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Living with a workaholic

(43 Posts)
Werk Wed 13-May-20 16:52:27

I have put off posting for ages but today I might just snap.
My DH has always worked hard, he previously worked in a career that he claimed to hate but would put in 70+hr weeks every week and claimed this was "required". He changed career slightly last year for a "better work/ life balance" hmm but this has not materialised.

First, it was he had to work hard to prove himself, he is only on probation and so on.
Then, shortly after probation ended he was involved in a big project (fair enough).
His office closed a couple of weeks before the formal lockdown and so he has been working from home for two months. He has NEVER worked from home, even when he could have done as he is very much one of the presenteism dinosaurs (he has to be the first in a last out). Never takes a lunch break and so on. However, although he would work late during the week, weekends were always reserved for family time.

In his old career he was very highly paid and so it made sense for me to take a step back when we had DC - I now work PT in a local job. In many respects I am fortunate because I have been able to take a lower paid but more interesting job. His new career is still reasonably well paid and still more than my salary and so we do rely on him earning money to sustain our lifestyle.

Everything revolves around him working. He works every day, every evening and half the weekend. Whilst he works I am stuck in a kitchen diner with the kids (he has commandeered the lounge).

If I need to work it is the worst thing in the world and he will be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. DC are 3 and 5 so it isn't so simple to work around them - I do work around them but have to rely on the TV to get some peace (and then get moaned at by DH about the amount of TV they have watched - they are allowed 3x10 min programmes each, an hour).

Something urgent came up today at work and so I went into the office (I am a key worker and generally do wfh but this was an exceptional matter) I was there an hour when he started calling, making my 5yr old FaceTime me begging me to come home. I had told DH I would be up to two hours. This is the first time in 7 weeks I have asked him to have the DC during the working day.

When I got home he berated me for "being out for hours". I left at 1pm and was back at 3pm. He claimed I left at 12.30 but I know that was untrue as I remember getting lunch out of the oven at 12.30... anyway, he is like a junkie. Obsessed with work.

I have tried talking to him about it but he claims he "needs" to work these hours - honestly? No one "needs" to work until 10pm every night. We have been together 15 years and he has always worked long hours but he promised me this new job was for the family (he took a massive pay cut) but we have even less time together now despite him being at home all day.
He sees it differently - he says he gets nothing done all day because of my failure to keep the DC quiet hmm and then he has to work all evening to catch up.
He does have meals with us and does bath and bed so it isn't like he is slacking off with the kids - he is a good father.

I am so lonely. I am with the DC all day and on my own all evening. DH doesn't step foot outside the house Mon- Fri. At least I used to see people before lockdown. We barely speak anymore, I have nothing to say. If I talk about my work I get eye rolls and reminders that I am only part time and that I shouldn't do more than my contracted hours (apparently contracted hours don't count for the big bread-winning man).

Anyone else dealing with this? Somehow it seems worse at home, before he would be at work long hours but I just got on with it - I had my own life Mon- Fri but now I am just a drudge doing all the drudge work and inconveniencing him with my "little job".
Plus I feel very judged about my parenting - I am no earth mother, I am much better at taking the DC out rather than staying home.

Sorry, so long. Just having a bad day.

OP’s posts: |
EKGEMS Wed 13-May-20 18:12:12

No,sorry you're mistaken to call a father who is so nasty and controlling towards his wife "good." You are going to have to make a decision-be a low priority to a workaholic or actually live a happy and fulfilled life both in your career and personal life without him

category12 Wed 13-May-20 18:18:00

Why the hell does he get the lounge?!

This is crazy. If he's not going to participate in family life or make any concessions at all to you working, then he needs to be out of the damned way in a bedroom or fucking cupboard.

tenlittlecygnets Wed 13-May-20 18:24:54

Yes. Get him out of the lounge and make him work somewhere out of the way each day. Your poor dc and you. He is being so unfair! And a complete bellend about your work.

category12 Wed 13-May-20 18:26:29

And I'd be planning a divorce tbh.

Thingsdogetbetter Wed 13-May-20 18:33:46

That's not a workaholic, that's a full blown family-life-avoider and basic childcare-and-housework-is-women's-work misogynist.

SqidgeBum Wed 13-May-20 18:34:39

My DH was like this before we got married. He was a teacher and was in work at 7am and home at 6PM , then ate dinner and worked til 10. He worked all weekend, every weekend. He was a stressed out, angry, moany, depressed mess. One day I asked him to write down two things daily; how many hours he works, and whether he felt happy at the end of the day. He did this for 3 weeks. The results showed him how it was his whole life and how it was making him miserable. Next, I did something drastic.

I told him I wouldn't marry a man who wasnt willing to put his happiness and his family before his work. We argued. I stood my ground. I explained the choices he had made, but that they weren't my choices, and now he had a new choice to make. The career, or me.

He quit the next day.

Now he works in a job where he comes home every evening to us, he isnt stressed he actually earns more, and he is a great dad. He just needs to choose. Dont get me wrong, i shit myself thinking this was the end of us, but I really knew I couldn't live the way we were living. Life is too short. Not to mention I couldn't have kids in that hostile and stressed environment. It's our job to teach them to have a work life balance.

I say sit down, lay the cards out, be blunt, be brutal, and also decide if you want this life. If you dont, then he has to decide which is more important, working himself to death, or you.

DianaT1969 Wed 13-May-20 18:44:15

Do you a have a garden and space for a garden room?

RandomMess Wed 13-May-20 18:50:09

Work is an excuse to opt out of family life and the drudge of running a house and bringing up DC.

You will feel happier, less resentful and get more of a break if you separate...

I would be telling him that he obviously isn't good at his job if he can't manage it within 40 hours per week.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 13-May-20 18:56:28

You and the children are second place in his life, and that won't change. Very soon, your kids will figure this out. All you can do is stay in the same dead end marriage or choose something better for your life.

RandomMess Wed 13-May-20 19:01:20

The attitude about your work says it all, he doesn't value you or your contribution- you exist to facilitate what he wants to do & have. Why aren't you fuming?

Iamthewombat Wed 13-May-20 19:05:48

I’m so sorry that you are having to deal with this.

You describe the situation really eloquently. Sounds as if he gets his identity through work and defines himself as the man who goes the extra mile etc. Is he really wrapped up in work politics? I bet he is.

I’m with @SqidgeBum. Cards on the table time. You’ve been really patient.

LudaMusser Wed 13-May-20 19:10:24

I work to live, not the other way round

Werk Wed 13-May-20 19:19:17

Thanks all.

He dotes on the DC, has all meals with us and spends 2hrs 5-7pm with us sorting bath and bed etc (I get to do a little work in this time). I think it is just me he hates. I don't think he tries to get out of household jobs - he cooks (like at 6am he made us soup to have at lunchtime).

Our garden is pretty small - 12ft wide and about 15ft long, barely enough room for the kids to play in. He has the lounge as we don't have room for all the equipment elsewhere, it's a 3 bed house. We could probably squeeze it into our bedroom but then I would be at his mercy to be able to go to bed at night. I usually slope off with a book at 9pm.

I have also realised that he has no friends, the only people he speaks to are his work colleagues, his mum and sister. He has literally given up everything for work.

It's actually really sad.

OP’s posts: |
TorkTorkBam Wed 13-May-20 19:24:43

Do you actually think he hates you?

RandomMess Wed 13-May-20 19:36:08

Does his line of work approve more of the married man with family status? Have you just been a vessel for his offspring?

flamegame Wed 13-May-20 19:44:23

How old is he op? At some point he may come to realise he’s given up too much time with his kids. You need to talk to him - why did he get out of the high pressure job and then recreate the same situation with less money? He’s not fulfilled his own criteria.

Why do you think he hate you? It seems more like he saw the problem accurately at some point, but failed to change his behaviour enough when he changed job situations.

Werk Wed 13-May-20 20:08:39

He's 45.

It feels like he hates me. We barely speak anymore. He glares and sighs. He is a different person - I think he is a bit of a twat at work (I hear the calls) and he no longer switches off that part of his persona. I bring him tea and biscuits/ cake, I am like a 1950's housewife at the moment but all I get in return is silence, sarcastic comments or a telling off for me failing to do x,y or z which has led him to miss an hour of work.

OP’s posts: |
TorkTorkBam Wed 13-May-20 20:15:48

What's the point of being married to him? Sounds like all you get is being treated badly and extra effort to look after him as well as the children.

Iamthewombat Wed 13-May-20 20:16:51

I’m seeing:

- insecure man with large ego

- seeks validation though work: now he’s important and people take notice of him. It’s like a drug to some people.

- works loads so as not to miss out on anything and stay relevant. Everybody at work has to know that he’s a big swinging dick (or a big swinging dick’s lickspittle, which is more often the case I’m afraid).

- can’t possibly step back and work less, in case his work persona suffers. Probably knows he isn’t all that but thinks, “I will work harder than anyone else and that will be my USP”

- realised at some point that his personal life and family life were suffering so took a different job in order to rebalance. Could not wean himself away from the excitement of being in the thick of things, so works as much as he did before.

- earns less and probably resents you for it. Because in his mind, you FORCED him to give up his previous, better paid job.

- because he feels inferior (not your fault that he’s insecure) he has to make sure that you, his wife, knows that he is king of the house and everything must revolve around him, his very very important job and his work needs. He puts you down to feel better about himself.

He probably can’t admit any of this to himself, but you need to have the conversation with him about what he plans to change. Again, really sorry that you are having to put up with this and that you’re having to find the solution.

SqidgeBum Wed 13-May-20 20:22:20

@Werk you both need to really sit down and you need to tell him all of this. Tell him about how you feel, about the effect he has on you. You have to think also about what the kids are seeing. He may sit for dinner etc, but what message is he giving your kids about valuing you or how a marriage should work if he is glaring and making comments when you are trying? He isnt supporting you. He is doing just enough to make him an acceptable Father.

He needs to know this is a big problem, and you are this miserable. Thinking the husband you work hard for hates you isnt good enough. You deserve better.

flamegame Wed 13-May-20 20:31:09

I agree with @SqidgeBum it sounds miserable, it's possible he's unaware of how he's coming across, and either way, nothing is going to get resolved unless you tell him how you feel. My DH is a workaholic, he's reformed a bit over the years, in a painful and longwinded up and down process. Children need to see their parents happy.

Mary1935 Wed 13-May-20 20:41:43

Tell him to fuck off with his sarcastic comments and looks.
Start putting your foot down.
It sounds miserable.
Tell him to get out of the lounge - who does that - mr bloody important and the rest of you are nobodies,
He an insecure prat. He’s abusive to you.
Find your anger.

topcat2014 Wed 13-May-20 20:52:50

What does he do and how much does he earn? If he doesn't own the company and earns less than 50k there is no reason why he can't clock off at 6 like the rest of us. If he dripped dead tomorrow someone else would be in his chair before the funeral

Iamthewombat Wed 13-May-20 21:14:07

If he dropped dead tomorrow someone else would be in his chair before the funeral

This! Explains exactly why getting over-invested in work at the expense of family and friends is a mistake.

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