I’ve just been reading another blog from an Australian woman who is a long term expat, and what she wrote resonated with me.
She had the courage to write on her blog about the distance between her and her husband due to his long work hours, and her impending solo trip home for a small operation. The kids and husband are staying put and life will go on, thanks to the live in helper/aupair and their friends at the International School.
She wrote about them being too busy/too sad to talk about how they were feeling, and that the distance between them was growing and how they were walking on egg shells with each other …. But she knew that in time they would come back to the same spot and be ‘one’ again. They just had to ride this one out together, but individually as circumstances weren’t allowing for it to happen any other way.
Thanks to her I was inspired to have some courage and share the reality of the past 4-6 months here (which is nearly half the time we’ve been in the UK)
DH has been working mad long hours since well before the Olympic Games started. We all thought phew, the Games are done, the project went extremely well, client very happy, senior management of DH’s company even happier, life will return to some normality.
DH is leaving the house around 7am. MissM says goodnight to him over the phone or via Whatsapp while I ask ‘will you be home for dinner’ knowing full well the answer is no.
I think it’s rude of me not to ask, and to assume he’ll not be home for dinner.
I expect him home for dinner. I plan for it, and most of the time the food sits in the fridge or gets tossed.
Anyone whose stayed with us know how late we eat. It’s simply to keep DH company. It’s the least we can do after he’s been working all day and we’ve been out’n’about. Either MissM eats on her own, or he eats on his …….. and I’m not eating at 6pm.
But I can’t eat at 9.30pm or later any more. It’s playing havoc with my weight and my sleeping. I’ve no idea how he manages, but one of us has to stay fit and healthy and at the minute that’ll be me.
So, I’m eating with MissM and going to bed around 10pm (which is early for me by a couple of hours).
Its amazing what an early dinner and a good nights sleep does for you.
DH is so exhausted from his 17-hour days. It takes him an hour or so to unwind from work, and he’s up at least an hour before he leaves, sometimes two to prepare reports from the nights upgrades – which leaves a max of 5 hours to sleep.
He sleeps in on Saturday (unless MissM wakes him) and we wait for him to appear downstairs.
All he wants to do is chill-ax and who can blame him, but we want family time; we want to go out and explore, or wander a High Street, or hang out with friends but he’s shattered. So we compromise and spend Saturday at home doing ‘stuff’ and (fingers crossed) we go out on Sunday.
Not sure I believe in soul mates, but if I did, DH would be mine. From the moment we met we started talking (hard to believe if you know him, but trust me he can talk when he wants), and laughing (he has a wicked, dry sense of humour) but we don’t do much of either lately.
The one or two friends I’ve confided in say things like ‘at least he’s not at the pub’ or ‘well, it’s the life you’ve chosen’ or ‘you could always come home’ or ‘he’s not paid the big bucks to do nothing’ and yes, he’s not at the pub, and the life we chose was to live overseas to further his career, not be a single parent Monday – Friday, no point coming home cos there’s no job for him, and the big bucks, I wish!
So, like many wives of senior managers who have got the work/family balance completely out of whack, it’s up to me to remind him (not nag, tho there’s a fine line sometimes) about coming home early, or making a special dinner, committing to plans with friends on a Saturday night whether he’s up for it or not, he just has to be. Allowing MissM to wake him on the w/end so they can have some time together.
I feel like I’m betraying his confidence, even tho we’ve spoken at length about the situation. Blogging about it is very personal and different (especially knowing friends are reading it) but then again, if the friends were closer we’d be talking about it so writing about it isn’t that crazy.
It’s not just the woes of an expat wife. A few weeks ago, I was out for drinks with a group of ladies and one of them was saying how she has also become a single parent Monday – Friday as her husband took a promotion last year and it’s gone out of control. She hates it. She’s told him that he can rent an apartment in London mid week and come home on the weekends provided his laptop and mobile phone stay off in London, or don’t bother.
She and I don’t really know each other that well, but I offered her a lift home and blah! It all came out simply because when she asked me if DH managed ot get home in time to be with MissM I replied, gosh no he’s still working mad hours well she let rip.
She wants her husband back. The kids want their dad back. She wants to have sex. She wants romance back. The kids want him to watch them play Saturday morning sports. She wants to be able to invite friends over or go out on a Saturday night with him. She wants to talk to him face-to-face and not via emails, whatsapp or FB messages. She’s started to make decisions without consulting him which hurts his feelings, but she can’t always wait for him to be ‘awake’ enough to discuss. She can't understand how he doesn't just say NO more often.
We said our goodnights. She apologised fro being so personal and I said, it was no problem at all and I was glad to have been there to listen (sticky beak that i am). The truth is i related to much of what she was saying. She texted me the next day and said how lovely it was to meet and spend the time chatting and would i like to meet for coffee.
While we both want/need our husbands 'back', having a girlfriend who understands helps as you realize it's not just you,
PS: places and situations were altered slightly to hide who my friend might be .... however the conversation is truthful.