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Husband Has No Ambition...I'm So Depressed.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I'm new to the boards and jumping in with a dilemma. DH and I have 3 children and learned unexpectedly that we're expecting a fourth this December. This is quite a speed-bump, because I'd planned to finish my B.A. in English this December and pursue law school. Now, school graduation has been postponed until May 09 and law school put on indefinite hold. My goal now is to pursue my first (but admittedly put aside because of low pay) passion of teaching. Hopefully, I'll get accepted into a program that will allow me to teach August '09 with a starting salary of $43K. Not my ideal salary, but it's a start. Right now, I'm working PT earning $20/hour which again isn't bad, but doesn't allow me to be financially comfortable.

My problem: H earns about $28K/year as a Teller Supervisor for a bank. He's always had an interest in banking, yet out of laziness and a sheer lack of motivation doesn't want to go back to school to earn a degree in either Business Mgmt or Finance that will allow him to do what he loves, but for more pay. Every time I have a discussion with him about his goals, ambitions, etc, he seems very ambivalent. He WANTS things out of life, but has absolutely no drive to get things accomplished.

We live in MD just outside of DC, where the cost of decent and safe living is pretty high, so it's always a financial struggle. I'm just so fed up and depressed. I'd like to quit my job this December to allow me to focus on the new baby and finishing school, but without H earning more, this will be a hard task to accomplish.

I'm just so fed up with H's lack of ambition. He and I seem to want the same things out of life, but our approach to getting there is soooo different.

Any advice/experience to offer?

BTW, I'm 28, H's 30. Our children are 12, 9 & 6. As teenage parents, we've always had to "make it", but now I just want to be financially comfortable. I'm tired of getting by and H seems content to just let things flow. :
post #2 of 9
some questions - does he really not have ambition or is he blocked by fear or depression? I know that a lot of times "laziness" is really a mask for depression or fear. He may feel overwhelmed by all the steps to go from where he is now to where he wants to be, or is afraid of failing (especially if there is a financial cost or potential for social embarassment). And it is easier to say "Nah, I don't want that" than it is to admit that the prospect of trying is terrifying (especially for men).

Alternatively, it may be that he just really doesn't want to go through the hoops it would take to get to where you think he should be. For many, the idea of going back to school is pretty depressing. I personally didn't really like college/my masters all that much - I intentionally picked a one year masters in the UK so I could get through as fast as I could since I knew I needed an MA for my profession. So programs that are more "apprenticeship" like might be more inspiring to him, if that is what he needs to move forward.

Also, he may have different priorities and definitions of success. My dh and I always agreed that we would give up money for time. Every so often we get offers for work that would be very lucrative but take a tremendous amount of time/energy, and we turn them down because they aren't good for us. My dad for a long time saw us as "lazy" or "unsuccessful" because we weren't climbing the corporate ladder - my dh's dad thought dh was insane when he turned down a (very stressful and taxing) job at a bank for tons of $$$. But we both know that success in life is not defined solely by money - our time and energy are equally valuable, especially with kids.

Regardless, it is definitely frustrating to be around someone who cannot seem to help themselves, especially when it seems like something you have been doing/can do. If you have different definitions of "working hard" and "success", that does need to be addressed and compromises come to, one way or another.

Not sure if this helps at all. Good luck!!!
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response. H’s main roadblock is his aversion to school; he simply does not want to go back. He says he does, but every time a new semester rolls around, he fails to enroll. I know that the idea of school is depressing but I’ve offered to help him and I wish he would just understand that while the idea is daunting, the payoff is so worth it. He just doesn’t seem to get that in banking you just can’t “work your way up”.

All of this would not be such a big deal if we were financially stable. But we’re not and I just can’t understand how someone would rather struggle than strive to get themselves in a better place, financially.

He’s said that a job he likes is more important than pay, and I agree 100%. But I also know that he’s not happy just being a teller supervisor….he just doesn’t want to do what it takes to go beyond that.

I’m just feeling really depressed right now. I feel like I’m the only one interested in having my family succeed. I’m not overly ambitious; heck it’s taken me 7 years to get my B.A., but I am just really turned off with his willingness to wallow in mediocrity.
post #4 of 9
First, hang in there.

This is coming from a girl whose husband is just now coming around. It has taken 5 years. Here is our story, I don't know if it will help. DH never finished school so he always had low paying jobs. We talked in circles for almost 2 years. We hit a spot where he finally answered the question "If you could do ANYTHING (regardless of education, money, location, etc.) what would you do?" His answer was nothing, he would like to be independently wealthy, travel and eat. That was the roadblock. My husband was raised with someone doing everything for him and never thought he would have to work for himself. Since he said travel and eat we started thinking about things that involved that. He is now in chef school and LOVES it. I have never seen my husband so passionate about anything.

So here is what I guess I am saying.

-Keep talking to one another. Sometimes just talking helps, even if it doesn't seem to go anywhere.

-Ask the question "If you could do ANYTHING, what would you do?" Keep asking until you get an honest answer.

-Think outside the school box. Maybe online classes, trade school or a continuing education program that gives "life credit" for experience towards a degree.

Hang in there. Hopefully if you keep talking and encouraging (not blaming or pushing) something will happen.
post #5 of 9
My husband would do a similar thing, and after years of this (he's now 32), he finally went and saw a psychiatrist, and is working through ADD and serious self-worth issues. (He figured he'd just fail, basically, and was afraid of maybe even succeeding and having responsibility which he would then fail at. Fun cycle.) So hopefully we'll get somewhere now. He also wants to take some of those career tests, because he always bounces around what he wants to do.
post #6 of 9
Hey OP we have the same "issues" here. It isn't only lack of ambition in career.

I agree with the other ladies that it may be a symptom and not the problem.

But if not he wouldn't be the first person to simply not care. for some people good enough it just that...good enough.

Now it sounds like there may also be a personality thing, like opposites attract. We have that here. It ain't easy.

But I don't see dh as a slug, just a guy. As long as he is happy thats OK by me. I've always had more ambition in my little toe and known it. I just wish he and I had grown up sooner and accepted our differences. Now we're 30, he's dropped out of school 3x (last time a single semester away from his computer science degree) and despite having Mensa and genius level IQ....works in retail..as an assistant manager and has decided not to go any farther.

He is an awesome dad and partner, we have a great life other then the bills, lack of income for even basics ans the stress that causes.:

I'm back in school and feel like a new person though. I get absolutely HIGH driving to college I'm so giddy at having new challenges. I told him what the new goal was: instead of me as the homeschooling and baby grower..he needs to step into that role.

Odd as it sounds he's actually a better nurturer then me when it comes to the "over 5 set" . I'm relieved the kids will be home schooled during their high school years by him.

but also in our case he has GIANT, possibly insurmountable self value and depression issues when it comes to jobs.
post #7 of 9
I kinda feel that my DH is like this, as well. Sometimes I get a bit resentful, because I don't want to feel like I have to work SO MUCH in order to give us the lives we BOTH want. The thing is, he talks about wanting to get his masters and wanting to get a new job because his current job he's underpaid. But he gets easily discouraged. He thinks he's "too fat" to get a new job, so I definitely think it's got a lot to do with some self esteem issues. Nonetheless, it does get depressing, and the only way I've found to deal with the issue is to make more money myself...

He's a person who is incredibly resistant to change. He's had a total of 3 jobs in his life. Which is great, stability, etc., but in both of his long term jobs (one of them was with a total crazy guy who fired everyone), he's abused a lot at work and just takes it. He isn't paid market at all. And he's really smart, especially when it comes to what he does. *sigh*

I'm completely different that I continue to jump from job to job to move up and get more money and try to find the "perfect" job. I think it doesn't exist anymore, but that's another story. So it can definitely be a struggle.

What can ya do, though?
post #8 of 9
I can totally relate!! My husband was stuck in a dead end bank job for 5+ years. He kept saying the job was making him numb. He was totally overqualified for the position, yet he would not MOVE FORWARD with looking for a new job. After a lot of probing about what was really going on, he mentioned that he had had a couple of very bad interview experiences. That would be a logical reason!! I kept encouraging him and we went out and bought him a couple of interview suits. He put his name in for two positions in other parts of the bank - and was offered BOTH! Hello ego-boost! Hello huge pay bump! Hello easier commute!

So now he's been in this new position since January...Great news, right? Ummmm...Not really - he is working upwards of 60 hours a week where it was 40 before. Now that he's finally in a salaried position, they work him like a dog! Plus, I miss having around to help with our little one. Careful what I wish for, right?

I didn't really offer any advise, but I think it helps to know you are not alone.
post #9 of 9

My husband is like this. He has never really had a goal since i been with him and we have been together 4 years. We met in the army so I thought nothing of it and expected him to just want to move up the ladder with promotions. Unfortunately, he never tried to do the requirements to move up because as he put it "its too much work to finally get there and have to control a bunch of idiots with no common sense". I understood that because I worked with a bunch of idiots that I questioned how in the world they got in. It has been 2 years now since we both got out and we have 3 little girls. I went to school immediately when we got out for nursing in the state we were in at the time. I did two years but unfortunately, We had to move back to his hometown to help a relative and allow the kids to know their family better. I have to redo the two years of school I already did because they have diff. requirements out here. Now all this time (two years) he did not work because I got paid through the military to go to school. I work full time as a secretary now and been there 6 months and he works occasionally through whatever employment agency will use him, which lot of time is once a week if we are lucky and it is only minimum wage and only make 2 bucks over minimum wage. I asked him what his goals are in life and he always tells me" I live in the moment and really don't have any goals" so I asked him what is he scared of he said" nothing at all because I don't go around like you worrying about the future" I don't understand how he could not want better than the life he had growing up for our children or want better than hardly paying our bills with no money left over for any fun or rainy day fund. 

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