My husband and I have been married six years, and he is a really great guy. I love him to death.
But I think we’re both at our rope’s end.
My husband was released from the military with a bad conduct discharge in 2007, and ever since, he’s had trouble finding a job. Since then, he hasn’t really tried to better our living situation through school or a job, and bottom line, I’m sick of it. (I will try to tell both sides of the story as much as I can).
He didn’t want to go to college because of a learning disability (which I personally think he uses as an excuse) until I dragged him to the admissions office. This upsets me because he didn’t fill out the applications, I did. I spent hours on his applications trying to get him to realize that the best way to better your situation is to better yourself, and he hasn’t made any moves. <—-I realize how stupid I was in doing this, and I take full responsibility for not making him take care of his own business.
So, when he told me one day that he didn’t want to go to school because we were having financial issues, I went off. I started yelling, cursing, screaming, and kicking. I went ape -ish. Why? Because financial Aid isn’t an issue for him. I’m sure the real reason why he doesn’t want to go back to school is because he failed the first class that he took in 15-something years. I just wanted to know why he couldn’t take responsibility for him failing the class, and try again. To me, him failing out of school was a bish move.
And when he wants a job, I fill out the applications too. <—-I realize this was another dumb move.
From his perspective, he’s had a hard time dealing with me, too. The first four years of our marriage, I didn’t want to accept the fact that I suffered from a horrible case of depression. At the end of the day, he was the one that made me realize that I needed help years later, and he put up with a lot of my issues over the years. I’m talking suicide attempts, heated arguments, and for years he felt like he was hitting a brick wall in getting through to me. He’s also been a great stay-at-home father. When I needed projects finished (I do a lot of freelance video work) he’s there to take care of the house, the car, basically everything but his own business, and I am so grateful to him for looking out for me. In fact, I don’t discredit any of the sacrifices that he’s made for me or our son. What I do discredit him for, is he not attempting to try bettering himself. It’s heartbreaking to watch him put himself through the same cycle.
Look, I realize that we’re both a damn mess, and that no one else would probably want to put up with us in another relationship. I also take full responsibility in my part in this. I enabled him because I was in love, and what I was really doing was being stupid and not using my head. A man shouldn’t have to be forced to take care of his own business. And anyway, I don’t see a need in either of us leaving the relationship if we’re able to work things out, and we are. But, how can I when he doesn’t want to do anything? How can I fix this mess? Hell, is it even worth fixing? And at the end of the day, I just want us to be our best selves for our son. What should I do? – Crazy In The Head And In Love
Dear Ms. Crazy In The Head And In Love,
Wow! Pot meet kettle! Seriously!?! You have a lot of gall.
You mentioned that the first four years of your marriage that your husband dealt with your “undiagnosed bout of depression.” And, for four years he stood by your side, through the abuse, the mental anguish you put him through, your suicide attempts, the heated arguments, yet, it was him who urged you to get help. Despite his own issues, being discharged dishonorably from the military, and his inability to find a job, he stood by your side and helped you through your –ish.
Hmmmm, so you want to know what to do because he doesn’t seem to want to help himself. Welp, do you think that relationships have seasons? You know, when one person is down, the other is up. They help empower, inspire, and encourage you. They push you and in the midst of chaos, they get you to seek help to deal with your –ish, all the while they are suppressing their own demons, and issues. And, then it reverses, and you are down, and they are up. Or, there are the tempered moments when things are going great, and you’re both on the same page.
Well, this is the season when he is down, and you are up. For four years he kept quiet, silent, and worked with you to help you get better. And, as soon as you are healed, better, and motivated you berate, demean, and jump on him for not doing and being who you want them to be. Wow! Interesting.
So, could it be that your husband is dealing with his own bout of depression. Could he be dealing with self-esteem issues, and feelings of inadequacy because he knows he can’t take care of his family. So, it will explain that when you need help around the house he goes above and beyond. He’s there for his child, and as you stated, he is a great stay-at-home dad, takes care of the house, car, and basically does everything but takes care of himself. And, he is so busy being there for you and his son that he is neglecting himself because he doesn’t see the mental and emotional trauma he is or has experienced through the years. And, because you are so self-absorbed in taking everything out on him, and why he doesn’t get it together, get his life together, and be a man, he internalizes all of this. And, just like you beat up on him, he is silently, and internally beating up on himself. He is calling himself stupid, and inadequate. He is berating himself for not being the man he wanted to be. He hates that he can’t find a job, and earn money like all the other men, and fathers out there.
Well, I say he needs a wife, and partner right now. Not someone telling him what he should be doing, but encouraging him in what he should be doing. There is a difference. And, perhaps, you should encourage him to seek professional help and speak with someone because I am sure after being discharged dishonorably from the military and being unable to find a job does take a toll on someone. And, his failure in the military may have set off some other deeper issue he has about himself. Perhaps he had a dream of being a careered military man, or using the benefits of the military to better himself. Most people who sign up for the military do not expect to be discharged dishonorably. They make a career out of it, and reap the benefits after serving. But, he can’t. That mark is forever on his record. He has dashed his dreams, and now he feels like a failure.
It affects his ability to find a job, take care of his family, support his family, and be a man to his wife. I’m sure he had a dream, but now that dream is diminished for him. He may feel hopeless, and inadequate. And, that is why I am encouraging you to support him, love him, and empower him. This is his season to be nurtured and healed. Just like he helped you, worked with you, supported you, encouraged you, and dealt with all of your –ish for the first four years of your marriage, he needs you now. Sit with him and talk with him. Ask him how he feels. Let him share his feelings and emotions without judgment. Ask him what’s going on with him, and how can you be supportive of him. And, encourage professional help just like you received.
Look, I agree, you shouldn’t enable him and fill out applications for school and jobs. He has to take accountability, and be responsible. He does need to grow up and not have his wife treating him like a child. However, keep in mind that school is not for everyone. I am a proponent for education, but college is not for everyone. Perhaps, instead of college, he attends a trade or technical school. He can seek out certification programs, and other career options he finds interesting and that he enjoys doing. Not everything requires a college degree. But, he has to be willing to do the work.
You say you love him, and he loves you, then, marriage is about work. It’s about the ups and downs, facing the hurdles and challenges as a team, and supporting one another, encouraging one another, and empowering one another. It’s about the thick and thin. The good and bad. You want the best for your son, then you and your husband have to work at building and creating a nurturing environment of love and support for one another, and team building. Get him into professional therapy, and you continue to heal and empower yourself as well. Things will get better, but you’ve got to work together, and not against one another. Reflect on the love, and the push your husband gave you during your four years of hell, and how he stood by your side. Now, it’s your turn. – Terrance Dean
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