Hi, my husband and I have been married for 17 years and have an 11 and 8 year old and just 4 months ago found out another is on the way. My husband's work hours have been an issue since he got out of law school 12 years ago. He also suffers from depression on and off and has anger issues. As a matter of fact, he was obsessive about school even before graduation and there was no paycheck, just the promise of one. He graduated first in his class from law school. When he was in his second year, I had a miscarriage and the day I finally went back to work my car broke down on the side of the highway. I had no way to deal with it other than to call him. He was about to go take a final exam and told me I would just have to wait until he was done. I ended up calling my mother who was an hour away and she came and helped me (he had the credit card, so I couldn't handle by myself). This is just an example of the type of abandonment that comes as a result of not being a real priority in his life. He always gets very angry and tells me that I"m ungrateful and that he's doing it all for me and the kids. I just stay confused and scared about how I would survive if I left. Today is Easter and he scheduled a meeting with a new client this afternoon. This resulted in going out to eat after church instead of me cooking, which was probably best since I've been told to stay off my feet. My Mom and step-dad tagged along to go out to eat. They are constantly wanting to tag along with us and usually want us to pay (another whole issue) my stepdad didn't like the first place we went to and made a commment, my husband becomes furious and we storm off to another place. In the car (we are alone) with my 11 yro daughter, he starts ranting at me about this and I point out that if he didn't have a meeting I could have just cooked. Well, then he blows up at me telling me that I just didn't understand and to excuse him for making a living. I'm just really tired of these angry outbursts, I've had 17 years of it and he has not done enough time with a therapist in my mind to really call it making an effort to change. His episodes occur about 6 times a year. When he's not being obsessive about work or angry, we have a fairly happy time together. I don't know what to do. There is a very large part of me that wants to get out, but my children would suffer and I'm scared. I currently stay home and they are laying off teachers right and left (which is what I"m trained to do).
I am your husband and I had a wake up call when my wife left with my kids. For me it may be too late...don't know as the jury is out.
From your husband's perspective he (like me) is under a lot of stress and pressure to provide for the family and be the single income earner. My advise to you (for what it is worth) is to understand his perspective as to why he has angry outburts. (there is an underlining cause and fustrations of working hard, doing the right thing all the time but not really being happy and not getting what he wanted in life.
If wives want a certain lifestyle, they have to accept that it costs money. The husband has to work a lot to provide it.
What if he cut his hours, but you could no longer be a SAHM? Would you be comfortable with that?
If your husband could not have rescheduled his exam, he had no other option. I don't think he was trying to abandon you..but then I know nothing about how your husband thinks. Posted via Mobile Device
I'm sorry for what you're going through--angry outbursts can be jarring and take their toll.
He is probably feeling the burden of taking care of the whole family--is there any way you could go back to work? I know it's tough finding a job, but it might earn you more respect if you're contributing financially. He doesn't seem to understand that you can contribute in other ways. Maybe you could also try talking to him about how you're shouldering the burden for providing emotionally for the family--damage control with his anger, staying upbeat for the kids, etc. Comparing it to how he contributes financially might help him understand better.
Just a word about the final exam--as tough as it was, I think that your husband made the right decision. I'm not sure if all competitive graduate programs are alike, but in mine it's basically impossible to miss/reschedule finals, even for absolute emergencies. I agree that he was overly harsh in how he communicated his desire to stay and take the final, but I think he made the right decision. He might not have had lenient professors, passed the course, or became a lawyer had he skipped the exam--it sounds extreme, but there is very little hand holding in higher education. A broken down car is a really tough situation, but it looks like you got it resolved on your own. I think the real issue is not that he wasn't there to help, but that he didn't apologize or feel empathetic towards your situation, which can be just as hurtful.
I should point Mrs. G that I supported him for six years while he went to school and I have worked five out of the 10 years since I have had my children. I'm well aware of the cost of living but enough is enough sometimes. No amount of money should entitle someone to the right to verbally abuse and yell at someone irrationally. I just gave up the job I had because my doctor has instructed me to do so, so no, going back to work within the next year is not possible. It will be difficult to get my job back I suspect until our state comes up with more funding. Every school district in our state has had massive lay offs.
As far as the exam, he didn't even try to call and see if it was a possiblity. Maybe he would have graduated fourth or fifth in his class instead of first, big deal, he already had a job. My mom is a university professor and I have a Master's degree, I'm well aware of how higher education work and it isn't that ridgid. His father had an anger problem and now he does too. I just don't know how to get him to commit to therapy. His dad just had a massive break down due to problems with a new job he took where he failed for the first time in his 60 years and just couldn't take it because his entire life revolves about how he does at work. Since my FIL's trip to the psych facility, my husband's problems have been amplified. I'm trully frightened that he will end up the same way and I will have inadvertently repeated the cycle for my children by allowing them to grow up around that.
I understand your feelings and thoughts. Until he recognizes the problem and takes action it will be the same circle and circus. Usually men need to a 'wake up' call and they usually understand their issues and act on them when they realize that there is no other choice. By the time you are done it is usually too late.
Samjin, thanks for your kind words, I doubt it is too late with your wife. This isn't our first time around the block with this problem. Usually, my husband is very remorseful and says "I'm sorry." He use to pick up flowers at the grocery store or do something little that let me know that he really didn't mean or want to be a jerk, which actually helped. He also would commit to "us" in better ways. We started making dates a priority at least once or twice a month. To his credit, things are much better than they use to be, it's just that lately, he has started up with some old habits and offering insincere apologies.
Maybe since your wife has gone as far as actually leaving, a grand gesture? Ask her on a date? My husband actually committed to therapy a few years ago which actually did help, but it;s hard to see old ghosts visit. Truly, I do understand that high power jobs demand a great deal and it's very hard to juggle. We have friends who actually have it worse where overseas travel occrs for 2-3 weeks at a time. Socializing with wives of other men in the same position helped me the most to some degree when he first started working. I'm just upset that what has always been an important family holiday just got pushed aside and he had the audacity to yell and scream at me about my disapproval of it. His boss who is of a different religion even suggested and told him he didn't have to come to the meeting because it was Easter, but he went anyway.
OP is he sole proprietor or partner is his own firm? 17 years in if he's not a partner at someone else's firm he never will be. If he is a partner then there's a linear relationship between how hard he works and what he earns. Sole props or partners in a 2-5 person LLC are going to be working 70 hr weeks. That's average. If he's corporate and in the Office of Genl Counsel for a mid sized firm, all bets are off. They often work harder.
Lauralou- I am in a high powered stressful career like your husband and make good money that does not justify his actions or mine. But being the sole earner in a 'pressure cooker' has its downside and with no one to take it out we men think that the wife is the safe bet. He can apologize, buy flowers, cars, houses, etc....but will not change till he really wants to.