My husband finally got the tenure-track academic job at an awesome university he's been working towards his whole life. So how can I get myself to stop hating him for it? Lots of rambling inside.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (86 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
I generally have a happy marriage (or I used to think so.) My husband and I (female) are compatible, we laugh, he's incredibly thoughtful about day to day things, etc. We're best friends. Our real problem now is his career choice -- an academic in the humanities. For the eight years of our relationship, where we lived and our lifestyle has basically boiled down to his career. (Some of that time in graduate school, others in jobs that were leading to his academic job.) Basically, each year we've moved in service of his dream job.
And now he's got it -- a tenure track academic job at an awesome university in a terrible year for the humanities. Which means we have to move AGAIN. With a new (6 months old) infant -- our first kid. I have a job I love (though a contract job -- it's not permanent and won't ever be, which is an issue he cites in favor of the move), in a city I adore, with lots of friends and a very strong community. We've been here for 2 years, the longest we've ever been anywhere.
And now we're moving -- again. To be fair to him, he offered to turn down the academic job and stay here (getting a non-academic job) and this suggestion was in earnest, but I wouldn't let him -- academia has just been his calling forever, it's an amazing offer, and it would've made all those moves in the past worthless. And he would have always wondered what academia would've been liked while he worked a regular job, which kills me, because well, I want him to be happy.
Now that we're actually moving, I'm miserable. We're squatting in other people's houses while we're between rentals, headed to even more temporary accommodation with an infant while we look for a permanent place, and I have no job. I'm bemoaning the fact that I don't really have a "career" like many of my friends and grad school colleagues. because we always moved so often and I just sort of found something to do in each place (sometimes awesome, often miserable.) He says that those friends I'm talking about (like consultants or law firm associates) are probably miserable being so static, and that our life in new X city is going to be better, flexible, etc. He'll have summers off and can be a 50-50 parent.
But I'm SO ANGRY with him now for making me and our kid go through all of this for him alone. While I'll help him in every way with his career, he has never suggested anything for my career that would be remotely adverse to his. And while he's right that I've always agreed to each move (and encouraged others, when, for example, they would help him finish that damn dissertation), I now feel how selfish he was in never thinking about me, and letting me do this for him. Part of the problem was that he was always crystal clear on what he wanted to do job-wise, while I was always wishy-washy. Still -- why couldn't he ever suggest something in favor of my career to the detriment of his?
So, in short, I find myself in my mid thirties, a talented person (I think) with two graduate degrees, and a young infant, with all of my stuff fitting into a dozen boxes, moving -- again -- with him to a foreign city where I know no one and have no job leads. And only one job on my resume longer than a year (and that was only 2 years.) I find myself wondering why/how I ever got into this in the first place, and in my extreme, sad moments wishing that we'd never met. And I'm mad at myself for letting all of this happen.
How can I make the best of this situation? Has anyone else had these feelings before and mended the relationship? We argue over this all the time, which is difficult, because he's able to say that he did offer to turn down the job. I just want to punish him and I feel I've wasted so much time I'll never get back -- that I've given up my career for his. At the same time, I honestly don't think I could live with the guilt if he gives up the job he's worked so hard for and deserves -- and another one like it is not going to come around.
(In case it matters, finances are not a big issue for us -- we're not rich, but we have decent savings, and no debt.)