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| Volume 02 | February 2008
| Partners excessive work habits get you down
Part 1 - Welcome!
Part 2 - Feature Article -
When your partner’s excessive work habits are getting
Part 1 - Welcome!
Dear Partner of a Workaholic,
Welcome to this our second newsletter written especially
to support Partners of Workaholics who have excessive
work habits. In this newsletter we will provide
support for those of you who have to deal with a
partner whose excessive work habits means they work
all the time and ignore you.
Are You The Partner Of a Workaholic?
- Do you feel as if you play second fiddle to
- Is it left to you to make excuses to the children,
to family and friends because they are late or
too busy to attend?
- Does your partner’s excessive work habits impact
on your life and your relationship?
- Do you send the evenings on your own – even
when they are in the house?
- Is your partner too busy or too tired to pay
you the attention you need and deserve?
- Is your life being affected because of the demands
of your partner’s work?
- Do you feel your own sense of self and your
confidence are being eroded because they pay more
attention to their work?
- Are you feeling lonely and left out even though
you are in a relationship?
If the answer is yes to three or more of the
questions above you may be in a partnership
with a workaholic.
You may be thinking:
“I didn’t need to see those questions in order
to recognize that things between my partner and
I are difficult because of his or her work. What
I need to know is what to do about it!”
Workaholism is no different to the other “….holisms”
in that the problem can very difficult for partners
and families to deal with.
In the first instance you may recognise that there
is a difficulty and be worried. Your worries may
be for them, their long term health and well being.
You may worry about the fact that the children hardly
see their father/mother or that when they do they
are too tired to show a real interest in them. Your
worries may be about the impact work is having on
your relationship and how it makes you feel about
Unless your partner accepts for themselves that
they have a problem, it is extremely difficult to
make them face it. Your concern may simply be ignored
or be misconstrued as nagging. Until they acknowledge
that they have a difficulty and they determine that
they want to change their lives, you will need to
deal with the impact it has on them, you and the
rest of the family.
Am I saying things are hopeless? No of course not
– quite the opposite in fact.
What I am suggesting is that in the first instance
you need to understand what being a workaholic is
about. Each person will have their own personal
reasons for becoming a workaholic but if you have
read the information on the website you will know
that there are a number of reoccurring themes. I
suggest you watch and listen for the clues your
partner will undoubtedly offer, as to why they have
become a workaholic.
When we work with an issue which appears to be
outside our control it often feels insurmountable.
It is my experience that we need to work on these
external things by working on ourselves. There are
things we can't change, but what we can do is change
the way we feel about the issue and how it makes
us feel. The paradox is that as soon as we make
the mental shift in ourselves there is frequently
a shift in the underlying problem too.
Being the partner of someone who is too busy to
notice your needs, can begin to make you feel less
attractive and really knock your self confidence.
The reality is that in the majority of cases being
a workaholic is about them and not you.
I suggest that you work on ensuring that you feel
good about who you are and confident enough to help
them to deal with their issues as and when they
are ready to.
This months article “ When Your Partner’s Excessive
Work Habits Are Getting You Down” looks at how you
can make a start to deal with your partner’s excessive
Recovering Workaholics is a growing concern. We
offer 1:1 coaching, and training to facilitate those
who want a truly satisfying life. Understanding
what drives us to work to the point where love,
happiness and fulfillment are the poor relation
is the first step to creating a life you truly love.
We can help you work towards achieving your “dream”
We also offer support for those who are facing
retirement or who have recently retired or experienced
redundancy and who are finding it difficult to adjust
to the change.
If you know of anyone who would be interested in
working with us please let me know by contacting
me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Make 2008 the year when you took consistent action
to make a positive difference to the quality of
your own life and for those who share it with you.
With best wishes,
Helping you create a life you love!
Tel in the UK: 01708 703 959
Tel from outside the UK: +44 1708 703 959
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Part 2 - When your partner’s excessive work habits
are getting you down
How many of you feel as if you are banging your
head against a brick wall when you try to tackle
your partners excessive work habits? That what ever
you say, it seems to make no positive difference,
in fact it actually appears to make things worse?
Einstein’s definition of madness was to continue
to do the same thing over and over again, when it
hadn’t worked in the first place. Perhaps it is
time to take a step back and to consider a whole
new course of action?
It is likely that the same characteristics which
attracted you to your workaholic partner with their
excessive work habits are some of the same characteristics
which are now being less than helpful. Research
has shown that we are often attracted by individuals
who are successful, focused and who are strong minded.
It is these characteristics which make us successful
in business. Paradoxically they are often the ones
which get in the way of a successful relationship
built on inter-dependence. Research released on
Valentine’s Day this year said that the best long
term relationships were built on a combination of
three things: passion, intimacy (the ability to
share everything, good or bad) and commitment. Statistically
it appears that there are many long term relationships
which are less than ideal. On further research they
discovered that these relationships often had two
of the three.
Considering your partners excessive work habits,
how does your relationship shape up?
Does your relationship live with an elephant in
the room? Do you skirt around the real issues for
fear of giving them an airing. Do you talk about
the insignificant things but fail to communicate
about what is really important to you both?
Is there a constant barrage of nagging because
you are so fed up with being lonely in your relationship
because of your partners excessive work habits?
Does their work pattern govern your communication
with one another?
How do you feel about yourself? Do you understand
what is going on with your partner?
Being a work widow or widower can have a considerable
impact on how you feel about yourself. It is easy
to interpret the work patterns of a loved one and
see it as your fault or responsibility. “They’d
rather be working than spend time with me. I’m of
less value then their work. They think more about
what their boss thinks than they do of me and the
family. There must be something wrong with me.”
In reality workaholics have a squewed work life
balance for a whole variety of reasons. It is important
that you take total responsibility for your own
choices for what you say and do or fail to say and
do. It is just as important that you hand total
responsibility for your partner’s choices of what
actions they take to them.
You can not control another person, nor should
you attempt to. It is a recipe for disaster. This
is one of the central principles on which my work
is based. Take responsibility for yourself. BE HONEST!
Kidding yourself creates a smoke screen at best
and inevitably leads to major difficulties in the
medium to long term.
Change those things over which you have control.
Where you have no control, change the way you respond
to it. The strange thing is once you do this, there
is often a fundamental shift in the person or circumstance
which was causing you the problem in the first place.
Before you tackle the relationship you have with
your partner take a long hard look at the relationship
you have with yourself. If you love and value yourself
and are confident in who you are, you will find
it much easier to create effective boundaries for
what is and is not acceptable. These boundaries
should be based on mutual respect.
If your current way of handling your partner’s
current work practices has failed to create a successful
change simply doing more of the same is unlikely
to make a fundamental difference.
Before you can create a cohesive, well thought
out plan of action, you need to audit the current
situation carefully. For the next 2-3 weeks I suggest
you look closely at the way you manage you’re
b) your boundaries
c) the way in which you communicate – your pleasure
and your displeasure.
Do you spend what time you have with your partner
nagging them about what they are doing or what they
are neglecting to do? Do you moan about feeling
neglected? Do you sit at home just waiting for the
time when they will be with you or do you have a
life of your own?
Analyze what is really happening. What exactly
is it that is bugging you? Be really honest here.
Think about how your actions and words impact the
situation. Are you really concerned for your partner’s
health or is your fear of being alone the most pressing
issue? Do you feel rejected and unloved or is it
that you feel as if you are playing second fiddle
to their work.
Are modern technology and a lack of clear boundaries
affecting family life? Does the mobile phone or
email drive your time at home? Are your holidays
sacrosanct or are you plagued by phone calls sitting
on the beach or when you are having dinner.
Do you use sex as a reward or weapon?
Understanding the scale and the scope of the issue
can be incredibly helpful when you are creating
a way to solve it.
Workaholics often feel driven to succeed or driven
not to fail which is often quite a different thing.
They can be physically at work or missing from the
present moment as they are working on in their head
while they are at home. To understand what is driving
and motivating your partner listen very carefully
– I mean really listen! Watch them as they speak,
over 60% of what is communicated is done so non
verbally. Knowing and understanding yourself and
your partner is the key to finding a successful
This is not a competition where if one partner
wins the other partner loses. Take the time to understand
what is actually going on rather than what you think
is happening. The reality is often different.
In next months article we will consider how to
plan for a different future.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you
ensure you make the most of your life please contact
us through email@example.com
or through firstname.lastname@example.org
Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
If there are any topics you would like covered
in future issues please let me know on email@example.com
or complete the feeedback form at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/enquiryform.php.
What do you think?
For any further information
about Recovering Workaholics or to discuss your
coaching needs contact
Phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44
Gina Gardiner, recognised by "Investors In
People" as creating an "innovative and
exemplary training programme for emerging and middle
managers" and by Ofsted as an “inspirational
leader”. Her experience includes that of “Change
Management” and in supporting organisational leaders
in developing strategic vision and creating a “can
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Author : Gina Gardiner