Dealing with a workaholic boyfriend

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Dealing with a workaholic boyfriend

Unread postby samstamport » 25 March 2022, 13:44


I'm struggling to make things work with my boyfriend. He's addicted to work. We've played with each other only once every two or three months for the last couple of years. In the last two weeks we've grown closer. He's been over twice in the last two weeks and emails me nearly every day. We have more than a dozen emails per day.

I made drastic changes in my plans on Wednesday because he said he was coming over, but he stood me up. I was pissed. I'm trying to figure out a way to avoid this in the future. As I mentioned, he's making progress toward spending more time with me. We've not given up on each other. The pros outweigh the cons in our relationship. We are very intimate and talk about everything.

I think my boyfriend knows that working long hours is not good for his physical and mental health, but it's hard for him to break out of work addiction.

Other than continuing to talk with each other can anyone suggest strategies that I might use to help him give up this addiction?

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Re: Dealing with a workaholic boyfriend

Unread postby pozzie » 25 March 2022, 20:32

So, after you guys got together, it came as a huge surprise that this guy was a workaholic? (Wonder if he views it the same way.) So, unless his situation was somehow misrepresented to you during the early stages of dating, you knew this was going to be an issue and have stuck with it for a "couple of years". The result, he's expected to change to meet your standards of what a boyfriend should be? Say, instead of you being supportive of him and his work, of which you share nothing.

Is he obsessed with reverse engineering the secret formula for Coke? Or is he working in a hospital or selling real estate? Is his office short-staffed because of cutbacks or slow hiring (due to many open positions) bogging down understaffed HR personnel? In other words, is this a temporary situation or is work the most important part of his life?

Or does he have a strong drive to succeed in his chosen profession? What is he willing to sacrifice to that end?

You describe it as an addiction - granted, one that our societies look much more favorably upon than say heroin or porn-fueled masturbation. Would you have started dating him after he told you he was addicted to drugs or sex? If that had been the case, would an effective suggested strategy be to sneak into his home and car and destroy his gear so he couldn't shoot up any longer? Would you destroy his phone and computer to keep him away from porn?

Sorry that your plans got hosed last Wednesday. That sucks. But that's often what happens when someone gets involved with an addict. The hard thing for folks to realize is the addiction will always come first until the addict decides change must happen. It might take time - weeks, months, years - before the addict really commits to making change happen and this often involves recovery. So exactly what steps has your boyfriend taken to enter recovery for his work addiction?

The best I can offer to you is to take a step back and ask if this is really the relationship you want: this person, on the terms he's presented to you here, now, and for the last two years. Do you want to be supportive or manipulative? Is this really about you, him, or the two of you together? Do you see a future together as you two are now or as you hope to remake him?

If it's really about you two together and if he really is committed to recalibrating his life, especially seeking a new work-life balance, then about the only thing I can suggest is counseling. Maybe some couples counseling would help, but more importantly, if he truly is ready to be free of addiction, then he needs to focus on that and better understanding why he works so hard, especially if he doesn't really have to. On the other side, maybe a bit of work on what you want from a relationship and what are reasonable expectations to have from a partner wouldn't be a waste.

I know, not the response you were hoping for, but I don't believe we can change others, only ourselves and our perceptions. This is what I'd suggest you work on. You could also work on demanding less of him while making the most of the time you two share, without strings or further expectations. If this is really the great relationship of your life, then think about how you can be more accepting of what it is (rather than what you wish it to be).
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Re: Dealing with a workaholic boyfriend

Unread postby samstamport » 25 March 2022, 23:11

Thank you for reminding me of the hard truths.

I am working on being more accommodating to his schedule. I just learned he is asked often about if he's OK with being on call all the time. We are also talking about it. So, he's constantly reminded that working so much is not normal. His job is not in the medical profession or anything else that would justify him working so much.

He's demonstrated that he wants to spend more time with me over the last couple of weeks. He's been over more often, and we email each other every day. He doesn't yet get that he needs a balanced life. Everyone needs a balanced life!

He tells me he likes money. I say to him "Isn't love more important than money?" I've been in & out of counseling many years and I'm older than him so I've experienced more life events.

Couples counseling is a great idea, but it's too early for that.
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Re: Dealing with a workaholic boyfriend

Unread postby RenĂ© » 30 March 2022, 12:01

samstamport wrote:Couples counseling is a great idea, but it's too early for that.

Just don't let it get too late! ;)
And note it's also available online through video conference if you'd prefer that (e.g. through the service Better Help).

In the meantime, the following book might be helpful in improving communication and clarifying each other's feelings and needs:

Eight Dates

(I can get you a pirated ebook version if you like, but it's totally worth getting the physical one IMO, and supporting the authors.)

In the end, a big part of the success or failure of your relationship depends on the conversations you have with each other. We sent over three hundred couples on the dates in this book. They did the exercises, recorded their conversations, and shared their stories. New couples, celibate couples, same-sex couples, and long-term married couples all found that these conversations brought them closer and helped them see each other in new and exciting ways. They became better friends, and they fell in love all over again. You can, too.

I really hope this helps! Wishing you all the best. :heart:
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PostThis post was deleted by McTaggartfan on 31 March 2022, 06:50.
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