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Cell Phone Addict
updated: Sep 29, 2012, 1:00 PM

Dear Edda,

My husband is a high powered executive who works all the time. He leaves his office and comes home, but then he spends hours on the phone, either talking to a live person on the other end, or texting via voice dictation. This goes on at all hours, when we're out to eat, when we're watching TV, when he's out gardening, whenever. I understand this, because it is the nature of his job. But the thing that drives me crazy is that he is talking constantly - to his phone, to his office, to colleagues - and then he will say something to me in the middle of all of that and expect me to answer him! I have mostly learned to treat the constant talking as "white noise", and can even fall asleep in the middle of dinner. In fact, if it stopped, I wouldn't know what happened. But I would get a massive headache if I tried to listen to what he's saying in order to be prepared for the few sentences he might throw my way. His feelings get hurt when I don't answer him. I have suggested that he say my name first, so that I am ready to listen. Can you think of any other solutions?




Dear Oblivious,

Perhaps you could hide his phone charger?


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Edda Hatte is a loving and sympathetic advice columnist who helps Edhat subscribers navigate through their complicated and stressful lives. Send your questions to askedda@edhat.com.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 325941 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 02:28 PM

Are there any weapons in the house besides the witholding of human contact?


 COMMENT 325942P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 02:28 PM

sounds like he's earning his pay. maybe you could become more involved in helping him with his business, say as his administrative assistant. you'd then be earning your keep and his respect.


 COMMENT 325945 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 02:32 PM

Tell him to get off the phone.


 COMMENT 325954 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 02:44 PM

Designate a quite time in the house (say, 2hrs after dinner with no phones, emails, texts or radio), just to ensure you and your spouse get that necessary time together to talk - give it long enough of not being able to talk normally without distractions, and you might forget why you like each other's company in the first place.


 COMMENT 325956P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 02:51 PM

telling him to get off the phone or trying to enforce a phone free block of time will breed resentment unless their is equal forfeiture on behalf of both parties. you can't expect him to give up work if you're not making an equally valuable concession. he stops working, you stop shopping.


 COMMENT 325960P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 03:01 PM

He's very obviously got a girlfriend. Or maybe a boyfriend. Leave him alone and stop hectoring him. It sounds like he's got his hands full.


 COMMENT 325963 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 03:09 PM

So the wife should leave the husband alone to deal with his affair? Nice.


 COMMENT 325966 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 03:12 PM

I'm glad his feelings get hurt when you don't answer and I would suggest that he make a point of getting your attention when asking a question because you should not have to pay attention to all of his calls.


 COMMENT 325971 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 03:24 PM

Sounds like a marriage from hell. He would be better served by a blow up doll and you could find a nice man to really enjoy lfe with.


 COMMENT 325974P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 03:27 PM

I think we all know 'Ask Edda' is made up, but for gawds sake people, these ideas are as bad as the story, and frankly horrible. A lot of assumptions going on from the commenters here... a lot of things we don't know about this fake story. The misogynists are out in force on this one...yikes.


 COMMENT 325979P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 03:46 PM

misogynists, 974P? what about the tone set by the OP, "my husband is a high powered executive." she obviously felt the need to preface the cell phone usage with an abstract objectification of her husband's importance. would the situation be different if he were a bottom feeding salary employee who has to use his phone for work all the time. change the story to "my wife is a high powered executive" and you'll get the same damn response. it sounds like there's an imbalance of exchange in the relationship. she perceives he's not contributing enough attention and based on her comments it sounds like he's views her as his inferior.


 COMMENT 325980 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 03:47 PM

Set some boundaries around the issue. You're not required to sit there while he talks business, waiting with baited breath in case he acknowledges your presence. Suggest that when he wants to spend some time with you to let you know and you'll make yourself available. Meanwhile make yourself scarce and find something else to do. At least you'll find out the truth about whether he even notices you're not around.

If and when he does notice your absence, now you can tell him what you want. If he never notices, that's information for you to consider.


 COMMENT 325994 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 04:24 PM

You need to read the book: "He's Just Not That Into You." Written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.
Alibris has it for $.99 plus S & H.

I'm not joking around. Your husband just isn't into you at all. Guys either make the time for you or they don't. You need to stop wasting what is left of your youth; stop waiting around for him to pay you some attention.

Why continue to be in a relationship that makes you feel pitiful and unwanted? There are so many men who avoid their wives by hiding out in a workshop or hanging out with their sports buddies, or playing on the computer or----yakking on the phone. Get the picture? Everything but interacting with the wife/girlfriend.

You need to take some Adult Ed classes, start walking for your health, meet some new people. Live your own life. You may just meet your soul mate. This guy just isn't that into you.


 COMMENT 326001 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 04:36 PM

My husband is also a 'high powered executive' but has established 'no work' times that he sticks too unless he's involved in a merger/acquisition. I used to be one too and suggest he delegates, sets boundaries with clients and/or learn basic time management. No one wants to live with a workaholic unless you're one too.


 COMMENT 326006P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 04:41 PM

Don't sell yourself short. Your suggestion was superb. If/when he wants to talk to you, he should ask if it is a convenient time for you to talk WITH him too, and ask him to use your name. I live with someone who talks to himself and sometimes talks at me too. I can be in the middle of other work, and he just walks in and starts talking. If I'm focused on something else and working, I do not hear what he says -- honestly -- unless he makes it clear that he wants to talk to me. (And sometimes I'm not interruptable, and he just has to wait.) We've slowly established ground rules that he can't just start talking without paying attention to what I'm doing and if it is a convenient time for me to talk with him too. It works both ways (when I want to interrupt and talk with him too.) It doesn't always work, but it's getting better. Consideration and courtesy go a long way.


 COMMENT 326019 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 05:12 PM

This is emotional abuse plain and simple and you are the enabler. His disrespect for you not only as his wife, but as a human being is disgusting, but hey you let him get away with it this long so why should he change?

When you love and respect yourself you will not tolerate this behavior any longer. Oh, he is also killing himself with this obsessive ego game. No one is that indispensable that he can't get off that phone and have time with his family.


 COMMENT 326040P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-29 06:06 PM

Hmm. She doesn't sound unhappy at all. I think it's fair to suggest he say her name prior to talking to her - just to break up the "white noise". As for wasting her youth, affairs and phone sex, some of you people have done quite a bit of conclusion jumping. You're funny, Edda!


 COMMENT 326209 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-30 09:27 AM

He is taking you for granted, like a piece of furniture. Try some of the techniques described by others but also, Get a Few Cats. They will love you, pay attention to you, and make you feel like a million dollars.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-30 10:30 AM

Edda gave the best response!


 COMMENT 326279 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-30 11:51 AM

Wow, the imaginary wife needs to get an imaginary life.


 COMMENT 326283P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-30 12:01 PM

+1 @994. Time to move on, especially when he doesn't even have the courtesy to text you that he'd like to talk to you. :-0


 COMMENT 326352 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-30 03:49 PM

Times are tough,people are having to work hard . That does not make it okay . I think we have to be understanding. He is not having an affair,do not even go there.That just makes your head go crazy places. It also does not mean he does not respect you. He feels comfortable in the relationship. He knows you will be there when he gets off. That says a lot about what a kind,supportive wife you have been. This is not a reflection of him,you or your relationship. It is a problem that needs to be looked at and fixed. Tell him it hurts your feelings. Would he like you to hold dinner till he can relax and enjoy ? How can I help you ? He is just having a hard time shutting down . Help him with his confidence. Honey I know your have had a busy day, let's relax . How about sex before dinner tonight ? Pray together . Think outside of the box . Be creative. Just do it all from a place of love and you all will get past this .


 COMMENT 326361 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-30 04:03 PM

Unless you really enjoy and feel happy with the way your husband treats you, (if I were you) I'd start by insisting that on a ONE-TIME basis, he set aside an hour or two, during which there will be NO interruptions, NO phone calls, NO texting, NO internet, etc, and this time will be devoted 100% to you and him. I would then explain to him that his treatment is unacceptable, and I am not prepared to tolerate it any longer.

I would suggest to him that he commit some times and days to accompany me to see a marriage counsellor, and to be fully prepared to follow any suggestions the counsellor may make, if he wants the marriage to survive. If true, I would remind him that I love him enough to want to make the marriage work, but I am not willing to put up with a part-marriage, and that is what I feel we have now.

If he is unwilling or says he is unable to see the marriage counsellor, I would take being asked how committed he really is to you and your happiness, and based on that answer, I would proceed accordingly.


 COMMENT 326386 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-09-30 05:33 PM

Oblivious is seeking a solution to improve communication between her and her workaholic husband. Oblivious was not seeking advice on how to change her husband's habit of working constantly. Edda's response did not offer a solution to the communication issue; and it was not loving or sympathetic.


 COMMENT 326481 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-01 09:00 AM

But it was humorous and pithy, which is the point of Edda's responses. Reading all of the responses to the Edda Hatte questions is my favorite thing about this site. I thought her made up questions this time was genius!


 COMMENT 326694 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-10-01 04:34 PM

When my husband comes home still acting like he is at work, I tell him to snap out of it.


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