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Work Stress is Killing EVERYTHING

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  • Work Stress is Killing EVERYTHING

    Background snippets: I'm dating a divorced man who previously had asked for more space (I had a thread about this and it was helpful). I have since taken everything I had from his place. Things were improving until now.
    Max works at a small nonprofit. He's the first line of command under the executive director, who has just left on a six month family vacation, effectively putting Max in the line of fire for literally everything. He knew about this trip and anticipated more responsibilities, but the reality of the work load and the amount of stress it puts on him is immense. He regularly goes into work at seven and won't be out until six or so, sometimes well after closing. Even then, he works at home planning the next day. For the past month, he's had to go in on one of his days off to cover for other employee's vacations.
    This nonprofit works him to the bone, but he loves being able to fill needs in the organization and ultimately being a part of the good they do. Getting another job is not an option for him.

    This stress is destroying everything. It's a good week if I see him once for a few hours. Even then, his mind is eaten up with work and it's clear that he's not all there. I don't know what to do. When he's like this, he doesn't want me around. He doesn't like being "less than he should be" and sees this as sparing me from his crap. We've planned evenings before that he's cancelled same day because work got to him too much and he didn't feel up to seeing me anymore.

    This could last six months. It could last longer; we don't know how things will be when the director finally returns. I just don't know what to do. We care about each other and have discussed how we want this to work out, but there's no light at the end of the tunnel right now. Six months isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things, but I don't know how we'll maintain our relationship like this. Right now it lacks intimacy and the joy is slowly going out each time he works another twelve-hour day.

    Help.

  • I'm not sure why his marriage didn't work but looking at the information you've posted I'd say his work is his priority. I understand him having to step up to the plate now that he is the senior commanding person. However, red flags go up when he asked for more space. Then when he is with you, albeit for a few hours per week, "it's clear his mind isn't there at all. He doesn't want you around." You both agree for planned evenings together and he cancelled because of work and he isn't up to seeing you anymore.

    I don't want to hurt your feelings, but it sounds like you are way more into him than he is you. He's telling you he cares, but his actions speak volumes. We all get busy at times, however, you make time for the people you care about. And he's not doing that. How has he portrayed this working out? I get the feeling he's telling you what you want to hear, but making your life miserable so that you'll end it and he won't feel responsible. I hope I'm wrong, but there's a lot of negative things going on that don't add up to a caring partner who wants to build a relationship.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by faeluna View Post
      Background snippets: I'm dating a divorced man who previously had asked for more space (I had a thread about this and it was helpful). I have since taken everything I had from his place. Things were improving until now.
      Max works at a small nonprofit. He's the first line of command under the executive director, who has just left on a six month family vacation, effectively putting Max in the line of fire for literally everything. He knew about this trip and anticipated more responsibilities, but the reality of the work load and the amount of stress it puts on him is immense. He regularly goes into work at seven and won't be out until six or so, sometimes well after closing. Even then, he works at home planning the next day. For the past month, he's had to go in on one of his days off to cover for other employee's vacations.
      This nonprofit works him to the bone, but he loves being able to fill needs in the organization and ultimately being a part of the good they do. Getting another job is not an option for him.

      This stress is destroying everything. It's a good week if I see him once for a few hours. Even then, his mind is eaten up with work and it's clear that he's not all there. I don't know what to do. When he's like this, he doesn't want me around. He doesn't like being "less than he should be" and sees this as sparing me from his crap. We've planned evenings before that he's cancelled same day because work got to him too much and he didn't feel up to seeing me anymore.

      This could last six months. It could last longer; we don't know how things will be when the director finally returns. I just don't know what to do. We care about each other and have discussed how we want this to work out, but there's no light at the end of the tunnel right now. Six months isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things, but I don't know how we'll maintain our relationship like this. Right now it lacks intimacy and the joy is slowly going out each time he works another twelve-hour day.

      Help.
      Faeluna, I agree with Euphoric, that your boy friend priority are his work not you. Your boy friend only wants you around once in a while for a booty call that's it. I believe you don't want that but a real relationship with a man not a booty call when time allows. When reading the sign I need more space just puts the nail in the coffin he doesn't want a relationship with you. My self i wouldn't waste anymore time with him and move and find a guy who wants a relationship who will treat you with respect and love you. Not have you around till he needs you that may be the reason why his marriage dissolved before meeting you the signs are right there of why he loves his work only.
      When out driving always turn left. Then, should you become lost, you can find your way home by reversing the procedure and always turning right.

      Comment


      • I have to agree with Euphoric and MG. His priority is his work and not you. What could be happening is that the director is having Max audition for taking over, thus the six month vacation. I'm not saying Max shouldn't put a lot of effort into his job, just that he should be able to reserve time for you. Some people let their job destroy all of the relationships around them. If the job was a person, I would say that person is controlling. In this case his job is controlling and he is enabling it to do that.
        I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
        ...
        Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

        From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

        Comment


        • Allow me to give a different perspective.

          Your BF is fortunate enough to be passionate about his career. This could be his experience of a lifetime . . . auditioning to be an executive director at this or another nonprofit. He has approached this challenge by going "all in." He wants to be an effective leader and do his best work. Unfortunately, your BF is doing two jobs and does not have "the first line of defense" that he has provided to his boss. I have nothing but admiration for your BF.

          I understand that his work stress has disproportionately affected you. You have every right to leave the relationship. However, if the relationship was getting back on track before this and he wants to work things out during the next 6 months, why not stick around? As you wrote, 6 months is not a very long time in the scheme of things.

          The first month is always the most difficult. Each challenge is new and adds to his base of experience. Eventually (and I have no idea in this particular instance), issues become repetitive. He will grow into and become more comfortable with the position. The stress in month 3 should be vastly different than in month 1. As for when his boss returns, how could things not get better? Even if the boss decides to leave, your BF will be able to hire someone in his former position and only have one (much better) position. Eventually, he may be able to take 6 months off (how cool is that). Having worked as an Acting Executive Director, your BF becomes significantly more marketable to move into another nonprofit.

          Your BF is recovering from a bad marriage and has now been the on into a significant work challenge. The relationship seems to be worth a few more months to see if he can get to a better work-life balance. If his marriage ended because he was a workaholic, then I would agree with Euphoric, MG and jns. However, he seems like a good man who is trying to put his past behind him and work towards a better future.
          "The only consistent feature of all of your dissatisfying relationships is you." Despair.com "Dysfunction"

          Comment


          • I understand this work ethic. My husband is the same, he loves his work, spends the hours of 8 through 6 in the office, works at home at least 1 -2 hours each night, and works many weekends. Our time together is sometimes very limited. BUT, and this is a big but, it works for us because I am not a needy wife. I don't need him to be with me each spare moment, I don't need him to occupy my time, but then again, we've been together for over 30 years.

            Perhaps his marriage broke up because of the same issues; where he is working these hours and perhaps she was asking more of him personally than he was willing to give. Perhaps your relationship is suffering because you are not affording him the space and time he needs to effectively perform well at his employment. Some people have jobs where they go each day and put in the minimal number of hours in order to get their paycheque. Others have careers which they love, which they embrace, which they excel in and the paycheque based on the number of hours is immaterial.

            Give him the benefit of the doubt, be understanding of the hours he puts in, let him come to you when he needs some downtime. It just may all work out for the good. In the meantime you need to find something else to occupy your time. Do something you enjoy don't just wait for him to come around.
            That which we forget may as well never really happened.

            Comment


            • This sounds like a long distance relationship with one of the parties not communicating. In a LDR, being together is not possible. What has to happen to make it work is meaningful communications. I am not saying that that means calling every few minutes. I am saying that in a successful LDR the communications have to occur often enough that both parties are OK and that those communications are complete enough so that the relationship doesn't wither. Meeting him for a few hours in the week with him distracted is not a real attempt at a relationship and doesn't significantly change the characteristics from that of a LDR. In fact, it might just make the situation worse.

              What I didn't talk about is the character of your bf. It sounds great. He pours all of his efforts into something he is passionate about. But, if he wants to have a relationship in addition to his work, he has to set aside quality time for it. I don't see a few hours of quality time as being needy.

              Ultimately you have to do what's best for you. If he is not providing the minimum you need for a relationship then you may have to rethink having a relationship with him. Fortunately it is not at the level of being married with underage children involved.
              I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
              ...
              Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

              From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

              Comment

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