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Are you married to a workaholic?

(80 Posts)
gretagatsby Tue 02-Oct-12 06:12:08

Can you tell me what you would have done differently at the beggining? I've started seeing somebody who is a diamond but I think the work/life balance thingsmight too difficult to deal with. All advice really welcome.

Chubfuddler Tue 02-Oct-12 06:17:56

Sounds like you're on a mission to change him. Don't try, you won't succeed.

BreeVanDerTramp Tue 02-Oct-12 06:18:04

I don't think I could have changed anything, we were young and although I was aware he worked a lot more than me it has developed over the past 10 years.

I do feel that family comes second, we have 3 DC and have made big moves several times due to DH's job. Even in a day off the phone starts ringing at 7 am sad

I am happy though and have a great life which sadly doesn't always involve DH, I've learned now not to wait for him but to get on and do it and its enough for me. For now.

SundaeGirl Tue 02-Oct-12 07:04:35

I'm not married to a workaholic but I have been out with them in the past. The danger is that they feel they can put a tick in the relationship/home life box once they've got you rather than understanding that the relationship needs constant nurturing, like the job.

I think workaholics probably can change, maybe he's not had good reason to so far?

ArtVandelay Tue 02-Oct-12 08:56:56

I don't think you can change them. My DH's reasons for his behaviour are buried deep in his psyche and unless he has some sort of road to Damascus type moment or brush with death or something, he will absolutely not change.

If you need/want a lot of support which you want to receive from a husband or partner then you will probably not enjoy being with a workaholic personality. If you are more independent in yourself and can draw support from family and friends then its okay. Also, what is the rest of his personality like? If he expects to work all the time but not let you go out, go away, have childcare, buy what you like or respect your goals then that would be horrible. My DH is opposite to this so in some ways there are advantages - like having a lot of control over my own time and resources.

Its pretty tiring doing all the family stuff especially if your DH is away all the time but don't attempt martyrdom - they won't even notice! Bree makes some really good points.

I think you need to speak to him about what he wants/expects and also find out a bit about how his parents functioned. My FIL is a controlling pig who expects MIL to wait on him hand and foot (and she does). DH sort of despises that and sort of wishes he had that arrangement - both at the same time. It all adds up to what sort of a workaholic your BF is and whether you can live with that.

crescentmoon Tue 02-Oct-12 09:54:35

bree, this...

"I do feel that family comes second, we have 3 DC and have made big moves several times due to DH's job. Even in a day off the phone starts ringing at 7 am"

and this...

"I am happy though and have a great life which sadly doesn't always involve DH, I've learned now not to wait for him but to get on and do it and its enough for me. For now."

is my life!

fiventhree Tue 02-Oct-12 10:13:48

My h was like this for very many years, and probably still is, at heart.I agree that family or personal issues are the reason, although they will often deny this.

My h worked so hard and for so long, whilst I was also working and with five children, that it finally caused a rift between us and resulted in infidelity on his part.

From what I have understood since, this isnt uncommon amongst workaholics. Certainly, I was stunned, as he definitely puts work before people of any type, and anyway he chose a long series of online encounters which wouldnt require him to commit too much of himself, whilst still getting the sexual/attention thrill, and at a time of day to suit him.

Interestingly, the major crisis which resulted when I found out, and which for me was something of a last straw, resulted in him making some radical change to his life, and now he is more likely (a year later) to stop at six or six thirty and make time for his relationship, on the basis of use it or lose it.

Personally, I wouldnt advise chosing a workaholic for a life partner, as they so often have extra issues longer term, and are sufficiently damaged by their backgrounds to be less of a support to their partner than is ideal for true intimacy to be sustained long term.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 02-Oct-12 10:36:28

My Partner is a workaholic. He has two jobs. I knew this when I met him which suits me down to the ground as I love my own space. I see it as having the best of both worlds.

Mind you in saying that, we're older with teenage children from previous relationships.

You know what he is so it's your choice really isn't it OP.

Abitwobblynow Tue 02-Oct-12 10:52:59

Relate counsellor told me:

it is how they avoid emotional intimacy (keeps relationships at arms length through a good excuse)

they get lots of validation from work.

So develop your own life is my opinion. It isn't the ideal, but it is the only thing you can do.

itsthequietones Tue 02-Oct-12 11:53:30

Dp is a workaholic. He has his own business, we live overseas. It isn't a life that I would choose again to be honest.

He has recently had a massive kick up the arse over putting work ahead of our family over and over again. We have 2 children and having no family support nearby or close friendships just made it intolerable for me. I am independant and I am strong, but it's nearly broken me.

He thought that as he provided for us financially, that he was exempt from anything else - relationship, children, housework etc. They were my jobs alongside supporting him emotionally, listening to his problems, helping with the business. I can't begin to tell you how demoralising it is being with someone who always thinks of themselves first.

Since his kick up the arse he has changed, he's taken days of work, plays with the children more. He's trying to find a work/life balance. I don't know if he can stay like this, I don't think so really. It's only been 1 month and work's creeping back into the conversations, cuddles and kisses are on the way out again.

It's not for me, I'm not prepare to play a supporting role in his life and career anymore.

MsP2012 Tue 02-Oct-12 20:25:59

I was married to a workaholic for ten yrs.... Three kids later and me making all the sacrifices to support him in his business he left me ... Said he wasn't happy in fact he was miserable. I really thought I had made him miserable but now I realise he is still a miserable workaholic who cannot see its his sad sad life that caused his misery and not me!! I am finding mysael again and feel happier every day. Don't get stuck in his rut xx

In a word - yes. He works ridiculous hours and even on days off he still needs to "touch base".
We can't go on holiday for more than a week at a time as he can't spare that much time away in one go.hmm
It drives me insane. Especially when Dd is ill and I could do with some help. I've just learned to not rely on him being around. When he is here, it is a bonus!

gretagatsby Tue 02-Oct-12 21:45:42

Thank you so much for all your responses. Is there really no hope?

Chubfuddler Tue 02-Oct-12 21:50:30

It depends what you mean by hope. I've been happily married to my workaholic for nearly twelve years. He has scaled back a bit since the children were born (but only a bit). We do stuff as a family at the weekends but even do he puts in easily 70 hours a week. If you're happy to do your own thing a lot then it's fine. If you're not then it really won't be.

BreeVanDerTramp Tue 02-Oct-12 22:30:39

There is probably no hope of changing him but depending on what you want from the relationship it can work.

If you want hearts, flowers and long romantic weekends lazing in bed, then there is no hope.

If you ate happy to go with the flow, ignore the constant phone calls/email checks/home late with little notice then you can give it a go. DH is a workaholic bit it is his passion, dedication and enjoyment of work that make him fun to be around and a great dad. It's about finding the balance for you and I enjoy being independent - we also have loads to talk about as many aspects of our lives are seperate.

zxcv123 Wed 03-Oct-12 09:14:01

It depends what you mean by "workaholic".

Some people will call others workaholics because they happen to work a few extra hours a week than they do. But when they are not working they are still fully functioning individuals and able to give what a partner needs in a relationship. If that's what your DP is like, that may be enough for you to live with.

Personally, I would only consider someone to be a "workaholic" if they are addicted to work and therefore have the same problems that other types of addicts have i.e. work comes before absolutely everything else - it's the central plank of their life & personality.

My workaholic XH slept 4 hours a night and worked the rest of the time. Once accepted a permanent job overseas without even telling me he was going for interview - just assumed I would leave my job and move overseas with him. Constantly cancelled holidays, weekends, days out. Had 3 different mobiles for 3 different jobs which he wouldn't switch off, not even at night. Unable/unwilling to do anything for the DCs or me. Constantly had us hanging around waiting for him. Never attended anything at the DC's schools. Wouldn't do any childcare, housework etc because he felt that money was the answer to everything, so as long as he was earning money that absolved him from any other responsibility.

I wouldn't recommend a relationship like that, no.

LettyAshton Wed 03-Oct-12 13:19:22

My dh is a workaholic and no, you can't change them. I agree about the "validation through work" thing. Someone mentioned to me a while back that they thought I was a single parent and I can see why they assumed that: dh has barely ever attended a school function/parents evening and I often go out with the dcs at the weekends alone. And as for holidays...

I accepted long ago (although I don't like it) that it's not the job. It's them. I know that if dh were to become a dustman he'd be the one who had to cover shifts for absentees or who'd be determined to get the lorry out in six feet of snow. He would never ever be a clock-watcher, no matter what job he did.

SundaeGirl Wed 03-Oct-12 16:21:20

I think you can get a good idea of whether or not he could change if you were to ask him what sort of working week he'd want. If he can't tell you then it's probably the one he's got.

wandymum Wed 03-Oct-12 19:25:14

Yes, my DH is definitely a workaholic and I agree entirely with Bree. We are happy but I get on with life on the assumption he won't be around and treat it as a bonus when he is. I do feel slightly sad for our children though.

Ask him whether he'd give up work if he won the Euromillions (even the suggestion of giving up work makes mine start to shake). If not, then he is probably a workaholic in which case you'll have to fend for yourself a lot.

crazyhead Wed 03-Oct-12 19:34:44

How much does he earn? OK that's flippant, but seriously I do think that if you
are in that situation it is best to just work out what you might get out of the relationship and whether that works for you, rather than change stuff.

My ex was an uber successful workaholic. Lovely guy, but I just found it BORING because you end up with nothing else to talk about. He needed another corporate lawyer.

Frakiosaurus Wed 03-Oct-12 19:49:21

We are both workaholics. I have had to wean myself off it because of DS but I miss it hugely. It's like there's a big work shaped hole in my life and I so as much as I can when I can.

DH is rarely home on time, never let's me know. Holidays are scheduled at his convenience. He is apparently exempt from everything domestic and that's now my job because I don't work FT. We don't get to socialise as a couple and he is constantly checking his phone/the news.

I understand it but I resent it. And we would both work for free if we won euro millions.

mrsconfuseddotcom Wed 03-Oct-12 20:07:12

No but I have worked for plenty of workaholics.

It depends on what you want. If you are independent and happy to enjoy the fruits of his labour (if he is earning the dosh) then go for it. I personally wanted a husband who came home at a semi-decent hour. I certainly didn't want to cope with a crying baby on my own whilst my husband was on the other side of the world 'doing deals'.

Workaholics don't change so I would decide now whether you want in or out of this relationship now.

bran Wed 03-Oct-12 20:09:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wandymum Wed 03-Oct-12 20:14:25

How much he earns is definitely relevant.

I doubt I'd manage without enough to pay for babysitters when I need a break, tradesmen etc... to do all the stuff around the house that I thought DH would do (although i'm getting handier myself through necessity).

I'd still probably rather have less cash and more husband though.

PoppyWearer Wed 03-Oct-12 20:26:11

Like the other posters here, I think that the only thing that would change my DH would be a major health scare. I don't think workaholics change.

He talks a good talk about being part of the family beyond being the breadwinner. Before the DCs were born he spoke about how he would be home for bath/bedtime most nights. Complete bullshit. Now that I'm not working, he thinks he has carte Blanche to work all hours, have a drink or two after work, and he can do as he pleases because I am here to take care of things at home.

I would love to go back to work, but know it is a pipe dream because there is no way he would help me with the school/nursery drop offs and pick ups. He missed DC1's first day at school recently and I am struggling to forgive him for that one. He is trying to make amends by being there for her first parent's evening and has promised me he will be there for the school Bonfire Night and Nativity Play.

When we first met he wasn't like this AT ALL. When we married he had started to show some tendencies, but then moved to work in a new industry and has been like this ever since. It isn't the job, it's him.

I do my best to get on with things without him but need some surgery soon and am rather wondering how he will cope with that.

Good luck OP, you might need it.

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