I’ve been married 35 years to a workaholic; our children are grown, we have no debt, and we both make decent money. Yet he works over 80 hours weekly.
He’s not having an affair - when I call him randomly at work, he’s there. Even his co-workers say he over-works.
It’s taking a toll on me – he was never home with our kids, I was the one with them at football, baseball, volleyball, cheerleading.
I thought he’d slow down now and spend more time with me, but it’s gotten worse. I feel so alone and miss him - he knows and doesn’t care. Our sex life is dead. I don’t know how much more I can take of this.
- Wit’s End
Your husband has been hard-wired to over-work for so long, that changing can only come from powerful motivation. An extreme step would be to leave him… but if it’s his companionship and attention you crave, that’s no great solution.
Both of you need to understand 1) why he’s a workaholic; 2) how it’s affected the family; and, 3) the health and social toll on him.
One recommended book is Chained to the Desk (Second Edition): A
Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians Who Treat Them, by psychologist Bryan E. Robinson. The author sees the problem as “a family disease,” and a disorder with origins in childhood; he also offers ways to remedy it.
We’re both 24, I’ve always loved him, he was my high school sweetheart, but it didn’t work out then. Now, he’s finally committed to me.
I trust him, but feel emotional turmoil from the relationship. I’m hoping to marry him, and all my family and friends expect it. I hear marriage jokes and questions all the time. They ask him, too.
He wants to take the relationship day by day, but I’m searching for him to commit all the way.
He has trouble expressing his feelings, although he does everything and anything to keep me happy. He also can be temperamental and gets grouchy with me for no reason.
He’s only a manager at a retail store, but dreams of becoming a policeman and says he needs to establish himself first. He’s taking forever working on these things and I fight with him all the time over his future job and commitment to me.
I want to be married before I’m 28.
Yesterday he said that if I go on like this, I should break up with him, because he cannot take all the pressure and mistrust.
Being without him makes me miserable and incomplete, but I also want him to hurry up with our lives. What do I do?
Slow down. You’re pushing this guy into a wall, when there’s no reason.
Your deadline of marrying by 28 is no more important than his deadline of wanting to be more established. The more you press him, the more he’ll push you away.
You’re committed to each other and both still young. Other people’s questions and “jokes” don’t count, when there’s a true bond of trust.
The way to end the fighting and stay together is to get on side with him about his future plans. Help him research opportunities, support his dreams, encourage him… but not with a hurry-up agenda.
If you don’t work together on the same team, he might come to feel you’re too self-absorbed and demanding to share the future.
My wife of 15 years has had short flings with five different men over two months, though she’d always been a doting, caring wife. She felt guilty and revealed these horrible truths. She got caught up on Internet sites and loved the men’s attention.
We have two sons, 16 and 10, and my wife wants to remain in the marriage. I still love her but cannot get past thoughts of her with five other men.
I’m 39, and attractive, but feel like a shell of a man.
- Lost and Confused
Find the courage to explore with her why she felt this need for attention – e.g. a mid-life crisis, too busy a home/work life without time together just for fun, etc.? These are common triggers for restlessness in both men and women, often around age-40.
If you can forgive her, move forward. Picture the two of you loving and happy, and work to make it happen.
Tip of the day:
Workaholics are often driven by reasons they don’t even know, yet their behaviour affects whole families.