I Did What He Asked and Now He's Mad at Me

Updated on August 01, 2011
B.R. asks from Canonsburg, PA
21 answers

So, DH is a self employed personal trainer in a rather affluent area and successful enough in the past that I've been able to be a SAHM since Jan. 2000. With this awful economy his business has taken a hit, but not enough that we're not making our bills...just kind of making it right now, maybe a little left over at the end of the month, but not much. There are days when he is incredibly depressed that his business isn't booming like it used to, but struggling. There are days that his complaints basically come out as if I was working things would be so much better so I start looking for jobs and then he tells me he wants me home with the kids (our youngest is 2). Last week was particulary awful...all of our financial difficulties basically rest on my shoulders because I don't work. Instead of listening to him anymore, I found a possible job opening, applied and now I have an interview tomorrow with a pretty good chance of getting the job. I would work from 5pm to 11pm or 1am (perfect time of the day) atleast 5 days/week. I let him know that I have an interview and now he's mad and yelling at me because he doesn't know that he wants me to work (he wanted to take the kids to a Pirate game and my interview is at 5pm and could delay his departure so now he's pissed)...granted we always said we didn't want anyone else but us to raise the kids and I was perfectly fine with that and gratefully remained at home. First he criticizes that I'm not working and when I'm proactive and try to get a job he's pissed. I have no idea what to say to him anymore. I understand that he feels like he's failing us, but he's not...most business' fail in the first 5 years...he's been doing this for over 10 years but I can't take the verbal attacks anymore and continue to stroke his obviously fragile ego at the same time.

I did what he wanted and now he's barely talking to me...what the hell am I supposed to do?

Added: The 2 days/week that he works until 7, our 13 yo daughter would babysit until he gets home. We would pay her but definitely not what a daycare or other caregiver would charge. He works 3 minutes from home. I told him the day after I applied that I had and he seemed on board.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I appreciate everybody's responses so far. Thanks so much!

Our daughter would babysit for 2 hours/twice a week.

Personal training is considered a luxury and it's difficult to 'cold call' for that particular luxury. We work a lot on advertising together and various other ideas to bring in extra clients. His business is a small studio and not a larger gym.

@ Twice Blessed - A client gave him 4 free tickets to the ball game. We have 1 vehicle, eat lots of cheap meals (pastas, eggs, etc), don't have premium channels, canceled netflix, no central air, line dry our clothes, cold wash almost everything, no vacation, etc.

I GOT THE JOB!!! Thanks so much everyone! I tried to have a nice calm sit down and he's just so all over the place. I basically told him that I'm going to do this if I get the job and see how it works. If it's not working out we'll go from there.

Featured Answers


answers from Rapid City on

Tell him to grow the hell up, quit taking his frustration out on you, find a damn job if it upsets him so much!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

The biggest question that comes to my mind in all this is:

If he is so concerned with the finances, and there isn't a lot of extra money, WHY is he spending money going to a professional baseball game where he will probably drop about $75. - $100. in a night (between tickets and refreshments and parking)?

That doesn't make any sense.

ADDED: Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad he is not being irresponsible with the money.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi B.,

Men as a rule tie their own self worth and happiness into their work. When they feel they aren't providing for their family or they are failing, they get mad, upset, fearful, rage etc. His unhappiness has nothing to do with you. I bet he wants you to stay home. He wants you to raise the children and be at home with them. His pride is getting in the way because he feels like he let his family down by having to ask you to get a job. Then when you actually go and do it, his pride yet again gets in the way and he has an inner battle within himself of not wanting you to bear the burdeon or have to work outside the home. He is embarrassed that he needs you to work to make the bills get paid at home. Please, be understanding to this and tell him that you are going for this interview, you are going to see how it goes, when you get offered the job, you BOTH will decide if that is the best decision for your family. He will then feel more included and you can compromise on what works best for the family. Believe me, I have been there, done that. Do this and you will be back on track--communicating better. Tell him you love him and you want to help contribute....Things will be ok. GL


5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I agree with Sharon Z. depression in men comes out as aggressiveness or anger. He will get used to the idea of you working. It sounds like you have a schedule worked out and the blessings of a part time job is more time with your children than full time and more money than SAHM so you have the best of both worlds! and you have childcare sorted out. Sounds like good luck to me!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Reno on

Your husband is undoubtedly depressed. When women think "depressed," they think weepy and withdrawn, but in men, depression frequently comes out as anger.

You're right, his ego is fragile. It's amazing how men feel that they're the "strong" ones, but any emotion at all, positive or negative, totally throws them for a loop.

He's angry, and lashing out at you, because things are outside of his control. Men HATE dealing with anything they can't control.

You'll need to point out the obvious, over and over again. "If I stay home, we have less money. If I get a job, life will be more complicated, because we'll have obligations and scheduling issues that are out of our control, but we'll have more money. But THERE'S NO THIRD OPTION. I work, or I'm at home. CHOOSE ONE." That will undoubtedly make him angry, because you're pointing out how much of life really is outside of his control, but the message needs to really sink in.

My husband is the kind of person who frequently says, "We should do this," or "Why don't we do that?" but freezes up when an actual choice has to be made. He's terrified that we'll make the wrong choice, and it will be a disaster, and that will mean that he's stupid and useless. It's exhausting. A couple of years ago, he planned a vacation and told all our friends and relatives where we were going and when, but every time I said, "So should I buy tickets?" he'd say, "Do you know how much money that is? We don't have it! What if I can't get time off? I don't want to be locked in to anything!" Eventually, we DID get the tickets, and he told everyone what a great deal we got (and we did - I'd been shopping for months, so I knew where to go to get discounts!) He had a great time, but he always worries clear up until we're in the plane. It's just how he is.

It's totally normal to want things both ways. But, since that can't happen, you both need to deal with the fact that either way, someone will be unhappy about something. Just remember to always be civil when disagreeing - don't get personal or ugly during fights.

Hang in there! SO many people are in the same boat.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Sometimes what you want and what you need are 2 differant things. You know that the status quo isn't working. By no fault of his own, people are cutting back on using his services. He needs a little help and the whole family will be better off for it. He needs help but is too proud to show it. I'm sure he takes pride in supporting you and being able to have you not HAVE to work. So, maybe if you phrased it as something you WANT to do, for yourself. Let him know that you feel it is important for your own sense of worth. What man can argue with that. He really just needs to find a way to accept the help.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

He may be under stress but that doesn't excuse his behavior.
If he gets to the Pirate game a little late--oh well--guess what? The sun will come up in the morning.
He better get used to it because it's going to be a lot more DAD time for him if he 'wants' that extra income, right?
I'm sorry--this reminds me of a relative that had a husband who was always grousing & complaining that "she should work, they needed the money, she'd never leave him because who would hire her"....guess what, she got a job (PT) then ANOTHER PT job so he has nothing to say.

What are you supposed to 'do' you ask?
Go to your interview. I hope you get the job.
Now maybe he'll be more specific about what he does and does not want.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

He's stressed out, doesn't know what he wants... but the reality is, something needs to be done.
Either he gets more clients/another job.... or you get a job.

Ultimately, it has to be a JOINT decision.
And per who will care for the kids, if you both work?
Daycare, will cost money.
Whatever you earn, will end up being paid out for the Daycare etc.

You both have to sit down, and have a talk about this.

Don't listen to his complaints, unless you both have come to a FINAL decision about this and your financial situation.... and how to trouble shoot it.
Because, he does not know, what to do.
Hence his inability to make a decision.

He is taking out his frustrations, on you.
He is stressed.
But that is no excuse.
Yelling at you will not solve this issue.
He has to, grow-up and talk about it, as an adult, rationally.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Take the job.
I agree he might feel like a failure because he is not able to provide for his family as he was to in the past but he needs to face reality. Does he want you to wait until things get so bad that you are behind on your bills and or house payment?
He is probably also worried that he will be inconvienced by your work schedule. You both agreed that you didn't want your kids in daycare and since you have been a SAHM he could be fairly free with his schedule. Now he will have to consider your schedule also. You may also have to hire a sitter to cover an hour or two from the time you have to leave and the time he gets home. And he is going to have to do more housework, cooking, dishes, and childcare.
I would recommend couples counseling. He needs to understand that your marriage is a partnership.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Do you know how lucky you are to get an interview that fast? Good job!!!!
I definitely think you should follow through with your interview. I think you should tell him that you're going, and if you are offered the job, you are going to take it.
There is no point in trying to go back and forth over it, you can't read his mind. And, you both might be happier when some of the financial pressure is taken off of you. Taking a job doesn't have to mean it has to be forever.
Truly, maybe it's a sign that you were able to get an interview so quickly. If you get the job....maybe it was meant to be.
You know, I have a friend whose husband did this exact same thing to her. He griped and griped about her not doing enough to try to get a job. They were under a lot of stress. He was temporarily disabled after having two knee surgeries, they lost their home to foreclosure because they got really bad advice from a mortgage broker over refinancing. Anyway, things were a mess. She got a job and suddenly he was totally against the idea.
She took the job and quickly discovered what his problem was. Her working meant she wouldn't be around to do everything for everybody else like she always did. They lived 5 minutes from his job and he was going to have to start making his own lunch and take something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner. She would drop the laundry off to be washed and folded by a laundry attendant and he'd have to pick it up at the end of the day and bring it home and help put it away. He was going to have to help with things like picking up milk and bread at the store during the week.
It was all a huge inconvenience for him....until her checks started coming in. Then he was like, "Maybe me helping with some of these things isn't so bad." Now they are current on all their bills, they have money to take off and do things either as a family or just the two of them. They are even getting savings built up to buy another house.
They're pushing 50 and they've gone from having a great life, to not having a pot to pee in, back to having a fairly comfortable life and saving for retirement, etc.
It took sacrifices, to be sure. But, he got over HIS fear of how things would change for HIM with her working.
The changes weren't negative after all.

I wish you luck on your interview.
Let us know how it goes!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

He's under a lot of stress and doesn't want to admit that he needs the extra income... fine. You probably should have told him that you were applying- it hit him out of nowhere. I would suggest telling him that you would like to go on the interview to see what the job is about. Ask him what questions he would like for you to ask and make sure to do so.

Just a thought... how much is this going to cost you in childcare? He feels like he's failing and you (completely unintentionally) reinforced that by looking for another source of income. Not saying it's rational, but from his perspective you don't think he can provide.

Don't stroke his ego anymore. Go for the interview and then have a real talk with him about the pros/cons and parameters surrounding you going back to work. Agree to reassess the situation in 6 months and if you have adjusted and/or still need the income- continue. If things have changed and you are more stable you can always resign.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

He can't have it both ways and neither can you. Speak the truth in love. Just like you have been honest and upfront with us here. He needs to hear the same. The problem is he may have difficulty actually hearing you. Find a way to communicate with him which will allow you to get through to him and him to you.

The continued success of his business may require him to hire some marketing guru's which will help him think outside the box and target a new market or stimulate former clientele towards using his services again. He may consider partnering with a less experienced person and charing them a fee for the use of his name or business name sort of like a Jack LaLane kind of deal.

Since he has been in business for 10 years he probably hasn't made a great enough change in his business to tap into new resources and markets becasue you only know what you know and you really don't know what you don't know.

Both of you could get really quiet or you could try talking it out. Arguing and blaming over finances usually gets couples quickly toward divorce court. Wait for an opportunity to talk to him and listen as well. Don't just listen to the words he is saying listen to his heart in the matter because it sounds to me like he is very concerned about the financial well being of the family but is kind of living in the would have, could have and should have's instead of the reality of you both agreed that you would stay home with the children. This may need to change and this new job may be a way of that happening.

He may consider renting out his studio to another personal trainer and gain some additional funding that way. There are many ways to gain income most start with looking in your own hands at what you do and if someone else would pay you to do it. Would some one else in some other industry pay you to do what you have done for your husband in the area of advertising. He may also consider partnering with a nutritionist at a hospital or even some kind of healthy food chef.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I have not read other responses yet, but if my hubby was acting that way toward me, I would just flat-out ask him, "Well, what do you want me to do? Because first you sound like you would want me to be working to bring in more income, but then when I start looking into getting job, you say you want me to be at home with the kids. So which is it?"

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

He is just frustrated is my guess. He lashed out about you NOT working because he is feeling the burden, but in reality his ego is bruised that you need to go back to work. Even if he is a modern man this can still be hard..... and he probably doesn't even realize himself why he is feeling this way.

When the kids go to bed tonight light some candles and talk to him gently. Let him know you want to work as a team. Communication is the first place to start. Just keep talking to each other and come up together with a plan.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Its hard to remain supportive when you are getting yelled at all the time. When he is not mad, try and talk with him. Ask him is he mad because you might have found a job or is he mad because his business is struggling? I would bet that it is the second and not the first. Regardless, he has no right to take his frustration out on you. Go to the interview.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

You need to do what feels right to you. He will get over it.

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answers from Kansas City on

Well.. What about a comprimise? Can't you find a way to help him find more clients? What about making cold calls in your area, putting out fliers, visiting gyms where you can put cards out etc? If you put 2-3 hours per day, actual hours into advertising, online, wherever.. Then he'd get busier again. Wouldn't that be just the ticket?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think the problem is hubby knows what he wants.... his thriving business and for you to be a SAHM. Unfortunately, since that's no longer a possibility he's frustrated and can't make up this mind about the best direction to take.

I think the 2 of you need to sit down and have a talk. Explain to him that you understand that you're a team and need to work togehter to do what's best for your family. You've already come up with a plan that will work. Tell him you want... you want to try this for a few months and see how it works out. In a few months you'll reevaluate the situation.

Change is never easy.

Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

I hope everything works out for you. However I wanted to throw out the idea of working from home. If that turns out to be an option you want to explore I have a couple of different opportunities I would love to chat with you about. The beauty of working from home is you would still be home with the kids but be able to supplement your husband's income during those lean times. Contact me here if you are interested in working from home and we can discuss things further. If not I hope you get the job you have the interview for.

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from San Francisco on

I think you need to have a calm, back-to-basics conversation about your situation. You've both always wanted to raise the kids yourselves without outside help. is that still a priority you share? Is that more important that the stress he is feeling? And don't take his stress lightly, it's very hard to be the sole breadwinner anyway, and if his business is starting to falter then of course he's scared. I don't think you need to stroke his ego, but certainly you could have some compassion and face this current situation as a problem to solve together. How can you cut expenses, what would be enough to ease the pressure? Can you brainstorm ideas to get more business? Face the problem together, and broaden the solutions beyond just get a job/don't get a job.

1 mom found this helpful
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