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Feel that DP's personality has changed because of highly demanding job - anyone else had a similar experience?

(11 Posts)
Indiestarr Mon 22-Sep-08 22:33:16

I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience? DP used to work in a regular 9-5 finance job, and while we had our ups and downs things were good on the whole. We decided to start a family and DD was born 5 years ago. At around the same time, DP changed career to media. His new job is massively more demanding (he was out of his depth to begin with and under huge pressure), involves drinking during the daytime (long lunches), lots of out-of-hours schmoozing (launch parties, dinners), working at weekends, and mixing with people who (IMO) exist in a rareified world and are at best eccentric and at worst completely up their own arses. He also commutes for four hours a day and whilst he did that before I think it's got worse over time.

We are, to be honest, on the verge of splitting up, and I've been trying to understand why I've become so unhappy and where it all went wrong. It's dawned on me that since he took on this job he's undergone a change of personality. He won't accept this - well, won't address it, so is maybe in denial, but he puts our troubles down to other things like my hankering for 'order' and my high expectations. However, I'm becoming more and more certain that this highly demanding, booze-sodden, schmoozing career has brought about a change of personality.

It seems to me that he has lost all zest for life and become disinterested in anything not linked to his job. We used to do so much together but nowadays it is tough to pursuade him to join me in anything - there is always the sense that he's performing a chore - and he would NEVER instigate anything himself. His excuse is 'we don't like doing the same things' but actually we've got lots of common ground and it was never a problem before! He absolutely never takes me out anywhere, if I want us to go out together I have to arrange it and he is never enthusiastic. Occasionally he will try and sabotage it by, for example, becoming too drunk during the day to make it viable. Even on my birthday I have to drag him out. We used to go on really amazing holidays - to India, Nepal, Cuba, Canada, Italy - and OK it is more difficult now DD has come along but he has recently said he no longer wants to discover new places because he is 'fulfilled in that respect'.

His temper was always quite bad but it's become so much worse - for example, smashing up a dining chair because we were late giving him a lift to the station, or going mad because I forget to carry my mobile with me when I'm rushing around at work. His tolerance threshold has plummeted, it seems to me. He doesn't care if i cry and will happily go to bed on an argument because he's 'tired' when we never used to do this.

'I'm tired' is a constant, constant, CONSTANT refrain.

He used to come across as quite gregarious when we visited my parents - which we don't do often as they live 1.5 hrs away - but nowadays he will take himself off into a corner with his book. We recently had a week's holiday and during that time he read two books - you can imagine how much he talked to me! However, it seems he is the life and soul at work, and is constantly socialising.

The only things he really seems to be interested in are tennis, running, and windsurfing. These take presidence over everything at the weekend and woe betide anyone who tries to stop him. I'm convinced he's addicted to adrenalin (he regularly runs several km in the gym during the week as well). We used to go cycling together, enjoy walking and have been skiing, but since DD was born not at all and this year he went skiing with a mate on his own.

His defence would be that I am difficult and demanding, but the thing is although I admit this I don't think I'm particularly different from how I used to be. The way I see it, the difference is that he is no longer happy to tolerate these flaws. He no longer has the energy to shrug things off. I did have pretty bad PND when DD was born which admittedly made me a nightmare,but actually I think I'm far more grown up, reasonable and tolerant than I ever was before. He has recently said 'in the first few years of our relationship I was devoted to you - now I want devotion' which seems to mean he doesn't want to contribute but rather wants to be left to do his own thing but still have his family around him.

I desperately miss the closeness and partnership we had in our early relationship. He claims he still loves me and says 'why can't we just be' but I am so dissatisfied with the state of our relationship. The more I think about it, the more I think his job is to blame - it seems to me that his spirit has been crushed and he is just incapable of having any personal life. He is a devoted dad though.

I just wondered if anyone else had had a similar experience and could shed any light(or whether it is indeed just me expecting too much from a partner...)

amygirl Mon 22-Sep-08 22:50:40

I am really sorry you are going through this.

You describe really well though how he has changed towards you, but that could be a symptom of the relationship breaking down rather than the cause. The test as to whether he has truly changed would be in how he behaves to others? His best friend? His sister/ brother etc?

I did know another couple who broke up. He did a lot of unacceptable things but she did just one, but it was all the time: everything had to be done perfectly, all the options researched to the point where there was no fun left in it and when she wanted a baby then he faced a barrage of reasons why it should be now every day. She could never see any problem with herself though - after all isn't it good to know what you want (bbay) and to check a million websites to arrange one weekend away? Sorry to ask this but are you like this too do you think?

Indiestarr Mon 22-Sep-08 23:05:00

Thanks for your reply Amygirl. It's always possible that his behaviour could be a symptom, but the question I still cannot answer is why has he withdrawn from me? But going on to your second point, yes, I can be a little bit like the person you describe, and he isn't like that at all. And it does wind him up. But I would still maintain that I was like it when he met me, so if it didn't cause a problem pre-job why does it cause one now?

And there is a difference from the case you describe in that it was definitely he who wanted the family more than I did!

Nevertheless, it's interesting to hear this. I'm sure he would leap at the chance to say 'Yes, that's it!! She's just like that!!'

amygirl Mon 22-Sep-08 23:12:55

I really don't know enough about you so I am hesitating to write this as it could be way off the mark. If you are like my friend, it would be sooo annoying (eventually). At first love covers all, and even for a friendship you just think "great, the perfect holiday with zero effort from me in arranging it" but after a while it gets to be wearing. You don't want to work out which pub has the best food/ alcohol/ cost/ distance ratio, you just want to enjoy yourself!

247 Tue 23-Sep-08 09:11:08

I can identify with you Indiestarr. Its a horrible place to be isn't it. I have had a very similar experience to you. Just after our DC was born he went it alone and set up his own business, Obviously this took a lot of time and effort on his part and for a while life between us was still good. However, the more successful he has become the more distant he has become with me. He lives for work and I feel like I am nothing more than an irritation. Outside the house everyone finds him utterly charmi ng. He is a great dad but it is me who he is not interested in. All he talks about is work, work and more work. Like he has no interest out of his work life. He is so up himself now he always says stuff like: How different we are, you are never satisfied, we have nothing in common, your so difficult to talk to,etc etc also I had PND and like you too, I actually have not changed at allecept become more aware of the importance of marriage and been more tolerant. I wouldn't say he has a bad temper but is amazingly intolerant of anything I have to say and infact gets sarcastic and short with me if I say anything he doesn't like or agree with. I think we are on the verge of splitting up to and the very thought of it crucifies me. Guilty that I have stood aside and let him build up his empire, in doing so I feel I have been tossed aside and am surplus to requirement. He lives for his work. You have my sympathies, some men don't know how lucky they are

mamhaf Tue 23-Sep-08 10:43:06

Indiestar -sorry to hear about your problems.

Does he know how you feel? Does he realise his job could cost him his wife and hinder his relationship with his children?

Would he consider going to counselling with you?

Indiestarr Tue 23-Sep-08 11:42:43

Hi 247, really sorry to hear what you're going through. I was curious to hear if other people had experienced something similar because I need to understand what went wrong between us, and the more I think about it the more it seems very unlikely that someone could undergo such a huge change of lifestyle and not be affected. However, that's not to say I am blameless - if I'm being brutally honest with myself I think amygirl has hit the nail painfully on the head - not that I am as obsessively ordered and structured as the person she describes, but that because HE is so far the other way - completely disorganised, hates planning, pathologically messy etc - my 'sense of order' and tendency to plan really grates on him. What frustrates me is that I'm really not THAT bad! I have a full time job as well as DD so its pretty tough to throw all planning out the window! But yes, I do research holidays, I do make lists, I do get cross if he doesn't tidy up after himself, I do get frustrated when until the last minute there's no way of knowing if he'll be home for dinner because he does everything on the hoof. Perhaps, because I am also contending with the long hours, the constant 'I'm tired', the endless drinking, the withdrawn persona, the dogged pursuit of activities that don't include me, it makes me more frustrated and dissatisfied about these other things, and it is therefore a vicious circle. I don't really know. All I know is it seemed to work before but the balance is now very much upset.

Thanks mamhaf - yes he does know how I feel - I wrote him a letter explaining what I thought with regard to the job. He doesn't share my view that it's changed him and instead he pointed the finger at me, saying I'm 'never satisfied'. We tried counselling before, about 3 years ago, after he had an affair. It seemed to help at the time but was more of a temporary relief than an actual cure, as here we are back at rock bottom again!

247 Wed 24-Sep-08 09:47:23

How are you today Indiestarr? It's not nice to be told 'your never satisfied' is it. I have heard that a lot over the years. Funny thing is (not funny at all actually) is that I have never asked for anything. I suspect these men who throw the blame at us are perhaps feeling insecure about other things and try to mask over them by latting us know 'we are wron'. Does that make sense. I feel my DH literally lives for his work, heart and soul, perhaps yours does too and whilst they are so busy 'working', they don't have to consider us too much, they have no time. Wish I had the answer, I would share it with you. I don't think I am the person he makes me out to be either. Like you, I just want a harmonious, loving marriage which is WHY we are bothered about things.

mamhaf Wed 24-Sep-08 10:07:53

I suggest you try counselling again - it's a chance to discuss how you feel in front of an impartial person.

Marriages go through peaks and troughs, and the issues you went through three years ago are different to the ones you have now...although I wonder if there are also unresolved issues from then?

Also, two of you in FT jobs (which is the same as my own situation) creates a lot of pressure and you need to find strategies to cope with your different personalities.

WideWebWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 10:12:37

Poor you, this sounds horrible.

Would he agree to some counselling?

I think a long commute DOES take it out of you (I do one) but still shouldn't change your personality. The chair thing sounds AWFUL, violent and way over the top. Do you think he's doing drugs? Sounds possible. He sounds very selfish.

It's not you, it's him, which I know you know but still think it's worth saying.

TheSmallClanger Wed 24-Sep-08 18:58:37

I second what Wickedwaterwitch just said. I briefly worked in the media when I was younger and cocaine use was absolutely rife. According to friends still in the industry, it's even worse now.
The adrenalin obsession and the "I want devotion" jumped out at me as signals there.

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