two years (and then we were only together during uni terms) - 24 years .

We both had small kids (he had custody of his DD) when we met , but worked it almost like 'two families' during the week for a long time,.DH lived/s in the house we own in another town as his Dd went to school there and wanted to also be near her mum and cousins . I didnt want to move from the seaside city I lived in and had a good job there plus my own house . ( this was also good for us as a family at weekends , as the kids loved being near the sea )

You do have to be independent and also really trust each other in th e relationship (but also really like doing the same stuff when you are together -neither of us had hobbies that took us out of the house at weekends) .. I have never worried that he might be with someone else not he, I.

Its worked and as weve both worked f/t all along Its also worked financially as we now have two homes paid for .

It also probably helped that the DCs went to their other parents every other weekend when they were young. but weekends were always family time or 'our' time..

We have DGCs now! and a good relationship with both our grown up kids..

He is just about to retire ( and hopefully me soon) .. heck, We are going to have to live together!! shock

Laska5772 Mon 27-Feb-17 20:34:03

I had a good network of friends / childminders etc when DS was small, and also as I worked in education sector for a while holiday care on site ( that helped ) .

DH and his DD lived in the town where his family was during the week, so his childcare arrangements were easier and sometimes her mum would have her .

Laska5772 Mon 27-Feb-17 20:38:50

By 'his family' I mean his parents , Dbs and Dsils, (of course) not another partnership!!)

Bluefluff Mon 27-Feb-17 20:45:45

Since starting my relationship with my partner he has always been away all week, some times for weeks or months on end. Because it's always been like this I'm used to it, but it can be very hard. It really makes me value the time we do have together.

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