Skip to main content

How to Deal with a Workaholic Spouse

A workaholic spouse may not mean to be absent or inattentive, but you need some relief and cooperation to manage the pressure that inevitably results. Discover ways to save the relationship and your sanity.


  • Step 1: Maintain schedule Maintain a strict schedule. Avoid enabling the workaholic's erratic behavior. Don't adjust meal times and don't keep the kids up late to see the parent -- break the cycle.
  • Step 2: Sacrifice but speak Understand their pressures, but insist that they be sensitive to how this affects everyone else. You're not a saint, so speak up.
  • Step 3: Journal feelings Keep a journal of your feelings to air it out, and comfort yourself by tracking events and analyzing your situation. This is tough and for now you may be your best and only friend.
  • TIP: Don't convince yourself that they're suffering and want to get better. Workaholics may feel trapped at times, but nobody's stopping them from solving the addiction.
  • Step 4: Accept for a while Accept their workload as part of a short-term plan. Seventy-hour work weeks might make short-term sense, as long as both partners agree to a plan to cut back soon.
  • Step 5: Be good to yourself Create your own place of happiness and be good to yourself. Maintain sanity, not as a matter of selfishness, but for survival.
  • Step 6: Frame requests positively Frame requests for time and attention respectfully and in positive terms. Crabbing at the partner or fighting will only drive them away and encourage them to claim that no one understands.
  • Step 7: Schedule them Schedule free time for the two of you as a necessary ritual. Take bike rides and walks together, or go on date nights to establish timeouts for intimacy. Make your partner put it in the planner as any business client might expect them to do.
  • TIP: Studies have shown that after eight to 10 hours of work, productivity decreases. Everyone needs rest and balance.
  • Step 8: Find support Find a twelve-step program that deals with your particular problem. Whether or not you can convince a partner to go, sit in on a few sessions to get insight and support during the crisis.
  • Step 9: Attend therapy Go to couples or marriage therapy if necessary to discuss and get to the root of the problem. This is a partnership and you both need to be on the same page -- your relationship is worth it.
  • FACT: The English King Henry VIII legalized divorce in the 16th century, breaking from the Catholic church in order to do so.

You Will Need

  • Strength
  • Journal
  • Schedule
  • Support
  • Therapy

Popular Categories