I needed to take a break from the 30 day challenge. Thanks Southerngal. I might pick and choose some of the other days to write about but in the meantime. I have a twitter friend who talks about her workaholic boyfriend. I also have a friend that I only get to talk to every couple of weeks because he’s busy working nights as a city engineer, days at Auto Zone, and weekends bailing hay for his grandfather. He’s a workaholic. It’s easy to say “oh girl I’d never be with a man who doesn’t make time for me” or “deal with it and stop complaining….at least he’s working” but the reality of the situation is that those words are not helpful to the situation and if I was really your friend that’s not something that I would say to you.
Now I’m not the best person to give advice so what does Original Diva do (instead of giving subpar advice)? Original Diva holds her hand out for help to those who know of what they speak. I have to say a heartfelt thanks to both of my guest bloggers today….Samantha Gregory of Rich Single Momma and June from Just Like June. These ladies ROCK!
Samantha is engaged to a soldier on active duty!
I’m in a long distance relationship with a man in the military. We are going to be married in a few months, but that event will not change our level of interaction that much. You see, he is one of the busiest men in the military. His job requires that he be at the beck and call of the soldiers he leads and the commander who leads him. He is the backbone of his unit so everyone calls on him to solve their problems and make things happen.
You may be wondering why I would willing enter into this kind of marriage and how have I managed so far. I am entering this with my eyes wide open because he is the man I have loved my entire adult life. I haven’t always been so willing to accept his work, but time and maturity has helped me see that loving him and respecting his work is what makes me happy.
We have a child together so that is another deciding factor. We didn’t get married before now because I simply could not handle the demands of his work. Through it all though, we have never stopped loving each other and being each other’s best friend.
Over the last year and a half I have seen him through a tour of duty in Iraq and planning a wedding now that he has returned. It is challenging but we’ve found ways to manage the process. I admit there are times when I absolutely hate the distance. I miss seeing his face, wrapping my arms around his neck, and kissing him.
He is not a big phone person so that presents another challenge as I love talking on the phone with him. He compromises for me though and (even though I initiate most calls) is willing to talk as long as I need to.
While he was over in the sandbox (Iraq) we talked through Yahoo Messenger’s chat, webcam and voice feature. The timing had to be coordinated so we were both awake. The time difference meant that when I was awake, he’d be asleep or vice versa. Early morning for me was mid-afternoon for him so we caught up with each other during that time. Or during his late night’s working in the office, I’d catch him for a chat. The weekend was the best for communicating because work demands were lighter for him.
The webcam is on of the best inventions of our time. Without it the time apart would be even more torturous.
The primary way we maintain contact is through good old email. I send him pictures and a link to a story every now and then. We also use it to hash out differences and talk about touchy subjects. We prefer using our phone and chat time for lighter subjects and to just laugh and enjoy the time we have. We’ve learned the hard way that trying to talk out issues by phone or on the webcam leaves too much room for misunderstandings. We are both too emotional so the words don’t always come out right
It may seem backwards but it works for us. We’ve decided that when we get married we may keep up this practice so our time together, face to face or voice to voice, is spent loving, approving, and accepting each other. It may not always be possible, but having a plan for the future is comforting.
During our separation I keep busy with a variety of activities. I work full-time, work on my blog, play with the kids on the Wii, exercise, and hang out with family and friends. In essence I have my own life. Being balanced is a big part of staying sane will waiting for the time to pass until I see him again.
Though things may not change too much after we are married, we are determined to keep the lines of communication open no matter how difficult it’s been in the past. With love, respect, and acceptance we know we can navigate through his busy schedule. He will be going to Afghanistan a few months after we are married, but past experience has shown we are able to handle the communication challenges in the future.
Samantha Gregory is a single mom blogger over at RichSingleMomma.com. Stop by and pick up a copy of the Single Mom Success and Survival Kit to manage the journey and learn how to make extra cash. Follow her on Twitter @richsinglemomma too!
And as for Mrs. June? Well she’s my version of an old pro at this game we call married to a workaholic!
The Work-a-holic Spouse
It’s 5:30 and your alone. Whether it’s 5:30 a.m. and you’ve woken up to a cold pillow or it’s 5:30 p.m. and dinner is getting cold, again. Face it, you have a work-a-holic spouse. If you’re anything like me though, you’re used to it, have come to terms with it, and rarely, if ever, have an argument about it. Here’s how to deal when your husband has another wife and it’s called his career.
My dear husband, Mr. Cleaver is a work-a-holic, hands down. He wakes up early to go to work, stays late sometimes, and in a few short weeks we’ll be packing up and shipping out to China for two years so, you guessed it, Mr. Cleaver can work some more. He watches CNBC on the weekends, watches Squak Box over coffee, and can’t go more than 30 minutes without checking out the blinking on his blackberry. In the beginning of our relationship, I would get very upset if he was home late or had to leave early in the morning. I loved our special times alone and felt like his career was cutting into our “us” time. Eventually, through a lot of talking and some good old-fashioned bickering, this is how we deal.
For the Wife/Girlfriend/Significant Other:
1.) Understand the scope of your husbands work- This is the first key to coming to terms with your husband is a work-a-holic. For me, I took the time out to really understand just how busy my husbands job was. On top of that, I learned what he did. What he really did. This helped me to understand that late nights weren’t because he was irresponsible and forgot to do something but because someone lost a lot of money somewhere and his rear (and possibly our income) was going to be on the carving table come morning if he didn’t stay late.
2.) Talk about where are this work-a-holism is getting you- For me, understanding the corporate ladder that is specific to my husbands job helped me to ease up on the pouting when it came to over-time. My husband has the type of job that if he works himself to the bone now, it will definitely pay off later.
3.) Have patience- This is huge, but it is obviously the most difficult one. Look at the potential outcome and be grateful that your spouse is so willing to sacrifice his personal time as well to provide a comfortable life for you and him.
4.) Do something- Do something for yourself. If you have your own hobbies and your own goals, you’ll be more likely to be understanding of your spouses hard work. I have my blog, an etsy shop, I’m raising a young child, and I’m learning Mandarin. I’m also doing all the general at-home Mom stuff like cleaning, baking, sewing and such. If you are working towards a goal not only will you have something to bring to the table, conversation-wise, you won’t spend time sitting at home stewing over where your spouse is and why he’s late again.
5.) Make rules- Don’t make die-hard rules, but more like guidelines of what is and isn’t acceptable to you. Being home late is ok with me but only because Mr. Cleaver calls or texts messages immediately when he finds out he is going to be late and always apologizes if he finds out late and knows I’ve already started dinner. My guideline is call me and let me know. Another guideline for us is no blackberry on the weekends. This was a hard one, but I wanted to make sure that he was having real family time with us. He understands that I’m not trying to undermine his job and that I appreciate all his hard work but that the family needs his undivided attention. Luckily for us, he has a job where he really can’t do anything but stew on the weekend anyways so the “no blackberry” rule is good for everyone.
For the Husband/Boyfriend/Work-a-holic
1.) Call, text, be in contact- When you are working late, women worry. In the beginning of your relationship, they are worrying if you are goofing off, cheating, being dishonest. Once you’ve been married for a while, they worry that you’re out there dead somewhere and they could be cashing the life insurance check instead of worrying about you. All joking aside, it’s only proper to be in contact with your spouse when you are late. It lets them know that they are important to you too and that, even though you’re busy, they are always on your mind.
2.) Set a limit and stick to it- When you come home, make it about family time. Work as late as you may, once you step foot in that door, spend time with your spouse and kids, if you have them. By setting a limit on work, you are showing your family that you respect them and that they are more important than work. Put your phone on silent if you have to.
3.) Have a hobby- This is a huge one and one that I had to beg Mr. Cleaver for years to partake in. Having a hobby makes you a well-rounded person because, honestly, nobody at the dinner party cares what the Dow Jones did last week. They’re bored and you’re being boring. Having a hobby will help you to have something to talk about when you do spend time with your family. Even if your wife asks you how your day was, she more than likely wants a summary, not a financial analysis of your current clients. If you have a hobby then you’ll have something else to talk about. No spouse of a work-a-holic wants to be affected by and talk about work non-stop.
My main rule to dealing with the work-a-holic spouse is to talk it out, honestly and openly. Be understanding, don’t attack one another, and try your hardest to really listen. Maybe your husband feels pressure to provide, maybe his career is one where you have to work very hard for a while to prove yourself, or maybe he has underlying issues where he’s afraid to fail. Boost him up, be his biggest cheerleader and when all this work-a-holism works out in your favor and you’re comfortable and can spend time with eachother, pat yourself on the back for being a good spouse!
Just Like June