Just a busy guy

Writing the previous post, I started thinking about how my husband likes to stay busy.  All the time.  I wrote:

In this case, he wanted to take off for hours of running errands and shopping (places that are located an hour’s drive away), and leave the weekly cleaning and maintenance to ‘others’.  I wanted us to tackle it together, and then I’d have the peace of mind to do the shopping and errands with him tomorrow.  He says he doesn’t understand why I would expect him to help, when ‘others’ here could do that.

Reality check:  the collective ‘others’ will never do enough to please him.  I have never seemed to do enough to please him. He likes to decide what is worth his time, and then everything else belongs to ‘others’.  He’s had this same issue from the time we were newlyweds with no kids.  He resented sharing chores then too.  It was a control issue for him right from the start.

The irony is that he’s a busyaholic and a workaholic.  Not a work-to-succeed kind of thing, just stay busy.  He goes, goes, goes, and stays busy busy busy, in a way that you can see he’s driven somehow.
But there’s one huge unspoken rule:  IT MUST BE ONLY WHAT HE DECIDES TO DO, NOT WHAT MIGHT BE ASKED OF HIM.

To an outsider, this busyaholic would appear only to be a hard worker.  An outsider won’t know that it’s a way for him to feel good about himself, and to build resentments towards ‘others’.  An outsider won’t typically see the neglect of critical things that would mean so much to his family’s welfare, or his relationship with his wife or with his kids.

A couple of my kids joked once that if they saw their dad doing some kind of outside chore, then mom must have asked him to help with something inside. Yep yep.  I’d ask if he’d help me with a couple things, he’d seem to agree, then disappear.  Before long, I’d look out a window and see him coming in and out of the shed, or clipping branches, or just about anything as long as it was outside.

Oh, If he’s behaved badly, he’ll typically jump in and do dishes, or run a load of laundry, or sweep the floor etc.  During those times, I know that it’s going to get added to his silent running lists of why he’s a great husband and all around good guy, and I know that part of him usually also is resenting ‘others’ for not doing what he’s doing, but I just let him do it.  Why?  After all these years, I’ll take the practical benefits of his need to stay busy.

Projects that he can do more easily, or that he’s just better at than I am, will sit untouched.  Did I tell him that what I’d like most is to have a night off from cooking?  He won’t come to ‘help’ until it means that dinner will be late.

When he’s most helpful?  If I get to the ground down to practically drooling stage, if I’m so emotionally exhausted and depressed that I only want to do something mindless at my computer, then it’s like he jumps into a phone booth and emerges as Super Nice Helpful Pick Up the Slack from Pathetic Wife/Mom Guy.

It’s as though when the energy drains from me, it goes into him.  Energy vampire?

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6 Responses to Just a busy guy

  1. My husband is kind of obsessed with busyness; it depends on the task. He LOVES to fix things on cars. He also loves a certain kind of yardwork: pruning. I think he likes working on cars because he is capable and knows that his results probably will be good. He likes the second because he knows the results don’t matter. He enjoys being outside and can justify to himself spending as long as it “takes” to do the pruning (forever, in our yard!).

    Like

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Mine will find almost anything and everything to do, unless it’s something I really want or need him to. Outside is definitely a favorite here too, and yes, however long it takes!

      Like

  2. paescapee says:

    Yeah mine loved working on cars too, and ‘fixing’ anything. His idea of helping me in the garden was to discover something that needed ‘fixing’, sharpening or oiling and then vanish into his garage/workshop for hours. And I was expected to be grateful. PS- it was only after we divorced that I discovered that cars don’t need a FULL service three or four times a year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was my ex exactly…. He both always had something terribly important to do and managed to accomplish nothing. When it came to his family, I eventually realized that he would NEVER see any reason to do something he didn’t WANT to do. I wasn’t reason enough, not our relationship, our children, his family….. in the end, his opinion would always be that if he didn’t want to, he didn’t have any obligation to, and heaven help you if you asked….. Being resented for asking normal, small things of him (hold the baby so I can cook, take the trash out, listen to this sound my car’s making..) was exhausting and made me always on edge. I couldn’t trust him to be there for me. Should I be in a situation where I did have to ask for help, he’d roll his eyes and give me the list of “more important” things he needed to do. It was so demoralizing, and it’s something I’m still working to get past. I find often immediately apologize for asking for help from my new partner or from friends, instead of giving them the space to just be the normal, helpful, good people that they are.

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    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Lots of the stuff my husband does is ‘good’ stuff, but when his priority isn’t focused on our well being, it can mean our world is destabilized and lacking. Just sad.

      He used to use the phrase “I sacrificed my time for you,” until one day I heard it and my anger felt like a volcano.
      He doesn’t use those exact words anymore, but he finds other ways to express the same thing.

      I have to remind myself that there are some men who do the ‘good’ stuff while keeping the well being of those they love as an innate priority, not something they resent working for, but instead feel grateful to contribute to.

      At least… I hope those men are out there.

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  4. Pingback: This morning’s argument | my life in pajamas

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