Question: Dear Luise: My wife is a very successful, .com CEO. I’m doing well, too, but I’m not married to my job. I am also not very married to her because she is never available. I see her when she is exhausted, stressed, distracted and either crashing or on the run. I don’t think that is what either of us had in mind when we chose each other for life-partners. I know it sure wasn’t my goal in life to live with a ghost. I have heard of women complaining about this, but it is getting more common than you may realize for the husband to be the one who is left behind. Can you help? Tom
Answer: Dear Tom: I hadn’t heard about this phenomenon but I can’t say I’m surprised. I have heard of career women who feel they must do all of the housework, take care of the kids and wait on a traditional, “our home is your job” husband, but it doesn’t feel like that’s what’s going on here. You come across as too concerned.
You are right, of course. We don’t set out to become estranged. It can be pretty insidious and often there is the “I’m doing this for us” component. However, in your situation it sounds like your wife has lost control of her life and desperate measures are indicated ASAP. Your concern is well founded.
The first thing you are going to have to do is get her attention. This dangerous situation can’t be addressed until you do. It seems to me that she is in danger, physically and emotionally, as is your relationship. Make an appointment with her. Get on her calendar and into her day-planner. Insist on it. Then, present a clear picture of your experience and concerns.
What happens next depends on her reaction. If she asks for time, let her know that it is running out. If she doesn’t see the problem, it is bigger than you thought. If she wants to work on it, brainstorm together on how you can create your lives being something beyond “The End”…because that’s where you are. If you both want to get off the merry-go-round and don’t know how, find a highly recommended and gifted therapist to help you.
Good for you for calling it as you see it, and looking toward resolution. Blessings, Luise