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Parallax - Advice            March 12, 2001

  His mate's working late...

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My wife and I have been married for about a year and a half. We both have very demanding jobs that sometimes keep us late at work. Recently, my wife has been working ten to fifteen-hour days on a proposal that is due at the end of the month. After she comes home, we only have one to two hours together before she goes to sleep. Needless to say, we haven't had sex in weeks. I'm making every effort to understand her situation, but it's hard. Am I being blind? Am I missing any signs? She tells me she loves me, and says the long working hours will soon be over, but this is really putting a strain on our relationship. Any suggestions or advice?

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Her view:

Dear Overtime,

I'd give her time to get through her deadline. Why don't you seduce her on the weekends, or swing by her office for dinner so you get some time together? Lack of sex isn't great, but it sounds like you're both just exhausted. Be supportive. It will soon be over and you'll be able to get back to a normal lifestyle.

In the meantime, find ways to make her excited to see you, rather than concerned about time commitments and problems. Bring flowers home. Send notes to her office - do whatever little things you know she'll like. This way she'll be looking forward to meeting her deadline and having time to be with you again.

The worst thing you could do is to complain and tell her about all the problems she is causing for your relationship. Wait it out, be super nice, and your wife will be back - one day post-deadline.

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His view:

Dear Overtime,

A bad stretch of long hours at the office is not uncommon, and nothing to get strained about. It happens to almost everyone these days - hopefully she's getting adequate compensation.

The trick is managing the rest of your lives when this happens. She doesn't appear to be doing a very good job (maybe this is because she's a rookie, and hasn't had time to figure it out). She's taking you, and the relationship, for granted - a big mistake.

Give her until the end of this project to see if things go back to normal. If they don't, the problem may be philosophical. If she prioritizes her career over her marriage, a significant overhaul may be needed. A man can't survive on love alone, let alone love professed, but unconsummated.

Regarding your suspicions that her late nights are not as lonely as yours - unless she has a track record of cheating, I suggest you give your imagination a rest.

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