Wednesday 26 November 2014

Dear Mary: My boyfriend works so hard I fear he'll drop dead aged 40

Mary O'Conor

Published 21/01/2013 | 06:00

How do I get my fella to lighten up? He's really great in every way and I'm mad about him. We've been together almost a year and, if he was to ask me to marry him, I'd leap at the chance. But I worry that he's working too hard and needs to let up a bit.

Sometimes I only see him a few nights a week and only some weekends, and I discover that he's worked the other evenings and weekends until almost 11 and then fallen into bed.

I know that he's great at his job and is going to make a mint, but if he doesn't let up he'll have a heart attack by the time he's 40 and then what's the point?

We're both in our early 30s. He's a real hunk and drives me wild, but how do I get him to have more fun? We went to the States last summer and spent a few days at Disney World in Orlando and he was like a seven-year-old!

We laughed ourselves silly and I saw a side of him I want to see more of. But how do I do that?

Mary replies:

I'm delighted to hear that you are in such a great relationship and what you want to do now is to make it even better. Please be careful that, having found a great guy, you don't appear to want to change him too much.

He is at the age where he has to be very career-focused, sometimes to the detriment of other things. It's a pretty cut-throat world out there right now as jobs are never secure, unemployment is high and, as you know, the cost of living is quite daunting. No doubt he wants to achieve his full potential while he can in order to benefit from all the hard work at a later date.

I appreciate your concern – there's no point in working until he drops – but he is young, and hopefully fit, so his body can take a lot of stress. So while being careful not to overstep the boundaries and without appearing to try to change him, there are a few things that you could try.

First, you should find out if he has an annual health check, either with his GP or with one of the hospitals that do them. Then you should plan a few fun weekends away, but be sure to get his schedule in advance so that he has plenty of notice. The Gathering 2013 has a great deal of activities planned to suit all tastes, and visiting the website www.thegatheringireland.com will give you lots of ideas.

It seems to me that you both share a sense of humour, and I love the idea of the two adults enjoying Disney World without children, so think about going to a few stand-up comedy shows whenever you see them advertised. Laughter really is a great tonic!

I don't know which area of the country you live in, but the local newspapers will give you the information that you need. There is a very old saying that a girl's thoughts before marriage are 'Aisle, Alter, Hymn', whereas after marriage they are 'I'll alter him'. I'm not saying that you fall into this category, but tread carefully and have lots of fun – you sound like you are fun to be with and I'm sure he appreciates this.

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