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He wants a break. How do I handle this?

 
 
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 10:04 am
Hi everyone,


Resume: Boyfriend (30, very successful) and I (23, well educated with a good a job) have been dating for five months now. The relationship started off very intensely and we got serious from the start. He has been an amazing partner and until recently I could not wish for more. Constant communication, romantic dates, meeting each other's families, wedding parties etc.

The way things escalated: He has a highly demanding job in a leading investment bank, therefore I was warned at the start that work might take over at some point. I accepted it considering my own busy lifestyle and we went on with our lives. The last three weeks have been awfully strenuous for us as he's been working 100+ hours with no weekends. Needless to say, seeing each other has been impossible and trying to be understanding got harder.

Issue: I couldn't handle the lack of usual amounts of communication any longer and upon having a very hard time with my family, I needed him and his support. He seemed somewhat reserved and although wanting to understand the situation, he did not seem overly worried about my feelings. Because I was emotional and an absolute wreck at that time, I sent a message later that evening saying that I understand how demanding work is but that things are different, perhaps he's not happy with me and maybe we are not right for each other. His response was dry, stating that "I am busy with work and don't really have any spare time. So things aren't the same. Maybe we'd be better off taking a break for a while."
I knew he was expecting my response for good couple of hours (could see him typing but not sending the messages) and I contemplated saying either "Take as long as you need, I am done " or "Let's discuss in person and see if it's worth it in the long shot" but instead decided to break the pattern of strongly demanding and emotionally charged conversations that I introduced. Therefore, I joked saying "Maybe. After the break do we go on a date or straight to bed?" (Inside joke), his response was obvious and I could see he was relieved. We sent a few more light-hearted messages.

I don't know what to do here - I have feelings for him, yet his attitude baffled me. I expected more because he was constantly giving more before. However, I was fully aware what work could be like for him and people with his profession. I also knew work would come first more often than not. Yet, he either was not man enough to end it while already doing so in his head or truly couldn't handle stress at work, no time to sleep and my demands, ultimately resulting in suggesting space. Do I go on with my life and see how it pans out or should I give it a month and then completely disregard him?

Thanks!
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 1,306 • Replies: 8
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Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 11:17 am
@Elizabethk,
I can understand his side a little bit.

I work in a cyclical type of job - in that when we are busy we are flat out. Not quite as bad as he sounds, but working to midnight isn't unheard of along with the weekends.

My question - how long does this demanding part of his job last? If it is less than a month then to me, just wait it out. When his job becomes more normal again - sit down and have a conversation. Work out how to handle both of your needs when he is crazy busy. He should be able to spare some time to communicate with you. He may not be able to get back to you right away, but maybe you could work out a time where you call each other (if he is so crazy busy he can't see you) - or maybe you can meet up while he takes a 15 minute or half hour to have coffee/eat.

Even when he is really busy he should make some time for you -- but on the flip side you need to understand there will be much less communication during those times. Another thought is to have one sort of way to contact each other if there is a real serious/emergency sort of thing - but don't abuse it with something like --- my roommate is annoying me -- use it for something in which you really need him.

Now if this is something ongoing and not just cyclical - you need to decide if it is worth it for you. If it isn't just cyclical you are dating a man that is for lack of another term married to his job and you are second. Do you want to be second? Whereas if it is simply cyclical or during certain times -- then you are first; but during the demanding times you will need to temporarily step down to second.
Elizabethk
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 03:38 pm
@Linkat,
Thank you!

I wouldn't necessarily say that his job is cyclical but there are calmer and busier times. As it is a job in an investment bank, the hours can be very demanding for weeks but there are also generally normal periods. When we started dating, things were overall balanced. We did not have a full weekend together until two months in the relationship because he would have to be in the office after breakfast. However, there were days through the week when he would be out before me and waiting for me with dinner cooked or even getting a chance to grab a drink with colleagues before I manage to get to him.

He is currently going over logistics for a massive promotion and therefore has more on his plate, also a big project got allocated making it hard to predict when the hectic schedule would end. As we haven't seen one another for three weeks and I agreed on giving us a break, there is nothing in my opinion that I could do but give him space. As you suggested, when times are calmer and if he comes back to me, I would have an open discussion of what our expectations are whenever work demands his full attention. Clear foundations need to be established and I can only then see myself being able to fully accept the lack of attention and commitment of time.

I truly don't mind the fact he is a workaholic and can be consumed by work and work alone for periods of time. Provided he is still the person he was beforehand, I can easily deal with it and actually find it refreshing.

I suppose I have to wait and see if he comes back to me. Either way, the outcome would be fairly positive - either he was not invested enough or he does return and we build a clear foundation.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 03:42 pm
@Elizabethk,
Elizabethk wrote:
Clear foundations need to be established


you do realize you haven't been dating that long

establishing foundations and all that ... you're not really in a position to be making demands

keep on with your life, date other people

if he is interested in something more serious with you in the future he'll let you know
Elizabethk
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 03:54 pm
@ehBeth,
If I am to give him a shot when/if he returns we would eventually need to establish clear foundations of what each of us expect whenever he is preoccupied with work. It would make things easier for both parties to communicate how we each see things.

I wouldn't date other people until I am emotionally detached enough. Meaning, I would give us both space and wait for certain amount of time before jumping onto dating other people.

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PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 May, 2016 10:44 pm
He is in a very intense vocation and 30.
You don't say what you are doing now and are 23.

My point is that you are miles apart in stages in life and you need to decide if you can take this. He is career building. Expect the long hours while he works up the corporate ladder.
Elizabethk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 May, 2016 02:15 am
@PUNKEY,
True, he is turning 30 in a few weeks and climbing up the corporate ladder with the speed of light.
As for me, I just finished grad school and starting to work in the corporate world but have no desire to earn as much as he does , hence work would always be far less heavy.

If things are to bounce back, I suppose I would have clear understanding of what life is with him when he is incredibly busy. Do you suggest I wait it out and see if/when he returns?
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 May, 2016 03:11 am
@Elizabethk,
It's also possible he'll become more intense about work as he moves up. Some people just never get enough.
Elizabethk
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 May, 2016 04:07 am
@roger,
It is highly likely he will but if relationship is on another level and we live together, then I truly wouldn't mind the intensity of work. I think it is all about touching base.
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