- 4 years ago
This is my first post… I’m a long time lurker and was looking forward to a day when I could make my first post as an engaged bee and join the community. I really didn’t want this to be it but I am desperate for outside perspective. I am technically a waiting bee but I don’t know how much longer I can wait. So I thought I would put myself out there with my own story to see if this wonderful community had any words of comfort or advice.
(WARNING: this is looooong… I didn’t realize how long until I was done. Sorry, it just all came running out)
Back story: My SO and I have been together for 9 years, living together for 4. Prior to that we saw each other every weekend for the entire weekend, plus a day or two during the week. He was in school for the first 5 years of our relationship and I was working full time so it worked for us. Due to some learning disabilities, his parents had encouraged him to not work while he was in college, and to focus entirely on his education during that time. I actually ended up graduating a few years later than he did even though I am a couple years older, because I worked full time and took classes whenever I could fit them around my work schedule.
We love each other very much, get along great, make each other laugh and are there for one another through hard times: illness, deaths, unemployment. This last one is what is really concerning me, though. In the 9 years we have been together, he has only been employed full time for 2 months. Yes… two MONTHS which was more than two years ago now. It hasn’t been for a lack of trying, I will credit him that, but he has yet to land a full time job that sticks. After he got out of school he applied for jobs for several months but with no luck. So he decided to enroll in a certificate program for a year to help bolster his qualifications and knowledge/skill set. After THAT ended he started applying for jobs again. It took about 9 months but he finally got a job offer.
We were ecstatic. It seemed great at first, he was working full time and then some, racking up overtime too because they were so busy. During this time, we talked about getting engaged (my only request prior to getting engaged was that we both be working full time which we finally were!), we even went ring shopping (but not buying). and were looking forward to a brighter future that we could get started on right away. Then after a few months the company initiated massive layoffs and my SO was one of them. He hadn’t been there long enough to even qualify for unemployment. Everything went down the tubes. We were devastated. All of our bright happy plans turned to dust. It was even harder because we got a glimpse of what things could be like before the rug got pulled out from under us. I’d say those were the happiest months of our relationship. It got harder after that. Since then, he has literally sent hundreds of resumes/applications out, he’s always updating on LinkedIn and seeking out networking but it’s hard to break into the field without experience. The age old, how the heck are you supposed to get experience if no one will give you the opportunity in the first place?! The silence is the worst. Not even call backs or interviews. He’s gotten maybe 2 call backs/interviews in all this time.
Needless to say, I have been the primary and practically sole breadwinner. He has done a handful of projects in that time, maybe one a year, but nothing even close to part time or even a contract position. His only real income is a monthly stipend from family help which mostly goes to things like cell phone, health insurance, car related expenses (registration/ insurance/ gas), and food. I cover all housing costs plus utilities, the majority of food and entertainment expenses, and pretty much everything for our dog. I bought pretty much all of our furniture and the house is in my name only. If I had to guess the percentages of financial contributions, it would be about 80/20 if not 90/10.
The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to dim (unless it’s actually a train then it’s getting brighter all the time, lol) and I am starting to feel the resentment building. I know that for the long haul you need to be there and support one another but I feel like 9 years of unemployment or even 4 (taking the college years out of the mix) is an awfully long time to be waiting for things to get better. Given his learning disability, some jobs would be ill advised (anything involving numbers/math really). Add in that he is not really a people person (he’s something of an introvert), so any type of customer service gig would probably be a bad idea too. I don’t want him miserably employed. That would not help our situation. He doesn’t need to LOVE it necessarily, but at least not hate it.
I think the lack of an adult employment history has also prevented him from maturing in some ways. He can be impatient and quick to anger/frustration. He has never gotten physical with me or been abusive towards me but when he becomes overly frustrated I do find myself tiptoeing around him and avoiding conversation with him until he cools down and realizes he’s been an ass which he always does. He typically feels bad and apologizes about it. This doesn’t happen too often, maybe once every month or two. It usually only lasts a few hours at most though there have been times when it was a day or two which was harder.
I worry that he is depressed and losing hope (which I totally understand since I am too) but I can’t get him to open up about it. I initiate conversations and invite him to talk about anything that might be bothering him but he doesn’t like to “rock the boat.” I have tried explaining that communication is really important and I want to hear it if something is bothering him or making him unhappy. Sometimes I have to try multiple times to get him to say anything. He eventually comes out with it and we have a decent conversation. But I’m getting tired of the amount of effort to get him to self advocate. I mentioned counseling and he said something about “a bunch of quacks” so I’m guessing that is out.
Our sex life has also been in a downward spiral and I take the blame for that. I have found it really hard to lose myself in the moment when I have so much to think about. I just can’t turn my brain off. Plus, part of me thinks the resentment is creeping in to that part of our relationship as well. While I find him physically attractive, I feel like my libido is non existent. I’m too damn tired all the time. When we are intimate, I often enjoy it but I have freaked myself out to the point that initiating or being initiated for sex sends my anxiety through the roof. So we have sex MAYBE once a month. It’s pitiful. I want to want sex, I just don’t.
When it comes right down to it, I know I/we can’t live like this indefinitely. The thought of leaving breaks my heart because there is so much love and life here. He is sweet and thoughtful and takes good care of me when I’m sick, etc. I’m glad he likes cooking/baking since I CAN do it but it’s not my forte at all. I just feel like we’ve gotten too comfortable in the situation even though it grows increasingly depressing for both of us. If I leave, I know he’d be devastated. For everything else, I know he loves me and wants to make me happy. It’s even harder since if we do break up I would also be losing our dog. My SO would have better time and resources (his family is nearby so he’d likely live with them) to devote to our dog so it would make more sense for SO to keep him. That said, I don’t see how this can continue. I can’t believe he’d want to live like this forever either.
If I tell him, you have one year to figure it out and get a job, ANY job, I feel like I’m issuing an ultimatum which I don’t want. However, if I set an internal walk date and then spring this on him, that sounds awful too. I have thought about asking him to write out a list of “things that would make him happier in life and in our relationship” to see if that would help though part of me thinks he’ll just try to figure out what I want him to say to again, “not rock the boat.” I have told him not communicating is more likely to drive me out the door than having a disagreement or argument. We both should get our needs met in this relationship. He was raised without much conflict in his life, though. His parents don’t argue at all that I have seen or heard. They’re very mellow and just get along in their respective roles. She keeps the household and volunteers. He brings in the money and lets her handle it and everything else. Now that their kids are all grown, it seems to work out well for them. The lack of any kind of disagreement or friction seems to have made him ill equipped to discuss anything that could be unpleasant though. I just don’t know what to do at this point.
Any ideas bees?
(sorry again for the length. I feel better just getting this out there though)