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My DH works non stop and its getting to me now

(15 Posts)
Haylstones Wed 28-Oct-09 14:34:24

My dh is very ambitious and committed to his job. He recently got an incredible promotion but now has lots of demands on him and extra responsibilities. As a result, he now goes to work about 7.30/8am, comes home in time for bedtime at 7pm, eats dinner then starts working again. I actually don't know what time he finishes as he's always still working when I go to bed at 10.30. He also has to do quite a bit of travelling.

He never ever complains about the work but it's starting to get to me. He doesn't normally work during the day at weekends so we do family stuff then but we never get any time as a couple, never go to bed at the same time and even when we have a babysitter he's too busy to go out. I know we're lucky he has a job and without it we wouldn't have the lifestyle we have but it is really hard work atm. I just started a ft degree and am struggling with keeping it all together; utimately he brings in the money so my long-awaited course comes second but I'm determined to carry on. It feels like we're drifting apart and our quality of life is horrible.

I don't moan about it to him because I know he wouldn't do it unless he really had to but he admits that there is no end in sight and he will have to do these hours indefinitely; his dept is under threat and as the manager it rests on him.

Am I being really unfair? The dc still see him every day so that isn't really an issue.

Dh's dad had a nervous breakdown at 50 and had to retire early due to work stresses so I guess this is also a concern.

Does anyone have any tips?or words of wisdom? Should I just put up and shut up? sad

Jamieandhismagictorch Wed 28-Oct-09 15:47:32

I'm first and am going to stick my neck out a bit. blush

IMO people in your DHs position often say they have no choice but actually they do. My DH could have become a partner in a Law Firm and be earning more than double what he earns, but while our children are little they, and I need him, so he has decided to prioritise family life.

From what I have observed, the children of parents who work long hours adapt to whatever the situation is, but the relationship can suffer, as you describe. There needs to be enough intimacy to keep you going through the childrearing years, or else there's a danger of nothing being left to sustain it once the children are gone.

Sorry, I know I sound a bit naive, but this does sound crap for you - especially him working every night (is that really necessary ?) Hopefully others will have more concrete advice.

ducati Wed 28-Oct-09 16:07:39

Your post rang so many alarm bells with me.
I don't think there is anything wrong per se with working hard, but I think it presents a real danger when it squeezes out everything else.
My dh has always worked hard, made sacrifices etc but it was not a problem until about two or three years ago when, looking back, it started to become his sole focus. his horizons totally shrunk, he was on laptop every evening, stopped taking interest in any current affairs or stuff outside his sector, saw less of his friends and only really came alive when talking about work. i have begun to realise work has become a sort of surrogate family (he started up the company and has hired all the 30 or so staff and gets embroiled in all the ups and downs in their lives) I think it is about lines being crossed and my dh has crossed too many. I am not blaming him as I work hard too and love my job and sometimes was a relief not to have to make effort for him so could have more time for dcs and my own job.
But I now really regret not doing date night or whatever it's called where one evening in week is sacrosanct, you have dinner etc. I know it sounds cheesy but we are now in terrible state having spent so little quality time alone together in recent years. I think you are sort of lucky to see the warning signs so soon and can do something about it. good luck

Haylstones Wed 28-Oct-09 16:19:54

Thanks. I really do find it hard atm. I've got flu and am stuck indoors so am feeling especially sorry for myself. I think he feels like he's responsible for everyone else as if his dept goes under it won't only be him to lose a job and he would find another one easily whereas it might not be so easy for his staff.

Whenever I (gently) raise the subjest he says he is doing it for us but sometiems I wish he could be there by doing a school run or doing some washing instead! As i say, if it wasn't for his job we'd be in a much worse place than we are now. I genuinely don't think hewold be doing these hours if there was any way round it but it is really taking over now.

Any time he does take off is spent at the gym (and I'm guilty too as I spend a lot of time there too) as he has IBS and allergies so exercising is the only thing that keeps his symptoms at bay...

FWIW, it really doesn't have an effect on the dc (age 5 and 1). He does bath/story/bed every night and we do family stuff at the weekend. IT doesn't help that the closest famly support is 350 miles awayso I don't get much time off!

I'm not trying to demonise him, he is a lovely, genuine,hard working man and I love him but how to make the distinction between wokring hard for your family and sacrificing everything for that work?

Haylstones Wed 28-Oct-09 16:22:10

Actually, I have just realised the main issue I have sad
I left all my friends and family to move here with dh (then bf), married, started a family and supported his career but now I never see him, it feels like our marriage is falling apart and whilst I have lots of brilliant friends I have no family...I'm really close to them. What's the point in still living here?!

Stupid hormones making me cry now[sniff]

Jamieandhismagictorch Wed 28-Oct-09 18:17:00

O.K. This sounds fixable to me. Great that your DH is home to see and help you with the children, but you need some time together, as you say.

From what you describe, he is driven by anxiety (his job, the IBS), and being the sole earner can't be that easy (not judging you BTW, I'm a SAHM).As such, he probably can't see the bigger picture. But, do you think you can persuade him to prioritise your relationship, not as an extra pressure but as somthing relaxing for him ? Simple things like eating together, not in front of the television, going to bed at the same time, compromising on him working every evening. Definitely going out every fortnight or so.

You need to get him to talk about this with you, before you drift apart or start bickering. Present it as being advantageous to him. Forgive me if I assume too much, but I guess not much sex is happening ? I so, then this in itself can lead to a vicious circle of lack of intimacy and resentment leading to less sex - and you are not likely to feel like having sex if you don't feel listened to and appreciated.

Haylstones Wed 28-Oct-09 18:27:29

I am going to try to talk to him tonight. Bizarrely, our sex life hasn't suffered that much but there isn't much hugging/handholing etc.

The main reason for me doing this course is to increase my earning potential for when our 1yo starts school so that should take the pressure off but its another 3 years away!

Apart from anything else we've got a million and one DIY jobs that need finished but he just simply hasn't the time to do them but won't let anyone else do them. We also have another house 400 miles away that he spends all his annual leave every year trying to renovate [sigh], m eaning we don't even get away from the mundane for a holiday sad

BEAUTlFUL Wed 28-Oct-09 20:34:24

I'll have him! He sounds lovely. <unhelpful emoticon>

If he earns a lot, could you not just get help with the domestic stuff, eg a cleaner? Better in the long-term, surely, for him to be earning lots while the opportunity is there?

Or is this more about how you don't feel you're getting his attention, he's not working for you but himself, and so you are now resenting his job? Sadly, if it's this one, I think you're going to have to lump it for a while, and create couple-time by booking a babysitter for weekends. Sod the family time one weekend a month!

You sound tired and frazzled to me. sad Please have a non-MN hug and an early night.

BEAUTlFUL Wed 28-Oct-09 20:40:19

PS: I don't mean to terrify you, but my DH hurled himself into work the past year, working at night upstairs, etc... And it turned out he was feeling unhappy in our relationship, burying it under all the work, and he eventually left!

Are you sure your DH is OK? Does he seem happy with you when you are together? At least you're still boffing - my DH went off that.

I'm sure everything is fine, but I do think the best thing you can do is (A) Make the couple-time happen (and try not to think that it's his job to do that); (B) Get help for householdy stuff elsewhere; and (C) Try to be interested in his work. Talk to him about it a lot. Share it with him. Then at least you might only talk about work, but at least you'll be talking! I didn't do that - I resented DH's work and took it all too personally. Maybe I was picking up on other signs of his unhappiness, but I think I was a bit spoilt and pouty about his job when really I should have celebrated it.

lilacclaire Wed 28-Oct-09 22:52:02

Maybe he's working a lot at night so he has the spare time at the weekends?
He sounds like he's really trying to keep things together and trying to find a balance with the bedtime/weekend with the family.
Unfortunately, it sounds like you'll have to lump it for a while until circumstances change.
Although I can understand how fed up you are feeling please try and be supportive, he would probably rather be vegging out in front of the tv with you than working or going to the gym to keep the ibs at bay.

picmaestress Thu 29-Oct-09 14:14:54

I know it must feel crap not to spend time with him, but he's doing his best. You're at the most intense part of your young family's life, and you're both feeling the strain. How do you think he feels? Presumably he'd love to spend more time with you and the kids and on household projects, but work has to come first. Everyone is working harder because of the recession.

I'd give my eye teeth to have a husband/life like yours, just give him a gentle reminder that it would be nice to spend more time with him.

You've got a fab, fit husband with a good job, two houses, lovely kids, an opportunity to go to university and a good sex life?

Sounds like a nightmare. wink

I think you've got the flu blues. You've got an amazing life, just give him a cuddle...

GrendelsMum Thu 29-Oct-09 17:53:11

Well, first of all, I do sympathise. It isn't particularly pleasant to spend no time with your DH. It's also not great to see your DH so stressed out that you're worried for his physical / mental health.

I often think the money is rather a red herring when it comes to this kind of situation - money is supposed to buy quality of life, and if you are so busy earning money that your quality of life is lost, then you're essentially throwing your money away. Does your DH's career mean that you've stopped any kind of social life which isn't based on doing nice things for the children together?

I do think it's very important to remind yourself and him from time to time that he does have a choice, and that he doesn't have to have that job, or work those hours. I think people can come to believe that they don't have a choice, whereas in fact they are choosing to prioritise certain things (the role, the money, the satisfaction it brings, having the opportunity to do / buy / have expensive things) above others (having more time).

It's also important to remind him (if this is the case) that he isn't doing this for you - that you haven't asked him to work long hours, and that although you have benefits from it, you also have disadvantages. Again, I think people can start to think that they are working long hours for their SAHM / SFTM, who then grumbles about never seeing them, and begin to resent it. If you are willing to take on other options if he needs to stop work - e.g. by taking on a part time job, remind him from time to time that you could get by perfectly well without his money, and that he doesn't have to work these hours.

And you shouldn't feel bad about feeling bad - fine, you've got a fab, fit husband with a good job, a lovely house, lovely kids, an opportunity to go to University and a good sex life. That's all wonderful. But if you have no other adult to talk to, to relax with, to share your problems with, you can't mention it to friends for fear of seeming disloyal, and you have to organise every single thing because DH is busy working, life does become a grind, and minor things can be quickly blown out of proportion with no-one to share them with - it's like being a single parent, but without being able to invite anyone else back your house because the noise of conversation would disturb your DH working.

Hope that's of some vague help - as you can probably tell, I'm in the same situation, and it's pretty grim. My dad always prioritised his family over his career, I'm used to making do and stretching the pennies, and this is what I would have preferred. Oh well sad

Haylstones Thu 29-Oct-09 18:19:12

Thanks all. I'm feeling sligthly less sorry for myself today and feel a lot better after the whinging blush. Dh nowhas my flu so has taken the day off work shock. He isn't happy because his work laptop wouldn't work so he couldn't do any work but I'm secretly glad he had a day to himself!

We did talk last night, I know he'd rather spend time with me/us but for the time being this is how life has to be. We are going to make an effort at weekends to eat together and go out whenever we can. Nothing COULD really be sorted out but at least it's all out in the open now.

When I think about it, we both work really hard (I work PT as well as studying and its a very demanding, emotional job) for a reason so ultimately we should reap the rewards... it is waiting game until then!

AllyOodle Thu 29-Oct-09 22:26:03

Glad you feel a bit better Haylstones.
Only a small point - Get him to agree to pay someone to do the jobs. Tell him his time is too valuable and precious to spend on DIY. Good luck with it all.

GrendelsMum Fri 30-Oct-09 20:29:28

Well done for talking it though! And I agree with AllyOodle that you need to get someone else to do these jobs, so you can spend time together.

And is it worth you having a second home if it's just another load of responsibilities and tasks? It honestly sounds like the last thing you need. Wouldn't you rather be going to see your family instead?

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