‘My husband is married to his career – why does he not make time for us?’

illustration of a woman

‘He even worked over the Christmas holidays’ (Photo: Neil Webb / Metro.co.uk)

‘I’m in a fairly new relationship with a man I really like.

He is very successful and I admire him for that but he works a lot, that does not leave us much time. He even worked during the Christmas holidays.

He wants to plan our time together in advance because of his schedule and he is not as present as ever.

He checks his phone and emails often, and sex feels hasty. I told him I would like that foreplay to last longer, but that has not changed.

He told me when we met that he felt lonely, wanted a relationship and to be in love, but he is definitely that guy who is married to his career.

What should I do?

The reciprocal character of a happy relationship is clearly what your new partner is struggling with.

“His work meets many of his personal requirements – self-esteem, respect, authority, challenge and distraction,” says Dr Angharad Rudkin. “But what he does not get from it is intimacy.”

While you are willing to offer him closeness and connection, he does not seem to offer you the same.

“After all, two people being together will never be as simple as a column of input and output,” she adds.

It may be that your needs are too much for him.

‘Not because they’re actually too many,’ says Rudkin, ‘but because he has only a small capacity for relationships and therefore everything that demands more becomes a challenge for him.’

There is a difference between an individual who pursues his or her goals and objectives, and one who uses work to prevent them from getting close to others because of unresolved pain in the past. If you feel this could be him, then you need to make some important decisions.

“We can ask ourselves the wrong questions about relationships,” says James McConnachie. ‘We say’ I love him ‘or’ he’s great ‘as if they were good answers to the right questions, but the only crucial question is this: do you feel well now?’

So if you feel there is a future for the relationship, you need to tell him what you have told us.

‘Think back to your childhood, your friendships, your former partners,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘Have you adapted to the needs of others or can you say what you want and make sure you get it?’

Your honesty can even be the wake-up call he needs, Smith adds.

‘I can only assume that he has accelerated so much before and that he may need to hear something just talking,’ he says. ‘He may have withdrawn in the safety of work, but whatever the outcome, you will have acted with integrity and self-respect.’

The experts

Rupert Smith is a writer and consultant

James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)

Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist

Do you have a sex and dating dilemma?

For expert advice, please send your problem to lisa.scott@metro.co.uk

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