Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

Help! I’m In Love With a Workaholic

Does anyone have a workaholic spouse?  I want to know some ideas on how to deal.  If you have any please share them with me.

I am not lazy but if you compare me to my 15 hour work-day fiance some would probably say I am!

He has a determination that I haven’t seen in anyone before.  While I love and admire it, sometimes it’s also the thing I despise most about him.

He is an entrepreneur inside and out.  He has never worked for anyone but his own father.  He is a type ‘A’ personality through and through.  I am the laid back one.  The one who doesn’t get easily upset about anything (for the most part).

Whenever his phone rings, he has to answer it no matter where we are or what we’re doing.  Countless times we’ve been out to dinner and in the middle of a conversation and his phone rings.  I can’t stand it.  It drives me crazy.  But I also know that it’s business.  It’s what puts food on the table so I just deal with it.

He wakes up at 5am every day and is tired by 9pm.  Doesn’t leave much time for anything after the kids go to bed at 8:00.  We do have date night every Friday which keeps me going but lately our date nights have been pretty dull.  We go out to dinner and by the time we pay the bill he’s ready to call it a day.

I know he works so hard so that I don’t have to and so that I can be home with the kids.  I am so grateful to him for that but it’s also very lonely.  Even though he’s here during the day we don’t talk and hardly see each other because he’s in his office.

Can anyone give me some solutions?  What do you do?  I meet with friends for lunch occasionally but don’t make a routine of it because I feel guilty when he’s working his butt off. 

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June 5, 2009 - Posted by | About Me, Being a Mom, Me | , , , , , , , ,

13 Comments »

  1. Well….see it this way that at least he brings home money as a doctor and your family can live a nice life. I havent seen my husband in 9 months, still 3 months to go. My kids were crying the first half year every night for their father but now they dont even remember his face, just from pictures. He couldnt call for 3 months now. He works 24/7 without a day off and we still live on the minimum to survive. Like millions of military families in this country day for day.

    Comment by issuedwifetwo | June 5, 2009 | Reply

    • Thank you for your comment. He is not a doctor. He’s just in real estate. (I just used different tags to get some ideas from other wives like yourself). I’m sure I sounded ungrateful to you. I’m sorry for that. Reading your comment made me realize I don’t have it bad. I guess things just always seem greener on the other side until someone makes us see things from their perspective.

      Comment by C | June 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. Every ones life story is different and yet we can all learn and grow from each other’s experiences. Thanks for posting. I was searching the internet tonight on info on workaholics. For 15 years I have just been saying it was our circumstances and our businesses, but after this last 3 week bout of not seeing my husband for more than his shower and breakfast ( he comes home in the early morning and goes back after a few hour nap) I am starting to get a sense of something much much deeper than just a big work load. I can see how emotionally wrapped up in his projects he is. They are seaming to him to be a sign of his worth as a person.

    My husband is to be admired for many things and I love him dearly, when he is with our 5 children he is the most amazing father and he is a wonderful and devoted husband. I just don’t know if he can do this kind of life style any more with out hurting himself and we are suffering so much in his absence. This has gone on for 10 years and it just is getting too hard. His mom always says” well at least he is providing well for you and he loves you all.” It is so true he is and he does but there is a cost. I think I have been dealing with it in ok ways but I can see the damage it is doing to my feelings for him and the pressure it puts on our children. No one else that I know has a husband who works as much and so no one really understands the ramifications of what is going on in my life. i really don’t have advice but I do sympathize.

    Comment by I can sympathize | June 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hi my name is wanda and i relate so much to your story but sometimes you have to look at your life and imagine all the good things that came out of your fortunate life with your husband.
    At least you go out every friday or maybe almost every friday and you call it a date. I dont have that. I have a husband that works 18hour shifts. I dont even see my husband. I dont even wake up to see him in the morning. I’m lucky enough to stay up untill 1am and then i could say goodnight to my husband. I have 5 kids and I am suffering severe depression because of this. I have no help from anyone, my husband doesnt even change diapers. Sometimes i regret marrying him because life is too hard now that kids are involved. The truth is I’m here for the sake of my kids. My wish would be to have a loving husband by my side and be able to be here for me and the children.

    Comment by wanda | July 15, 2009 | Reply

  4. For 20 years I have been married to a workaholic. We have 2 children which are grown & married now. I can soo relate to what I am reading here. We have owned our own business for 18 years. Granted, being self employed does require many sacrifices. However, my husband has always used the excuse of working to provide for his family for the many long hours of work. We have fought so much over this issue. Throughout our marriage, it always seemed a chore for him to spend time with his family. Even when he was with his family, he was always on the phone, with the need to talk to someone else. I have so many vacation pictures of my husband in his natural habitat, on the phone. Well, his family has suffered as a result. Our oldest daughter (now 21)loves her dad, but still has some bitter feelings because he was never home. Our youngest daughter ran away at age 17 & married afterward. We are now approaching our 20th anniversary. I am more lonely now than ever. At least before my children left, I had some joy because I spent much time with them. Now, I am left alone while my husband is always gone. I don’t think he will ever change, and if I had to do it over again, I would not have married him. Don’t get me wrong, I do love him, but I would not have chosen to spend my life with someone who has made a choice to spend time at work, or with someone else over his family. A dear friend who is now divorced told me once that the loneliest time in her life was the time she was married. I can understand that. Like Wanda (above), my wish was to have a loving husband by my side & be able to be there for me & the children.

    Comment by S | September 12, 2009 | Reply

  5. I raised three children by myself. My husband left for work at 6:00 AR and returned at 11:00 p.m. for YEARS. No matter what I did or the children said he never came home early. In the late 80’s I started to plan vacations out-of-state, which he took! Just the same, he has no memories to cherish as I do since I was at home parenting. I think it’s very very sad. Do I feel sorry for him? no I don’t. The children are closer to me and I hope he notices.

    Comment by Beth | November 13, 2009 | Reply

  6. Can I really live like this? I’m dating a workaholic who has time for me once in 2 weeks, after I’ve nagged non-stop. I realise why he’s been divorced twice, no one can live like this and still feel valued. To make matteres worse, we don’t even live in the same town, so sometimes I get a text in the morning and another at night and that’s it, I’m supposed to remain loving and focussed based on that! He really is wealthy and he’s faithful and loving, however, is this the price of a wealthy husbanD?

    Comment by Can I handle this | November 24, 2009 | Reply

  7. i’ve been wondering how to love a guy who works all the time, has no incentive to do anything else,is tired all the time and doesnt even remember i exist. we have no intimacy, and mostly yell at each other before he rolls over to sleep…actually ive been married for 31 years, we used to do stuff together, once upon a time, we have 6 kids and they are grown up but i basically raised them on my own, i was the bad guy to the kids cause i was the dicipliarian as well as their mom. Their dad was never around much while they were growing up he was working all the time. Now with the kids grown its become harder for me cause there isnt much for me to do, he says if you want to do something then go do it, but its to the point that i dont want to be alone anymore. hes a good guy but hes a loner and he works all the time. does any one else know how to cope with this kind of life style? I’d really like to know. I’m up at 4:30am and in bed by 7:30pm just to do it all over again the next day…

    Comment by linda | March 18, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi Linda,

      You sound like you’re where I’ll be 20 years from now. If you don’t have any answers than I am really discouraged. I think if the kids were grown and I felt like I do (and it sounds like you do too) right now I would go do whatever it is that makes me happy. If I want to go travel, I would go travel. don’t worry about being alone. That would be the thrill of it all. Doing it by myself and meeting whomever along the way! When I look back on my life right now, I realize I don’t have the excitement I once did. I used to be so excited about my life. But looking back, I’ve either been in a relationship or getting out of a relationship. I haven’t made any time for ME, I havent made me a priority EVER. I just saw a preview for a movie that’s coming out in August that’s based on the book: Eat, Pray, Love and I can’t wait to see it. I might even pick up the book and read it way before August because it sounds like it could be based on me. Let’s read it together Linda and see if we get inspired.

      Do what makes YOU happy!

      Comment by C | March 20, 2010 | Reply

  8. hello ladies,

    I have been torn apart by a marriage to a workoholic for the past 3 and a half years and got a bad depression as a result of it. I am on medication for months and dont seem to be improving at all. Perhaps I am more sensitive than a lot of other women, perhaps have been too desperate searching for love and sacrificing too much to be with a man, but when I read your accounts of long lasting lonely marriages with workoholics, I actually felt kind of better that I am not ready to put up with this lonesome kind of life. Is it really worth it? The worst part is if you are a woman who is dependent on such a man to provide for you financially and have many kids to raise as well. I guess in this case you would be trapped in such a marriage without a way out. I left my job and career aspirations to move in with an workoholic who lived almost to the end of the world, in a remote and isolated place. I guess I was not aware of the real problem, I kept postponing moving in with him as I did not like the place he lived. We were in a distance relationship for 2,3 years, spending nice vacations together and when he was away from his job, he was really nice and caring and sweet, almost the perfect man. But this was only few weeks per year. Before moving in with him, I imagined my whole life being as during these vacations and thought perhaps it was worth the sacrifice to give up on my career and try this lonely place out. Especially my brother came there as well to work in their family business as he needed hte money. So for two years it was mostly me and my brother, while my husband was away most of the time. It was a crazy time in their family business, as he worked there and many staff left and he had to work for 3, he is a service engineer for ships, and many men gave up on this job as it requires constant travelling all around the world. He is like an SOS service, taking phone calls at night and ready to leave for anywhere in the world on emergency calls. Not only we could never make any plans such as vacations and family celebrations as his phone could always spoil plans last minute. He lived a kind of a crazy lifestyle of work and sleep and looking irritable whenever he was home after long travel and there were people or noise around. I waited and waited believing that it was the economic situation at his company that was making him work like this. Finally my brother left me alone as he had to sort out his life. THen I really realized what it means to be alone with a man who is not interestedi n anything else than work. We used to have passionate intimate life when we met first. This slowly changed to cold mechanic sex out of obligation and habit. So I felt lonesome and unsatisfied emotionally and sexually. I had left my career for him and had become finacially dependent. One thing I am glad though I wasted 2 years living in his place I did not dare get pregnant. I did not want a child to be a part of this and get hurt in a separation as I saw it coming eventually. I feel sad for the 6 years wasted in a such a relationship, other than some nice vacations together there is hardly anything else to remember. He is a nice, serious, faithful and caring man when he is around, but as it happens so rarely, he is hardly anything to me than some emptiness. I have moved back home and trying to start a new life again after 2 years wasted in his place and 6 years altogether wasted in a distance relationship. One thing I realized is that he is never going to change. It is a take it or leave it scenario. My advice to women thinking or already involved with a handsome, serious and wealthy workoholic, is to consider the loneliness infront of them, is it really worth it? for me its not worth it, and better to be on my own searching for a loving man who has time for me and notices that I exist rather than wasting my life on such an impossible cause. Especially taht I am a romantic with a big demand for love and attention.

    Comment by Eli | May 15, 2010 | Reply

  9. To the wife of her husband who is in the military, I just want to say “thank you”. You are exactly the type of person I have thought of for years. I am the wife of a physician and so many people have asked me how I handle my husband’s schedule. I never thought it was that bad because it was wives like yourself that I would think of and make me think my husband’s schedule was fine in all reality. We only sacrifice time with our husbands, but your sacrifice is so much more. Your strength is by far greater than mine.
    As for my husband being a physician, yes, he does work many hours. A friend of mine asked me last spring how many hours he worked and I replied to her that it was better to not calculate it. Intellectually she got it, but reality she did not. He is gone all day, comes home when he can, and then is in his office the remainder of the night – often until midnite to 2 a.m.. I married my husband knowing exactly what I was signing up for. I often go to bed before he does and sure enough I have had to travel by myself, or with the kids by myself – most of this has been to go see HIS family. I can’t tell you how many events I have continued on to alone because of a schedule change or he got called into the hospital. It’s “my normal”. My husband and I do realize the time we don’t get together and therefore in the beginning of our marriage (12 yrs ago) started taking Friday nights (if he’s home) for just us, or now that we have kids, with our family. It is our tradition now and something that will continue on even after the kids are grown. Admittedly, our Friday nights seem to be out of whack as we are both exhausted and don’t seem to get the time we use to – but we also know this is a phase in our life since our kids are small and he’s wiped out from work and I’m wiped out from the kids. Still, we have a nice dinner, put the kids to bed, and then sit and talk (even for a few min’s) over a glass of wine. I have worried about being alone someday when the kids are grown and gone. We have a solid marriage, but I am a person who needs to be around people and my husband doesn’t. I recently decided to start a business (b/c I’m a busy body though I love raising my kids). It may sound sad but it crossed my mind that running my own business also puts me in the office in the evenings with my husband. It’s not the reason I am starting a business (I almost went to dental school instead), but I do like the thought of hanging out with my husband while working on something I’ll enjoy.
    Though I am a fairly independent person and don’t mind my husband’s schedule, I also do think you need a support somewhere. My cousin, who is my best girlfriend, is married to an attorney. He is home b/w 10 p.m. and midnight every night, but at least he doesn’t have call! My cousin stays home to raise her children as well. We live in different states, but we talk every day. We laugh, we cry, we vent, we share. Our husbands feel like they have married both of us instead of just one of us! 😉
    Anyway, I think Eli on May 15th is right in what she wrote in the end. When considering marrying a workaholic you do need to consider how independent or dependent you really are and if it is really worth it. After the honeymoon, life becomes reality and you either like the independence or you don’t. I prefer the independence as I think I would suffocate not having it. If you decide the independence is okay you still need to make sure you are #1 to that man you’re marrying no matter what. Though my cousin and I are married to workaholics, we know without a doubt our husbands dearly love us and we are ultimately #1 to them. We never question it. If we weren’t ultimately #1 to them, then no, it wouldn’t be worth being married to a workaholic because then what do you both ever build and for what?
    To the lady who started this blog, I would suggest going out with your friends more often. You have married your husband and it sounds like you really love him and he loves you. The one thing I think workaholics don’t like in their spouses is complacency. To me they seem happy that their spouses are home keeping the fort down so they can do what they do, but they don’t like to see them becoming complacent. I think they like to see their spouses busy and living life as they are doing or “think” they are doing. There is no guilt in being with your girlfriends for lunch. You and your husband have made up a relationship of him working and you taking care of the home. Just because he may not need an outlet doesn’t mean you don’t. And if you go out with your girlfriends more, you just may have more to talk about with your husband……or you may realize just what a great husband you might really have – despite his workaholic quirk!

    Comment by Tammy Merritt | August 18, 2010 | Reply

  10. I have dated a shift worker (workaholic) he works 12 hour shifts & lives 45 minutes away from his work. On his days off ,if they call him ro work overtime he’ll crawl out of a dead sleep to go back in … when he is not working he feels he must do everything around his home and yard himeself ,,so he knows it ‘s done right!! I do love him but after no quite 6 months of watching him get so run down and tired ..I am beginnig to question IF this is the life I want to begin .. He has been divorced Twice …AND I dont think his side of the story is TOTALLy accurate! Is there a good side? (when he is rested he can be such a doll and such a GREAT lover ) but do I want to contiue watch him abuse his body ,,and mental state working like this NON stop????is there pros to all the cons??Lovin that man of Mine in INDIANNA

    Comment by Loving THAT man of Mine | May 23, 2012 | Reply

  11. I have a similar situation but quite a bit worse only in that, despite my husband working about 90 hours a week, we can hardly pay bills and have had 6 date nights in the past 3 years. He’s an attorney and, the market being what it is, and our bills being what they are, we are just in a sort of “lockdown” for the time being. We have two very young children, one that is disabled. Every time I get an urge to complain to him about his hours or our lack of, I realize it must be that much more difficult for him to work so much and receive so little, to be away from his kids every day, to skip birthday parties and most holidays. I wish I had your situation! And while I can absolutely relate to your frustration and loneliness, what gets me by is focusing on our kids as much as possible and reading and painting aka, hobbies. Some people just naturally need more social interaction than others. My husband is constantly talking to someone. If he’s home early, he’s fixing problems at the house while on the phone with clients and colleagues, trying to find a way out of our situation. Our alone time comes between the hours of 10-1030. But anyways, that’s my picture and I hope it helps you see the good that you still have and, while you still need to attend to your needs, keep in mind that our needs can be met in many different ways, oftentimes by the less obvious ways, and just try to stay healthy and of course loyal and positive. Things change all the time, sometimes it takes years for things to change, but change Is one thing that I seem to find constant. And of course, we all have our breaking point, but just try to hold onto the fact that there are people all over this planet who have so little. No food, disease, lack of safety, lack of the basic needs to survive. There is suffering and pain and loneliness riddled through almost every place. and despite how bad things feel and seem, despite how unhappy you may feel at any given moment, it can be worse. My husband met a man at his church that had his wife and three children killed in front of him in another country. We heard his story and it’s now my comparison. I could have that mans life. I could be mourning my children, poor and homeless, I could be truly alone and have no one to come home to, no one to love me. And when I think of those worse things and those people who have so much more of a reason to be unhappy, my unhappiness lightens greatly, and I stay positive and make the best of anything that I can. Life is not easy, we will always be seeking something, and be unhappy with something,

    Anyways, that’s my input. I hope things improve for you and of course all people who face struggle and seek to improve it.

    Comment by Tally | June 8, 2013 | Reply


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