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Calling all Partners of Successful Business People
Recovering Workaholics can help you create a life full of so much more than just work.
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Recovering Workaholics can help you and your partner find true fulfilment.

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Volume 08 | April 2009 | Are You Guilty Of Horse Trading?

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Courses | Coaching | Partners of Workaholics


Part 1 - Welcome!
Part 2 - Feature Article - Are You Guilty Of Horse Trading?
Part 3 - Special Offer - FREE One Month SaVVy Club Membership!

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Part 1 - Welcome!

Dear Partner of a Workaholic,

Firstly, my apologies for a break in Newsletters.

As a recovering workaholic myself, I decided to take my own advice, and make a few tough decisions about just how much I can get into the day whilst maintaining a reasonable work - life balance. I’ve made a few adjustments and drafted in some more help so I am now back on track.

Welcome to this our eighth 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.

This month’s article looks at horse-trading. We all do it at times, but I’ve noticed how often coaching clients, who are partners of workaholics, engage in it at a number of levels.

Once they recognise the pattern which makes their partners more likely to work even longer hours and learn the strategy of rewarding positive behaviour and fulfil their partners driving needs in a different way, things often change dramatically.

Many clients initially feel that to approach things in this way would feel like they are giving in – after all it’s their partner who needs to change. All I ask them is if their current approach is working. The old saying is that if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got!

If you want things to be different something has to change. You could dig your heels in and wait for them to be resourced enough to change or you can decide to take the initiative. Giving in or giving love - it all comes down to perception:-

What do you really want?
Ask yourself, if doing what you are doing is getting the results you want?

This month’s article is all about recognizing whether love is given unconditionally or if it comes with strings attached. The strings attached sort of love is called horse trading. Loving in this way has consequences.

How do you love your partner?
If your love is unconditional love, it means giving, without asking for anything in return.

Do you need to work on your own personal baggage?
To let go of the insecurities and negative feelings which have grown over time because you have felt neglected or been worried about your partner. Working on these, perhaps with a coach, can give you the resources to try a whole new approach.

Once one element shifts, nothing can stay the same. What have you got to loose?

If you’d like some help, book a complementary 30 minute coaching session to explore how I can help you explore the way forward.

I am very pleased to be able to let you know that the SaVVy Club are offering Recovering Workaholic members one months free membership to try things out. See below for more details.

Make 2009 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,

Gina Gardiner

Gina Gardiner
Helping you create a life you love!

Recovering Workaholics
Tel in the UK: 01708 703 959
Tel from outside the UK: +44 1708 703 959

Some of you may have heard the feature on Woman’s Hour on Thursday 25th April which focused on the difficulties living with a workaholic creates. If you would like to hear that feature please visit the BBC web site at

Are You The Partner Of a Workaholic?

  • Do you feel as if you play second fiddle to their work?
  • Is it left to you to make excuses to the children, to family and friends because they are late or too busy to attend?
  • Do 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 yourself.

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 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.

When I first began Recovering Workaholics I created it for people who wanted to redress the work/life balance in their lives. Those who wanted to enjoy their work but who were keen to create a life full of passion, enjoyment and fulfilment. It soon became evident that there were many people who were partners of workaholics and were desperately trying to manage the impact that their partners work habits had on their relationships and their lives. Sometimes the loneliest place is when we are with others.

Partners often contact me saying how alone they feel and how difficult it is to solve the problem because ultimately the change is down to someone else.

If you would like some help with this coaching can help.

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 fulfilment are the poor relation is the first step to creating a life you truly love. We can help you work towards achieving your “dream” life.

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

Recovering Workaholics
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 - Are You Guilty Of Horse Trading?

Pure love is very simple. You love the person for who they are – right now, whatever they are doing or not doing. In its simplest terms, you love them and give your love unconditionally.

Many of us believe that is what we do, yet, the reality is, we love them, but we want something in return, this is called horse trading. A classic example of this is how we give our attention to others.

Horse trading comes in many forms. Horse traders only give their attention or affection if they are getting what they want from the other person. Horse traders use their mood as a weapon and a reward. When they like what their partners are doing, they are loving and kind, there is a gentleness and openness. It is this energy which others seek. When their needs are not being met, the quality of energy changes dramatically – it can range from being cold and distant, sulky or downright hostile.

Perhaps the most pernicious type of horse-trade of all is that of sex. At its best sex is the most wonderful sharing of intimate passionate love where two people come together to share their vulnerability and their strength. At its worst, it is a trading transaction. I’ll let you have sex with me if you do what I want. It becomes far more about power and far less about love.

How does this have relevance to the partner of a workaholic? Well, dealing with clients over the years, has given me the opportunity to recognise patterns of behaviour across many people. Horse-trading is very common.

Both partners do engage in horse trading but I am going to focus on times when workaholics partners use it.

Commonly both people are hurting. The workaholic escapes into their work. Sometimes the hurt precedes the relationship but the partner believes it is about the relationship and feels rejected and hurt as a result.

The partner wants their workaholic other half to love them enough to leave work in its place and spend time with them. Even though what they really want is unconditional love, their hurt has led them to create a relationship where they respond lovingly when their workaholic partner gives them the attention they are dying inside for. You can almost hear the unspoken words – I’ll give love to you if you give love to me – but you have to give it to me first!

I can understand it – we all want to be loved and made to feel special, but here is the problem – Workaholics are workaholics because of a need within them. It is actually very little about you.

Remember the basic needs.

The four psychological needs are:-

  • Certainty
  • Uncertainty or variety
  • Significance
  • Love and connection

The two spiritual needs are:-.

  • Growth
  • Contribution

We all need all the psychological needs but will tend to have two top needs. We can satisfy those needs in many different ways. There is nothing better or worse about any of these needs but if any activity satisfies three or more of our needs at a high level it is likely to become an addiction.

Workaholics commonly get their needs met at a high level from work.

  • Certainty and a sense of control
  • Lots of uncertainty or variety
  • A sense of significance from their statues and the feeling that they make a real difference
  • Connection from colleagues and clients often at a really satisfying level
  • They are constantly learning new things so feel a sense of growth
  • And finally the feeling that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves.

If when they come home they feel they are failing as a partner, a husband, wife or parent, if they have no sense of certainty or their driving needs are met less strongly they will find it difficult to give up the addiction to work.

Significance is quite commonly one of workaholics most driving needs. If they get it best at work – that’s where they will spend the majority of their time and attention rather than come home and have to face a sense of being a failure. If they crave certainty or variety they’ll get it from work if you don’t give them a powerful alternative at home.

Deep down what most people really want is true love.

Now bearing in mind that if you always do what you have always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got, maybe it is time for a fundamental change!

Love them – unconditionally. Do things because you love them and you want to, not because of what you might get in return.

Remember that they are probably doing the best they can. Being driven is never comfortable. The results won’t be instant. But time and time again once partners stop horse trading and start loving – from their heart, without expectation of anything in return things begin to change. Partners find they feel better about themselves too.

Working with a coach can be incredibly helpful when working on developing a healthy sense of self worth but there are things you can do to help yourself. Try the ideas above. We would love to hear how you get on and if you have other ideas which have worked for you.

To arrange some coaching support please contact me by email at or
Phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44 1708 703959).

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Part 3 - FREE One Month SaVVy Club Offer

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This is where The SaVVy Club comes into it's own. We can show you the way for every varying need and want in the world of events and leisure activities.

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  • Good news for you, here comes The SaVVy Club!

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  • Do you like Champagne?
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Experience all this and more with your free one month membership to The SaVVy Club!

To enjoy this exclusive offer, contact Kim at The SaVVy Club within 7 Days of receiving this message and she'll send you a code that allows you to sign up for your FREE one month membership.

Next time you’re heading to London for a volley of meetings, don’t spend your evenings alone with only the remote control for company. Get out there and enjoy what the City has to offer.

It couldn't be simpler.

So why not take the opportunity right now to take us up on our great offer.
Telephone Kim on 0208 989 4886 and quote Recovering Workaholics.

Kim Rix
Founder and CEO of The SaVVy Club®  
London’s first boutique social events club.

For more information, please visit
or call 0870 005 6225.

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Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If there are any topics you would like covered in future issues please let me know on or complete the feedback form at

What do you think?

Warmest wishes,
Gina Gardiner

For any further information about Recovering Workaholics or to discuss your coaching needs contact or
Phone in the UK 01708 703959 (or International +44 1708 703959).

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 organizational leaders in developing strategic vision and creating a “can do” culture.

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Copyright © 2009 Author : Gina Gardiner -