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  1. #1
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    How do I deal with a husband who has no time for me?

    My husband and I just celebrated our first anniversary, and sadly, I am dreading what the next year will be like. We recently moved 1500 miles away from our friends and families so he could enter his dream PhD program. I work from home, and for financial reasons I will continue to work from home. Because I'm at home all day and my husband's always busy with school, I find myself getting very lonely. I am doing things to get out of the house taking a cake decorating class, getting the wheels in motion to go back to school part time and pursue a Masters degree. However, I miss my husband. He rarely has any spare time, and what little spare time he has he tends to spend with his peers. I understand that they are his support system during a very stressful time in his life, but I can't help wondering where's my support system.

    I love my husband so much, but this marriage has become emotionally draining. When he can't make time for me, I find myself worrying about what's wrong with me. What do his peers have that attracts him to spend time with them that I don't? How could I support and make sacrifices for a person and still not deserve even a little bit of his time?

    I understand that he's got enough on his plate. The poor guy stays up all night doing research and writing papers. He's always has so much to do; I'm surprised he manages to get it all done. Knowing how busy he is, I feel guilty asking him to attend to me and to my feelings. At the same time, whenever I hear about other women spending the day with their husband, I want to cry. My husband doesn't even have time to be intimate with me. Maybe he's tired of me but feels bad saying so after I've made so many life changes for him? I don't know. I don't even feel right bringing these feelings up to him when I know he doesn't have the time to discuss them with me.

    How do I cope? How am I going to manage dealing with this for the next five years? Any advice anyone can offer will be greatly appreciated. I'm tired of crying myself to sleep alone every night.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator annie24's Avatar
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    welcome to enotalone.

    congrats on your one year anniversary. that is great. well, I am not married, but I am a grad student, so I know how tough time can be. is he a first year student? sometimes, things are most difficult the first year, and then get easier as time goes on, but not always.

    I would sit down with him and tell him that you miss him and want to see him. maybe friday night can be your "date night", just to spend a few hours together, away from the stress of everyday life. you need to keep your relationship healthy together.

    how is he towards you otherwise? loving and considerate? did things change suddenly when he started grad school or was he good to you before?
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1.



  3. #3
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    Annie,

    Thanks for the response. He is in his first year, but some of the second and third year students have told him to expect it to get worse before it gets better. It feels so hopeless. We've tried "date night" and it doesn't seem to work too well because he'd have to come home and stay up all night doing work. Which would lead to me feeling guilty. I don't like doing that to him, I'd rather he got in a few hours of sleep than spent a few hours bowling or watching a movie with me.

    Prior to him beginning school, we had issues, as every couple does. I'm overly sensitive and he's not very sensitive, so that is bound to lead to conflict. However, we at least had the time to work through our conflicts and learn more about each other. He had the energy to pay attention to my feelings and help me come up with productive solutions. Now, on the other hand, if he says or does something insensitive I find myself having no choice but to let it go because he doesn't have the time to talk to me. I know this leads to a lot of misunderstands, but I really don't feel right wasting his time trying to clear those misunderstandings up. Does that make sense?

  4. #4
    Super Moderator annie24's Avatar
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    well, friday night is friday night! I mean, he can go back to work on saturday morning.

    a key to grad school is not burning out. it is a marathon, not a sprint. www.phds.org has a lot of great tips for succeeding in grad school. Yes, you have to devote a lot of time to your studies, but it's important to plan in some kind of social life, enjoyment time.

    I was just watching CNN (larry king) and the episode was on happiness and successs. his interviewee found that the most successful people were actually the ones that took more days off than others at the company. because when they were rested, they could come up with good ideas, and make better use of their working time.

    Some of the most successful grad students I know have an outside life. they are very involved in activities or hobbies, and devote time to relationships.

    I think you should talk to your husband. like you said, you gave up a lot to join him for grad school. i think it's important to keep the relationship working. And I think if you two never spend time together, your relationship will turn into roommates as opposed to spouses.
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1.



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  6. #5
    Super Moderator annie24's Avatar
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    However, I miss my husband. He rarely has any spare time, and what little spare time he has he tends to spend with his peers. I understand that they are his support system during a very stressful time in his life, but I can’t help wondering where’s my support system.
    You are his WIFE. his ULTIMATE support system. I mean, you are the one that swore infront of God and all your friends and family that you two will be dedicated to each other. He did not take that oath with his classmates.

    don't forget that! do not feel guilty for stating your needs. i have a feeling that you've been doing that for a while.
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1.



  7. #6
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    Thank you for the link. I will definately pass it on to him. I sincerely hope that we can find a way to balance his school life and our married life. Hearing from another person in his shoes that it is possible is very reassuring, so thank you for that.

    You are right that I feel guilty for stating my feelings. I feel like he has so much on his plate, is it really fair to add my drama? There was a time when I had no problem confronting him with a negative emotion, but now I feel like my feelings are second to his academic goals. I recognize that that's probably not true, but I can't help feeling it. I can try to make an honest effort at communicating these feelings to him, but I don't know how well I'll do. At the same time, I'd rather do something that's foreign to me than become my husband's roommate, which I can actually see happening if we continue this way.

    Would it be bad if I wrote a letter explaining my feelings? That way, I can say as much as I want and not worry about wasting his time by going on and on? I've always felt like it is cowardly to deal with relationship issues any way other than face to face, but I can see myself abbreviating my feelings and then brushing them aside if I see him getting frustrated to impatient.

  8. #7
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    I've come to realize you can always express your feelings better in written words. There's no interuptions and you can get everything out, right down to the point.

    I am married as well and things havent been the best in my marriage either but I do know that it is healthy to have one on one time with each other. Time to talk and express your thoughts and opinions and to see how your spouse is feeling about certain issues that are bothersome to you.

    One of the best times, I have learned, to have a heart to heart with my husband is after intmacy. You see intimacy, for men, helps relax them, helps them feel loved and appreciated and most of all its a huge stress reliever for them. So you may be able to strike up a serious converstation after you and your husband have made love. However, if this doesnt work you can always discuss it with him while your sitting at the table eating dinner(which by the way, I have found, is also good way to communicate).

    Hope this helps, I am by far no expert on marriage. I could use a few pointers too!LOL!

  9. #8
    Gold Member Relationship Coach's Avatar
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    I totally agree with Annie, you should be his number one support system. His commitment to his PhD is one thing but his lack of commitment to his marriage is very concerning. It seems he has developed selective tunnel vision! As a part of his support system, it is fair to say that you have every right to remind him of his responsibilities to you and your marriage. I don't buy for one minute that he is so busy he can't make time, the fact is he is being selfish with his time. This marriage is headed for splitsville if something isn't done quickly. Some may argue that you knew what you were in for because of his dreams of getting his PhD but a marriage is a partnership and that is missing from this equation. It's time to have a major sit down with him and discuss this in a non-confrontational way. Present it with pie charts and bar graphs as visual aides if that's what it takes, as long as your message gets through to him!

    Best of luck,

    RC
    The slightest impact can make the greatest change.

  10. #9
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    Stacey and RC, Thank you both for the responses.

    I recognize that my husband and I need to discuss how I've been feeling. I'm getting burnt out and that's not fair on either of us. However, I don't know that I can talk to him. I feel so guilty every time we discuss my feelings. I start thinking "Am I wasting his time?", "Is this going to make him resent me?", "Am I being unfair to him?". When I have thoughts like that running through my head, it's hard to have a productive conversation. Plus, I'm so sad all the time that as soon as we do have a chance to talk, I start crying. When I start crying, he says that we're not going to accomplish anything and that we're wasting time. I know he's right, me blubbering isn't going to fix anything, but I don't know how else to be. I appreciate the advice to talk to him, I guess now I am asking how. How do I talk to him, and communicate my feelings, when my feelings are obviously not helpful?

  11. #10
    Platinum Member kellbell's Avatar
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    Hey there,

    Your sitaution reminds me of my last long term relationship. My ex was incrediably busy, traveled and under a lot of stress...all due to his career. I was alone a lot. I spent many nights by myself, also his sense of time was really off so guesstimating a time he will be home was a challenge. Making dinner and plans was hard.

    One big mistake I made was keeping quiet and playing "nice" about my feelings of him being gone a great deal. I thought I was being the supportive and understanding girlfriend by not saying anything and making life a little easier for him on the homefront. BIG MISTAKE!!! By me not talking to him about how I felt and feeling left out and deserted...he has no idea things were bothering me...so in his eyes, things were fine and I was fine with it. Most of the time I was but there were many times when I needed him the most and he was not there. It was a dark cloud over our relationship and we grew apart.

    My advice to you, is talk to him about it. He is your husband...he married YOU...not his Ph.D. program. If you do not speak your concerns now, two things are going to happen. First, pent up resements on your end are going to pop up, no matter how hard you try to not let them. And he is going to have no clue where the heck they are coming from because you never talked to him about it. Which leads to the second thing, as far as he is concerned, you are content with these arrangements which in turn, leaves him no incentive to change them or to address your needs. Talk to to ASAP what you have revealed here. Marriage is not only about sacrifice, a big part of it is compromise.

    Best of luck to you.
    "Let your soul be your pilot, let your soul guide you, it will guide you well." Sting

    <---- me and my mom :)

    "Get busy living or get busy dyin', damn right..." Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption.

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