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Exhausted Husband Working 84-Hour Weeks Considers Divorce After Wife Won’t Go Back To Work
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Exhausted Husband Working 84-Hour Weeks Considers Divorce After Wife Won’t Go Back To Work

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Burnout and overwork are massive problems that many employees deal with. And it’s a prevalent issue that affects not only people’s health and private lives but also their career ambitions. However, it’s incredibly rare to hear about someone who has been pulling 84-hour work weeks for the last 5 years.

This, however, isn’t a fairytale or an over-exaggeration. It’s reality for one exhausted redditor who has spent the last half-decade being the sole breadwinner. At the end of his tether, he asked his wife to go back to work. This turned into an argument that the OP called “a wake-up call.” You’ll find the full story, as well as how the AITA community came out in support of the man, below. Bored Panda has reached out to the author of the post via Reddit, and we’ll update the article as soon as we hear back from him.

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    Couples need to be on the same page when it comes to finances, expenses, and savings. Otherwise, it can lead to tension and friction

    Image credits: Mikhail Nilov (not the actual photo)

    A completely exhausted man, who pulls 84-hour weeks, turned to the internet for advice after opening up about the fight he had with his wife, who doesn’t work

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    Image credits: cottonbro studio (not the actual photo)

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    Image credits: SHVETS production (not the actual photo)

    The husband took some advice to heart and decided to start with a two-week vacation

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    Image credits: Many_Bunch_6678

    The man was working around 2.5 times the weekly average in the US

    To give some context, according to Statista, the average American employee worked 34.3 hours per week in July 2023. That means that the author of the viral Reddit post was working nearly 2.5 times more than the average person.

    Meanwhile, the average American worked 34.5 hours per week in 2022. Though this average does vary depending on the industry. For instance, someone in the mining and logging industry would pull around 45.5 hours per week in April 2023.

    That’s enough to make many employees burn out. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, 77% of workers have experienced burnout at their current jobs. And half have experienced it more than once.

    Burnout, according to psychologist Christina Maslach, from the University of California, Berkeley, has three main components. The first is physical and emotional exhaustion, followed by cynicism, and inefficacy. The latter means that employees blame themselves for not being able to handle the stress and perform well.

    Exhausted, burned-out employees are bound to feel irritable, and frustrated, and may feel like it’s difficult to enforce any healthy boundaries. They’re also likely to feel discouraged when thinking about the future. Healing from this means embracing quality rest. It can start by taking a long holiday and then having a heart-to-heart conversation with your boss about cutting back on your hours and workload.

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    Image credits: Andrea Piacquadio (not the actual photo)

    Burnout and exhaustion can have deeply negative effects on people’s lives

    There are two main issues at play here. The first one is that the author of the post has been run ragged for years, pulling insane shifts just to provide for his family. This sort of exhaustion isn’t something that’s going to automatically solve itself in a couple of weeks. It may take massive lifestyle shifts over many months to move towards any semblance of a healthy work-life balance.

    If the OP isn’t getting enough sleep, isn’t eating well, has no time to enjoy life, and hasn’t the energy to take care of his physical or mental well-being, sooner or later, he may end up in the hospital. And there would be nobody left to take care of his family then. Clearly, the Reddit user is incredibly tough and dedicated to his loved ones—two great values to have in life. However, nobody should be forced to sacrifice themselves like this.

    The second issue is one of support. Or rather, the lack of it. The OP shared on Reddit how he was essentially stuck. On the one hand, his wife (enabled by her therapist) was unwilling to return to work to help out with the financial situation. It also appeared as though she didn’t support her husband much by helping out with the chores or the cooking.

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    On the other hand, she seemed reluctant to change their lifestyle and live more modestly, in order to save money. Either one of these choices would mean that the post author would be able to cut back on how much he works. Choosing both would effectively solve the issue and give him back his freedom.

    Image credits: Myr Za (not the actual photo)

    Finding the right therapist who will help you heal is essential. This can take a while

    Nobody’s dismissing how serious an issue depression is. However, a good therapist is someone who helps their patients heal and grow, instead of keeping them in stasis for years. As the OP pointed out, there’s a massive difference between the therapist he saw together with his wife and the one she sees by herself.

    As we’ve covered on Bored Panda before, it’s absolutely essential that you find a therapist whom you click with. It might take some time, but finding a professional who understands you, is the right fit for you, and makes you feel like you can trust them, is worth it.

    One of the most essential things that therapists do is normalize their patients’ experiences by painting a broader picture. They’ll actively listen to their patients and make them feel heard and that their points of view are valid.

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    Trustworthy therapists will always be punctual and keep the focus on their patients, instead of themselves or their phones. However, a certain amount of discomfort is to be expected. Therapists aren’t like your friends: they will not tell you things just to make you feel like you’re always in the wrong. Their goal is to provide different perspectives in order to solve the issues at hand.

    Image credits: SHVETS production (not the actual photo)

    The guy revealed that his sleep has been suffering for the past half-decade

    The internet came out in support of the man and shared some practical advice on what to do next

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    Jonas Grinevičius

    Jonas Grinevičius

    Writer, BoredPanda staff

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    Storytelling, journalism, and art are a core part of who I am. I've been writing and drawing ever since I could walk—there is nothing else I'd rather do. My formal education, however, is focused on politics, philosophy, and economics because I've always been curious about the gap between the ideal and the real. At work, I'm a Senior Writer and I cover a broad range of topics that I'm passionate about: from psychology and changes in work culture to healthy living, relationships, and design. In my spare time, I'm an avid hiker and reader, enjoy writing short stories, and love to doodle. I thrive when I'm outdoors, going on small adventures in nature. However, you can also find me enjoying a big mug of coffee with a good book (or ten) and entertaining friends with fantasy tabletop games and sci-fi movies.

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    Jonas Grinevičius

    Jonas Grinevičius

    Writer, BoredPanda staff

    Storytelling, journalism, and art are a core part of who I am. I've been writing and drawing ever since I could walk—there is nothing else I'd rather do. My formal education, however, is focused on politics, philosophy, and economics because I've always been curious about the gap between the ideal and the real. At work, I'm a Senior Writer and I cover a broad range of topics that I'm passionate about: from psychology and changes in work culture to healthy living, relationships, and design. In my spare time, I'm an avid hiker and reader, enjoy writing short stories, and love to doodle. I thrive when I'm outdoors, going on small adventures in nature. However, you can also find me enjoying a big mug of coffee with a good book (or ten) and entertaining friends with fantasy tabletop games and sci-fi movies.

    Gabija Saveiskyte

    Gabija Saveiskyte

    Author, BoredPanda staff

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    Hi there! I am a Visual Editor at Bored Panda. My job is to ensure that all the articles are aesthetically pleasing. I get to work with a variety of topics ranging from all the relationship drama to lots and lots of memes and, my personal favorites, funny cute cats. When I am not perfecting the images, you can find me reading with a cup of matcha latte and a cat in my lap, taking photos (of my cat), getting lost in the forest, or simply cuddling with my cat... Did I mention that I love cats?

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    Gabija Saveiskyte

    Gabija Saveiskyte

    Author, BoredPanda staff

    Hi there! I am a Visual Editor at Bored Panda. My job is to ensure that all the articles are aesthetically pleasing. I get to work with a variety of topics ranging from all the relationship drama to lots and lots of memes and, my personal favorites, funny cute cats. When I am not perfecting the images, you can find me reading with a cup of matcha latte and a cat in my lap, taking photos (of my cat), getting lost in the forest, or simply cuddling with my cat... Did I mention that I love cats?

    What do you think?
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    POST
    fay_trezise avatar
    Fay Louise
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    This as appalling. As someone with serious long-term mental illness who's had a load of different therapy, her therapist is useless. Therapy - particularly in a breakdown situation like this - is most useful when you have clearly defined goals (in this case, returning to some form of paid employment). How the therapist goes about helping the client to that place depends on the sort of therapy they use (CBT, DBT etc) but the point is that there's a direction you move towards. And I've ALWAYS been encouraged to do what I can for myself in terms of personal hygiene (which slips when my mood drops), housework, cooking etc. Even if it's only been a small amount, to do *what I can*. The therapist is completely enabling the wife's wallowing in a situation that's comfortable for her and that keeps the therapy fees coming in.

    viviane_katz avatar
    -
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Great point - I hadn't thought about the therapist using the wife's burnout as a meal ticket.

    Load More Replies...
    wendillon avatar
    Monday
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    "I have a couples therapy session with my wife and her therapist" NO NO NO NO! I question the ethics of any therapist willing to do this. You do NOT give couples therapy to a couple where one half is already your client. You bring in the spouse from time to time sure, but you are not their primary couples therapist because you have to be in your client's corner. That's not fair to the partner.

    anne-karina avatar
    Anne
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I think it's what he meant, being brought in for a session together, as part of her therapy. He also stated they have a separate marriage counselor whose advice is different from her therapists.

    Load More Replies...
    sonja_6 avatar
    Sonja
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Healing one person can not go at cost of the other in any given relationship and I wonder in her 'therapist' is a crook trying to prolong her therapy as long as possible to milk her for easy income, because that's not what a professional therapist would ever recommend! This is NOT how therapy works! Taking away all responsibility is a short term thing, say, a few months maybe, after that, restoring a sustainable participation in life is the first goal, at least a full participation in private life should have happened within a year. A therapist will push you, no real therapist will have you lean back and do nothing for 5! Years! That's utterly ridiculous and the exact opposite of therapy! That guy has a freeloader on his hand, most likely due to the quack she's going to dragging along the therapy by telling her what she wants to hear making no progression in those 5 years. Maybe OP getting divorced is the push that his gf needs to find a real therapist

    Load More Comments
    fay_trezise avatar
    Fay Louise
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    This as appalling. As someone with serious long-term mental illness who's had a load of different therapy, her therapist is useless. Therapy - particularly in a breakdown situation like this - is most useful when you have clearly defined goals (in this case, returning to some form of paid employment). How the therapist goes about helping the client to that place depends on the sort of therapy they use (CBT, DBT etc) but the point is that there's a direction you move towards. And I've ALWAYS been encouraged to do what I can for myself in terms of personal hygiene (which slips when my mood drops), housework, cooking etc. Even if it's only been a small amount, to do *what I can*. The therapist is completely enabling the wife's wallowing in a situation that's comfortable for her and that keeps the therapy fees coming in.

    viviane_katz avatar
    -
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Great point - I hadn't thought about the therapist using the wife's burnout as a meal ticket.

    Load More Replies...
    wendillon avatar
    Monday
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    "I have a couples therapy session with my wife and her therapist" NO NO NO NO! I question the ethics of any therapist willing to do this. You do NOT give couples therapy to a couple where one half is already your client. You bring in the spouse from time to time sure, but you are not their primary couples therapist because you have to be in your client's corner. That's not fair to the partner.

    anne-karina avatar
    Anne
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    I think it's what he meant, being brought in for a session together, as part of her therapy. He also stated they have a separate marriage counselor whose advice is different from her therapists.

    Load More Replies...
    sonja_6 avatar
    Sonja
    Community Member
    10 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

    Healing one person can not go at cost of the other in any given relationship and I wonder in her 'therapist' is a crook trying to prolong her therapy as long as possible to milk her for easy income, because that's not what a professional therapist would ever recommend! This is NOT how therapy works! Taking away all responsibility is a short term thing, say, a few months maybe, after that, restoring a sustainable participation in life is the first goal, at least a full participation in private life should have happened within a year. A therapist will push you, no real therapist will have you lean back and do nothing for 5! Years! That's utterly ridiculous and the exact opposite of therapy! That guy has a freeloader on his hand, most likely due to the quack she's going to dragging along the therapy by telling her what she wants to hear making no progression in those 5 years. Maybe OP getting divorced is the push that his gf needs to find a real therapist

    Load More Comments
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