Help me not be a nagging, obnoxious wife
May 24, 2011 9:58 AM   Subscribe

How can I be less unreasonable about my husband's new life?

My husband recently went from being a mostly work at home guy to a full timer. Meaning 9-5 Mon-Friday, and a few late nights. It's a great job, and one he has been working towards for the good part of 30 years. The financial and extracurricular benefits are extraordinary.

And so, I feel a bit like a jerk being depressed about the whole thing. He comes home from work some nights and goes almost directly to bed. Other nights we have a quick dinner (that I spend a long time making) before he sacks out early. I'm pretty much in charge of the cat, who is freaked enough about not having her pal around all day long. I'm trying to do most of the cleaning, errands, etc. But I've definitely fallen into a funk/depression about the whole thing, and every time I mention it to DH, he freaks out and says I'm not supporting him. Much of the social time we've spent together recently is at his work events, although he does try to pay a lot of attention to me on the weekends.

This is all exacerbated by the fact that I'm currently injured and can't exercise too much, which is my main form of fighting depression. Also, DH has recently mentioned we might not get to go on a trip this summer that I've been planning for a year, because he might have to work.

And today is our 6 month wedding anniversary, and he's going out for dinner with a friend after work. (We did celebrate last weekend, but I'm still disappointed)

tl;dr - my husband has to pay a lot of attention to his new job, and I'm being a brat. How do I suck it up better and be a good soldier?
posted by roomthreeseventeen to Human Relations (52 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
It seems as if you are on a outstanding course right now. Your understanding and self awareness are 80% ( I made that up) of the battle. Get well and get exercising. Change, whether positive or negative is a stressor, and change usually means some anxiety/depression/irritation. Keep on remembering it is you not him. Congratulations on your progress to date.
posted by rmhsinc at 10:05 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you work the similar hours as him?
posted by halogen at 10:07 AM on May 24, 2011


and every time I mention it to DH, he freaks out and says I'm not supporting him

He is seconding guessing the value proposition of this job too. He is having transition issues just as you are. The solution is to talk about your mutual issues and agree on certain appointments to spend time together such as special occasions like anniversaries.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:08 AM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


It gets better. My husband is a chef, and when he landed his first really great job, I never saw him, and felt alone and forsaken.

So I made new pals, got more social myself, and found ways to do things with him at non-traditional times. Can you join him for lunch or breakfast? On nights he works late, can you pack a picnic and have dinner in the office?

How long has he been at this new job--if it's still early days, he's just trying to figure out how to fit in, and how to adjust (he's been at home, remember?) He's got a whole new work environment to navigate, and if he's got to worry about your happiness, he's going to feel like he's got a much heavier load.

I think the cat will adjust just fine--how much in charge of the cat do you need to be? Can you hire a cleaning person? If the $$'s there, I would. And then find someplace to volunteer ( of course, I'd find a place that's popular with the spouses of his new colleagues, but that's me, Capricorn ascendent) or hang out or study.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


halogen, I work 9-6. So, 3/5 days, same hours.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2011


Where are your friends? Stop sitting around moping and waiting for him to come home and pursue some of your own interests. If he's going to dinner with a colleague tonight, why don't you go out with a friend.
posted by shoesietart at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Find something that interests you and pursue it. A hobby. A stay at home job. Or, work at rehabbing your injuries. Find something to help you with your self-esteem, which, from this post, appears to be flagging.

And FWIW, I've never heard of a 6-month anniversary being the type of milestone you celebrate.
posted by PsuDab93 at 10:09 AM on May 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


I'm not married, so maybe I'm all wrong. But I think you need to get your own new thing. A job (if you don't currently have one or don't like the one you have) or a hobby, or anything, because this change has happened to both of you, but his part is an active change and your part is just to react to it. It sounds like you really do support him a lot, it's just that something has been taken away from your life/routine while something's been added to his. And as for the vacation, if he's as understanding of you as you seem to be of him, plan it for just yourself. Or you and a friend. Vacation planning is also great to give you something exciting to think about in the future, when your current life is sort of blah.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:13 AM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


On the work change situation: I have been through this and I got used to it after a few months. I have friends where one partner works very late during the week, so they have to find time, a sacred day to be together on the weekends. They work around it.

On the depression: Try tryptophan supplements to take the edge off. With your injury can you exercise the rest of your body? Nike has a great app where exercises are broken down by body region.

On the relationship: It sounds like you are angry at your husband and both need to work on your communications skills part of your marriage. This is exactly a normal part of every marriage, you have to work out expectations and how to tell each other what you need, how to anticipate. First step: Are you telling him exactly how you feel and exactly what you need? Are you dividing the chores so you each know your responsibilities and aren't just taking advantage of each other? Be direct. I cannot emphasize this enough.

every time I mention it to DH, he freaks out and says I'm not supporting him.
Second step: He is in a relationship and has to learn to communicate and not freak out. If he feels like he is not supported then that is his right. He can feel that way while you still try to work it out. His feelings are not your fault, not your responsibility. You love him, but allow him to have his feelings. Acknowledge his feeling that way, but persevere with what you need. No one is going to take care of what you want or need but you. Be calm, look into his eyes, be patient, hold his hand, don't lash out, and persevere.

And today is our 6 month wedding anniversary, and he's going out for dinner with a friend after work. (We did celebrate last weekend, but I'm still disappointed)
Then you need to tell him. Then next time you can be more direct about knowing your feelings and what you need, so next time you can tell him what you want and you both can agree on a plan.

A relationship is 50/50.
posted by scazza at 10:14 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


And as for the vacation, if he's as understanding of you as you seem to be of him, plan it for just yourself.

By which I mean, if he's as understanding of you as you seem to be of him, he won't object to your planning this and going without him. You shouldn't lose something you're looking forward to because he got a good opportunity.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:14 AM on May 24, 2011


To answer a question... 99% of my friends are runners who are doing their own training and taking care of their own families at night, which is my only real free time. I have plenty of hobbies (writing, yoga class), I'm just less motivated to actively engage when I'm overwhelmed, and feel like I have to come home, clean the apartment, feed the cat and cook dinner because there's nobody else who is going to do it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:16 AM on May 24, 2011


Agree with DestinationUnknown completely. Since the financial benefits are great then this shouldn't be a problem.
posted by scazza at 10:16 AM on May 24, 2011


Is there any sort of schedule at all to his late nights vs. his home on time nights?

If there's a schedule to his late nights, I would suggest planning meals that take more time/effort for nights he'll be home and can enjoy them. You can also look into crockpot meals, etc, for easier meals, if that will help at all.

Hopefully, he'll get used to his new schedule soon, and will have more energy - my husband and I have a 45 min commute each way, and then a full work day, and it seems like some days, we come home and go straight to bed, too.

I think you're doing well right now with acknowledging that you're having a hard time with the change. I think if I were you, I would sit down with my husband, and explain that I realize this is a change that is great, but that will take some getting used to. Let him know that you want to be as supportive as possible, but that you are having these feelings, so that he knows. Also be sure to let him know how much you appreciate him making time for you on the weekends, etc, but just give him a heads up that you may be more sensitive than usual, and that you're trying your best to adjust to the change. You could also ask if there's anything you could do to help him - "I know I'm taking care of Kitty right now, and trying to pick up more of the chores, while you get used to your new schedule.."

Is your injury one that will be better soon, or is it more longterm?

I don't see any reason why you should be the one to suddenly take over all cat care, etc, unless you're not working, or are just home a lot earlier than he is. Maybe just mention that, in a way of "hey, in about 30 days, once you're more used to your new schedule, can you pick up taking care of kitty again on MWF ?" or whichever the days are that he gets home at the same time. That will allow him transition time, but will make sure you have a cut off point for when you won't feel like you're doing *everything*.

I agree with Ideefixe - if you can look for outside activities that will entertain you - a sewing group, book club, gaming group, etc - that hits on those nights, it will probably help. Then you'll have something to keep you busy (it helps!) that you enjoy.

As for the vacation - yeah, it sucks, but sometimes these things happen. Is there any way to shift it a little, so your planning is still good, but it will be at a time when he can take off? Or, if it's really that important, and he simply won't have vacation time, is there any way that he can take the time off unpaid?
posted by needlegrrl at 10:16 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


How are you relating to him how you are feeling? Because if you are saying it in a way that it makes him feel as if it is his fault, then I'm not surprised at his response that you aren't supporting him (read = you are adding to my difficulties).

I've found with Mr. Leezie that if I start off with something positive - "I am so thrilled that you have this new job." - and show him that I am completely mindful that this is a good development overall, I can then bring up whatever is bothering me about the situation but in a sort of roundabout way. "Do you think your tiredness when you get home is long term or is it something that comes with being in a new job and having a new learning curve? Because I really look forward to spending time with you in the evenings, but I know how tired you are."

The key is to acknowledge that he is doing something hard and that he's tired - even if you think it's an overreaction, etc. Once he feels like you are acknowledging his feelings (and not in a scripted "I acknowledge your feelings" kind of way), I think he'll be more open to hearing what you have to say.
posted by Leezie at 10:21 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm just less motivated to actively engage when I'm overwhelmed, and feel like I have to come home, clean the apartment, feed the cat and cook dinner because there's nobody else who is going to do it.

You have to find some way to relax that is more intense and satisfying for you. If nothing is working then you really need a good therapist to go to to give you additional perspective.

I just saw your title to this "Help me not be a nagging, obnoxious wife." You need to stop worrying about how you come off to your husband and start communicating what you need. You have to make some boundaries and stop caring so much for awhile what he thinks of you. You guys have to work it out and he has to put in his 50%.

Maybe just mention that, in a way of "hey, in about 30 days, once you're more used to your new schedule, can you pick up taking care of kitty again on MWF ?"
I completely disagree with this. You need to be more direct with him. Patient, but direct and clear. Don't "mention," actually sit down and work it out. If you ened to take a break from the talk, make a time to continue it.

(If you're in NYC I can recommend a great therapist for you or the two of you.)
posted by scazza at 10:24 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm just less motivated to actively engage when I'm overwhelmed, and feel like I have to come home, clean the apartment, feed the cat and cook dinner because there's nobody else who is going to do it.

In that case, I second hiring a cleaning person to take over some of that if you can swing it financially. It really helps.

Also, there have been countless posts out there about saving time by cooking meals for the whole week in advance and then heating things up as needed. That could work. You two could even make a ritual out of preparing the week's meals together on Sundays.
posted by treblemaker at 10:28 AM on May 24, 2011


One thing that might help is getting a cleaning service to come in and take some of the burden off you. Take advantage of those financial perks.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:31 AM on May 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


"99% of my friends are runners who are doing their own training and taking care of their own families at night, which is my only real free time"

Skip/cut back the cleaning or hire it out; the cat will life; and here's what you're going to do to socialize: Invite yourself to your friends' houses. If by families you mean "kids," I would be FREAKING DELIGHTED if you would invite yourself over to spend the evening and have dinner with me and my family. It's hard (and/or expensive) to go out for the evening when I have a toddler, but if someone's willing to come here and join us for dinner, we can have a lovely evening, my toddler gets excited by the company, and he goes to bed at 7. And then we can have adult time.

I hesitate to invite friends, "Hey, come over and be boring with me while I engage in routine childcare tasks," but if they give the tiniest indication they might want to, I AM ALL OVER THAT.

And yes, as your husband adjusts, he'll be less tired and this will be less of an issue.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:35 AM on May 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


How long has he been at this job? It sounds like he's new and adjusting and so are you. Soldier through this part and you'll get used to the new routine. Change is hard! Good luck. My husband works crazy hours and I don't get to see him as much as I'd like, but I'm used to it. It now annoys me when he's home and under my feet too much!
posted by cestmoi15 at 10:40 AM on May 24, 2011


First, scazza's comment on communication is right. You can feel [overwhelmed, lonely, abandoned, and depressed about something] and have a desire to discuss it AND he can feel [stressed, worried he made the wrong choice, and insecure] and strongly hope for your support. And ideally, you two would be able to discuss it. My current favorite book on communication (which I'm recommending incessantly) is Difficult Conversations.

To be honest, as a reader, this question was a bit opaque to me. Lots of factual description, but most of the feelings (besides depression and funk) weren't on the surface. I know about the cat and the long time you spend cooking, so a bit of resentment came through. I'm not criticizing you -- you don't need to spill your guts on our account -- but it might help your conversations with him if your part is more explicit. "Ever since I stopped running I feel cut off from my community, and now you have started this new job. I guess I imagine everyone else off having exciting times while I stay home and feed the cat." "You know how my mom was so miserable and alone and my dad was always away on business? My big fear about getting married was that my life would turn into that. So now, even though I know this is temporary, I fear turning into the miserable housewife, and it is really freaking me out." Try putting the focus on yourself and your feelings. Don't let those feelings primarily show themselves in adjectives about how long you spent cooking, etc. :)

Also, your question has lots of "shoulds" and "trying to"s and self judgments ("brat"). No wonder you're feeling depressed. Who is caring for you and what you need while you are trying to be a soldier?
posted by salvia at 10:57 AM on May 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


To shorten my comment above, I see that you can't run, and that you are feeding the cat and doing the housework for you both. And I hear that you are overwhelmed and becoming depressed. But what is the link between those two pieces of information? What are the intermediate thoughts and feelings? (Otherwise, can you just pay a housecleaner and buy take-out?)
posted by salvia at 11:04 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My current favorite book on communication (which I'm recommending incessantly) is Difficult Conversations.

Second this. I don't always like MeFi highly recommended books (in fact, I threw How to Be An Adult in Relationships against the wall), but Difficult Conversations is really good.
posted by yarly at 11:07 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Try to be kind to yourself. I don't think you're being unreasonable. Your life has just drastically changed, of course you are upset. Plus, your husband is doing something he really likes and you're just feeling kind of lost. It's probably a shocking contrast all of a sudden. It's natural to be out of sorts.

Now you have some time to be with yourself. This is going to be hard and uncomfortable, probably, since it seems you've spent a lot of time focusing on your husband and maybe not experiencing your own feelings/solitary life. Which isn't bad! But now it's change time. Try to be happy about it. Take that energy you've given your husband and give it to yourself. You can do whatever you want! Sounds kinda good to me!
posted by amodelcitizen at 11:14 AM on May 24, 2011


Hire a weekly maid service

Develop some new hobbies and friends of your own
posted by Jacqueline at 11:35 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hire a personal trainer to come to your house and get you on the best possible exercise routine you can manage with your injury to help you fight your depression. Modify your summer trip so you can go it alone (or with a friend) if need be. Put off some chores until the weekend and do them together (or get a cleaning service). Make less complicated meals, or but some ready-made meals if you don't feel like cooking.
posted by mikepop at 11:44 AM on May 24, 2011


I'm just less motivated to actively engage when I'm overwhelmed, and feel like I have to come home, clean the apartment, feed the cat and cook dinner because there's nobody else who is going to do it.

You're right, I totally sympathise - the most difficult thing about getting out of these funks is actively engaging when you feel overwhelmed, but if you can find the motivation for *anything* it will help. If your friends are all busy, find a meet up group, or an exercise class or something else that happens in the evenings when your husband isn't going to have time for hanging out.

(FWIW, I agree with the comments above that his tiredness is probably partly down the new job factor and likely to improve, so don't despair.)

Feeding a cat takes 5 minutes and if you're only working 3 days a week, there's plenty of time to clean the apartment, you shouldn't feel like you're labouring over it in the evenings. So its more about you feeling taken for granted or neglected than the actual practicalities. In the short term, while he's overwhelmed with his new job, it seems reasonable to me that you would try and do more if you have the time, but in the long term you both need to work out what the new rules are, by talking. Applies to chores, holidays, socialising etc. But they will be new rules, because you're in a new situation.
posted by penguin pie at 11:47 AM on May 24, 2011


(Re. my exercise class suggestion - I hadn't missed your injury comment, but wonder if there might be gentle exercises you can do that would at least get you out in the evenings? I've taken yoga classes which had people with all manner of physical difficulties, including serious weakness right down one side, where they were given suitable variations to the moves by the tutor. Swimming or gentle walking or aquafit? You might have already ruled all these out, but if you can't run to a personal trainer, it might be worth asking at your local gym/sports centre for anything appropriate if you haven't already.)
posted by penguin pie at 11:55 AM on May 24, 2011


Remember to be patient. This situation is very distressing to you right now, but it's very likely to get better on its own over time as the pressures of the new job ease. Don't panic and do anything to damage the relationship before things have a chance to settle down. And don't beat yourself up too much for being a little bit bratty as you adjust. This is hard.

What you're experiencing is quite like the suckiness that many couples endure when one partner is utterly absorbed for a time in completing a degree; it's disorienting and difficult for all of you, including the cat. But it gets better.
posted by Corvid at 12:02 PM on May 24, 2011


You're depressed. You need to fix that, somehow.

Have you got benefits? (I'm assuming that at the very least your husband's great job comes with them.) Talk to your physician about therapy or medication. A lot of people distrust antidepressants, but the right one can really help lift the grey haze. (Yes, exercise also helps a lot, but it sounds like that's difficult for you right now.) Really. Don't discount traditional medical solutions or counseling, if they're available to you.

It sounds like you've been married less than a year. If that's the case, you're probably still dealing with all the changes and stresses associated with that, on top of everything else. My husband was in a very tough, stressful graduate program when we got married, and we didn't have as much time together as we wanted to. It does get better, believe me, but carving out a life for yourself will make a big difference.

You don't have to have dinner on the table when your husband comes home. Make up big dishes that can be refrigerated and warmed up (lasagna, chili, pork stew with hominy, etc.). Bake a ham (they're easy, they last forever, and they're economical). Keep sandwich fixings and low-sodium soups around and tell him to fend for himself if he comes in late. Come up with a list of chores that he can reasonably do on weekends (e.g., clean the litterbox, clean the bathroom, etc.) and make him share at least a bit of the work. Make him take you out to dinner every couple of weeks. Insist on that vacation. He'll need it, too, and he'll be glad you forced him to take it. Above all, hang in there. It does get better.
posted by tully_monster at 12:03 PM on May 24, 2011


When I started my first full-time job after freelancing, I was exhausted when I got home. After a couple months I got used to it. Sometimes it's just a lot to take in at first - takes some settling into. The anniversary thing is fairly shitty, but very possibly a separate issue.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 12:03 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This sounds like a great time to get Netflix and watch all of Buffy, or whatever show you like and he doesn't.
posted by bq at 12:27 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hire more help.

You will feel better once you're not injured.

In the meantime, don't beat yourself up about missing him. You are a normal person who loves their spouse and wants him around. That is a very good thing.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:50 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm overwhelmed, and feel like I have to come home, clean the apartment, feed the cat and cook dinner because there's nobody else who is going to do it.

Wait. If you're working the same hours as your husband, how come the housework is your responsibility? When you say "there's nobody else who is going to do it" I assume you mean, "my husband won't do it and expects me, his injured wife, to pick up his slack."

Is it possible that you resent him for treating you as "the help" rather than as a partner? I know I would if I were you.
posted by randomname25 at 12:53 PM on May 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wait. If you're working the same hours as your husband, how come the housework is your responsibility? When you say "there's nobody else who is going to do it" I assume you mean, "my husband won't do it and expects me, his injured wife, to pick up his slack."


It's not like I'm on bed rest. :) I have a stress fracture in my left leg. And to answer the question, he comes home exhausted, having never worked a regular job in his life. We are finding the best way for us to function at all is for me to pick up the slack right now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:03 PM on May 24, 2011


It's not the best if it makes you resentful! Seriously. You seem to be internalizing some really negative stereotypes of female wifes (nagging, demanding, a brat) when the reality is that your husband is a capable person who has certain responsibilities towards your marriage and there is nothing wrong with asking that he fulfill them.

I mean really--he gets "a great job" and you get more housework? He gets to go out with friends when he has the energy but when you have energy you get to cook and clean? Are you really being fair to yourself here?

I'm not saying the solution is your partner cooking more or your partner cleaning more. However, it might be your partner taking responsibility for dinner 3 nights a week, however he chooses to handle that, or making sure you get help with cleaning even if it doesn't come from him.

I used to bring home dinner quite a bit when I was working long hours because it makes my partner feel like shit when he's the only person doing anything around the house, even if I was exhausted. Yes, he could have cooked, and that would have been nominally "fair", but if I had the ability to keep us fed there was no excuse for me not to figure something out.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:33 PM on May 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


We are finding the best way for us to function at all is for me to pick up the slack right now.

Well, er, not to state the obvious, but it seems this functioning is unraveling pretty quickly. Look, I don't know your dynamics and take what I say with the full realization I am an internet stranger, but you have had all the "woman's work" dumped on you.

1. Hire it out, or
2. Insist he act like an adult and pull his fair share of domestic chores or
3. Stop doing 1/2 of it.

Yes, you know what? Being in a marriage means supporting your spouse, but it also means expecting the same in return. I understand he is stressed out, and hopefully things get better, however that is a thin excuse for freaking out when your partner talks about their feelings and concerns.

When you talk to him, talk in a firm, loving, fashion, but be clear of your needs as well as his.

be well, do things to feel good as well as things that are necessary.
posted by edgeways at 2:52 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Order pizza for dinner! You don't have to take on a traditional role and make every meal for him. As a matter of fact, he can call you before he leaves work and pick things up to bring home for dinner, too.

On the days when you aren't working, meet him for lunch.

Hire someone to clean if it is getting you down. Get out of the house as much as you can so you don't get cabin fever.

Read, watch movies, surf the net.

I understand you miss him, but you're married, and there's no reason to be clingy--you have years and years ahead of you as a married couple to spend together! He'll get used to the routine of his new job and start having more energy after work soon enough. And you can still plan special times together for the weekends.

And don't get hung up on a "6 month anniversary" as there honestly isn't any such thing (anniversary comes from the Latin, annos, which means year, so you really can't have an anniversary before at least a year!). I'm sure he'll make a big deal about the first real anniversary.
posted by misha at 2:56 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Husband, I am thrilled that you've landed such a great job and that you're working your butt off to make the most of it. However, the change is negatively impacting the division of household chores as well as our relationship in general. I am worried that down the line the drastic changes that have occurred will really hurt us. I need to feel like you're giving our relationship (which predates your job) enough attention, and I need your help around the house. I am starting to feel really depressed about these changes, and that depression is making it hard for me to support you in this new venture of yours. Will you sit down with me and talk things over so we can come to a better solution?"
posted by patronuscharms at 2:56 PM on May 24, 2011


I'm wondering if your husband may be having trouble adjusting to this new work environment and expectations. It's possible (and easy, for some people) to get emotionally wrapped up in a job to one's negative detriment - kind of like an abusive relationship. This makes me think it might be so:

DH has recently mentioned we might not get to go on a trip this summer that I've been planning for a year, because he might have to work.

This sounds like me talking about this one job I had, where I was "too important" to go on vacation. They had me working all kinds of hours to make deadlines (once in a while, sure, but every deadline was crunch time) and I was exhausted and miserable. But they were abusing me and I was accepting their behavior and jumping when they said jump and then complaining about all the jumping I was doing, so to speak. This job! So stressful! Your husband may need to learn to assert himself and not let the company's needs and demands trump his own chronically. For instance, in my current job when someone drops something on me with an insane deadline, I tell them, sorry, I already have plans at 6pm and I will finish the work in the morning. This keeps me sane, and it trains them not to dump things on me at the last minute.

He may be wanting to be such a good employee and make miracles happen for the company (trying to establish a secure place - getting laid off is a big fear these days) that his home life, and you, are taking a backseat. Or maybe the company is putting pressure on him and their expectations are nutty. Either way, this is resulting in a bad situation for you.

Talk to him and explain your expectations regarding putting home life as a priority. It may relieve some of his stress and also give him an easy shorthand with his managers; "Look, I'll do my best but my wife needs me home at 6pm." People are generally understanding of the priority of marriage life.
posted by griselda at 2:59 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now that you have (presumably) significant additional income, but he's not available, discuss getting a cleaning person to come in and offload some of the chores. Discuss spending some of that new money on dinners and vacations to offset the free time you're not able to have together. When he's not around, go out with other people (friends, of course) or have them come over.

Ultimately he's been working towards this, and now that it is here, you'll both need to adjust. Don't lock into the view that adjusting means him having to somehow do exactly what he used to do, and his new gig -- think along the lines of "how does this new gig allow us to compensate for the demands of the gig, and come out ahead?"
posted by davejay at 3:03 PM on May 24, 2011


We are finding the best way for us to function at all is for me to pick up the slack right now.

You mean the best way for him to function is for you to pick up the slack.

You're going through some pretty serious stuff right now (which happens to sound an awful lot like my depression and anxiety issues) and he gets angry when you bring up your concerns. That's not going to work out too well. No wonder you're feeling burnt out.

I know how you feel. I having my husband around really helps me with my issues. He lost his job a couple of years ago and the months he spent looking for work were really wonderful in terms of having him around. When he started working again it was really tough on me.

It sounds to me like your partner is going through his own brand of stress, but that doesn't mean that he can negate yours. I don't know what your solution will be, but having a good honest conversation is probably the best place to start.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:40 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Make a list of the good things, and keep reading it. You have more $ now, right? So, get more takeout, and buy a few new tunes. Nothing wild, but the tangible benefits may cheer you.
posted by theora55 at 4:12 PM on May 24, 2011


Cleaning lady if you can afford it - you in optional physical therapy for your injury - counselling for you both to sort the transition to his new work.
posted by By The Grace of God at 4:18 PM on May 24, 2011


"And to answer the question, he comes home exhausted, having never worked a regular job in his life."

And thus your household income has increased, correct?

"We are finding the best way for us to function at all is for me to pick up the slack right now."

No, the best way to function is to use some of that extra income to hire extra help until your leg recovers and he adjusts to his new schedule.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:55 PM on May 24, 2011


The "sacks out early" bit is what's red-flagging me. Is he honest to god going to bed at 6-7 p.m.? Every night? Also, how often is he working late? Does he also have some kind of 2-3 hour commute in this scenario that you're not mentioning here? I dunno, I just find it hard to believe that he is literally that exhausted every single night from a desk day job without some medical reason behind it too.

I've had to work 8-5 almost all of my career (except for when I had to work 7-4, whee), and you do get used to it. And hell, I am jealous of him only having to work 9-5, that's not even an option where I live. But unless he has the world's most demanding day job and/or hours of commute, he should at least be able to function enough to go home, eat dinner, and watch some TV before bed like well, the rest of us. At least, eventually he should get used to the idea. Unless there is something medical going on, which I am seriously wondering about.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:33 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think some commenters might've missed the fact that the OP is only working three days per week. It's not true that the OP is working the same hours as her husband.

Nevertheless, I don't think that makes dinner or whatever your responsibility necessarily. If you wanted to stay out late actively engaging, you could grab a PB&J and so could he.
posted by salvia at 9:30 PM on May 24, 2011


I totally feel you--my husband and I went through a similar transition this year and I felt much the same way and like you in particular suddenly being left to do all the housework invisibly and feeling like I couldn't say I was overwhelmed without being unsupportive was part of the problem. Given it sounds like your husband's job is pretty lucrative, have you considered hiring outside help for housework? Doesn't have to be all the time, just often enough to take the edge off. If he's making enough now for that to be feasible might want to consider it.
posted by ifjuly at 4:43 AM on May 25, 2011


I think some commenters might've missed the fact that the OP is only working three days per week. It's not true that the OP is working the same hours as her husband.

Not sure where you got that. I work full time, same hours as my husband. Two nights a week, he works overtime.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:23 AM on May 25, 2011


halogen, I work 9-6. So, 3/5 days, same hours

That's why we thought you worked 3 days. You never specified (unless I missed it) that your husband works late 2 days a week, so the 3/5 seemed to mean you work 3 days a week while he works 5.

Anyway...

I feel like I'm missing something here. Plenty of people are in relationships where both partners work much longer hours than 9 - 5 every day, and neither make much money, and have children to look after as well. I hope this does not sound harsh because clearly you are feeling fragile, but your life actually sounds pretty chilled out and pleasant.

Apart from the *possibly* unreasonable husband (I'm not sure if he actually expects you to take on all the cooking/housework or if you expect yourself to), your real problem is depression. Get some therapy, brush up on your communication/assertiveness skills, visit your friends with kids, and make a determined effort to find things you can enjoy without your husband around.
posted by 8k at 8:17 AM on May 25, 2011


What I don't really get is the freaking out when you try to talk to him. He says you aren't supporting him but really the same can be said of him. You're injured and this is a change and he doesn't seem like he is supporting you. But you seem like you down play your needs a lot and that only his matter. Why would his matter more than yours?
posted by heatherly at 1:47 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


My husband recently got a full-time job too. In addition to all the above excellent advice, allow me to offer:

1. Is he on his feet at work? If not, he should totally get a standing desk. He will feel so much better at the end of the day.
2. How long is the commute? Moving closer to work might be worth looking into.
posted by hishtafel at 9:00 PM on May 25, 2011


Not sure where you got that. I work full time, same hours as my husband. Two nights a week, he works overtime.

8k explained it. I thought you meant same hours as him, but only 3/5 of the days.
posted by salvia at 9:51 AM on May 26, 2011


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