27 answers

Husband Out of Work

okay this is embarassing to admit, but my husband who i love to death has suddenly up and QUIT his job. don't ask me why...i can't even begin to fathom how he can justify this. he has had problems in the past with keeping a job, but since our son was born (17 months) he's kept one job continuously and i had been so happy about that...i even stopped worrying every time he'd had a bad day that he'd tell me at the end of the story, "so i quit." i can't tell you how angry and hurt i am feeling right now...but i have NO idea what to tell him to get through to him - you have a FAMILY. you don't do that. period. he doesn't have a backup, he didn't give 2 weeks notice...some people have told me i should have kicked him out right then and there, the problem is i really do love him and in most other respects he's wonderful. anyway...maybe i'm being naive but i just really wish there was something i could tell him to get through to him. since our son was born, i've point-blank told him, "just DON'T quit your job." apparently this didn't work. any suggestions?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

you guys are so wonderful. thank you all for your opinions and advice. sooo i did sit down with my husband, and talked to him very calmly, and told him, i know that it's a "done deal" and there's no going back, so after that i would not mention it again. but i really had to get things off my chest. i really stressed giving TWO WEEKS NOTICE. and i also came to find out that a lot of things in his life, he's been unhappy with. so i think it's not as much about the job. which made me pretty angry to think that quitting that job didn't even fix the problem...but at least i heard what's going on with him. it has taken three days of pretty much constant fighting...or distanced silence...but i think i'm in a much better place now. and i also told him, not only will he be able to spend more time with our son (he had been working nights), hopefully now he can find something better. i truly do not want to leave him, and i think we'll be okay. who knows if asking him to give notice sunk in...a lot was said! but i have hope. thank again!

PS, bullseye with that bipolar thing...i totally think he might be! unfortunately my insurance has a 5,000 dollar deductible so we can't afford him to go to the dr, but it's definitely something i'll keep in mind.

Featured Answers

First of all, Support him). Make him feel important.

Have him sit down and make a list of things of Interest to him.
Then Research Ideas from those Interests that should lead to a job.
Good Luck

Why don't you keep working, and let him be a stay at home dad? He may like that lots better. You should try that out for awhile. Meanwhile, if you don't have that great of job, try finding something else in the meantime.

More Answers

Hi C., I just read the new Oprah yesterday and Dr. Phil had someone with the same situation. He told the wife to tell her husband that looking for a job should be his job. He should be spending 40 hours a week looking for a job (getting his resume together, searching ads, applying for jobs, etc.) He also said the husband should be setting goals for himself, even if they are small goals..."Today I will...." "I want to have a job by the time four weeks is up," etc.

My brother (age 33) quit his job 3 months ago without another job in place and hasn't even had an interview. I seriously think he likes collecting unemployment and hanging out all day, but do you know how that looks on a resume?? Three months without a job? I mean, your husband and my brother should get ANY kind of job. It's like my brother is waiting for "the perfect" job to drop out of the sky or something. Sheesh...Sorry, I can feel your frustration. You're right, though, one should never quit a job without another one in place.

I would tell your husband to do something, even if it's temporary. To your husband it seemed okay for him to quit his job because YOU have a job. My brother quit his job because he knows my family would help him. But at what point are we helping him if we are not telling him, "Hey, we'll help you until the end of this month and that's it, you're on your own." Don't be an enabler like my family :) My brother will ride the ride for as long as we let him. I would definitely tell your husband to set some goals for himself. Or you may have to set them for him.

Hi C.,
I don't want to sound insensitive or out of line, but
my parents had this exact problem as I was growing up.
Unfortunately, my father was never truly diagnosed, but had
all of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. Maybe your husband
has some slight depression or anxiety that gets in his way
at work. It's just a thought. Hope all works out well for you. Jen

First and foremost, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. People react differently and don't always use their best judgment when doing so. That being said, I disagree with just kicking him out - that will solve nothing. Try to just be as supportive as possible while stressing to him the importance of him finding work immediately. I'm sure if the situations were reversed and you were truly unhappy at your job you would appreciate him supporting your decision to quit rather than belittling you about it. Just calmly let him know that you would appreciate the courtesy of advanced notice when he plans on leaving a job (he really should have given two weeks, not only is it professional but it shows maturity.) And that he needs to find a job -any job- asap. I really feel for you and I sincerely hope things work out for the best.

You're not by chance from Sedalia, MO. are you? Also... my husband and I went through this the first 3 or 4 years of our marriage, and if it weren't for my parents business right now, he still probably wouldn't keep a job. He stayed home and watched our son, he did very good keeping the house clean too. It saved us a lot on baby-sitting and the gas he would have spent to commute to and from work and pick up our child from daycare. Figure that up and how much it costs and see if it really is worth him working, if he is good with your son and he really doesn't make that much and he is willing to do the house work etc. they say nowadays more dads are staying home and whomever stays home actually... for all the work they do around the house, if they were paid minimum wage they'd make like $32,000 each year... wow.... maybe if he feels comfortable with it and you do too, and he is great with your son, he could take on another child and baby-sit during the week for some extra income. It would also give your child someone to play with and interact with. My other suggestion... pray alot... God has a plan for you and for everything in your life and everything happens for a reason. Gods blessings to you and your family, and I will keep you in my prayers.... I've been there done that and it took me a long time to be o.k. with it... now I am the one who stays home, but I have income working from home.

C.,
I don't have any advice but wanted to offer "hugs" it must be very stressful for you.

I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. It's very frustrating - my husband is a recovering alcoholic and was on and off the wagon for years. He had a great job, as a result of his alcoholism he lost his job, but it took much more than that for him to see the destruction he was causing in his (and our family's) life. Your husband DOES need to grow up and realize he's acting like a child and needs to support his family. He needs to be a man and doesn't need you to be his mom. I think more than just a husband issue this is a marriage issue. Sure he acts like a child, but are you supporting this behavior inadvertently? By always picking up the pieces and taking care of all the details? That was my problem. It took lots of counseling - one on one for each of us and marriage counseling for both of us - but my husband has gotten past his rough patches (2 yrs. 4 mos. sober) and he even got his old job back! But it took lots of other people telling him to "man up" and take care of his family before he saw that that's what he needed to do. It never got through to him when I told him to "man up." So bottom line is I recommend marriage counseling. Life is great for us these days. Oh and BTW, I too am a working mom of 2 with no. 3 on the way. I feel it necessary to keep working because even though my hubby is a great guy and has proven himself, there is always a fear in the back of my mind that one day he may relapse - and I couldn't handle not being able to take care of myself and the kids in a time like that. So good luck to you, I feel your pain, but I know people can turn themselves around!

C.-

Sorry to say that it seems that even though your husband is good in alot of other areas, he does not seem to take what you say to him seriously. I had a similar problem with my now ex husband- I ended up working 16 hrs a day, 6 days a week. Oh he would do laundry and look after the kids but did very little work. My job finally felt sorry for me and hired him- I almost fired him twice for being lazy and having a bad attitude! I finally realized that "hey, I am already doing this alone. Why, do I need the extra burden of supporting him, emotionally or financially?" I kicked him out and went on with my life. I still work alot of hours . I suggest that you give him an ultimatum " get a job and keep or get out." You are worrying about him and finances- he needs to grow up and start thinking and worrying about you, the baby and the finances- to relieve the burden off of you.

First of all, Support him). Make him feel important.

Have him sit down and make a list of things of Interest to him.
Then Research Ideas from those Interests that should lead to a job.
Good Luck

I have a niece that has put up with this for over 13 years and just now realizing she has to do everything by herself. I realize it must be hard but you MUST think of yourself and your child. You want your child to grow up understanding how life is and not that you don't work. He is going against the bible in that he is not taking care of his family. Just pray to the Lord for guidance and the best of luck to you.
Elain

I agree with the possible Bi Polar. You need to encourage him to get a dr opinion and if he refuses then look at other pptions. This is a liflong desease and left untreated you will be dealing with it forever.
God Bless

Oh wow - been there - done that! It was so humiliating. We were forced to go on welfare and file bankruptcy. My husband was ut of work for 9 moooonths straiht. Then we he finally did get a job - he call in constantly until he was fired from 2 different jobs. He has a great job now and is doing great. BUT - I forced him to go to a dr and get counseling. He was suffering from major depression and post traumatic stress disorder from his service in the war. Just wanted you to know you are not alone. I have been through it. We have survived it and 3 years later - things are better.

Why don't you keep working, and let him be a stay at home dad? He may like that lots better. You should try that out for awhile. Meanwhile, if you don't have that great of job, try finding something else in the meantime.

Have you simply asked him?! "I'm having a hard time right now, please help me understand why you quit your job?"

You have to find a way to get your husband to talk to you and tell you what is really going on. He may have the desire to be a stay at home Dad or perhaps he is not feeling that the job(s) he is working are fulfilling for him. He has to figure out what job/career he is interested in and then pursue that path. Try to be supportive and encouraging if you truly want the relationship to work but most importantly you have to communicate openly and honestly with one another (meaning you have to tell him how you feel about when he up and quits a job). One note of caution, be sure to talk to him when both you and he are prepared to fully listen. (i.e. my husband and I communicate exceptionally well and we always try to bring about discussions when the "heart rates are low" usually we're laying in bed with no television or radio and just our quiet time to talk and express what we feel. The worst thing you can do is lose your temper over the conversation because then more times then not, he will shut down and not want to have any conversation. Regardless of when you have the conversation, be sure to listen carefully to what is said and what is not said and do not be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you don't understand his point of view or what is being said. Hope this helps and I'll pray for you and your situation!

T.

That's a tough one... what I've come to learn after nearly 25 years of marriage is...the only one you can count on is yourself--sad, but true. Different men have different ideas about their manhood and how it relates to work; this is also closely tied into their self-esteem. There are not many men who do the 'self-help' approach to make themselves into better people, but one thing you can do 'because-your-husband-is-probably-feeling-bad-enough-about-himself' right now, is to praise him for any little, teeny-weensy thing he may be doing right. For example, did he get out of bed this morning? Then muster up some joy and appreciate that act; it beats the alternative that he could be so depressed that he doesn't get out of bed. You get the drift. Anyway, being negative to him or kicking him out (which is just more negativity) will leave you with zero backup and the whole responsibility will be on you.
However, if he turns out to sponge off you, then it's time to figure out what you want in this married life.
Good luck.

I don't wish to be disrespectful to you or even your husband....Is there anyone you can turn to (Dad,father-in-law)that might be able to urge yuor husband to "man up"? We have a similar situation with our 24 y.o. son who has been out of construction work and finds it necessary to insist that his busy wife thank him for even the tiniest of things each day.She works,goes to college, and they have a 23 m.o.son. A lot of prayer helps,too.

I myself have been through several job's since I was a teen now 28 WSAHM of 2 for 5 yrs.I just didn't find the right job for myself,anyway my husband also quit his job after Thanksgiving he's been out of work for 3 months now under foot and a lot of argument's just because i'm stressed,I know we had a daughter a yr ago and after her birth I was having medical problem's right after another had 2 surgical procedures 1 in office and 3 biopsies done talk about stress so we argued cause I felt so depressed afraid upset.
I know my husband he only worked at 3 jobs in his lifetime the one he quit was for 7 yrs he is 33,he had to quit this job it was knocking him down physically and mentally he'd go to work at 6 most of the time he wouldn't be home till after 8 or even 1 in the morning,he delivered dry wall and material's to homes buisness new and old he had to drive hrs away.He missed out on alot of our son's grwoing up he's 4 now and want's to be around for school activites.It was hard when he came home one morning after he left an hr. ago and told me he did it he quit his job no notice either,he made good money very good money he reassured me everything will be alright he saved up for this so for we still can get what we need just have to cut back on my shopping for the thing'son what I want and want for my kid's.So I took a deep breath didn't argue but day's turned into week's and now months.We really are ok the bill's are paid good food on ther table able to get what we need very few people can pull this off,how we did my husband he did this for us so for he can have some recoupe time with his family before he find's his next job. Thank's for writing in ,I have found my anwser from within I don't need to be upset for this.I'm glad he did it we have been trough alot and a divorce isn't something i'd like to go through.
Talk to your husband on what he plans to do,maybe there's an underlying issue.If you feel it is necessary to kick him out then your the only one who can make that decision but don't expect there not to be a fight so be on guard you know your own marriage.Take Care

C., my husband sounds like he has a lot in common with yours. He just doesn't realize his priorities and responsibilities enough to just DO what he HAS to do. He hasn't quit yet like his other jobs since our two kids were born, but instead he is on the verge of getting fired because he will have no-call no-shows and leave work early and stuff like that. I have said everything in the world to him but nothing gets through. Instead it'll start a fight if I bring it up. All I can suggest you can do is what I have to do because I love him... I just pick up his slack and take on more responsibility because he wont. Why people ask? because I love him. I babysit regularly now for more income just in case he does get fired... and I am constantly looking MYSELF for a new job for him even when he doesn't know it.

I was married to an often under-employed man. He had no self worth or confidence, to pursue jobs that were "better". He needed counseling. He wouldn't go. I worked full time and and went to school & paid most of the bills. I encouraged my ex to follow his dreams of being a painter and photographer~ he was a really gifted artist! It was like living with Van Gogh. Would he work as a commercial photographer to make really good money? No. Finally after years of dealing with a depressed person who would not get any help, I decided to move on for myself and my son. It was the best thing for us. I do not know your life, but I would encourage you to ask your husband to get some free/cheap counseling(go thru Catholic Charities..you don't have to be Catholic) and maybe he does need to change his life course. BUT, HE HAS TO MAKE MONEY AT THE SAME TIME!! Sorry for "yelling" or raising my voice! LOL Good luck, and please look at the long term-big picture and do what is right for you.

I'd say have him pursue a job that he'll love doing, not just have to do to get the bills paid. My husband is a union electrician and loves it! There are days he doesn't want to go to work due the weather or whatever, but because he likes the work and usually the people he works with, he gets up and goes and has no problems. Also, maybe your husband needs to know that NO job is perfect. There will always be people and circumstances that will make you mad, and unless they are degrading or life threatening, you just have to work through them and take care of your family first and yourself next. Especially when you have children.

C. - I just wrote this long epic and it disappeared, so if this appears on the site twice, I apologize. I feel for you because I have lived this, as have a few of my friends. This is a HUGE problem and it will not go away easily. Your husband, like mine, has not grown up and is not taking responsibility for his family. He is putting his own needs and wants before that of his family. He is not responding to your anger because it doesn't make sense to him. He did what felt good to him, and that is what is most important to him. When a man falls in love and marries, what is supposed to happen is that he puts his wife first, and especially when he has a child, he should feel a strong urge to protect and provide for both wife and child. Most men will sacrifice anything to make sure their families are provided for. Your husband, and mine, somehow did not make that transition. Your husband is enjoying the love and comfort of a family without taking responsibility for it. He is being a child in the relationship, and making you the mother. This will not work. I hate to tell you this, but the only way to get him to wake up is to give him an ultimatum. Either he behaves like a husband and father or he doesn't get to BE a husband and father. I wish I had the vision and the courage to do this when my son was just two. Instead, I held the family together through my husbands scattered little jobs for 13 years. We had four children and after 13 years of my holding the family together, things finally blew up. I had to kick him out. We had other problems as well, but they were all rooted in the fact that he never really grew up and never took on the responsibilities of being an adult, and I had to be his mother. I really felt like I had 5 kids. It wasn't until my husband saw that he could lose his family that his light bulb came on and he saw how irresponsible he had been. He has been trying to get back together with me for 2 1/2 years, and even though I still love him, the damage to our relationship has been done. I don't know if I have the strength to be married to him again. I damaged our relationship by ALLOWING his irresponsibility to happen. If you love him as much as you say you do, and you value your marriage, you have to set a firm boundary. He HAS to be an equal partner and pull his weight, or he's out. I know my husband feels like a much better person now that he has awakened to reality. He now enjoys providing for us and he feels more like a man. Your husband may be comfy right now, but he can't be feeling very good about himself. And he won't, as long as he is disappointing you and not standing up and taking the reigns in his own life. He may need counseling - it does help. But seriously, he's in a funk and is blind to what he is doing to himself and to you. He has to get a kick in the head to see how important it is for his own good and yours to put you and your son first. I know how scarey it is to kick your own husband to the curb - it hurts a lot, but he'll never see the light if he doesn't feel the consequences. The other person to think about is your son. Sons learn from their fathers. My son is 18 now and he doesn't get it either. I have to work twice as hard to get him to take responsibilities. I fear that he will have heartbreak because if he behaves like his father did, his future wife will leave him too. As hard as it is to take a stand, you have to do it for your own health, your marriage and for the good of the next generation! Good luck, C.. I really feel for you.

LET ME TELL YOU A LITTLE ABOUT ME. I AM A MOM, GRAND-
MOTHER AND GREAT GRANDMOTHER......ALSO A PRACTICING
PSYCHOLOGIST.

YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND APPARENTLY DO NOT COMMUNICATE!
IN ORDER TO SOLVE A SITUATION, YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT IS
BEHIND HIS BEHAVIOR, FOR THE BEHAVIOR TO CHANGE. AND,
IT APPEARS YOU FOCUS UPON YOUR FEAR, WHICH PUSHES YOUR
HUSBAND AWAY, NOT TOWARD YOU.

YOU WANT TO ASK HIM THE REASONS HE QUIT HIS JOB. AMD TELL
HIM YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND, AND QUIT ACCUSING HIM. TRY
TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MARRIED, YOU MARRIED A 'PARTNER' AND
YOU WANT TO TREAT EACH OTHER THIS WAY. TELL HIM YOU LOVE
HIM, AND YOU WOULD LIKE TO UNDERSTAND AND HELP HIM.

YOU WANT TO LEARN TO 'COMMUNICATE' WITH ONE ANOTHER. IT
SEEMS THIS DID NOT HAPPEN BEFORE YOU MARRIED AND HAS NOT
HAPPENED SINCE YOU MARRIED.

IF YOU ARE CONSTANTLY ARGUING WITH ONE ANOTHER, AND BEFORE
THE BABY YOU ARE SHUTTING OFF AND SETTING UP WALLS BETWEEN
YOU. AND, THE SAD PART, YOU ARE CHANGING YOUR BABY WHEN
YOU ARGUE IN HIS PRESENCE FROM BEING WHAT GOD CREATED HIM
TO BE.

CONSIDER COUNSELING, TO LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE AND SAY
THE THINGS TO ONE ANOTHER THAT WANTS TO BE SAID, AND NEEDS
TO BE SAID AND DEVELOP A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP TO GIVE YOUR
MARRIAGE A FOUNDATION AND A 'REASON' FOR BEING.

I DO NOT KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE. I LIVE IN GRAIN VALLEY, MO
MY PHONE IS: ###-###-#### AND E MAIL: ____@____.com YOU BOTH CAN UNDERSTAND THE REASONS FOR HIS BEHAVIOR
YOU CAN WORK ON THAT, THE SITUATION CAN CHANGE, THERE IS
HOPE.

BUT, TO CONTINUE TO ARGUE AND 'SHUT' THE DOOR BETWEEN
YOU WILL NEVER WORK. I HAVE FOUND WE ALL WANT TO BE
LOVED, HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD.

GOD BLESS, N. J ANDREW, PhD

C., I have no idea what could have prompted it by your husband but I can sympathize. I've been on both sides of this. When I was pregnant with our 2nd I couldn't handle the stress of the job and walked in the office, cleared out my desk, left all my materials and a nice note and quit. At the same time, when my husband returned from his first deployment, the military screwed up his orders and he didn't have a job for nearly 8 months. I would encourage you to find out what caused this and see if he is willing to go back out and get on the "horse."

I would also suggest that if you are in financial straights you start looking into public programs...I know most of us hate to think that we would have to use them but it is what we pay taxes on after all....I know after I swallowed my pride I was very greatful to have WIC after my daughter was born b/c she was going through 2 cans of formula a week AND eating regular food! If you don't qualify for the public programs a lot of churches offer help as well. Some offer help with utilities other with food subsidy. Good luck. L.

I was going to suggest maybe ADD. My husband is pretty much in the same situation. We got a diagnosis of ADD. To help with the insurance how about using your EAP benefits? They do not take away from your medical/behavorial benefits. You will be given a list of mental health providers that can help your husband. They normally start you off with 4-6 visits. After the EAP visits end, then your medical/behavorial health benefits kick in. It's something to consider. That's what I did. It was the best thing I ever had my husband do. Now that he is on medication he is more focused.

Questions: Was he unhappy with his previous jobs? Does he need to go back to school? How long are you willing to support him? You can love him without living with him, and you dont have to divorce him, just tell him to leave if he desnt want to be equal partners. What time frame are you allowing for him to seek/obtain another job? Some dad's make good stay at home dad's, what does he do to help out? Does your income support him staying at home? You are obviously not happy, or are you?
My personal experience when my first husband quit contributing financially,among other things, I had to ask," what do I need him for?" I didnt and I left, but my situation was about more than money

I think my husband is your husbands twin, my husband has also had problems with keeping a job. He is out of work right now, but this time it actually wasn't his fault, the factory he was working for closed, and he got fired because they closed. anyways, what I did before he found this last job was I flat told him he had one month to find a job, and if he didn't find one and keep it, I was leaving him, and I did. We split for two months, then he found this job, and held it for a year and a half before they closed. I also love my husband very much, and it was so hard for me to leave him for those two months, but I knew if I didn't, he would never grow up and be there for me or our daughter.

Hi C.,

Boy do I feel your pain. My husband used to up and quit jobs for any little thing in yrs past. Thankfully, I haven't had to deal with it since our daughter was born but I think what finally got through to him was when I told him this, "I don't want you to be in a job you hate and I don't care how many times you quit a job, my only stipulation is that you have to have another job in place before you quit." Once I told him that, it got better. He seemed to finally "get it". My husband finally found a job he loves and has been at it for almost 3 yrs, so it can happen. Hang in there and encourage him to find something he loves, but in a way that is still putting his family first. Good luck!

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