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How do I cope with a workaholic boyfriend?

Tagged as: Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (21 January 2008) 8 Answers - (Newest, 29 August 2008)
A female United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

My boyfriend and I have been together for three years, and what first attracted me to him was the fact he is a determined person.However, I have came to realize that his determination is more like money hungery. He works 7 days a week. It seems like he is gone all the time.

we barely spend anytime together and when we do he tends to fall asleep because he is tried. We have sex about once a week (5 minutes in duration). I spend all my time with our two small children in the house. I'm bored out my mind. He tells me to be patient and that we will spend time but we hardly do.This has been going on for the past two years.

I want to know should I leave or continue being patient and see the end results?

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A female reader, Sassi United States +, writes (29 August 2008):

I'm in the exact same relationship and I have read the responses and honestly they all sound like what my family tells me.

My husband not only works every moment of the day he also travels about 20 + days a month. And also moved me 8 hours away from my family and friends. Now I only know about 3 people because I want leave the house much.

I do feel the same as you do and I can only say what my brother told me was the best advice I have had so far.

If you can say that you have no desire to be with anyone else and happy living your lifestyle then cope. Start living like you would if he was not in your life and when he decides to open his eyes and figures out that you have emotionally moved on he will change or you will eventually just learn to be content.

If you want to do something get a sitter. Just as you would if he was not there.

I'm just implementing this in my life so I can't really tell you other than it hurts everyday but it is slowly getting easier.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (12 April 2008):

I'm not defending people who are truly just being "emotionally distant" when they don't have to be.

But at the same time, I wish more of the complaining people in these situations would realize that their overworking partners aren't always just choosing to shut them out every day, one decision at a time.

Too many careers these days don't really give people (of either gender) the choice to work medium-hard for medium-good money. These careers often basically demand either full-blown devotion of time & effort, or else the person has to quit entirely.

Your BF may actually wish he could do less for work and more with you, but he may be in an all-or-nothing position.

And sometimes these all/nothing situations aren't laid out that clearly at all. Sometimes the pressure on the worker is very subtle and more related to respect/status among his peers ("he's just not a team player" or "he just doesn't have what it takes to do this kind of work" etc).

Because of that, your BF may be in a situation where he can't realistically step back from it without bad consequences, even though technically he is supposed to be able to turn some of the work down.

Just things to think about.

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A female reader, writes4me United States +, writes (10 April 2008):

In July of 2008 I'll be married 20 years. I don't know my husband anymore. I look at him, red eyed and sleepy all the time. When he's not at work, he's talking about it. We'll be somewhere and he will call into work to see what's going on.

I didn't marry "this" man. We used to be the best of friends. We had many of the same beliefs and values. We had genuine fun being together even if we weren't doing anything. We traveled. We went camping. We'd cook out and make an event of it.

Then about 10 years ago, he went back to school to pursue a job in the medical field and he went in whole hog. He's not a doctor and he makes okay money but not a lot and in his eyes, whatever he makes it is never enough.

It was a gradual weaning of emotion. I'm not sure if being in the medical field has hardened him to not feeling anything for anyone but he has become one of those people. I spent nearly an hour and 1/2 with him tonight and even then we had 2 fights. He looks like a wreck. He's burning his candles at both ends and I fear he's going to just keel over. I've told him this but it only angers him. He gets defensive of work. I wish he were as defensive about our family, our home and me.

I've invested nearly 20 years into this marriage. I have way too many ties to just walk away. I see it that I have only one way to go, get my own life. Due to medical conditions we have no children and I have no family to go to. I have few friends. He can either join me in the new life or we can live the rest of our lives with him obsessing about work and me filling my life with everything but him. I just never saw my life turning out like this.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (25 March 2008):

I too have a workaholic boyfriend. He has an office right next door to our house and spends anywhere nfrom 10-14 hours there. he doesn't get it, when I get upset he thinks its all in my head. He is there I am sure, to avoid being here with us. I came into this with three children, he had one that lived with him and three that didn't. We now have one of our own and I am at home raising our child as well as his son. I am very frustrated and lonely and tired of it all but concerned for the children involved.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (22 January 2008):

Those are symptoms of an emotionally unavailable man. Don't believe all that crap about how responsible, hard worker and succesful he is. If he doesn't express the need of emotional connection is because he is emotionally unavailable. Workaholics are people who are not psychologically and emotioanlly healthy. Read the book "The Emotionally Unavailable Man" by Pat Henry to understand better and decide what to do because those people hardly ever change.

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A female reader, Laura1318 Malaysia +, writes (22 January 2008):

Laura1318 agony auntMany men have the mistaken belief that they need to focus on their careers and let their wives look after their family.

They give 90% or more to their careers and little to their wives.

The wives are people and women with feelings. They are not assets or furnitures taken home to decorate.

The men should realize this fact but sadly many do not and the wives are left lonely and dejected and this can sometimes drive them into the arms of other more loving men.

Is life all about making money and nothing else?

Life is about balance. Career is important but so is family life. They need to seek a balance to enjoy life.

You need to talk to him and if he does not listen , there is no alternative but to leave to make him realize that he should not just work and work only.he has a responsibility to you and your family.

A workaholic is a compulsive behavior and it is like all those ..holics. They need help.

Marrying one is like marrying a robot or an ATM cash dispensing machine.

You can be patient for 10 years and nothing will change. You need to force the issue out in the open if you want a better quality life.

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A female reader, birdynumnums Canada +, writes (21 January 2008):

birdynumnums agony auntI remember hearing that the qualities that attract you in the first place are the same qualities that wind up driving you nuts once you get married. My husband was ambitious; now he's a workaholic, he was the-strong-but-silent-type; now he's uncommunicative, he was a pillar of strength; now he's unwielding, He had strong opinions; and now he's argumentative. So, unfortunately, we all tend to do this once the rose-colored glasses are removed and the realities of married life sink in. I know it's hard, but try to stop yourself from this way of thinking and remind yourself why you were drawn to him and his traits in the first place.

My husband runs a multi-billion dollar corporation, so he's pretty much worked hard from the age of 22. He works 8 to 5 and never works at night. It is his opinion that if you can't do your job between the normal hours of a working day, your job is either over your head, you are not doing it right, your not delegating enough or you are managing your time improperly. He also believes that you NEED the down time at might with your spouse and family to recharge your batteries. Unfortunately, he also travels a lot for work, so what time he is NOT spending working at night, he is spending on airplanes. I have often told him that no one ever gets a tombstone with the words "I Wish I Had Spent More Time at the Office" on it! LOL!

I know that you have written that you might leave him, but really, the whole point of his working is that he wants to provide for you and support his family - that's pretty hard to find fault with - even if he is a workaholic. You probably chose to stay home because you wanted to raise your own children, so, you really don't want to join the rat-race yourself, you are just bored and fed-up. I know, I remember it well. It always seemed that we were at odds, the minute that he came home, I wanted to get out of the house after being in it all day with the kids, and all he wanted was to do was get home, be quiet and put his feet up for a change. I'd have to say, this is where the patience comes in, understanding why you both feel the way that you do.

You should sit down together and talk this through, he should be willing to meet you half-way - that's what married couples do. It's not healthy to work seven days a week or work 8 till 11. Set one day a week aside for you and the kids. He needs to put his work away at a set time every day as well. Eventually, this pace he going at will show up in his health. If there is a long weekend coming up, add onto the weekend and get him to take 4 days off in a row instead of 3. Understand that he needs sleep and he wants his days at home, but he needs to understand that you need family time out together too! AND most especially time Together. Eventually, the kids will be gone, so make your husband a priority. Make use of all your sitters, friends and relatives. You are going to have to take the bull by the horns and organize your week so that you can fit in these outings and dates.

It's not going to be as spontaneous as life was before you had kids, but that's pretty normal for everyone going through your stage of life; raising a family! It's frustrating at times - that's unfortunately normal, perfectly normal. Don't forget to take a few moments each day to count your blessings! I know that you barely get a chance to think, but don't lose sight of the importance of the job that you have been given! It's a brief moment in time, and those babies grow up fast. Enjoy it while it lasts! Heck, I'm envious. One of my babies is in England, the other is in Canada. Once you have children, Your heart grows legs and forever walks around outside of your body!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (21 January 2008):

He's working his butt off to keep you and your kids in comfortable money, and you're considering leaving him?

Men have a inborn urge to provide for their families. His money hunger is not for himself, but for YOU. The bad thing is of course that he doesn't understand the importance of spending time with you.

Think about it though; he's been working himself so hard, and still has energy for sex?? I'd call him a superhero! He seriously thinks that he's doing what's best for you.

He's also probably stressing out because of the amount of work he does, and you asking him to spend more time with you only makes him more stressed.

I'd suggest talking to him again, and make sure you emphasise how grateful you are for him working so hard for your family, but mention that you and your kids love spending time with him too and suggest going for a day out somewhere together.

Have you ever considered that he's having trouble at work? Persuade him to talk to you about his job more and what he does - he might be having problems with his boss or working on a particularly important project.

And what about when your kids get old enough to go to school? Have you considered getting a job yourself to get away from your boredom and to help him out with supporting the family?

Good luck xx

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