Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Urban Midwestern USA
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So is he basically a stay at home dad now? That's basically our situation now. I was a SAHM for ten years. Then when he lost his job shortly after the subprime mortgage crisis, and wasn't really able to find anything with similar pay even after the economy started improving (he's 56 now, and also has major health issues; I'm 50 but pretty healthy), I ended up finding a really good job working from home that I love. At first our plans were for me to only work about 20 hours a week to supplement his income because he was still drawing unemployment and hoping to find a job of some sort, and he actually did find a full time job working from home during opposite hours to mine, but it was a lot more stressful for him than my job is for me, and he ended up having a mini-stroke, then when he tried to resume working after he came home from the hospital, he kept getting such bad headaches that I said I'd expand my hours so that he could quit.
I honestly thought he'd quit being so stressed if he didn't have to work and could get more rest, because I remembered that my own high-stress dad calmed down a lot after retirement, but of course I wasn't thinking about the fact that my parents were in a much more financially secure position than we are, so we just kind of exchanged one kind of stress for another.
I'm more the type who just figures that so long as we're doing the best we can to handle our lives, we can rest assured that everything will work out -- but he's not like that. And he doesn't really take pride in being a SAHD. The other day, he referred to the things he does around the house as "his b____-work," and when I asked him, "So back when I was doing it, did you see me as your b____?" And he said no, but that he felt like I shouldn't have to work at all. I stressed that we're a team and I really do value everything he does, but he's still just really not happy with himself or his life.
I was happy as a SAHM, and I'm also happy now as a WAHM. I feel like I have a pretty good life, and I'd love for him to feel good about his life, too. But I guess there's only so much we can do to make someone else happy, even if they're very close to us. Maybe when you still hadn't got it together, he was able to focus in on fixing you rather than seeing what he needed to work on, and now that you're moving forward, he's feeling really un-centered and uncomfortable with himself.
I used to be friends with a woman who was married to an addict, and I remember one time when he seemed to be doing really well and making some major changes in a rehab program, she actually said something like, "I know what's about to happen. He's going to take one look at me and realize he can do a whole lot better." If your husband really is a codependent, he could be feeling similar things. Maybe he felt like you were only staying with him because he brought in an income, or because you were out-of-shape and wouldn't have felt so comfortable reentering the dating market. Sometimes I'm freaked out by how my own husband evaluates his worth. I really don't set conditions that people have to fulfill before I'll love them, so it surprises me when I realize he can't love himself unconditionally.
Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
Last edited by mammal_mama; 08-07-2014 at 12:57 PM.