Workaholic Husband

mrsmaddogMay 13, 2008

The only fight my DH and I ever have is about his obsession with his business. I call it his mistress. He lives and breathes his work. It is the number one priority and topic of conversation. He is a charming, gregarious and talented person, but it bores me and others silly. He is never home before 8PM, 6 days a week. Sundays are consumed by other obligations. If he could manage it, he'd work Sundays, too.

Last Friday I was ill, and ended up in the ER. He had to leave for about 3 hours to finish a job, I said OK. Then he came back to take me home. Then he left again for 4 hours to do another job.(I know he was working.)It doesn't matter how much he is earning, because he will admit to being much better off than any family he knows. He does have the tendency of creating a "need" now and again, to justify his work habit. I am deliberately thrifty, so as not to contribute to the needs.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alas, no advice for you. I am responding because you have described my own father and uncle. Both long dead, now, but I well remember discussions among my siblings and cousins about how our dads were never home -- or at least not at home as much as we would have liked, and frequently distracted when they were. Both were conscientious fathers and husbands -- as they saw it -- and did, indeed, provide for their families very well. Was it worth it? There's a topic without end. Looking back, I think both families would have done better if a different balance had been struck. They both sought to do right as they saw the right and both were commercially successful at a level above most of their friends. Which meant, of course, that we, their children, had more, too, which was a source of pride for them both. Looking back, I wish it was different. I miss them. But I missed them while they lived, also.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The husband of my closest cousin, who died of cancer decades ago, was like that, exactly. He had been poor in his youth, and that may have contributed to his attitude, but he ended up as one of the (was it 25 or so?) vice presidents of a huge company in the U.S. When within about 7 years of retirement, with all their children living several hours' drive away, and with his wife in the last stages of cancer, he would leave her alone at home in New England for days on end while he was in the mid-west on business. She wanted more than anything to have him at her side, but he felt it was enough to pay care-takers and nurses. He could even have quit and still been rich. I feel sad whenever I think of what this did to my cousin emotionally. When he died, he left plenty to his children and probably felt he had done his duty.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have a long talk with him. Do you have kids? I personally don't think I'd put up with it, then again I don't know what your other options are. It would probably fall under an addiction problem of sorts and should be treated as so. Hopefully, he can break his addiction and will really listen to you.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, work is a recognized addiction.

BTW, do you think your husband could have a talk with my husband? Mine won't get off his butt unless a golf ball rolls by.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 3:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Carla- We have my kids full time and his kids (teens, now) in the summer. He won't take even a short break while his kids are here, unless there is a major reason. No vacation, no long weekends, nothing. The boys can do some work, but not the girls. IMHO it is a waste for them to come here at all, because he does so little with them, and ends up only disciplining the behavior that comes from them not wanting to listen to me. He'll moan about not seeing them more often, but then take on BIG jobs as soon as they arrive.
Quite frankly, any social event is marred by the obvious mental distraction he has, because he is clicking off the work he could be doing instead. He also cannot sit and relax or socialize at any event; he has to be a chicken with its head cut off, doing busy work.I feel this is an addiction, yes perhaps due to childhood poverty, being the only male child, and feeling pressured to not be perceived as lazy.Any man who works normal hours is a slacker, and Heaven help the fool who comments on him resting for five minutes!He loves me and our children, I know that, but he cannot see that time and attention are as important as food and shelter, and much more important than "stuff." His kids take advantage of the guilt, by "needing" things as soon as they arrive. I wish anyone else in his family would speak up, because it does me no good. I think he has adult ADHD, he needs to GO GO GO all day or he feels anxious.
I used to envy his energy, especially since I have had to force myself to go about life differently since I became chronically ill about 6 years ago. Sometimes he will imply I am lazy without meaning it. He knows why I cannot physically keep up with him. He is usually very sensitive to the restraints my illnesses have put on me. He also knows it frustrates me, not because I cannot earn anywhere near his income, but because there are fun things I have to pass up. I guess I am jealous of his ability to have more fun and don't understand why he never does. I feel sad for him that he will only be remembered as a hard worker. The funniest thing is, he never spends any money on himself, except work stuff, and necessities. With others he is generous to a fault.
I guess I just wish he could see how wonderful I think he is,in every other way, and that equals my wanting to spend more time together. Talking always ends in him getting defensive and angry.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was married to a workaholic...was.
He needed his fathers approval and probably thought that would "do it". It made him feel important (still does).
He constantly talked shop...bored me to tears. And would always find a way to make sure we all talked about him and how busy he was.
I used to harp on him to take time for family...who cares how much money we have if your writhing on the floor having a heart attack. And would the kids be standing over his grave glad he worked himself right into it? Hardly.
I have zero respect for a workaholic, because ultimately I believe they are selfish, puffed up egits.
There. I've said my peace :)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My DH is a serious workaholic, varius reasons but he gives a LOT of money to adult kids. I mean a lot. He works out of town much of the time and when he's here he doesn't get home til 10-11pm. It's been 7 yr,s and nothing has changed except that we are growing apart emotionally.

All he talks about are his jobs. No talks about hopes & dream and retirement etc..As a matter of fact he doesn't have anything set aside for retirement, he has shelled it all out paying kids bills etc then trying to get caught up on ours.

The end result is I am looking for a travel job becuase I want to get out there and see the world and make more $ for retirement. This isn't our only issue but it's a biggie. I too believe it's a addiction. However my DH is self employed so he does have to take the jobs when their available..

It just gets old when your spouse puts you behind everything else. He's a very kind person, I know he loves me but what drives him to support everyone else financially rather than put away for the future I'll never know.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My parents were BOTH workaholics - now I see that they did it to sublimate a poor sexual life. If you are busy, busy, busy all the time, you don't have to stop to see your life. My mom even ironed towels and washcloths, just to keep busy. My sibs and I were budding workaholics but when I had kids I changed. Not that I don't work hard, but I try to put balance into life.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband is also a workaholic and being a fireman his schedule is very chaotic. He's on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I can't tell you how many family functions or barbecues where we have had friends or family over and he will get called out and he's gone. I have also attended many functions either by myself OR he has been called out in the middle of a function. I think the worse has been on Christmas morning one year he got called out about 4:00 in the morning and I didnÂt see him again until the next day. Yea spending Christmas all by myself was not a fun time.
When we go to dinner I always carry the checkbook and bring my own car so I won't be doing dishes and walking home! :0)
We have been married for 15 years and don't have kids. This has really forced me to be more independent that's for sure. BUT I grew up this way. My dad is also a fireman and so I knew what this life was going to be like when I met my husband.
It used to bother me but over time I have just gotten used to it. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all of your input. I really hope my husband will take my concerns seriously. He read a questionaire for workaholics and answered YES to 18/25 questions!!!!!!
I think he found it humorous at first, but at least he discussed it openly, without getting mad!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2008 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

He's probably proud of it. I remember once getting really dressed down by my dad for leaving dishes in the sink because I was taking time to help my daughter w/homework. "Work", however meaningless, is like a religion to a workaholic.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know he is proud, even though he doesn't make it obvious. He has little empathy for men who are barely able to support their families on "regular" work.Now, I agree there is often a need for people to work like dogs when they have excessive financial concerns. In my mind this is a temporary situation,and is not as damaging to relationships. My Ex and I had to work opposite shifts for quite a while, and it did cause problems, but neither of us wanted strangers watching the kids. If my DH and I were desperately in need of money, I could understand the anxiety he displays about working. I also feel it is selfish for him to create more need by buying stuff that isn't necessary for others. Right now he is on a mission to buy a car for SD17(for her 18th birthday.) He wants to spend as much as we did on our family vehicle. I am all for helping a young person get wheels, but raised to believe a car is something you need to earn. I also feel that it will set a precedent, and the 2 younger SC and my BC will all expect a car on their 18th birthday. This issue involves more than his work addiction, obviously, but I can hear it in my head: "Gotta work more to buy so-and-so a car..."

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hoo boy....exactly like my uncle. (My dad had more sense) Made sure his kids had everything they "needed". He destroyed them. Turned them into self-interested, entitlement-minded tyrants. They were snakes for adults and later blew through his entire estate within a couple of years. Now in their fifties and sixties, they're still undesirable, untrustworthy snots...and all wondering where the money went. I've received a number of bail-out requests over the years and have refused all.

Even if you can't manage the workaholic part. I implore you to beware of this business of giving the kids a free ride. It's almost always bad news. They won't be able to resist and it will skew their perspective forever.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 3:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

asolo- Yes, I agree. I think it is healthier to let a teenager work and save to buy a car, not that you cannot help, especially in today's economy. I think they will appreciate the car more. Of course, this is the mean mommy who does not buy toys or video games for her children unless it is a holiday or birthday. Even then, I have a limit! My limit wouldn't buy a junk car, much less the vehicle hubby has in mind! If my BC want something, besides clothes or books, they save for it. If they needed a car in order to find and keep a job, I wouldn't mind helping or loaning, but to just GIVE them a nearly new car? NO. He would have absolutely zero control over what she did in this car,where she went, who she let drive it, nothing. It would end up trashed or crashed within a year. (Like the other stuff he's paid for.)THEN, when there's a mechanic's bill,guess who will be asked to pay it? DH cannot or will not look at this realistically. Guilt is funny like that.
BTW- He learned THIS behavior from my MIL. She buys for one adult child, then has to "be fair", and buy something for the others! It drives me crazy.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 4:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Deborah- I wish my DH would slow down for his health, also. He is always tired, suffers from various work-induced aches and pains, but refuses to admit he needs to cut back. I would hate to see how he was 20 odd years ago!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 5:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

IMHO....for yourself and your hubby, that's one thing. But that's yours. Doing this to the kids is much more troubling. May represent a good clear departure point...maybe a good place to put your foot down. You only get one chance to raise your kids right. Blow that and you've blown the ball game. I've had too much experience. Skews my opinion. It's an exceptional child than resist and/or overcome the siren-song of over-generous parents. It's an exceptional child that can avoid being twisted by it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 5:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MY BF never sits still. he works hard, but when he does not work then he does gardening or cleans or cooks or fixes something, he literally never sits still and it drives me nuts. we do spend a lot of time together, i cannot complain about that but i wish he slows down. his running like a chicken with head cut off makes me nervous. but then my dad is the same way. cannot sit still for 5 minutes his whole life. i wonder what it is. addictive personality, anxiety, adult ADD. who knows....

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Could be Type A, Hyper personality or Adult ADD. Could be just a fast metabolism. I bet we would be surprised if we knew how much our personalities are affected by brain chemicals, metabolism, etc.

My prediction for the future is that we will find a physical reason for some kinds of criminal behavior and prisons will not be needed.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 5:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well my DH's workaholic aviodance tendancies are pushing us farther and farther away each other.

When we are together all he talks about is his work and or his middle son's financial/personal woes. After 7 yr.s I am SICK of it. He loves me, he is a wonderful provider but I could not tell you the last time he asked about my son who has been away to college for 1.5 yrs or asked about my day at work or my current art project.

The only interest he has shown in me personally is when I began searching for a travel nurse position. All of his workaholics ways have pushed me to the side & I'm pretty independant anyway, so now I just feel completely alientated from his life. I am just "here" waiting. We only go out to grab a quick bite when he's in town and he is usually totally exhausted or upset about some new drama with the grown kid.

It is sad, and tired. And I'm tired of him always being to busy to have a marriage and letting the grown kids move in & take over our home without so much as asking how I feel about it-especially since I'm the one who is here and has to deal with the chaos, chasing the 4 yr old g-kid around on my days off, etc..ugh.

Love the kids, I really do-but I'm done raising kids, they are grown-let the birdies fly away. I want to be an empty nester and spend some time with my hubby.

I sympathize with others in this situation. I do not think it will improve here and do believe it is an addiction. Yes it is wonderful and quite an achievement to support your family well in this day & age but if there is no balance and you have nothing in common anymore and you don't even know/care what the people you are supporting are doing or interested in, then what's the point? We have nothing to talk about-seriously.

It makes me feel neglected an not important to him. Which is a big reason why I am taking the travel job, aside from better money and paid housing it will get me away from here and give me time to think about whether this is how I really want to spend the second half of my life..I can't make him change, only me.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 2:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What kind of a travel job did you get Cat? Paid housing & better money sounds nice. Are you working on a cruise ship?
I think you are smart to make your own life. when you are busy its harder for those kids to take over.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 7:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Travel nursing, 13 week assignments, pay is a little better than staying put but they pay for private furnished housing or give you a stipend to find your own. Usually 1-1.5K monthly depending on cost of living where your assignments are.

I actually thought of doing the cruise ship nursing gig but I'm not sure if I would end up getting a little stir crazy stuck on the ship and not able to "play", plus I have pets that I'm not willing to leave behind..

Yes, for me it's a good solution as the kids have definately taken over the home and I have no say in what goes on here.

DH is not happy with my decision, though I do not understand why. I know he will miss me but he is away most of the time anyway so what's the difference? I think he senses my pulling away and it's true I am but for self preservation.

I have had some serious anxiety/fear over the situation (can I really do it and deal with being "alone" again?), but feel either I do this or I will just sit here & stew forever waiting for something to change.

I am alone (without DH) so much of the time, so what am I afraid of? Makes no sense.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

my husband is a graduate student working on his second career. even when he is home is working on his school work. When a meal is cooked I cook it, when a room is vacumed i vacume it and so on yet when I was in graduate school I had other responsabilities. We have been married seven years and six of those he has been in school full time. we have no kids but I work full time and need a little help. at this point I get no companionship, sporadic sex, and no emotional support.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband's best friend (60) is a workaholic, he's dying and leaving a family he ignored 99% of the time. I wonder what his last thoughts will be.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I often wonder what my DH will think/feel when that time comes. Of course the two adult kids he is supporting are always here now, well because they live off us free & clear! But when DH needs help with a job or his care breaks down whatever they are "to busy" & can't be bothered. Nice huh..

They do not get him cards for fathers day/birthdays but ALWAYS show up for their just makes me feel very used, I can only imagine what DH feels-but perhaps he has a much different perspective since he continues doing the same thing?

He drives a POS, yet co-signed for a new car loan for the 25 yr old that had a vehicle repossessed. I just don't get it, it is beyond enabling and the sense of entitlement is unreal.

They take my personal belongings if they want them without asking, take things from our bedroom, & they have fulltime jobs and can fully afford to live on their own. But DH encourages them to stay & then he has an excuse to work himself to death..

What a great life.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 1:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I applaud your wanting to leave to preserve your sanity. I am sorry things are not working out for you at home. Hugs as you travel on your journey.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 3:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for being so supportive ;)

I still have not got a contract nailed down, as I am being slightly choosy about where I want to travel, looking to go South not far from a beach (who isn't?).

It still makes me quite sad, I feel pushed out of my home. But I have come to terms that I cannot live with the adult kids long term and be happy, it just doesn't work for me. I'll miss DH however he is 3 hours away on the job 2-3 weeks a month so oh well...Life is tough sometimes.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 7:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unfortunately, there are three of you in the marriage - you, your husband and his job.

He's a workaholic, but he's also busy practicing relationship avoidance.

You need to ask yourself some hard questions. Do you deserve more than this? Is this the way you want to be treated for the rest of your life? What are you both missing out on with his constant pre-occupation with work?

You need to decide what you want now and for the years ahead. You need to tell him. His reaction and willingness to meet your needs will be a true indicator.

Unconditional love does not mean unconditional surrender.
Your husband is being selfish, and his time to compromise is long overdue.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 3:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For us really four. DH, his Work, His 2 adult kids & lastely me.

Yes he does do some serious issue avoidance and when I try to have the convo he seems to loose control of his emotions or completely shut down. He does not want any confrontation from anyone, he's not that kind of guy.

I have told him many times I am not happy with the way things have been and if he continues to insist on working himself to death to pay the way for his adult kids, I am outta here & taking the travel position. He is very unhappy with that. It makes no sense he's gone 2-3 weeks a month anyway & I am bored & lonely.

His reaction is he is hurt that I want to leave. He is hurt I do not want to continue as is. He however can not say no to these kids and I doubt he is capable of asking them to get their own place.

I'd like to save the marriage but frankly I have put so much time and energy into this situation for so long, I'm just done. If he wants to do something, great but that's on him. I can't make any promises. I have to remain focused on getting my stuff together both physically & emotionally. I love him dearly but not enough to continue as is.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 2:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just need to vent a little...

Today DH calls me from his job (3 hours way), asked me about whether this home we looked at was going to be purchasable via the HUD program (I told him weeks ago I was not interested in buying a home right now as A. we haven't sold this one. B.He does not want to sell it to the adult Skids living here he wants to *lease* it to them so they don't get stuck with it (wth)? C. I don't want to pay 2 mortgages. D. DH owes back taxes has not addressed this so it would have to all be in my name only-no thanks. (Yes, I have always kept my finances/taxes up to date seperate since beginning of marriage-I'm ok)but it really bothers me that DH is sticking his head in the sand rather than taking care of it. I think he seriously is a workaholic so he can escape his life.

So I asked him what is going on with the skids/what are there plans for a place to live? He says "They are keeping their eyes open." I said "For what?" He say's "A place." Then continues to tell me one doesn't know whethere or not he would like to live up north as opposed to our area & the other one may get layed off from his job (auto industry related) so I said well shouldn't he be looking for another job now then or making plans? Dh says "He knows."

UGH! In the mean time it's my weekend off, they are all enjoying our big screen TV & I am PISSED & have been in the bedroom with my freshly neutered little dog in bed with me & ice on my leg..

Skid are having a great weekend-it's very loud, I have asked them to turn the TV down twice now. DH just doesn't get it. Talk about feeling trapped.

I am praying this knee can be fixed with a drain & some cortisone injections so I can get the hell out of here... I feel bad I don't want to leave my husband but I don't want to live like this. Oh and I know this seems like a small complaint but my SS29 took one of my good cephalon pans to go to a camping/musical festival a week ago without asking and I have asked him several times to give it back and he says everytime ok, I have it- but I never get it back. I asked DH too but no pan. I know it seems petty but this was an expensive set & I LOVE those pans :0(

I am so frustrated I just want to cry but I'm to angry to cry, so I end up being short with DH everytime he calls because I'm so angry. I don't think there is any end point here for them living with us. The fact that my family is far away makes it harder.

So he is up north working his butt off to support everyone and here they are...what is a reasonable time to accept this? Last yr it was 9 months with SS29, his GF their 2 kids, cat, dog. SS25 has been here a yr.

I don't mean to be so witchy, but geez how many of you would still be here? HELP!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 4:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


It's gone far beyond the reasonable time - a few months at the beginning would have been more than generous. I would tell your husband that the "kids" need to be gone by the end of August at the latest.

You should never feel like a prisoner in your own house. It should be your refuge, and when you want peace and quiet you should have it.

I would go turn off the TV and tell them that I'd had enough.

If you're moving, the house needs to be sold - not leased. Your husband is going to let the kids ruin him financially, so he is his own worst enemy.

The situation you described would be a deal breaker for most people. I would lay it on the line with him the next time you both talk.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 10:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


From the same casting team that brought you "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (ABC) and "Supernanny" (ABC) comes a new show about busy, busy parents and their families!

*Are you or someone you know a career driven PARENT who works 60+ HOURS A WEEK?
*Do you have two at least two kids in the 8-18 age range?

If so, the Discovery Networks wants to tell your story!

To be considered, please email with the information below:

1. Names and ages of each family member
2. City and state in which you live (Must live in the LA area)
3. Contact phone number
4. Attach a few photos of you and your family

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 8:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

>> To be considered, please email with the information below:

>> 1. Names and ages of each family member
>> 2. City and state in which you live (Must live in the LA area)
>> 3. Contact phone number
>> 4. Attach a few photos of you and your family

You cannot be serious. Could there possibly be anyone clueless enough to send you - an anonymous poster with a gmail address, no less, names, locations, and pictures of their family? Do you seriously think that anyone would believe that this forum and a gmail email address is the way that a reputable television network would recruit participants? You want names, addresses, locations, and pictures. Yeah - I'll send you my children's info right away. Sure.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband wanted to go to work on our wedding day.Should have been a clear sign to me then that my life ahead would be lonely but I thought he would change. Married 10 years and countless cancelled dates I've decided to live with him and all his money but do my own thing.No more waiting for him to come home. Who knows maybe one night he'll be waiting for me instead of me always waiting for him.We have now children together because he told me he wouldnt be around to raise them. If I knew it would it have been this way I would have went to work on our wedding day.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 5:11PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
I don't think my husband likes me anymore
When we first started dating he always wanted to be...
Is It a Spouse's Responsibility?
My husband's relationship with some of his siblings...
My wife says she loves me but should I believe her?
Hi. I know my situation might seem odd but here goes......
Frustrated and lonely
Hi, I am really glad I found this forum, I can see...
Marriage lacks intimacy - I'm lonely, hurt and frustrated
Hi, I am really grateful for finding this forum. I...
Sponsored Products
Harmony Stool
| Italy Design
Medford Wine Holder
Home Decorators Collection
Dogs Not Husbands Box Sign
$29.99 | zulily
Lady Godiva Tapestry
Home Decorators Collection
Harmony Side Chair
Italy Design
H55 Black Apron - Artek
$55.00 | HORNE
Upton Home Carson Oak Jewelry Armoire
Samba Circle Rings Apothecary Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™