Post # 1
So, I feel like a jerk for posting this, but I am hoping for some advice or even a kick in the pants. I’m getting weary of supporting my husband through some tough times. How do you deal with always giving the support, and always being the caregiver?
We are both fortunate considering how bad things can be, but lately he’s been having to deal with some pretty tough family problems. Since we’ve been married, there have been two deaths in his family, his cat died, his parents are considering divorce, and his dad is in financial turmoil and asking DH to bail him out. We’ve made so many trips back to his hometown and haven’t been to my hometown all year (although I did see my parents recently, I haven’t been home).
I know part of this is that I can’t understand what he’s going through. My parents would never do the things his parents are doing, and I don’t have to take care of them. (Example: his dad is broke and not working. By choice. I can’t understand my FIL’s attitude and I can’t understand why DH has to parent his dad; at first I thought he was just being bossy, but he’s not — he has to do this.) Realistically, I know that this is just an unlucky time for him and these events are compounding each other and making everything worse together than any one would be by itself. I know that he would support me if I were dealing with so much. But I am tired. I want things to be normal. I want to enjoy our life as newlyweds.
I can’t stand to see him upset, but I’m wearing down. How do you deal with seeing someone you love deal with so much misfortune and be so burdened, especially when you can’t do anything except be there for them?
Post # 3
I have been there with my FI…for a diff. reason…he was battling stomach cancer. What I HAD to start doing was take a little time to recharge my batteries. You have to be the strong one right now b/c your husband is not in a position to be but in order to do that, you have to take some time for self. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or expensive. I used to get a pedicure and manicure just to have some time to myself to just recharge my batteries. Another thing you may want to do is drag him out for some couple time…even if he doesn’t feel like it b/c sometimes they need to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the depths of their misery.
It will get better…it’s just that you were expecting the better BEFORE the worse =)
Post # 4
I’m sorry you’re feeling so down. I can understand how difficult it must be for you.
My advice to you: support him in the way that he needs support. And simultaneously, get yourself the support that you need. You’re in the supportive role right now in your marriage, and I applaude you for doing so and for seeking guidance to help you figure out how to move forward. Good for you. What you don’t want to do is take it out on him, and I think when we don’t deal with our feelings and our needs, that’s exactly what happens.
Do you have a close friend who can step up and play a greater supportive role for you? Do you have a therapist you can see, or someone that you can start seeing? Or write, or meditate, or pray, or do something so that you can reconnect with yourself and your purpose in your life and your marriage.
There’s a reason why therapists have therapists themselves. It’s because sharing in other people’s pain can weigh on the soul and the psyche. Because of the support you’re providing, you need to ramp up your own support systems.
And most importantly, try to be kind to yourself and be gentle with yourself. This will pass.
Post # 5
yes, sometimes when people don’t want to go out, you can drag them out, then they will feel better once out
I think it is normal for you to recharge…it’s almost like when caregivers of a severely ill parent need therapy themselves. Can you find a way to do one night at a not too far hotel and turn the cell phones off?
Also, I know all the health stuff can’t be avoided, but they need to avoid bringing their son into the divorce/finanical issues as much as possible. If they aren’t being adults about it, I don’t think that means he has to continue being a parent….at some point it might just enable their behavio9r.
Post # 6
*hugs* I’m still trying to figure this out myself. Between grad school applications, working 7 days a week and not really LOVING either jobs, and worrying about the future, mine is a total disaster. And I don’t know how to help him other than be here, which is hard when I’m trying to not have a daily meltdown myself. So far I’m just taking it one day at a time and hoping that at least SOME things stay stable (i.e. I stay employed)
Post # 7
I understand it can be exhausting. I would do what the other ladies recommended and say while the two of you are out there will be no “sad” talk.
Would your DH consider therapy? That would take a little pressure off you and he can talk to someone not as emotional involved.
Post # 8
First ladies, I want to applaud your great advice, so many good words. I agree with taking a little time to recharge your batteries. Being the supporter can be a constant drain. I think you need to have a serious talk with him about setting boundaries with his parents. I know he loves them and wants to help, but it seems they are taking advantage of him. They are adults, whether they act like it or not. It was their choices and decisions that put them in the position they are in. Should you give up on them, no, but some boundaries need to be set to first protect your marriage and your life together. Once that is strong, you can help as many people as you want, but as a team. I’ll be praying for you and your husband and his parents!
Post # 9
Good luck with all this – that’s a rough way to start a marriage. I agree with the others that you need to allow yourself to have some rest from all of it so you can give him the support he needs. Have a girls night or go out to dinner. You also need to tell him that you need to have a date night where there isn’t talk of family and you can just enjoy each other.
When you do talk about things, there sometimes reaches a point where you can tell you’re not thinking of anything new to help the problem, so at that time I’d just try and switch gears – offer dessert, say oh i think so and so show is on, lets go do this, and just scratch his back or something while you’re sitting there wtih him so he knows you’re supporting him but not just over talking things through.
Also, when it gets to the point where you need a break just tell him you’d like to make a trip home, not all your trips have to be together every weekend, and family time might be good for you right now.
Post # 10
Ooof. It’s so frustrating when you see the person you love most being repeatedly kicked around by life.
I agree with everyone else that the best thing the two of you can do for one another is spend some high-quality time alone – both together and apart. It’s important to have some space from your FI, and for the two of you to have some space from his family. I’m a big fan of taking cheap daytrips sans cellphones, or just spending an entire day not talking about family. Not ignoring the problem, precisely, just accepting that rehashing it for the umpteenth time rightthissecond won’t fix things and giving yourself permission to have a conversation about other, more positive things.
Post # 11
It’s tough when family needs help.
When my brother was dealing with his life–he had issues getting his life together and drugs and rehab were involved–my parents were greatly intwined. I got involved…i honestly got TOO involved. I had to step back. It was incredibly difficult but it helped me get my life back. You can only do so much to help people before you say, “stop. You’re ruining my life.” That may or may not be an option for you but I Think it’s the only way I managed those 2 years. their problems literally took over my life. And that’s what they were–THEIR problems. You have to help yourselves, not expect everyone to help you.
Can you encourage him to try to take a less involved roll?
Post # 12
Hi Mary Alice-
I’m sorry you are having to go through this.
Cannotwait could not have said this any better:
Also, I know all the health stuff can’t be avoided, but they need to avoid bringing their son into the divorce/finanical issues as much as possible. If they aren’t being adults about it, I don’t think that means he has to continue being a parent….at some point it might just enable their behavior.
I don’t know the specifics of why the dad is in financial turmoil but if it’s because of past behvior that keeps repeating itself, then you would be enabling his behavior by bailing him out. And if you bail him out once he will expect it the next time and the times after that. I’ve been parentified (the kid being the adult/parent rather than a kid) but his folks placing the responsibility and eventual blame (if you can’t help them out) on their son is beyond wrong. They got into this mess, THEY need to find a way out AND not having a job by choice really doesn’t do much to help them but if that’s how THEY want to handle this, they are adults and this is their choice. They are NOT your husbands responsibility.
Post # 13
This is a really hard time for both you and him. Two deaths? A divorce? That’s a lot for anyone to handle. Try to be patient and keep being supportive, while taking time to recharge yourself. This period will end and there’s really nothing your husband can do about it right now. I’m sorry that this is coming so soon after the wedding.
Post # 14
It sounds like you are going throuhg a really rough time right now and I am sending you a hug.
I think that it’s important for you to show your husband that you are there for him even though it is tearing you apart emotionally and mentally. But you also have to think about yourself, so make sure you make some you time.
I hope everything turns out well for you in the end.
Post # 15
I can completely sympathize with you on some stuff. My MIL decided to leave my FIL right before our wedding, but didn’t move out until the week we were on our honeymoon, so we’ve been dealing with this for a couple of months! Both keep calling DH and telling him different stories and FIL is turning everything around when you tell him something so when he tells my MIL it is a complete lie!! DH is not taking sides, but his brother is and is being rude to MIL and lying also about things, so that is drawing a line between DH and his brother and on top of that DH has a jerk of a boss and he comes home complaining every nite!!!! But I guess that is what we are here for, the emotional support, but it does sometimes get tiring and I feel bad when I feel that way!! It’s got to get better, for all us!!! Hang in there and you will get through this!!!!
Post # 16
Thanks everyone. I am hoping this will be better after we have this trip back this weekend. He’s going to sit down with his dad and lay out the facts. My FIL is really off his kilter, and like you’ve mentioned… he’s an adult! He has to take responsibility for his actions. And I would never parent my folks the way DH does, but he’s explained to me over and over that my parents don’t need it. I kind of see where he’s coming from, and I know he’s trying to stop things before they get worse.
Thanks for all the support. The dad stuff is the kind of thing I don’t want to share with anyone IRL (in real life) although I have gotten real life support for some of the things I can share without humiliating anyone. Also, my husband is very good at not staying down about anything, so it’s not a constant struggle. I can only imagine how difficult it is for those of you dealing with sever problems, because this (hopefully) will pass soon.