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Partner always away for work, stress taking a toll on relationship and mental health

Community Member

Hi everyone,

my husband travels a lot for work, domestically at least twice a week and internationally about five times a year. I’m a self-employed mum who works at home while looking after our two-year-old, and another baby on the way.

Husband has just returned from two weeks abroad and I have found it extremely difficult on my own. Our two year old is going through a rough patch and not sleeping, which in turn means I have sleep deprivation and that seems to make my morning sickness worse. As such, I haven’t been able to complete work and deadlines are piling up. He’s come home and just completely oblivious (or unwilling to see) that I am extremely rundown, and this happens after most trips. Our intimacy is non-existent and I often feel alone. Because I freelance and work largely from home, he really doesn’t take my employment seriously (as I’m also not breadwinner), but the work is more for my mental balance than anything!

He maintains that he truly does believe in an equal parenting balance, but it doesn’t happen. I do all the running around and am left to do work in whatever night hours I can steal at the moment. When my husband is home, he’ll be on his computer catching up on work. I’ve sat down with him several times to explain my health is affected and I’d appreciate a cut down on work travel, at which point he gets defensive and quite sulky. I’m well aware there are other parents In his company and flexibility would be available if he asked for it.

I am absolutely terrified at the thought of not being able to handle two children and as such, feel incredibly incompetent. I’ve also suggested counselling but admittedly there’s been no follow-through from either of us.

Thank you to those who have read my rambling thus far. I’m just trying to get some advice on partners in a similar situation - how did you make the parenting balance truly equal for both of you? I do find it quite hard at the moment and the lack of balance or respect for my needs is really making me resentful and I do worry that I might be better off alone. I’d hate for our relationship to end on account of his work.

thank you 🙏🏼

1 Reply 1

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Bec2014~

Welcome, I have read your other posts from the last couple of years and have a fair idea of your life, and the anxiety you have to deal with, I'm also sorry to hear your two year old is not doing that well at the moment.

I think the first thing to say is it looks to me like you do a mighty job, morning sickness, one child, another on the way, plus working plus running a household. All of these are taxing and you like everyone else only have so much to give. So I don't blame you for worrying about wahhat happens when your next bub arrives.

Trying to do it all by yourself should not be necessary, even if the work you do does not bring in as much money as your partner that should not make a difference.

Rearing children and being together as a family is a two-person job, not one person being away living virtually a separate life and supplying money, the other doing all the work at home and looking after the children.

You said that your husband has paid lip-service to an equal partnership but in fact continues on as before. I guess the fact he gets defensive and sulky about the number of trips probably indicates he knows he is not doing the right thing.

It is small wonder you are starting to feel resentful, as your needs are simply being disregarded.

You mentioned counseling and I think that would be a good idea, both for you, as this is a very unequal relationship and you need guidance how to deal with that, creating boundaries and rules. Also counseling for you both together.

May I ask if you are having any treatment for the anxiety condition you mentioned in the past? I'd think now would be a good time to return to it if not -what do you think?

I'd also like to ask if there is anyone to support you, maybe in your family or a friend? Someone to share your feelings with , listen and care, maybe also give hand with your two-year old or around the house.?

A parting thought is that if nothing else it might be possible for your family budget stretch to some paid help each week - not an ideal answer but better than nothing if your husband does not turn around.

Feeling incompetent is just plain silly, anyone would feel just as you do.

I do hope you come back and talk more