04-07-2010, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
| | losing my mind...
My husband and I have actually separated but we are supposedly "still trying to work things out"...that is why I am posting here.
This has been a long time coming. We have been married almost 16 years. When we met I was in a dead end job and wanted a more challenging and financially rewarding career. He was on track to make partner at a major law firm. As I spoke about my career frustration, he repeatedly encouraged me to go back to school to get a graduate degree in a profession I really wanted to pursue.
I was worried about giving up my job and being dependent upon him. For a variety of reasons (too long to go into here) it was going to take 10 years for me to complete the degree and training and get to the point of making a living. Finally, I decided to take a leap of faith and go for it.
A couple of years into my schooling, he started to have some major career problems. I believed then and still believe that many unacknowledged emotional issues on his part contributed to these problems. I encouraged him to seek counseling but he didn't. The story is long but the short version was that he got to the point where he told me that the only way of salvaging his career (and continuing to chase his dream) was to move across country to another legal market. He was demoralized and sad and I loved him so I supported him in the move. I felt I had no other choice for both emotional support reasons and because we were financially dependent upon his career.
So we moved and this required I stopped my education (I was unable to continue where we moved). Also, I could not find a job in the new place despite exhaustive searching (which really made me feel horrible).
My husband took a huge pay cut with this move as well. When I couldn't find a job or continue with school, I begged him to consider moving to a place where we could both have careers. He said he "couldn't" which was ridiculous because he was already working at a pay lever far below his experience and he could have replicated or bettered this in other places.
He finally made some forward progress in his career, but then almost got fired for something that showed extraordinary poor political judgment. This freaked me out because I had given up so much for his career and he was still not facing that he had some very severe emotional issues that were really tripping him up. I was, unfortunately, sympathetic to his problems so I never discussed how crazy his behavior was with friends and family. I believe that we should keep these confidences when we are in relationships.
Unbeknownst to me, he was complaining about the fact that I didn't work to many friends and family...but I'll get to that later.
I got pregnant after trying for over a year (this was 7 years ago). He began an affair right when I got pregnant and continued it for the first year of my daughter's life (he went away with her for a week when my daughter was 3 weeks old). When I found out about the affair I was so isolated and he had played such mind games on me (implying that I drove him to it) that I clung to the fact that he wanted to work on the marriage. When we went to counseling I took the position that I knew that "it took two people to cause problems in a marriage" and the "couples" counseling focused on me for much of the time (why I didn't work was seen as me just wanting to "hitch myself to my husbandís star). I was so traumatized by giving up my life for this move (career chances destroyed, all friends on the other side of the country) that I couldn't speak up for myself in any way that put some focus on what he did.
Now we have moved again and I have been getting stronger. I have been trying to get some projects going for myself but I haven't had much success yet. He perceives himself as a victim because of the bourdon of supporting the family. He makes what most people would consider an extremely high income but he continues to be erratic with his career issues. I hate the fact that I am dependent upon him financially but all I can do is plug away at various ideas and hope that I make a success at something.
The thing that is coming into focus for me now is the fact that this has all been about him. When he plays the drama of how hard it has been to have to support me/us for all of these years it is just insane. It is as if nothing that happened actually happened. I am beginning to think that he is seriously off emotionally. He continues to play the victim and we have friends that believe his drama because all they see is that I haven't worked for 10 years. I'm still not telling the whole story to friends because I don't want to create drama (he is the father of my daughter, after all)
Since we have been married for 16 years and I gave up my ability to have a career for him, he will have to support me for a long time (I've spoken to lawyers). However, he is starting to really blow up his career (I swear he would rather destroy himself than support me) so it isn't very reassuring to be dependent upon him.
I don't expect him to be eternally grateful for all I gave up but is it crazy that I expected him to support me when I gave up my ability to have a career/income so he could resuscitate his career? Is it crazy that I don't want to put my daughter in day care (he doesn't want to hire a nanny for the times when my daughter isn't in school) so I can take a minimum wage job? He made $850,000 last year (that isn't to brag it is just so that people can understand what the choice is about). Furthermore, with the recession there are so many qualified people out of work, I can't even imagine what kind of job I could actually find (especially since I sense I couldn't find work in the past).
Couples counselors keep saying that I am a bright woman so I could work but being bright isn't all that is required to get a job. The irony of all of this is that having a career was always of paramount importance to me. The fact that I gave this up and now have the finger pointed at me just makes me feel horrible.