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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My husband was laid off about 10 months ago. He got the job (admin) through a family member. When that person retired, they got rid of him.

We've been married about a year and a half. I have a decent full time job but am trying to pay off all my old bills so I can start a business. We're both in our early forties.

He does the minimum necessary to keep the unemployment going, but it will run out soon. (when he first started getting it, he found the process so difficult that he announced he was going to stop calling in because it was too hard. I guess he expected I'd say that that was fine and I would just pay all the bills. Not!).

He wears the same clothes- or a robe- for days in a row, and has gained a belly. From what I can tell the great majority of his time is spent on Facebook, downloading music or watching movies.

He also spends time on his own personal projects (the arts) that he enjoys, which I think is great, but those unfortunately do not pay anything.

Supposedly, before the lay off all he wanted was time to finish writing a book he'd started. But he's barely worked on it at all being home every day for the better part of a year.

This isn't a situation where his job was his life and now he feels inadequate and depressed. He considers himself a creative artist and has never cared at all about having a traditional career. He spent most of his time at his job surfing the internet. But at least he went every day and made enough money to pay the bills.

He's shown virtually no interest in supporting himself, and resists any effort I make to try and figure out what type of job he can tolerate. I've tried saying nothing (because he gets mad, as if I have no right to 'nag' him about getting a job or to even ask what his plan is), and I've tried being as blunt as I can possibly be. Nothing I do or say seems to have any effect. It's like talking to the proverbial wall.

We live rent-free in a house his parents own. This certainly helps financially, but we are also beholden to them, which isn't ideal.

Today he told me it makes no difference what job he gets, because they are all the same, there is no job he will not hate. I said well, then we at least need to figure out a job you can do that will generate as much money as possible.

I'm starting to lose hope for a future with this man. I don't really want to leave him, but also don't want to be tied to someone who won't take responsibility for his life and just scrape by.

Our relationship is good in most other ways, but a lot of the time I feel I'm married to a teenage boy who just wants everything done for him. It's impossible not to lose respect for someone in this situation. I've lost a lot of my attraction to him. Maybe he'll finally get a job, and things will improve. But damage has been done.

Maybe it is a double standard (men have to be strong and capable). But I would never ask or expect him to support me or think it was fine that I did whatever I wanted all day while he worked.

I blame myself for getting into this situation. The last major relationship I had was with a similarly helpless, entitled man. All I wanted was a man who was self-sufficient. Clearly there is something about me that leads me to choose these people.

Any advice appreciated, thanks for reading.
 

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This is a tough position to be in with a spouse, but it sounds like he needs to be shocked out of his behavior. Along the lines of what Costa wrote, it seems that you need to be blunt that you are going to walk if he doesn't get his act together. Not only that, but you need to follow through with a separation and possibly filing for divorce. From what you wrote, I don't think anything less than you leaving is going to shake him up. Even that might not do it. You have already loss respect and attraction towards him, so he has a lot of work to do, already.

Start by not taking care of him in any way from now on. If you wash his laundry, cook meals, clean, then stop and concentrate on yourself. If he continues to behave in the same manner, then you know for sure that it's time to go. Marriage is supposed to be a partnership with both spouses contributing to make a better life together. He hasn't gotten the memo yet.
 

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I'm in a similar situation with aman who has done this for 10 years.

When we married he had a very good job but was laid off about 2 years into it. Since then he's done just about nothing except play computer games, surf the internet, and frequent virtual worlds for cybering and socializing. He too has been writing books.. a few fo them for all this time. None are finished.

Don't wait as long as I have. Give him a deadline in weeks/months. Then divorce him and move on...

unless you are willing to support him and do most of all that needs to be done to keep a house, finances, etc, while he lives a live of leasure.

How did he support himself before you came along?
 

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The closest I've come to that is saying something like, "I need to be with someone self-sufficient. If we don't want the same things (like being able to fix up the house, travel etc.) then maybe we shouldn't be together."
I think you need to make it real for him. That behavior of his is unbecoming of an adult man.
 

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The closest I've come to that is saying something like, "I need to be with someone self-sufficient. If we don't want the same things (like being able to fix up the house, travel etc.) then maybe we shouldn't be together."
He's not getting it. Have you ever talked about what your goals are as a couple? You obviously need someone who is more involved in day-to-day tasks and contributing to household bills and other needs. It's admirable that he wants to pursue his artistic interests, but you are married and there are other things to consider. He's been getting a free ride for a while now (you're paying the bills and living in a home that his parents own), so he's set. He feels like he doesn't have to do anything. If he's serious about his creative efforts and being married to you, then he needs to find a balance and start contributing to your marriage.

I'm involved in the arts and have never been without a "day job" my entire life. I make time for my creative endeavors and as well as help my wife with whatever we need as a couple and that sometimes means that I have to give up an art day to get something done for us or her. Your husband is only thinking about himself at this point.

More to the point, it sounds like he needs a firm "I need you to contribute to your part of our bills by finding a job. I can not continue to work and pay all of our bills alone. If you are not going to help out, then we will have to separate because I will not support you while you do nothing to contribute to our marriage". Might sound harsh, but you need a man, not a coddled teenager.
 

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I don't want to work either. But I have to in order to survive and also provide for those whose survival depends on me.

Sounds like he is burned out or depressed, he needs a good shake up and rewrite to get out of his funk, maybe a doctors visit to determine how much is physiological and get him the appropriate medication.
 

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This is nuts,I'm a steelworker and do 65 hours a week.I'm a plow mule but I'm appreciated.
My wife just stared a job that will help but I make the money,they depend on me and I wont sit on my duff while mom and dad pay the rent.
I was on my own at 16.
Just insane,a man takes care of his family,if the wife works also even better! It helps out.
I dont like "men" who wont work if they are able.
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Maybe he'll finally get a job, and things will improve.
Maybe.

Hope is not a plan. Unemployment checks run out.

He may be depressed. He should see a doctor.

When his checks stop coming, are you willing to support him? I'm sorry his parents are enabling his behavior by not charging him rent although I understand it helps you.
 

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Maybe.

Hope is not a plan. Unemployment checks run out.

He may be depressed. He should see a doctor.

When his checks stop coming, are you willing to support him? I'm sorry his parents are enabling his behavior by not charging him rent although I understand it helps you.
I agree,he may not be lazy,get him to the doctor see if it helps.
Saying you dont want to work any more can be a sign of depresson.
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He considers himself a creative artist and has never cared at all about having a traditional career.
Ah, yes ... the terminally special and unique, who are only willing to die for their "art, craft, calling." Sorry for sounding sarcastic, but this really rang a bell for me. A billion years ago, when I was taking a college psych course, we had a similar case study.

These people have an inflated sense of their own importance. So he's a "creative artist." What has he done as far as his "art" is concerned? Does he work in an art studio? Is he planning to have a showing of his "art"? Is he networking with other artists in order to refine his craft and make money at it?

Uh, I doubt it ... Yes, this may be depression. But it may also be a case of narcissism.

Sure, he may find a job. But why should you wait for him to discover himself by getting a job he feels he deserves? I think you get my drift ....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you everyone for responding. Just 'talking' about this is helpful.

Elegirl are you still married? He had a low skill type of office job when I met him that he got with the help of a family member.

TM84, I have tried a few times to have the 'our goals as a couple', 'what do we want for our future and how are we going to get there' talk. He does not want to participate. He is the type of person who sits and waits for things to happen.

He can certainly be negative, but I don't feel that he's clinically depressed. He can get all kinds of things done, as long as it's for HIS project (he does local theater). But I will broach the topic of seeing a doctor.

Emerald, no, I will not support him. He'll have to ask his parents! I've told him that I don't make enough money to support both of us, and even if I did, I don't want to.

I've been scouring job ads, researching what will be in demand, trying to figure out what type of job would work for him, reading through all the tech college programs, making suggestion after suggestion...but he is a grown man! Why should I even need to do any of this for him? He blows it all off anyway.

He's also told me he doesn't care to listen to me talk about my own job anymore. (I started a new position several months ago and it's been pretty stressful and a big learning curve) So it's not like I have him to confide in when I've had a hard day.

I just feel so incredibly disappointed. And pretty depressed at the thought of trying to find another partner at this age :(
 

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I was in a similar situation with my long-time husband. He was a hard worker during the first half of the marriage and it never occurred to me that his employment would be one of our biggest challenges. But he lost his job and eventually became comfortable not working. He worked minimally, not trying to better his situation, for literally over 7 years. It never dawned on me until going through that experience that you cannot "make" your spouse get a job. If they don't want a job, nothing you do, short of leaving them, will make them work. You can look up jobs, but you can't make them try at the interview. And you are right, the damage has been done. And it will be very hard if not impossible to undo it. I don't understand what some men will sacrifice in order to be lazy. I lost all respect for my husband as a man. Like you, I tried being nice, mean, blunt, avoidance, everything. Nothing worked. My divorce was final last week and I feel more and more every day like a weight has been lifted. I don't need to work full-time in order to support a healthy, adult male so that he can sit around the house day after day accomplishing absolutely nothing -- an arrangement that we never discussed, or negotiated. He simply took it. I never, ever agreed to that.

My advice, and I'm sure you've already done this, is to make it clear that this is not acceptable. KNOW that the longer it continues like this, the more it will become the norm and soon he will treat you like you're the odd one for wanting it to be any other way. You will think that the more time he spends like this, the more credibility your position will have, but it will actually get less. Sounds crazy, I know, but it's true. You won't have the energy to fight about it every day, so you'll only bring it up when you can't keep it inside any longer and then you will be treated like, "oh, this again ... ". You have my sympathies. I'd rather be alone than put up with that again from a man.
 

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I was in a similar situation with my long-time husband. He was a hard worker during the first half of the marriage and it never occurred to me that his employment would be one of our biggest challenges. But he lost his job and eventually became comfortable not working. He worked minimally, not trying to better his situation, for literally over 7 years. It never dawned on me until going through that experience that you cannot "make" your spouse get a job. If they don't want a job, nothing you do, short of leaving them, will make them work. You can look up jobs, but you can't make them try at the interview. And you are right, the damage has been done. And it will be very hard if not impossible to undo it. I don't understand what some men will sacrifice in order to be lazy. I lost all respect for my husband as a man. Like you, I tried being nice, mean, blunt, avoidance, everything. Nothing worked. My divorce was final last week and I feel more and more every day like a weight has been lifted. I don't need to work full-time in order to support a healthy, adult male so that he can sit around the house day after day accomplishing absolutely nothing -- an arrangement that we never discussed, or negotiated. He simply took it. I never, ever agreed to that.

My advice, and I'm sure you've already done this, is to make it clear that this is not acceptable. KNOW that the longer it continues like this, the more it will become the norm and soon he will treat you like you're the odd one for wanting it to be any other way. You will think that the more time he spends like this, the more credibility your position will have, but it will actually get less. Sounds crazy, I know, but it's true. You won't have the energy to fight about it every day, so you'll only bring it up when you can't keep it inside any longer and then you will be treated like, "oh, this again ... ". You have my sympathies. I'd rather be alone than put up with that again from a man.
Spot on...
 

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Pink,

Another reason that you need to act sooner than later on this is that, depending on your state divorce laws, you could end up oweing him alimony for at least a few years it not for the rest of your life.
 

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depressed men, male depression, is misunderstood

by women

as illustrated by this thread
So why don't you educate instead of making such a remark and leaving it at that.

Also explain how she can handle this to get him back on her feet and out of this depressed state.
 
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