Is your DP like this and if so how do you deal with it?

(79 Posts)
Treeeetys Thu 22-Jul-21 11:01:37

I’m early 30s he’s late 30s. He has a good job. I actually earn more than him but likely to change soon. Only add for context that I also have a hard job.

He will go through phases where he will seemingly cut me and friends and family out when in a busy patch. He said he’s always done it, it’s why relationships have failed etc so he is aware of it.

At the start he made more compromises presumably because he was trying to impress me and things are always a bit like that at the beginning aren’t they... but now we are in the relationship, he will randomly say I can’t see you for ten days as I’m working on a pitch or I’m preparing for an appraisal etc. Or I’m writing a paper. It can literally be anything and he locks himself away, no proper breaks. I was suspicious initially and actually thought he may have someone else on the go! Ashamed to say that on one occasion I called in ad hoc on my way home from work, only to find him dressed terribly, hair in disarray, clearly hasn’t eaten properly, and had been stuck in his room all day.

He’s in a new phase of this this week, because he has an appraisal on Friday. This has meant that my suggestion of dinner on Wednesday evening from 7-9 was completely crazy, there was no way he could do it. So I’ve not seen him at all this week. He is unsure if he can see me at the weekend as it depends whether the pitch is moved forwards... there’s talk that it MIGHT be, but at the moment whether or not we see each other depends on some random employee at another company. This infuriates/upsets me...surely you want to see your partner over a weekend even if it’s for a quick dinner or a walk? How can you possibly write off a whole week because you’re unsure when the pitch will be?!

I raised this with him the other day and he just broke down and said he’s always worked like this, he doesn’t know how to have a break when he’s got something coming up. As in he can’t relax, feels bad about doing anything other than thinking about what’s coming up. I asked what he would do if the pitch was brought forward to Friday...he said that would be good as he’d just get it done then. Which doesn’t make sense to me...he’s obviously done the prep by now to be ready by Friday but he is reluctant for us to meet before next week if the pitch ends up being next week?!

Before anyone says he’s having an affair etc, I know that’s possible but I am 99% sure it isn’t that. I call him at random when I’m driving home or in bed and he always answers, we have long chats. He is obsessed with working.

It is upsetting because in moments of clarity and calmness he will often say he knows what matters most, family friends and relationships, he doesn’t want to look back and have not cherished those things etc etc. But they’re just words aren’t they?

Would you put up with this? He’s a good man and he gets very stressed but I’m worried I’ve set a precedent by being too understanding for too long. I’ve just let him get on with things and accepted it but the last week has been so sunny and nice and I just think how can he do this again, cut us off and not even meet for a quick bloody pub dinner!

Anyone else have a DP like this? If so what do you do? I don’t know whether to try and get him to relax more and get him to see it’s ok to have a break in the middle of difficult or stressful work patches. But also part of me thinks for fucks sake you are the best part of 40 you should know better than to deal with stress like this. I work all hours and would never do this to family and friends.

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Treeeetys Thu 22-Jul-21 11:02:19

He’s not an academic by the way.

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Arrivederla Thu 22-Jul-21 11:14:58

This is how he operates - it's unlikely that he will change now. It doesn't suit you, and wouldn't suit most people.

I don't think there is a happy ending here. Sorry.

BrassHeart Thu 22-Jul-21 11:19:09

My job is very full on at certain point of the year and I do exactly the same. Hobbies, seeing friends, socialising, seeing a boyfriend are all put on hold.

All of those things will he there after the deadline is met.

My head is so full of what I need to do that I don't have the capacity to think of anything else and I wouldn't take kindly to someone being upset or trying to make me feel guilty for it.

I simply wouldn't have any desire to take 2 hours out for dinner with someone because it made them feel better.

I'd rather just focus on what I need to do without distractions. When my focus is taken elsewhere, I find it difficult to pick up where I left off.

Maybe he is like that? He doesn't need you to help him relax or show him how he can work more like you, he needs you to let him work like him.

BrassHeart Thu 22-Jul-21 11:26:17

If inget into a 'hyperfocus', I will also be a bit dishevelled for a few days. To you, it's just a quick pub meal.

To him, it's the difficulty of switching off, taking time away from what he is doing, taking time to have a shower and get ready, driving to the pub, sitting in someone else's company for a couple of hours, trying really hard not to let his mind wander onto work he has to do, making interesting conversation with you whilst not appearing distracted, having to leave without it looking like he is rushing off, turning down inevitable invitations for just one more drink/a quick cup of tea, getting back home, reopening all of his work stuff, trying to get back in the zone...

It's not a 2 hour pub meal, it's a lot of mental energy and probably closer to 4 hours in total when the only person who would benefit from it is you and it would cause him mental distress.

That's what it would all feel like for me anyway.

herewegogc Thu 22-Jul-21 11:33:16

Brass - yes I agree. When I am in the zone (used to call it lockdown, oh the irony) I need time to wander about the house thinking with no demands on my time. OP - unless you can find a way of coping with this, I don't think the relationship will work.

Treeeetys Thu 22-Jul-21 11:33:35

@BrassHeart ‘all of those things will be there after the deadline is met.’

I understand. But I would be careful counting on that, relationships take nurturing, too, to be successful.

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Treeeetys Thu 22-Jul-21 11:35:30

I’m thinking it may not work. What happens if we want to move in? Do I get a premier inn when he has a deadline?!

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BrassHeart Thu 22-Jul-21 11:38:57

But I would be careful counting on that

Well, I've only ever had one boyfriend who didn't understand and I dumped him because, regardless of how we felt about each other, our relationship needs were simply too incompatible. I couldn't be who he needed me to be which was unfair on him and his expectations were unfair on me 🤷🏻‍♀️

BrassHeart Thu 22-Jul-21 11:40:03

Why can't you accept that he just needs that time to focus on something other than you?

BrassHeart Thu 22-Jul-21 11:41:08

Treeeetys

I’m thinking it may not work. What happens if we want to move in? Do I get a premier inn when he has a deadline?!

No. Don't be silly. You just given him space and peace to get on with what he needs to do until he has finished and get on with your own stuff.

3luckystars Thu 22-Jul-21 11:41:32

Well this system is not going to work if you have children, he can’t just check out for a few days.

He definitely needs new strategies of organising himself. I’m not saying he has ADHD, but there are ADHD coaches that specifically work with people to help plan their time and projects and could give him tools for planning events like this, while building in breaks and time for other things. Once there is a plan for achieving all the goals, he could relax then.
These coaches work with people with no diagnosis too as many people like your husband get overwhelmed when trying to get ready for something important. There is nothing wrong with him, he just doesn’t have the skills to timetable important things.
I would find help for him with his time management and organisational skills, it is out there. All the very best.

minipie Thu 22-Jul-21 11:44:20

It depends how often this happens really.

Couple of times a year, fine.

Every week or two not fine.

3luckystars Thu 22-Jul-21 11:47:01

Here is a list of coaches in the Uk:
aadduk.org/help-support/coaches/

This might be life changing for your husband as they will get to the root of the problem and will probably have some tech solution to help him plan and organise his tasks from now on.

Most of them work with people without ADHD too, as many people like your husband have issues like this and do not have ADHD. Good luck.

Nurseynoodles Thu 22-Jul-21 11:56:55

DH and I both have responsible jobs and although I am a bit of a workaholic and I do check emails of an evening/weekend etc... I am able to park projects for a period of downtime whereas my husband can’t rest until something is finished. It became a nightmare when we became WFH as he couldn’t even leave the office to stop work.

He basically shut himself in a room all day long and got cross if anyone interrupted. So I had to juggle my (substantially higher paid) job and 2 kids.

Our situation came to a head a few months into lockdown when I had a bit of a breakdown and DH finally realised that there was a problem. He sought some guidance from his boss on multi tasking and time management and started on anxiety meds which have really helped.

LemonRoses Thu 22-Jul-21 12:00:46

My husband is a bit like this - it has served us well over the years and put us in a very good position as the children enter adulthood and we enter retirement.
It was about compromise and looking to longer term. For me, it depends whether there is good, engaged time with the family to balance I'd much prefer a hardworking, good provider than an indolent charmer.

SarahDarah Thu 22-Jul-21 12:05:05

BrassHeart

If inget into a 'hyperfocus', I will also be a bit dishevelled for a few days. To you, it's just a quick pub meal.

To him, it's the difficulty of switching off, taking time away from what he is doing, taking time to have a shower and get ready, driving to the pub, sitting in someone else's company for a couple of hours, trying really hard not to let his mind wander onto work he has to do, making interesting conversation with you whilst not appearing distracted, having to leave without it looking like he is rushing off, turning down inevitable invitations for just one more drink/a quick cup of tea, getting back home, reopening all of his work stuff, trying to get back in the zone...

It's not a 2 hour pub meal, it's a lot of mental energy and probably closer to 4 hours in total when the only person who would benefit from it is you and it would cause him mental distress.

That's what it would all feel like for me anyway.

100% agree.

Just because he does things differently to you or others @Treeeetys doesn't mean he's wrong.

I also need hyperfocus mode with certain things. It's just the way my mind works.

If you're not happy with it OP (and it's perfectly fine if you're not) then leave him. Do it now, DON'T wait until marriage/kids then make everyone else suffer a divorce and broken home. You will.only get MORE annoyed with his behaviour when you have kids etc to look after. The whole.point of dating is to assess compatibility before commitment. Don't try to bully him into changing.

WillowGrand Thu 22-Jul-21 12:09:18

My job is like this + kid and is why in 6 years I’ve dated a bit but remained single, with small friendship groups who are understanding.

Having said that it isn’t healthy and I’m trying to change.

Problem is when you are so stressed, focused and busy then taking that time out means you aren’t really giving all of yourself and can’t really be present as all that’s in your head is that you need to get on.

Last 2 v short relationships have ended because I couldn’t prioritise them. And they were right.

It doesn’t help you but to be honest unless he focuses on change then I’d bow out. Realistically I would have dumped me too!

layladomino Thu 22-Jul-21 12:10:05

I don't think I could live like that. Me and DH both have demanding jobs, but we know that people are more important and deserve as much nurturing if not more.

I disagree that you should be able to just focus on the job and social life / fun / people will still be there when the deadline is passed - I have seen too often when people assume that (and ofcourse there is always the next deadline, and the next, and the next...) then one day they realise the other stuff is no longer an option. Relationships have floundered, friendships lost, opportunities missed.

It's great to have a job you're committed to and are happy to immerse yourself in. But if that is to the detriment of the rest of life then that's quite sad.

Of course that is everyone's choice, but it isn't fair to bring other people in to that. I think your bf has to decide - does he want to act like a bf or not? He can't expect you to hang around in the background to be picked up and dropped when it suits. It seems his work is all-consuming, all the time, and I would leave before it consumes you too.

wombatspoopcubes Thu 22-Jul-21 12:10:21

How often does it happen?

PomPomSugar Thu 22-Jul-21 12:19:38

I do this. It’s ADHD/hyper focusing.

PomPomSugar Thu 22-Jul-21 12:21:01

Sorry I should clarify, for me it’s ADHD/hyper focusing

BrassHeart Thu 22-Jul-21 12:29:19

layladomino

I don't think I could live like that. Me and DH both have demanding jobs, but we know that people are more important and deserve as much nurturing if not more.

I disagree that you should be able to just focus on the job and social life / fun / people will still be there when the deadline is passed - I have seen too often when people assume that (and ofcourse there is always the next deadline, and the next, and the next...) then one day they realise the other stuff is no longer an option. Relationships have floundered, friendships lost, opportunities missed.

It's great to have a job you're committed to and are happy to immerse yourself in. But if that is to the detriment of the rest of life then that's quite sad.

Of course that is everyone's choice, but it isn't fair to bring other people in to that. I think your bf has to decide - does he want to act like a bf or not? He can't expect you to hang around in the background to be picked up and dropped when it suits. It seems his work is all-consuming, all the time, and I would leave before it consumes you too.

I don't disagree with some of what you say. I don't see how prioritising work during a busy time is not behaving like a bf though. That's just normal.

I had a very busy period at work a few weeks ago. I had no choice but to cancel everything and everyone else for a week, there simply wouldn't have been time to get my job done otherwise.

Maybe I'm strange but, if I've got to submit certain data, for example, to my boss so that she can perform a meta-analysis to present to her bosses, then I'm not going to risk myself getting a bollocking for missing a deadline, or boss getting a bollocking for missing her deadline, especially when all my colleagues had worked hard and made their own sacrifices to submit their data, because someone wants to sit in a pub eating scampi and chips with me during the deadline week.

Likewise, if I'm writing reports for stakeholders, none of them is going to accept "Soz, my boyfriend wanted me to spend some time with him on Wednesday so I didn't get it done," and nor should they.

During my busy periods, I regularly work 14 hour days. Not because I can't manage my workload or stress but because turnaround is tight. And during those times, l am going to prioritise work!

SixesAndEights Thu 22-Jul-21 12:31:03

I do this, when it's over I'm available pretty much anytime for anyone. I totally lose the thread if I'm interrupted.

Elbels Thu 22-Jul-21 12:34:28

I've spoken to my live in partner probably for an hour in total over the past 5 days because of our workloads. It's not ideal but I'm aware it will pass.

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