T.M. asks from Tampa, FL on August 16, 2011
So Frustrated with Husband... - Tampa,FL
It has taken me lots of courage to actually put this one in words. I am so frustrated with my husband and have no idea of what to do. He has a job that he is growing to hate. He doesn't make much money...the job is with the State. He has been there for 9 years. He has done quite well there and has been promoted multiple times. However, he has run out of advancement options with this job. His next promotion would not even be available for another 9-10 years. He only makes less than 60% of what I make at my job. As such, I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders to provide for our family. I buy all of the groceries, I fund the college plans, I pay for the extra-curricular activities for the kids. If they need clothes, it's on me. Christmas, birthdays, etc...it's all on me. He has never helped me out when I was buying formula or diapers. It's all on me to figure it out. The money is just part of the issue. He has a degree that is just not marketable....I have the same degree....however, I went on and finished my Master's degree while he did not. Hence, I was able to find a better job and progress my career.
The bottom line is that he really needs to go back to school to make himself more attractive in the job market. He has used every excuse known to man about why he cannot go back. The State has a tution waiver program that would cover the cost for classes...I have told him that I will help him out with books. I have begged him for several years to just start out and take one class a semester...a lot of things are online now too. I finally got him to admit that he just doesn't want to go back to school. I could push the issue and force him to go back...however I know him and this would just backfire on me. If his heart is not in it, then he will just do badly. His complaint is that anything would take him several years to complete...Since we have been having this argument for several years already, he could have already been close to done with something by now.
The reality is that his job is not providing for the family and is putting huge stress on our marriage. I could deal with the less money issue if I saw him working towards something else. At this point, he does nothing but complain about his lack of money. He has a lack of ambition and I cannot fix that for him. I have tried every tactic I can think of to get through to him. I have yelled and screamed, I have cried, I have tried to talk reason, I have tried to present figures to him... Nothing seems to work. Pay and benefits with the State are already being cut...he has already taken essentially a 3% paycut this year. I do not see his job getting any better and he is getting to be miserable...obviously this is making me miserable too. I am starting to lose faith and respect for him.
I am at a total loss as to what to do to get through to him. I have started to feel overwhemed and depressed. I don't feel that this is what I signed up for... I love him with all my heart and do not want to end the marriage. He is othewise a good dad. I just want us to be a team and have a set goal that we are working towards. We are managing to pay our bills. However, we are not able to get ahead. At our ages (37 and 39), I feel that we should be more financially sound. I don't know if this is really a vent or a plea for advise... I am just at my wit's end and don't know any way to make this better.
So What Happened?™
Updated: I do not want to push him to do something that he doesn't want to do. However, I do want him to understand the long-term implications of his actions. I want him to WANT to do something to better himself. Truly, I have tried all different strategies with him from yelling, reasoning with him, to just saying nothing and hope he gets it on his own. Really....I could literally just sit in the middle of the floor and bawl... Our finances are separate for the most part and always have been. We would argue so much more about money if we joined them. He pays part of the mortgage, the electric and cell phone bills, half of the daycare expense, his car bills, and his credit cards. I have considered counseling...but I seriously doubt that he would be willing to go. I have been considering going myself to get better at my own reactions to this situation.
CLARIFICATION: No he does NOT pay all of the household expenses...I pay at least half or more of those too...Yes, the job market sucks...no doubt about it. However, sometimes doing nothing is as bad or worse than making a wrong move. We are not working towards making our situation better...that is really the crux of my issue. I do apologize...it is really hard to present a complete picture of the situation online. I realize that I am going to get some helpful and not-so-helpful answers here so I am going to try to thicken my skin a bit...
T.K. answers from Dallas on August 16, 2011
You know that some people love school and some people survive it. For those that survivie it, the idea of writing one more paper, is simply the last thing on earth they would ever want to do.
I don't think it's fair to cry, scream, beg him to do something that he told you he just doesn't want to do.
If he works for the state, he has a more secure job than most, with better benefits than most. True, nothing is 100% secure, but again, I don't think he is lazy or lacks ambition. He has a college degree and a good job.
He's not miserable in his job. He is miserable that his job, which for men is his identitiy, is being diminshed by his wife. What if your best effort just wasn't good enough? What if your husband were crying, screaming, throwing fits, asking you to change? And telling you you aren't good enough, aren't making enough money, aren't trying hard enough? I'm not saying that to be mean. I'm saying, support your man. Be appreciative of the pension he is earning and the income he is bringing in. Stop worrying about who makes more and start figuring out how to work with what you've got coming in. A husband is more than his paycheck and educational background. There is absolutely nothing wrong with retiring from the state.
9 moms found this helpful
D.K. answers from Sioux City on August 16, 2011
I have a degree that would bring in nearly twice what my husband brings in and it frustrates my husband that I won't use it. I choose to home school our four kids. He likes the education that the kids are receiving, but it frustrates him that we aren't keeping up with the Jones. I don't have a desire to keep up with others. I value the time I spend with my kids more than the material things. I finally looked at him and said I would never be happy working away from my kids. I know he would never pick up half the household chores if I should take a position outside the home. I'de be working myself into crazy and I don't see the point. If he desires more money he is free to go work for it but he can't rely on me to go find it for him. I do bring in some money each month and we combine all accounts and all bills. I do all the accounting. He is free to take on that job any time he wants it. I find that if you're all about money then there will never be enough. I look at what I have and feel it's a blessing. I don't bother looking at what I can't have. I don't know the answer to your problem. To me it looks like you aren't working as a team and no matter how much money he can bring in it won't solve that.
8 moms found this helpful
B.A. answers from Tampa on August 16, 2011
Honestly, in reading your post the big red flag here isn't your husband's lack of ambition. It's the fact that you are keeping score. I can understand that keeping your finances separate cuts back on arguments, but as long as you're keeping a tally of what you pay for vs. what he pays for you guys will probably never be happily married. Marriage and parenting are team sports. You each do what you can. He is gainfully employed and paying the bills along side of you. He makes less than you. So yes, he will pay less $$. If you bring in 60% of the family's income; logic follows that you will pay 60% of the family expenses. As long as he is providing the best way he knows how and is a good father; you don't have the right to demand more because it's what you want.
Before you continue to push this issue with him; look inside yourself first. Why is it so important to you that he be financially equal to you? If your reasons start with the word "I" or "Me" instead of "We" or "Us"; the problem isn't him- it's you. Would you really rather have an unhappy and financially successful husband over one who is happy? With that said; it sounds like your husband is very unhappy in his job. If that's the case, encourage him to explore what would make him happier. I have always believed you should find something that you love to do and then find a way to make money at it.
6 moms found this helpful
A.L. answers from Charleston on August 16, 2011
I feel for you, but I just witnessed a sad divorce stemming from a situation very similar to yours. Wife had advanced degree, making most of the money. She came to resent that she was the breadwinner. Husband was happy with his job that didn't require a degree at all. (He has a degree - he just loved this other profession and it made him happy.) She pushed him into law school. He went. He graduated. He practiced. He made $$$. She loved it as the pressure was off of her to be the primary financial provider. He hated it. He withdrew from her, from friends, etc... He became depressed, anti-social, sad. She didn't understand that money and a "better job" doesn't make everyone happy. They couldn't come to terms with their individual wants/needs, and unfortunately ended up divorced. He is back doing what he was doing previously, and the $$$ she spent sending him to law school went down the drains. Not everyone is cut out to be a breadwinner of a family. Be careful what you wish for. If he wants more money, he needs to come up with a way to make more that makes him happy. Good luck and I hope all works out for the best for both of you!
5 moms found this helpful
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on August 16, 2011
He is who he is.
I'm starting to wonder if the American male Breadwinner is a myth.
I know LOTS of women in your shoes. They make more than their husbands. They carry the health insurance, etc.
I don't know what the solution is but one thing I know for sure is that both partners agreeing on a budget and sticking to it is one way to take the "scary" out of the financial equation.
You might benefit from counseling but you can't really force him to do anything.
Look for the other amazing qualities in your husband--they might equal more than his current income. Good luck!
5 moms found this helpful
K.P. answers from New York on August 16, 2011
You are right. You can't force him to be ambitious and you can't force him to change.
1. You say that YOU are responsible financially for the family, so what does his income support?
2. Why are you trying so hard to change him?
This isn't about his job at all and it isn't about the fact that he makes less than you. It sounds like you are frustrated with his inability to see the long-term impact of his lack of action. You are paying your bills, but not getting ahead. In the short-term, no biggie. In the long-run, it is a biggie. He's employed, so in his eyes, no biggie. He's also stagnant and not bothered by it... again, in the long-run this is a big deal.
Stop yelling and screaming. Stop presenting him with figures and fact. Stop presenting him with trend data. You've tried those methods and they haven't worked- in fact those methods have probably made the whole situation worse.
Talk to him. Encourage him to be honest with you without putting your own feelings into the mix. Ask him if he is happy at work, at home, in life. Ask him what is holding him back from tyring something new or going back to school. Try not to accuse or belittle, but be his partner and confidante again and see if you can get to the bottom of this.
Ask yourself this question too, what did you sign up for when you got married? What has changed? My guess is that he hasn't changed and that he's the same person you married. What has likely changed is your lens on life. His lack of ambition was likely less prevalent and less important before you had a mortgage and kids. Life has a way of forcing changes- those who adapt find happiness... those who don't find themselves frustrated and left behind.
Good luck with this whole situation. Don't hesitate for a moment to get a counselor involved. Maybe hearing all of this from a non-biased "voice" will help!
5 moms found this helpful
J.W. answers from St. Louis on August 16, 2011
Nothing about this post makes sense. You say he works but you pay for everything. Does he cash his check and light the money afire? What I think is he pays the household bills, mortgage et al, and you pay for the bells and whistles. That is not you supporting the family, you both are. I would say curb that attitude if you really want him to do something cause you come off money is tight and no man will make a change under those conditions.
Just so you know I am sitting on a damn good degree and I can't find a job in my field right now. Well I could but it would mean quitting this one to do it and I am just not willing to take that risk when I can make ends meet on what I make at the moment. That is something you need to consider cause your words scream an attitude of he gets educated we will be on easy street, that ain't gona happen. By the way, masters in accounting bachelors in IT and accounting, all from St Louis University. It kills me to pay those student loans when I am not using the degree but in a couple of years I will be in the perfect situation.
So chill on your husband, the job market sucks!
5 moms found this helpful
G.R. answers from San Diego on August 16, 2011
One of my favorite quotes I believe by Maya Angelou is: if you can't chane
a situation then change your attitude about it. Easier said then done I am sure but what I found that works with most husbands is to let it go. Don't say anything else about it. Ignore all his cOmplaints, don't give him any options ideas etc etc. He has to want to change. Right now ur wanting it more than him which is why his fighting you. I know it's hard but let it go. Embrace the good qualities he has and see a therapist to help you change your attitude about it. Good luck
4 moms found this helpful