Merrill Lynch Banker's Wife Has Contemplated Divorcing Her Husband Over His Exercise Habit

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Take a good look at the picture up top. Mom. Kids. Hanging out on a Saturday, like a family. But where's dad? At the office? A strip club? None of the above. He's working out, which is why mom wants to divorce and/or kill him.

Dad-- Jordan Waxman, a private banking executive at Merrill Lynch-- you see, is out exercising because that's what he does during most of his waking hours, every morning before work and every night after and every weekend afternoon. This does not make mom- Caren Waxman- very happy, and the two chose to discuss their problems in a recent Journal article about people who hate their spouses.

The exercise widow often wakes to an empty bed—a sure sign of a morning workout—and may find dinner plans spoiled by a sudden avoidance of anything heavy before a night run. Hoping for an hour of television or catching-up before bedtime? Forget it: All that early-morning exercise takes its toll. Mr. Waxman arrives home from the office after his children, ages 11, 10 and 8, have eaten dinner, and he hits the sack before they do. "I'm out of gas by nine o'clock," Mr. Waxman says. His exercise regimen intensified about seven years ago, eventually hitting two hours each weekday and up to five or six hours each Saturday and Sunday.

"A lot of wives in my position would have left," Ms. Waxman says.

And Jordan, do you have anything to say about that?

"It's selfish," concedes Mr. Waxman, 46. He says he leaves notes for his wife and children before leaving for morning workouts.

It sounds like you get it, but do you really get it, Jordan? Your wife doesn't think so. In fact, she thinks you've got a serious problem and she knows this because she's the one who gets the calls that you're passed out naked around your bike.

Last summer, Mrs. Waxman persuaded her parents and her husband's parents to join her in what she calls "a family intervention"—a flurry of letters to Mr. Waxman urging him to exercise less.

Are you ready for the acceptance stage? Or is it going to be more excuses.

But Mr. Waxman stood his ground. In his view, his athletic ambition shouldn't have surprised his wife. It arose from the same qualities that drove him to obtain two law degrees, an MBA and his position at Merrill Lynch.

His gargantuan training hours last summer were aimed at a particularly elite goal—a swim across the English Channel, which he achieved in September. "The English Channel thing, hopefully my wife and kids see it as a little bit inspiring," he says.

How Couples Handle Conflict Arising From Exercise [WSJ via BI]

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