QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Work & Finances

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I am married to a workaholic. He works seven days a week. I have had to schedule our marriage counseling appointments as late as 9p.m. Even then, he calls and cancels the appointments over half of the time. I have decided to leave this marriage. Do you have any advice?

Answer

Your husband may be "addicted" to work. A marriage counselor is in the position to assess this, however. Work addiction is the exclusive devotion to work at the expense of any family or social life in the absence of clear financial need (i.e. wanting to buy a new luxury car is not a clear financial need). Work "addicts" often cling to the safe organized world of work with its clear goals, rather than involve themselves in relationships where the boundaries and goals are less clear.

Individuals married to work "addicts" may want to obtain some individual counseling around the issues of being married to an addict. There may even be support groups in their local area. Spouses of "work addicts" have to accept the fact that they cannot change the "addict."

The "work addict's" "addiction" to work is probably related to inner needs and conflicts, which the spouse cannot solve. In counseling, the spouse can then decide if they wish to remain in the marriage and cope, even though the "addict" may never change, or if they are better off looking for another relationship that may better meet their emotional needs.

3/12/98

Annemarie Infantino Murphy, Ph.D.

 

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