Should He Give Up Dating For Good?



Name: Paul
Question: I am 34 years old, no children, and recently divorced. My question concerns women’s expectations of their husband’s work hours. I have worked in manufacturing for over 10 years, and have worked my way up the ladder to a very decent paying job, especially considering where I live. Yes, I know money is not everything, but I would never give up my job for a relationship. My wife of 4 years left me partly because of how often I worked. I usually only have 1 day off a week, and she increasingly complained I worked too much. She knew going into the marriage that I worked a lot, so it’s not like I sprung a huge surprise on her after we got hitched. She expected me to pay all the bills, even though she worked part-time, but I was OK with that because I could afford to do that, with a little money leftover to spare. I rarely spent money on myself anyways. To make a long story short, she eventually cheated on me with one of her co-workers, leading to our divorce.

I am debating whether I even want to try dating again, and need some advice. If I work 10 to 12 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week, are there SOME women out in the world who are OK being with a guy like this? Or am I being unreasonable, and I should not date at all? Am I being selfish by expecting a woman that is OK with my work schedule? I realize that different people have different needs, and I would suspect that MOST women would like their husbands to be home more often. I am ok with that, and would never attempt to force a relationship based on that assumption. I feel like I have a lot to offer because I consider myself a gentleman, I am financially stable, I am respectful to everyone, I own my house and vehicle, I am fiercely loyal and would never cheat on my spouse, and I won’t even consider having sex with a woman until I know her very well, AND she is 100% comfortable with it. So should I try dating again or just give up?
Age: 34

You seem shocked that your schedule might negatively impact your relationship. Of course it would! You were never around. I’m not surprised she cheated on you BECAUSE YOU WERE NEVER THERE.  That doesn’t make it right, of course, but it takes two to tango.You’re as responsible as she is for keeping your relationship together. You can’t expect to be absent from it 75% of the time and still have it thrive.

There are probably some women out there who would be accepting of your schedule, but they’d probably work a similar schedule. But, I mean, at a certain point you would have to re-evaluate your career choice. You want to work twelve hours a day, never see your kids, and have your partner raise them on her own? That’s a pretty tall order. As is working 80 hours a week and rarely seeing your wife. That much time apart can create a very deep divide.  Couples need to check in with each other and re-connect from time to time.

I don’t get why these women you date have to be the ones to make concessions. Why is the onus not on you, too? You thought that because you were supporting the two of you that might compensate for you never being around. We want more than an ATM. We want a partner. Instead of working twelve hours a day, try to work ten. Make it a point to try and be home at a reasonable hour once or twice a week so you two can hang out and talk. And have sex. I mean, dude, come on. If you’re working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, that has to wreak havoc on your sex life.

If you’re going to ask a woman to accept your insane work schedule, you need to compromise, too.


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19 Responses to “Should He Give Up Dating For Good?”

  1. AnnieNonymous Says:

    Yeah, this guy isn’t ready for a relationship. When I say “not ready” I don’t mean it as a value judgment. I mean that he’s created a lifestyle that makes it hard for anyone else to be a part of it. There was a point in his life where he decided to prioritize his career over his social life and relationships, and I don’t think he has realized that he’s still doing that. The only woman who wants to be with someone like that is someone who just wants to spend her husband’s money and doesn’t mind spending a lot of time alone or with her own friends.

    Paul, when you work a 12-hour workday, you’re really investing 15-16 hours in the process of waking up, getting ready, commuting, and then actually working, to say nothing of the commute home and then the wind-down time that everyone needs. You basically have 16 hours of your day locked up 6 days of the week. You’re sleeping for the remaining 8 hours. Relationships aside, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re neglecting other aspects of a healthy work/life balance.

  2. Nia Says:

    When you work that schedule, you’re sending the message “work is my priority”. It’s not “wrong” in the overall sense, it’s not a…crime. But it’s “not compatible with relationship life” as they say.

    Money is not enough. Most women can make their own money. And even if they can’t or won’t (for whatever reason) I can state with certainty that 90% of women would rather have a husband around more than cash (after a certain point, as long as the bills are paid). Have you seen “Casino”?

    Sam Rothstein is a millionaire–hell, he might even be a billionaire adjusted for inflation. He’s a charismatic and one might even say sexy man. He’s *crazy* about his beautiful wife, Ginger. She’s a hustler who’s 200% in it for the money. He gives her a chinchilla coat (the most expensive fur coat there is). He moves her into their top of the line, full furnished home. He has a child with her. He gives her a lavish wedding. (He’s not an angel, I’m not saying that!)

    And there’s a scene where she sits down to dinner, mid-way into their marriage and gets a good table and snaps “Might as well get something out of it for being Mrs. Rothstein.” He works 7 days a week, and 16 hour days. He’s never home.

    Let that marinate. A hustler is bitter. Over her sugar daddy husband’s absence from their “marriage”.

    Now, granted a Scorcese movie isn’t life!

    But there’s a lot of truth in that. Money is everywhere. Love is rare.

    • BTownGirl Says:

      Ginger was a grifting nutcase who was whacked out on drugs for half the movie, so I think there might be better examples haha! It sounds like the LW lives in an area with little economic opportunity, so I don’t think a big career change is really possible here. I think Moxie’s advice to make his hours a little more reasonable and make a real effort in the sex/romance department is probably the most practical.

      To the LW, my boyfriend works some crazy hours and the advice I would add is that making the effort to take a long weekend away together here and there is a big help! My job is super-flexible as far as hours and working from home, so him making the effort to get away when he can makes me feel appreciated/special and not like I’m always the one who has to compromise. Make sure you use that PTO and good luck!

      • fuzzilla Says:

        My sister’s husband is loaded and they do take lavish vacations, but the impression I get is that he’s largely absent in her day-to-day life because he’s usually in work-work-work mode. There’s compromise in everything, even if you do land a Mr. Big.

        Yeah, I think the long weekend getaways thing is a good idea for the OP once he’s in a relationship. I get the impression that right now he’s still pretty raw and beat up about the ex-‘s cheating and not really in a good place emotionally to date right now. Carve out some time for therapy, dude, ain’t no shame. This is your life, make it what you want it to be.

        • BTownGirl Says:

          I don’t think any of us know exactly what goes on in anyone’s relationship, so hopefully your brother-in-law isn’t really absent. Admittedly, I’m the type of person who loves having two solid hours to make dinner in peace, so I’m unbothered haha! Totally agree that the LW has to deal with the suck-fest that is being cheated on first and foremost!

  3. BRM Says:

    I work corporate which equates to nine hour days and being on call in some sense around the clock, but I try to create boundaries. It ends up being 9.5 hours average. If you have a lot of seniority they might let you work less, the question is do you really want to? This may or may not be the case for you, but some folks are work alcoholics as a form of escape.

    With that said these days making a living is not easy, and plenty of folks have walked away from big time jobs only to go broke and find themselves back at their desks. It’s easy to say work less when you’re not the one working, but in many cases if you pull back too much from a 9-5 (or 8 to 6-7-8) job you might be replaced. Transitioning to a new career often means taking a huge pay cut, one which many spouses might not take well if they’ve gotten used to a certain level of living.

    One issue to consider is did you ever communicate with your ex-wife that if she wanted you home more, she needed to get a better job herself? Again I go back to were you using your job to escape issues in your marriage?

    I agree with Moxie you can’t have a relationship and work huge amounts of hours, which is why so many relationships I think are coming apart at the seams these days (because to survive many people have to work a lot of hours). I make 6 figures in NYC and that’s really not a lot for surviving here, I couldn’t make close to that in an easy going 35 hour a week non-profit.

    I think to seriously start dating you need at least a couple of free evenings and importantly as moxie points out the desire to meet someone in the middle.

    It’s really a question of do you want a girlfriend or to maintain your level of ambition at work? I also think if you do get into a relationship again it’s helpful to know what you want from the women as well as what you can give and openly discuss how everyone can get their needs met. Any happy relationship is always a two-street. While relationships will fall apart because of money issues, emotional issues are a close second.

    Best of luck to you!

  4. fuzzilla Says:

    Hmm. I have mixed feelings on this. A lot of the female commenters here seem really hyper-focused on a man’s paycheck. Sure, you want someone who can provide for a family (if that’s what you want), but a lot of women seem to want private schools and nannies and a lot of shit you really don’t need for a happy and stable life. What do I know, I live in Iowa, date a teacher, and never wanted kids. Point being – you want a man like that, his lifestyle probably looks a lot like the OP’s. A lot of women with rich husbands are very lonely in my experience.

    But yes, if he wants a relationship, he does have to nurture it and make it a priority. I’m kinda sensing that he’s not really over his ex-. All his questions seem to be variations of, “Is any new woman I try to date gonna do XYZ exact thing my ex- did?”

    • Parenting Says:

      Good point on the still feeling the burn from the divorce.

      To answer his question, yes, there are definitely women who will date you and not cheat. There are women who marry men with worse schedules than yours including long distance truck drivers, consultants who travel monday through friday, and plenty of lawyers and medical interns. Hell, there are women who get into LTRs with married men who have got to be less available then the OP. The problem is this sort of thing is a lot easier to manage when you are dating then married. I would target women who have high career aspirations and wont be sitting around the house bored while eyeing the pool boy during the OPs long work days.

      • sandra Says:

        Somehow from the OP’s letter, I doubt he lives in an area with an abundance of single ( or even married) women who have idle time to ogle the pool boy. Seems like he is in a town or region where most are normal , hard-working people trying to get by.

  5. Laura Says:

    I think the main question isn’t whether there are women who would be OK with such work schedule (some would, for financial reasons if nothing else), but rather how you think you could get to truly know someone if you’re not spending any time with them. Relationships take time and effort to evolve and it’s just not possible if you’re physically not there.

    I’d understand if it was a short or a medium term plan until you’ve racked up enough savings you could relax and take it easier, in which case I’d suggest you wait until your goal is met before you get serious about dating. But if you’re really so set in your ways and don’t plan on making any changes or compromise, then yeah, it could be very difficult.

  6. SB Says:

    I’m not married. I’d like to get that out of the way up front. I do, however, have friends and many close family who are and I watch them. Here’s what I’m going to tell you:

    Date night.

    All the “successful” (from my vantage point. Of course, I’m an outsider but it seems to work) couples do this. Have one night a week where you come home at a reasonable hour (this is an 8 hour workday), go out with the wife and make it special. Some couples have date DAY, but based on your work schedule I’m guessing an entire day – your only one off – devoted to spending with the woman in your life is not going to be feasible. (we all need sleep, down time, chore time, thinking time, whatever else time, etc).

    So, work those long hours, make it clear to everyone this will be a limited time situation, and compromise for one night a week. You still need your day off so don’t even think about working on that 7th day. Your mental and physical health will go out the window. Take a night off, treat your wife – with SEX and romance – and this might be enough.

    You aren’t ready for this compromise yet, so I think you need time to be single and to decompress from your marriage/divorce situation. But when you are ready, months down the line, this is the path to take.

    Good luck to you.

  7. Speed Says:

    OP, my life looks very similar to the yours, so I can empathize. I think the key is getting someone who is truly on the same page with you as far as what a relationship (or marriage) is. Every woman (or every person) likes fat wallets, but a lot of people don’t understand that—unless you’re on a trust fund—fat wallets are only the result of very long hours.

    The woman you finally end up will likely be one who sees relationships in conventional (or, a cynic might say “transactional”) terms. You the breadwinner, she the homemaker (which is not a 9-5 job, by the way, and can be just as draining as being a senior executive or multi-shift factory worker). Or maybe she’s got her own career and you combine your fat wallets to start generating fantastic wealth.

    In either of these scenarios, the relationship doesn’t have to lack intimacy or love, or trust, but the conventional “partnership” arrangement of it has to be fully acknowledged. She has to in fact value that kind of relationship highly: because she loves money, or stability, or she’s religious, or socially conservative or some mix or whatever.

    But if she’s the kind of woman who writes in her profile that she is looking for “long walks on the beach,” “socializing with a mix of old and new friends” and “dropping everything for a year in Peru,” and otherwise wants a dizzyingly exciting lifestyle of constant change, leisure and freedom, she’s probably not for you. This kind of female fantasist is heavily overrepresented on dating sites. Don’t get chagrined by them, just skip over them.

    I’ll get 100 downvotes, but I don’t think you should cut back on your career. Money is very hard to get, and a lot of guys don’t have enough (and in such cases, you’ll be roundly ridiculed by these same commenters for being “broke.”)

    Your future Ms. Right, I think, has to be a woman who appreciates a “grinder” like you and is willing and eager to sign on for that. I think there are millions of women just like that. Just know your audience.

    • BTownGirl Says:


    • UWSGal Says:

      This is very true. In this kind of situations, it is damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If he stops working long hours and ends up making less money, he can be just as easily branded as a “loser” who can’t support his family. I would not alter my life or forego earnings to placate some future theoretical girlfriend. Further, a mature woman will underatand how hard it is to make money these days and will be supportive. He just needs to find the right woman. I, for one, would love to have a man like that. I prefer my man doing man-thing (working) rather than sitting on a couch talking about his feelings or helping me chane diapers.

      • sandra Says:

        I think in his case dating will be more difficult than a live-in girlfriend or marriage. You have to make tome for date nights or it just fizzles. He will need to make an effort and possibly shave off some work hours here and there. It sounds like he has a decent job in an region with lacking in good paying jobs, so one can understand his reluctance to cut back.

  8. Eliza Says:

    Anything worthwhile, including a relationship, or even friendship requires consistently, time and effort in order to thrive. Working that many hours every week, for 6 days a week leaves the OP without any quality time to get any relationship off ground…and then maintain it like that. Unless the OP meets a woman just interested in his financial portfolio. And yes, plenty of successful men who manage investment funds, work those hours–and also travel for work! But guess what? I know of plenty of them that are divorced…because they are absent. What woman wants to be left with all the demands of a household, raising children on her own….she’s basically a nanny then, having to parent on her own…like a single parent. We all need time and attention to stay bonded. I once met a man that worked 6 days a week and was off on Mondays only! AND there were times he CHOSE to work that Monday to get overtime…and it was quite evident–he was not claiming financial hardship either–he was greedy for more monetary gain. Yet, he wanted to date me. It was a NO for me…there was no compromising from him.
    He didn’t want to give up anything for his quest. You can’t have it your way, all the way, without giving up an inch.

  9. UWSGal Says:

    Plenty of people work these hours (very common in finance, law, medicine) and make relationships work. It actually works better if the other partner is NOT working same hours but is able to self-entertain. I think most wealthy suburbs of NYC are occupied by women doing yoga and PTA while their husbands work 100hr weeks. Totally normal.

  10. Sarah Says:

    Honestly, I think the answer to the work schedule question is: It depends on your job. In my experience, I kind of expect that both I and the person I’m dating will work about 10 hours per day, on average. In my experience, that’s normal for any professional, white collar job. We’re type A, and we don’t have unions. We also, sometimes, work six-day weeks, or have to travel. I don’t know of many jobs that are 9-5 anymore, aside from the unskilled ones. If I was dating someone who regularly put in half-days or who was always home first to make dinner, I’d assume that person wasn’t very motivated.

    All that being said, I wholeheartedly believe in not working hard at a dead-end job. I don’t know your situation, but take stock. Are you getting ahead by putting in extra time, or not? If you are, I don’t think a grown woman would hold your work schedule against you.

  11. Terra Says:

    Wow…i read several of the comments in response to this gentleman’s question. I actually saw nothing wrong with what he is and was doing. But i guess it is because i also work a job in manufacturing and the company tells the employees how we will be working, which is 14 days straight which in turn boils down to i have two Sundays a month off and that is it, granted every once in awhile that may change but not very likely. Theres also lots of overtime hours that we as employees cant control. So i would tell this gentleman to keep searching for that special one cause she is out there and when he finds her she will be understanding of his work schedule and will do all it takes to make a relationship work. It just takes a very understanding woman to accept this particular kind of lifestyle. Hopefully he can find that special person one day.

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