Not Pulling His Weight
Laura Caseley for LittleThings
I’m having problems with my fiancé getting a job. He quit his job almost a month ago and hasn’t really been going to interviews.
I am currently a stay-at-home mom and I just signed up for night classes, so it leaves us in a bit of a pickle.
He is applying online at places but refuses to make a trip anywhere to go in person and apply.
He wants to be a stay-at-home dad but rarely helps out with our girls.
He even complains about having to pick my daughter up from school, even though I’ve been doing it since the beginning of the school year, and just had him start because I felt he needs to understand the things I do every day.
I’m frustrated because even though I am applying for places as well, a lot of the jobs either run late into my class hours or are at least an hour away.
Our rent is due soon and we have no way of paying it.
He smokes every night “to release stress” but isn’t doing much else in the ways of figuring things out.
He even left it to me to borrow money from a family friend in order to pay our car for the month.
I don’t know what else to do. He’s put us in a horrible situation and isn’t even trying.
I am on the brink of getting a job and moving back in with my parents because I can’t handle being with him if he isn’t going to step up.
Oh, and we’re supposed to get married in August.
I think that there are two major problems here.
The first is that, short of winning the lottery, you and your fiancé can’t both afford to be stay-at-home parents.
The second is that your partner seems unclear about what it actually means to be a stay-at-home parent.
Let’s start with the second point. Being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job.
Arguably, it’s more than full-time because you never get vacation days and your shift is never over. It’s 24/7.
If your guy isn’t prepared to do the basics of parenting (like picking up his daughter from school), then he is surely not prepared for the responsibility of being a stay-at-home dad.
My sense is that he should perfect his parenting fundamentals before he tries to move into the role of primary caregiver.
And that brings us to our first point. You can’t afford to have two stay-at-home parents in your household. In fact, most families can’t even afford one.
Unless you can comfortably live on one income, you both need to find work. Finding gainful employment isn’t easy, but it helps to start with manageable goals.
In your case, because you’re a student and the primary caregiver, I would suggest looking for freelance work you can do from home.
You’re a college student, so maybe you can tutor high school kids after school or proof-read college essays, something where you can set your own hours and your own rates, and ease the financial pressure a bit.
In your partner’s case, it sounds like he lacks the motivation to really go out there and get a job. His smoking habit probably isn’t helping.
He should schedule an appointment with a career counselor to figure out his best career path and job-seeking strategies. With a little hard work and the right information, he should be able to land a great job in his field.
You may also want to suggest that he talk to a therapist of some kind to establish better strategies for dealing with anxiety in the future. Working is stressful, and he’s going to need tools to help him process that stress going forward.
Good luck to both of you — you’ll find a way through this!
On The Rocks
Laura Caseley for LittleThings
I’m beyond unhappy, stressed, and confused.
My marriage is more like roommates that pass in the night. I’ve asked and asked without answers: “What happened?”
I’m told by my husband of one year (yes, one year) that I don’t listen… yet I’m the one talking and not getting answers.
He responds to all of my questions by raising his voice. Yes, at times he yells.
He fired our marriage counselor because she told him he had anger issues and that he must communicate with me.
He thinks it’s me that doesn’t communicate. He won’t even reply to a “Hi, have a good day, I love you” text message from me.
We don’t eat dinner together. We don’t hold hands, snuggle or even kiss.
We’ve had sex exactly 24 times in 13 months; 15 of those times were on our three-week honeymoon six months after we tied the knot.
I’ve dressed sexy, I’ve made the sexy moves he loved before we got married, and I’m told, “Stop treating me like a piece of meat.”
I’m lost. I didn’t think sex ended so quickly after marriage.
We agreed we wanted a child after we got married; the plan was to get pregnant after our honeymoon.
Now he says he doesn’t know about “us” (marriage) so he doesn’t want to have sex.
Bottom line: I cannot win with conversations, sex, even eating dinner together, or any kind of contact like holding hands.
What should I do?? I don’t believe in failure, and I never imagined I’d get divorced.
Lonely In Marriage
My first thought? I wouldn’t worry about how often you have sex.
Every person has a different speed, sexually speaking. It sounds to me like you and your husband are just operating on different rhythms and need to find a compromise that works for you.
That will take time, and it will take a shared effort to understand one another’s needs, in bed and out.
I’m more concerned about the fact that you know the exact stats of your sex life.
That speaks to a certain amount of score-keeping in your marriage, and indicates that there’s a much bigger underlying problem than a less-than-stellar sex life.
When couples argue frequently, it can be tempting to “keep score” over subjects, like who did the dishes last, who initiated sex, who asked about the other’s day first, and so on.
If you’re noting how many times you have sex, and that you’re the one who is trying to communicate, it’s likely that both of you are keeping score in other areas of the marriage.
That behavior, while tempting, makes it really easy for resentment to build up between the two of you. The tension might start over something small and build until it’s the only thing left between you.
I agree with you that the issue is communication. Marriage counseling didn’t work, and it sounds like your husband has already checked out of the marriage mentally, since he’s saying he’s not sure he believes in your partnership anymore.
My suggestion is to take a time-out. Forget about the “score” and stop trying to get him to open up for a few days, or even a few weeks.
Don’t force the issue; just live your life. Go out with friends, don’t stress about sex, make sure you have plenty of “you” time away from him.
Eventually, his instincts might kick in, and he’ll reach out to you, finally initiating that communication you have been craving.
On the other hand, if he seems relieved by the space between the two of you and seems like he doesn’t want to spend any time with you, it might signal that you need to take a more drastic move, like a trial separation.
At the end of the day, it’s possible that your marriage simply isn’t meant to be.
If that’s the case, you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache by finding out now, and ending it sooner rather than later.
If you cling tightly to a relationship you know is rotten because you’re afraid of “failure,” you’ll regret it one day down the road.
Take care of yourself first, and remember that it’s never “failure” to prioritize your own well-being.
Something Old, Something New
Laura Caseley for LittleThings
In high school (more than 10 years ago!) I had a major falling out with my best friend over a boyfriend.
She convinced the guy I was dating to break up with me and start seeing her. We stopped talking and totally fell out of touch.
Fast-forward a decade, and I have barely thought about the forgettable boyfriend, but I still miss my best friend every day.
Neither of us behaved well, but we were just dumb kids. We grew up together in the same small town and spent our whole childhood together before the argument.
I’m getting married at the end of the summer, back in our old hometown, and I’m wondering whether I should invite her to the wedding.
We always talked about being each other’s maid of honor. It would be weird to take it that far, but I should at least invite her, right?
What do you think I should do? Is it weird to invite her out of nowhere like that?
I say, what the heck, invite her!
I think it’s very wise (and very sweet) for you to try to patch up a relationship that was once really precious to you, even if it was 10 years ago.
Honestly, it sounds like you’re most of the way there on this one.
You have already acknowledged that teenagers do dumb stuff, and that her hurtful actions in high school really haven’t impacted you in the long run.
Still, I would be a bit cautious and do some investigating first. It’s very possible that she doesn’t feel the same way about the end of your friendship.
Does she hold a grudge against you? Is there any chance she would try to make your big day about her past with you?
You don’t want a dramatic argument to be the main focus of your wedding day. Make sure that she grew out of her boyfriend-stealing, havoc-causing phase.
Maybe invite her out for coffee first and test the waters. See if she’s still the same girl you were best friends with years ago.
If you reconnect over a couple of coffee dates first, it will make it much easier to tell if you actually want her at your wedding.
It also means that a wedding invite won’t just come out of the blue, and she’s that much more likely to graciously accept!
Good luck, here’s hoping that this is just the first step in rebuilding a beautiful friendship!
Dad On A Diet
Laura Caseley for LittleThings
My dad has always been my hero, ever since I was a little girl, but lately I’ve been disappointed in him!
He recently had a health scare. He had chest pains, so we took him to the hospital and found out he had actually had a small heart attack.
Thank God he’s fine right now. But the doctors did blood work and tests, and ended up giving him a very stern talking-to about his cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Apparently, his numbers are through the roof. They said that if he keeps going like he is, another heart attack is basically inevitable, and it could be a big one this time.
They gave him a diet and exercise routine to help control everything, but he just will not stick to it.
I caught him eating his favorite billion-calorie cheesesteak just this week.
He’s the kind of guy who eats three eggs with bacon and sausage for breakfast, and then grabs that dang cheesesteak everyday for lunch. It’s not healthy.
I keep telling him that he needs to change his habits if he wants to live, but he just scoffs and blows me off.
He prides himself on being “tough,” and I think he secretly thinks it’s all “hippie bull,” as he would put it.
How do I make him see that he has to make changes, if not for him, than for my mom, and for his kids and grandkids?
Parenting My Parent
I’m so sorry, it is truly terrifying to watch your parent go through a health scare like that.
Thank goodness he’s okay, and now has a chance to improve his life!
Of course, as you point out in your question, that second chance is only worth something if he actually takes advantage of it and cleans up his lifestyle.
I think it can be really tough for men, particularly men of a certain generation, to acknowledge their limits and adjust the way they live accordingly.
Your dad sounds like he’s having a really difficult time leaving his tough-as-nails mindset behind him.
If he’s a steak-eating, Scotch-swilling manly man, he might see a sensible veggie-laden diet as an affront to his masculinity.
Of course, that’s just a front for the real issue here. He’s afraid of getting old, he’s afraid of not being able to do the things he has always done, and he’s afraid of dying.
By blustering through and ignoring the doctor’s advice, he can pretend that he didn’t just have a scary, life-threatening heart attack and that he’s still in control.
I think that the best way to bring it home for him is to tap into the “papa bear” protectiveness that has always made your dad your hero.
You mention that you want him to change for your mother’s sake, and for your own. Maybe that’s all you need to tell him.
Sit him down and say, “Dad, I know you love living your life a certain way, but I want you to think about something. Can you imagine how devastated Mom would be to bury you when you could have had 20 more years together? Don’t you want to be there to protect her, to watch your grandkids grow up, to give me advice when I need it?”
Don’t frame it as something he needs to do for himself. That’s not going to hold any water with him.
Instead, frame it as a way that he can protect and take care of the people he loves, by giving them more time with him.
After all, you and I know that your tough-guy dad is really a big softie — you just have to push the right buttons.
Take care, and tell your dad to take care, too!
Laura Caseley for LittleThings
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