His Hard Work Leaves Her Lonely
Q: My husband owns his own company and is very successful. I love that he's always been ambitious and did it on his own. The problem is, he's hardly ever home! I feel like a single parent running to all the games, teacher conferences, and concerts. Sometimes if we're at a party and he gets a call he'll have to leave to take care of the problem. I appreciate how lucky I am but there's no balance. I don't want the children looking back when they're older saying that their father wasn't around. He's as involved as he can be, but sadly it's very little. I miss him as much as the children do. He compliments me all the time, telling me we have a great partnership, and that he couldn't be the success he is without me manning the fort. I'm awfully lonely, and I don't think he gets this part. — Sharon, 49
Dr. Susan: We make choices and compromises all the time. In a marriage, some of those decisions have to be renegotiated. The problem comes from you, in particular, wanting two things at once: a very comfortable lifestyle and the companionship of the man you married. Your husband's success seems to be very satisfying to both of you, and when you own your own business, it's very hard to find the right balance between work and family.
I'd suggest you sit him down, turn off his phone, and see if you can get him to see that you're really lonely, and that the kids miss him too. Say this not as a criticism of his hard work, but out of love. Ask him if there's any way to lessen his time at work just enough to leave some time for his family. Your intimacy needs are probably greater than his, and your concern for your kids is more nuanced than his. He may think money can replace time, but it really can't. Try to figure what expenses can be cut so he doesn't have to work quite that hard, or else set aside certain hours or days that he is fully with you all (barring emergencies).
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.