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How to Accept a Workaholic Husband

by Melody Causewell

Workaholism is usually defined by working long hours, obsession with work topics or constantly being called away from family events for work-related issues. Some believe workaholism is an addiction, but it remains ill-defined overall. While many with workaholic husbands choose to leave the relationship when the going gets rough, others choose to stay and tough it out. By making compromises, reducing household stress, finding other supports and setting boundaries, you can accept a workaholic husband.

Make Compromises

Many couples argue about how to spend their time together, but this may be more pronounced in couples where husbands are workaholics due to the lack of free time available. Workaholics are often absorbed by their work in a way that takes away from family time. And being absorbed by work tends to lead to more family conflict overall, according to research published in Occupational Medicine in 2012. To reduce some arguing, pick your battles. If your workaholic spouse isn’t able to be home for both your anniversary and dinner at your mother’s, decide which is more critical to you. If both are equally important, agree to give him leeway later in the week. Discussing specific concerns and making compromises will allow for less conflict and help you to accept these behaviors.

Reduce Household Stress

It is difficult to accept a workaholic husband when arguments are commonplace. More conflicts between workaholics and their families happen when general stress is higher, notes research published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health in 2013. To deal with a workaholic husband effectively, keep household stress lower whenever possible. Practice deep breathing or yoga to keep yourself calm, try to avoid over-scheduling, particularly if that is a source of stress between you and your husband and hire help with housework if you can’t keep up. This should help you to deal with your husband’s workaholic tendencies without feeling overwhelmed or abandoned.

Find Additional Social Supports

Humans need social interaction to process difficult emotions and everyday stress. Many partners of workaholic husbands have difficulty because they feel alone. But husbands are not the only source of social support. Locate good friends that you can call on in times of need and make plans once a week to visit them. Have a dinner party, go to a movie or take a walk while the kids ride bikes. Don’t allow your workaholic husband’s schedule to isolate you from your social supports.

Set Boundaries

While many workaholics sincerely enjoy their jobs, partners left at home must be respected as well. If you find yourself feeling bullied, constantly lonely, disconnected or generally unhappy due to your husband’s workaholic tendencies, it may be time to put your foot down and tell him what you need. You may accept your husband while demanding better treatment if your rights and needs are not being respected. If all else fails, seek out professional assistance to work through your feelings surrounding the relationship and invite your husband to join you. With assistance he may work through his own workaholic tendencies or find a better middle ground where both of you can thrive.

About the Author

Melody Causewell has been a writer in the mental health field since 2001. She written training manuals and clinical programs for mental health organizations. She has published feature articles "Leaven" magazine and has been published in "Natural Awakenings." She has a degree in psychology, a Masters degree in social work and is a La Leche League leader.

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