Cancel Dates: Signs Of Workaholism

If you are a middle age, post divorce dater like me, you may have had problems with men or women who cancel dates frequently; sometimes at the last minute and sometimes earlier.  I am not talking about people who cancel the first date; someone who cancels the first date probably has a whole other set of reasons that I discussed in another post.

I am talking about someone whom you had a great first, second or more date with but keeps setting up dates and then cancelling them because they are too busy.  Unfortunately, two of America’s most common neurosis, Workaholism and it’s codependent personality, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), are most likely highly concentrated in the post divorce dating pool.  These dysfunctions, like drug, gambling, sex and alcohol addiction, can cause divorce and repeat relationship failure.

I had a workaholic grandfather who died at age 50 from what appears to be overwork. I never met him sadly. Granted he had a hard life in post war Germany but the accounts of him from my mother of being gone working all the time, and the ensuing narcissism that my mother had, all point to him being a class A workaholic.  Because of this, I myself  struggled with workaholism at an early age but was able to get past it with some good therapy in my 20s.  However, I still find myself attracted to workaholic men and this has bothered me.

Cancel Dates Workaholism

Cancel Dates Workaholism

When I started dating again after my mid life separation, I found myself involved with two men who would repeatedly promise dates with me and then would cancel dates at the last minute.  They both told me they worked a lot so at one point I turned to the web and found this great book on Workaholism called “Chained To The Desk

The book was a real eye opener for me.  Like Michael Fassbender’s movie, Shame, which made me realize how serious a problem sex addiction can be, this book took the “ha ha I’m a workaholic” attitude out of me more than ever before.

Currently workaholism is not considered an official mental disorder.  The DSM just made compulsive hoarding an official neurosis so maybe workaholism is next. The ramifications for treatment costs for workaholism would be daunting since it is estimated that 1 in 4 Americans have workaholism….second highest in the world after Japan.

People Who Cancel Dates: Signs of Workaholism

Since NPD and workaholism are so prevalent in the post divorce middle aged dating pool, I screen for both right away, often before I even meet for a first date.   The main screen for workaholism is that I ask them how many hours a week  they work. Workaholics may tell you a low number just like alcoholics lie about number of drinks, but since it is not considered bad to be a workaholic in the US many will tell just you the real amount. If they say over 55 hours a week then that is a red flag.

Other signs:

1. smoking

2. poor health relative to age

3. cancels social engagements (dates)

4. bad at assessing how much time they have to do things

5. social life revolves around work

6. only recreational activities they do are exercising, eating and sleeping

7. few vacations if any

8. say that work doesn’t move fast enough (adrenaline addiction)

9. talks about micromanaging people

10. says past relationship partners didn’t appreciate them

11. expects you to work around their schedule

I have met men who have ALL of these traits and some who are more borderline and have only a few. If they are borderline for hours and other apparent traits I will give them a a chance to date me.  If they start to cancel dates then after two strikes they are out.  That is what the Rules for Dating books say to do, to not date men who cancel on you, and The Rules are good screens for all kinds of issues.  The books say that canceling may be from non-interest on the man’s part. That is true. But if they have signs of workaholism, more likely their neurosis is the cause. Either way, they are not someone good to date.

You may think that giving someone only two strikes is harsh. Maybe. I gave a guy who had all the signs of workaholism chance after chance after chance for 8 months. Never again.

So far I have had one in three men I have dated who passed the “more than 55 hours a week” test. That is slightly higher than 1 in 4 so my theory that they are more represented in the post divorce dating pool holds up to that highly limited scientific study.

The book is really great and I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they have a workaholic in their life, which is probably all of us.


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