Being married to a workaholic is the unbearable reality of modern-day marriages. Coping with it while you are left alone with kids to raise and a house to handle can be extremely stressful. This takes a toll, not only on your marriage, but on your health too, leaving a few irreversible changes in your life. Here’s an objective look at how to cope with a workaholic husband, to avert marital problems.
A man should never neglect his family for business. -Walt Disney
Our expectations of a marriage are painted in a rosy picture by romantic novels, movies, and all those epic love stories we are fed on. But, the important point we forget here is that, these are only in fiction. A common reality of most marriages is far different than this. A husband who works long hours often misses out on family time, leaving a wife stuck at home all by herself looking after the kids. Most married women with young children can surely identify with this. Being married to a man who puts his work first is a huge emotional challenge.
It is absolutely normal to expect that your husband shares the load of your domestic duties, and is around at home for some quality family time. However, when such is not the case, feeling blue about it can prove to be detrimental to your marriage and children’s development. As difficult as it may seem, coping with a workaholic husband is very important in keeping yourself healthy and raising a happy family.
Coping with a Workaholic Husband
Find Your Interests
While women make their husbands a focal point of their life, a man puts his career on the center stage. As harsh as this may sound, this remains the unchangeable reality of many married couples. Feeling lonely and abandoned is only natural. This adds to the existing frustration and festers it further. The only way to cope with this is to find your interests and develop new ones. Way before you met your husband and got married, you had a life of your own. Reclaim that life, go back to your hobbies, and keep yourself occupied by doing things that bring you satisfaction. Yes, it is true that entering into wedlock means prioritizing your marriage, but with changing times, and growing ambitions of high incomes, changing your perspective is the only way of surviving a tough situation like this.
Make New Friends
Somewhere along while we are dating, getting married, raising kids and family, we tend to put friends on the backseat. But, there is a reason why they say ‘friends are forever’, because they truly are. Pick up your phone, make that pending call, and reconnect with your lost friends. Drop your worries about being judged, and find your friends, because you need them now, more than ever. If your friends happen to live in a different city, make new friends. A good way of going about this would be joining some classes, learning something new, and giving yourself a chance to meet new people.
Give Career a Shot
Many a time, women give up on their careers to focus on their families. The loneliness a workaholic husband leaves you with gets magnified as your children get a little older and get occupied in their routines. This free time and space could be your chance to kick start your career again. You can either invest it in learning something new to add to your qualifications, start something of your own, work from home, or take up a job. Working for something you studied and already have experience for is not only monetarily rewarding, but also emotionally satisfying. This could also give an insight into your husband’s work pressures. Understanding him and his addiction to work will help you cope better in the marriage.
Fix a Family Time
Workaholism is like every other ‘ism’. This is an addiction which often finds support under the garb of making a career, providing for the family, roles, and responsibilities. However, what is conveniently forgotten is that familial needs are an important part of life too. Doing anything out of compulsion is hardly advisable. But, sometimes, you will have to force it by fixing some compulsory family time. Showing him that his children and wife need him, want him, and that fun is integral for sound emotional growth, is the only way of nursing him back to some form of normalcy. This way, he will spend some time with the kids, with you, and most importantly, away from his work. Sometimes, you may have to push him to make him realize what he is losing out on, but without nagging.
Take Interest in His Work
The constant mismatch of expectations causes grudges and leads to a rift in communication. As you talk less each day, there comes a point where uncomfortable silences become awkward conversations. If your workaholic husband has limited topics to talk about, take interest in his work. Ask him questions about his day, inquire about how his work is progressing, his latest project, and so on. Interacting with his colleagues could also help the two of you bond better. Showing and taking some interest in his work will also assure him of your effort in understanding him.
Help Him Cope Better with Family
There is a thin line between a hardworking person and a workaholic. If your husband is doing extra shifts or taking on more to get out of a financial situation, then he remains justified. But, if he works every breathing moment of his life, if your vacations have become ‘workations’, and if he is married more to his work than to you, there is a problem at hand. In order to cope with a workaholic husband, you need to help him cope with his limited scope of imagination about life. Here are a few ways you could try to improve your relationship with him, and show him a far more content side of life.
► Understand his pressures about work, and try to share them with him, in whichever way you can.
► If you are stuck in a financial crisis, then watch how, where, and on what you spend. Try to save a little every month, and put some money away for a rainy day.
► Do not nag him in the hope that he understands your emotional side. A man addicted to work is a man who is emotionally unavailable, as most of his emotion is stuck in his work. A constant show of anger and disappointment will drive him further away from you.
► Avoid any form of comparisons with other couples. Comparisons motivate negatively, and we have all been through it at some point in our childhood.
► Keep a copy of his travel and work schedule with you, so that you can easily accommodate some good family time. You will have to proactively show him the importance of family, by planning excursions with the family in and around his work timings.
► Doing simple things together, such as cooking a meal together, asking him to pick up the kids from school once a fortnight, dropping him off to the airport, and sharing photographs with him of mundane things when he is away, are simple ways of bringing back his interest in familial activities.
► Bringing a change through a positive reinforcement, such as massage, a gift, or a random act of kindness, is always better than making him count his mistakes for missing out. Remember, you need to make him realize your value in his life, and not negate it with negative thoughts.
Living with a workaholic spouse can be a tedious affair. It could result in a time filled with neglect. Being addicted to work, can prove to be fatal to a marriage. However, if your husband is veering off track, it is your duty to show him the path the two of you decided to walk, the day you exchanged, “I do!”.