Married to an ambitious workaholic in denial and can't take it anymore
This is going to be a long story that I will sum up as best I can. I'm not sure what I expect to get out of talking about this problem with anyone, but I need to get it off my chest. I have been married 8 years. When my wife and I first got together, we were both still in school and hadn't fully developed our career paths yet. However, a potential career path for my wife was always one that would require near 100% travel. We talked about that possibility before getting married and agreed that the lifestyle that would accompany her always being away from home was not for us.
Fast forward 3 years into our marriage when my wife decides she wants a child. I was always on the fence about whether or not I wanted children, but it was extremely important to her, so I supported her decision and we started a family. My wife had to put her career on hold through her pregnancy because her job exposes her to a lot of potentially hazardous chemicals. We talked about it and decided that I would support the family for a while so she could stay home during her pregnancy. In order to make this work, we had to move to where the cost of living was a lot cheaper and I could find work that could support the family.
Only 4 months after our son was born, my wife decides she is ready to go back to work. Unfortunately, she couldn't find a position in her field that didn't require 100% travel. Her options at the time were to switch fields and find a new career, or find a job that required traveling away from home. To my dismay, she found and accepted a position that required travel. I was adamantly against this decision, but she made it anyway. I was extremely hurt, but not wanting to get in the way of my wife's ambition and her potential, I dealt with the new situation as best I could. I grew to resent my wife deeply in the months that followed.
I was now working a full time job with a 30-60 minute commute each way, with a 6 month old infant that suffered horrible collick and would cry for hours and hours everyday for months, and I was basically doing this all alone. I rarely got enough sleep. I was exhausted, lonely, and angry. My wife would be gone for one week at a time, or two. Then a month or more. She would sometimes come home every weekend, sometimes not. We existed as a couple through the internet. I was basically a married, single-parent. My days were a major source of stress between working full time and taking care of our son alone most of the time and I became hopelessly depressed and bitter. My wife and I communicated about this at length, but she held her ground and refused to give up her new job. We existed like this for 2 years before I finally had enough and told her I wanted a divorce.
The finality of divorce finally motivated her to make a career adjustment so that she was at least at home every weekend and often home each night. This meant less work for her, and of course, she became stressed out about us not making as much money, not having the same income, not affording the same things. I didn't care. I would rather make less money and be together than make a lot of money and be apart. She nevertheless refused to switch careers and became restless and stressed out. To please her, and because I was profoundly depressed at the thought of losing my family, I made the last sacrifice I could think to make and gave up my own career to become a stay at home parent so that the family could travel together for her job. We spent the next year traveling from one destination to another, living out of hotels and an RV we purchased.
Needless to say, this situation wasn't much better. Without any friends or community, my son and I both become desperately lonely and grew tired of traveling all the time. The constant traveling, not having friends or playmates, not having any stability grew very old. I wanted community, roots, friends, a life. My son was lonely. He needed stability, friends, family. I told my wife that I was going to stop traveling with her and that she could come visit us when she could, but that we were done. Apparently the thought that her family was once again ready to abandon her was enough to motivate her to find a new job. She was offered a position that would let her come home every night, so we packed up our life once again and moved.
I was relieved and though the cost of living here is easily three times what it was where I wanted to settle down with my son, I was happy enough to just be together as a family. We have been here 3 months now. I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. My wife's job out here suddenly wants her to travel. She spent only 1 night away from us this week, but next week it will be 3-4. She is also expected to go out of the country next spring for at minimum 4 months, at most 20 months. She assumed we would be going with her. We will not be going with her. I told her last night that we would no longer be punished for a decision she made alone 3.5 years ago, that we deserve community, stability, and our own lives. I sympathize that she couldn't have known this would happen, at least didn't expect it to, and that we are very dependent at the moment on this salary for our livelihood. At the same time, I'm so angry and frustrated that I cannot look her in the face. I do not want her to touch me. I can barely speak to her. I cry every day.
I want to divorce her, but I still love her. On the outside she appears to be extraordinarily selfish, and maybe she is, but in my heart I believe she is doing what she thinks is best for our family. She is obsessed with her title and salary and thinks that making less money is failure. I have accepted that this will never change. I hate her for it. I am not sure what to do about it. I'm still a stay at home parent and obviously need to find myself a new job so that I can support myself and our son if I leave her. I am quite depressed, bitter, and angry at myself for having put up with this for so long and for having made so many sacrifices for her. I got myself into this situation and I fully accept responsibility for my part in my life's circumstances. I do not want to be divorced, but I do not trust that I will ever be happy if I continue to be married to her.
I do not know what to do. I do not know how to do it.
This is hard really
Yes it really is. I have no idea what to do.
There's a guy out there similar to your wife. He sacrificed his marriage and family for his career which took him all over the country for months on end. He never needed anyone beside him to comfort him or needed anyone to discuss his days work with. All he needed was a comfortable company paid for motel bed and the next day's workload to look forward to. His separation from his wife and divorce was painful for her but he had his work to comfort him. She fought for her marriage for years and then finally realized and accepted that she'd be happy elsewhere because she couldn't have him because he had another selfish mistress, his career.
He's a workaholic and he lives to work and nobody or anything gets in his way if it affects his work. He only attends family functions, funerals etc if his work allows him to. He's still in touch with his family but he has no time for them or his grand kids because they get in the way of his career. Everything is planned around his career.
He doesn't think of stability in the family because his family isn't on his radar, rather his career is. Take it away from him tomorrow, and he'd wither and die. One of this guy's daughters is the same. Her marriage lasted 6 years until her then husband walked away because she was never home. They were newly wedded and were 'ships in the night' even at that stage. Never together because she was and still is, a workaholic like her father.
This guy's wife felt exactly like you do. She blamed herself for allowing it to happen and actually contributing to it, but then she realized she was wasting her time trying to have a normal committed life with this guy. You need to do yourself a favour and find your happiness and stability elsewhere, because going by your post, your wife's actions are telling you she'd rather be at work than with you.
While you allow it to happen, you will always feel the way you do and it's only when you make a move away from it that you will be able to eventually be happy. You're no good for anyone, let alone your son, if you can't function in your current circumstances.
Your wife is a very selfish person and you definitely do not deserve this dog treatment that she is giving you. Okay, so firstly growing up a kid, parenting, requires a lot of commitment from both the parents. It is a hair pulling, nerve racking job. Kids are awesome and they definitely are worth all the efforts that youve put in them, but this is the fact of parenting too. So the fact that she envisions your kid growing up automatically and problems going away, doesnt work. Only reason that she has gotten to get her way is because she knows that she can convince you easily with her words and actions, leaving you no other option to just hand in the towel.
I dont mean to be offensive or speak badly about your wife. Am sure she is a nice person and has every right to pursue her passions but she has to remember that she has knowingly made this decision to have a kid and now she cant just back out of it. You have been way too nice to her in allowing her to act this way. It is utterly shameful that she needs to be told how important the kid is and how much this all is affecting his growing up.
Am sure you've debated this in your mind a trillion times but i personally feel that you deserve much better than this in life. Divorcing her is a very essential thing for you, and the only reason for that is so that you can get out the negativity that your going through since the past few years. It gives you an opportunity to find a soul mate who loves you so much that you don't need to sit and explain that person the importance of being there and staying close to each other.
Your efforts of trying to expect a miracle out of her is not a promising idea. You need to be able to understand that youve tried very hard to make this work. You have done everything possible to ensure that you'll stick to together. But unfortunately, this is not working. It is important that your kid gets the best of happiness in life. In order for that to possible, you need to be healthy and wealthy. You need to be firm on your ground to do all of that. By you being around her is getting you a lot of negativity. Where you need to always play this guessing game of what next is going to be coming.
So i truly hope that you make the right choice and lead the best life possible. It wont be difficult for you to adjust to living without her, since that has been the case in a long while. Yes, it will be a while untill you find a new partner, settle down with a new job and life. But this is a better option than just living wiht uncertainities.
Hope things work out for the best for you.
Thank you for the thoughtful responses. It is such a difficult decision to make, not because I don't already know the answer but because I don't want to make that decision. Nonetheless, I'm exhausted of feeling like our family is less important. Work will always come first. I brought up the subject last night and had my head bit off.
I'm going to dust off the resume and start looking for work, and find a suitable daycare for our son until he can start preschool next year. Once I have enough money stashed aside, I'll get my own place and file for divorce. It is a bit of a blessing that she will be out of the country in the spring; it will give me personal time and space to get myself set up without the turmoil of fighting that would be inevitable if she were home.
I absolutely hate this decision. I do love her. I also deserve someone who puts me first the way I put her first. Our son deserves that too.