Woe Is Me! “My Partner Is a Workaholic. Should I Get Over It?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“My partner is everything one can dream of — respectful, down-to-earth, feminist, open-minded, kind, and soft-spoken. But the trouble is that my family is, comparatively, richer than him. We also have an age gap of over a decade, and he’s not financially stable.
Now that he knows he has to work hard to get resources and maintain lifestyle costs, he’s working overtime — all day and weekends, too. He has no time for love.
It’s a long distance relationship. He doesn’t even communicate to my satisfaction. I talk so much about my feelings, but he never does. I get irritated and angry because of that silent behavior. A friend suggested that I should break up, as he’s not able to maintain healthy emotions. But the moment I see him working so much to make everything perfect, I melt. Should I be demanding more time from him?”
— The great divide
SM: You say that your partner is everything you dream of, but when you start talking about problems, it seems like it’s not just about whether he’s spending enough time with you. He seems like he’s become emotionally distant. You say that he is working overtime for you, but since you both are in a long-distance relationship, the skeptic in me does wonder whether that’s true, or whether that’s an excuse to disengage and distance himself from you. I think you should take some time out to have a conversation with him about what each one of you expects from this relationship, and their feelings are about these expectations being met.
A question you do need to ask yourself is whether this is a recent change because of the distance, work, or something else; or whether it’s always been this way, and you’re only realising it now. Maybe, in asking these questions honestly to yourself and to him, you might find answers. However, I don’t think a relationship can ever be about demanding more time — it’s about figuring if you’re both on the same page about how much you want to share with each other, and if you will make the effort it takes to get there.
DD: Friend, sorry to break it to you, but it looks like your boy might just be cheating. All the signs point towards him being occupied with something (or someone) else. I’d say keep an eye out for signs. Or maybe just ask him what’s been up instead of assuming things, and making up excuses for him.
SA: If you’re comparatively richer, it would be nice to help him a bit financially while he is struggling, maybe? If the problem continues, perhaps, he needs to re-consider this lifestyle he’s maintaining, or work towards getting a new job that monetarily suits his needs more.
The rest seems to be standard issue relationship issues post the honeymoon period. Take the time to communicate your dissatisfaction to him and explain exactly what needs to change for it to be a more ideal situation for you. There will have to be a bit of give and take and it’s not going to be fixed overnight. You can demand more time but be realistic. If his job is really as demanding as it seems from your message, maybe, cut him some slack. If this all seems too much, maybe, you’re just not meant to be together, and as your friend suggested: break up. It’s up to you to decide if the person and/or relationship is worth the effort.
QG: You should consider having an affair with someone else. That way your emotional needs get satisfied with the new person. Meanwhile, your partner works to his heart’s content and manages to tick off all the financial and lifestyle goals he has.
AS: What I understood from your woe is that he’s working hard to not only achieve financial stability for himself (which, honestly, I cannot fault him for), but also to provide for the life you both want to lead together. In either case, I don’t think demanding more time is the right way to go about it. People also communicate in vastly different ways — so maybe him not talking about his feelings regularly is not a reflection of his commitment — or lack thereof — to you? Then, there’s also a possibility that he has just grown out of this relationship and doesn’t know how to tell you.
In all these scenarios, what stands out to me is the vast communication gap between you two. I think you need to sit down and chalk out where you both are at in your lives and what this relationship means to each of you. If you find you both have different, incompatible priorities that you don’t see being reconciled in the near future, break up. I’m sure he can make time for that one conversation.