(Closed) Husband out of work…god help me.

posted 3 years ago in Married Life
Post # 16
1936 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

My husband works seasonal so he gets laid off for about 2 months/year. It was never a problem up until a few years ago because he hurt himself at work and was off for an extra 3 months.

We. Nearly. Killed. Each. Other.

Like you, I had to walk on eggshells. His ego was temporarily destroyed. His entire identity revolves around being the provider so it killed him to see me working and him “sitting” at home. At this same time, a girl in my unit quit so I was working full-time to cover her when I usually work and always planned to work part-time. 

Luckily, things are back to our normal.

This may not work for you, but honestly, I went as easy on him as I could concerning his ego. It broke my heart to see him so upset with himself so if he got a little moody because I asked him something innocent “What did you make for dinner?” I let it go as much as I could. I knew it was temporary and I just had to survive the temporary situation. I’m not sure what your Darling Husband is like, but if he’s the type to assoicate his sense of self worth with having a job then he probably feels like absolute gargabe.

That being said, you’re allowed to have your time limit. If you’ve reached yours tell him that.

It does sound like he’s trying, though. 

Good luck, :).

Post # 17
1120 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I didn’t work for over a year after I moved in with my now husband (because we had agreed that I should focus on finishing my degree) and then it took me six months to find a job once we moved abroad. Job searching is HARD. It’s such an emotionally taxing endeavor and can be so soul crushing sometimes. Just remember that while he should definitely be helping out around the house, he’s probably feeling more fragile than he’d like to admit.

Maybe just leave a note saying “If you get a moment, could you do the bathroom? You’d be helping me out a bunch!” and see if he responds well to it.

Post # 18
1587 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

 des- :  I know lots of people looking for looooong times. I *wish* I’d found a job in four months. I’m employed but looking for something going on 9 months now, and this is the story I hear from a lot of people I talk to.

houstonsweetcorn : Great perspective!

Trilly :  Exactly!

I don’t think it’s ever OK to insult your partner, even in arguments. Calling him lazy is just mean, so no wonder it led to a fight. As others have said, job hunting is exhausting. And being unemployed doesn’t equate with household servitude. In situations like this, I always think of similar posts bees have made with the roles reversed. Seriously try to think of a post where the OP comes on and says her husband called her lazy for not keeping the house clean enough while she job hunted. So much no would ensue. So, yeah, I think it’s fair to ask him to help out more if he’s able or let him know if there’s something specific you’d appreciate he does if he gets a chance. But calling him lazy and demanding that he do more chores is disrespectful.

Post # 19
1120 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

wonderlily :  

I’m one of those horribly contrary person where, if someone TELLS me to do something I’ll TELL them to stick it.

But if someone ASKS me to do something in a polite manner I’ll bend over backwards to accomodate. I get that tensions are high because they’re down to one income and the house still needs cleaning and he’s DVRing TV shows… But she also says he’s sending out resumes and going to interviews and speaking as someone who is quite the introvert and who is by far her own worst critic, being called lazy because I was too busy sending resumes and tailoring cover letters to each individual job prospect to clean the bathroom is something that will make me feel defensive and hurt.

Post # 20
1587 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Trilly :  Yep. Searching and applying takes hours and hours; it is basically a job in itself. And the longer it goes on, the worse you feel that no one wants you. Some of it may be “fragile ego” but months of it will wear down even the most confident person. He doesn’t need the person who vowed to be his partner piling on then. I’d be heartbroken if my fiance said that to me knowing how much effort I’m putting into trying to find something.

Post # 21
2166 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I feel your pain girl. My husband was out of work for 2 months because he quit a job he said was weighing him down. He was super confident he’d land a job and when he didn’t after 2 weeks, holy moly. 

He wanted me to be positive and not badger him about work but honestly it got to the point where I was going to be happy if he had a part-time job just as long as he had to be somewhere and work rather than sit at home all day. We were PISSED at each other. 

I just suggest being supportive, even if that means being silent about it. I asked every single day, what did you do to get a job today…big mistake. That’s how we started fighting even more. It was rough and I’m terrible and biting my tongue but things improved over time and he did get a job finally. Hang in there!

Post # 22
4973 posts
Honey bee

Sunshine09 :  I know the feeling or attitude you are talking about and it’s like walking on eggshells. My ex was like that (it ended for other reasons so no freaking out :)). I would let things go for a bit and see if they self correct. If not see if you can nudge him slightly on the vaccuuming. I agree that its annoying that he can’t even clean the place up a bit. When I was unemployed everything was clean because once I sent out some resumes and job searched (I straight up walked into places of business with my resume at one point) because I had time. I also went to the gym.

That said, I would not mention anything about his appearance or vaccuming for awhile. Try being regular with him asking how his day was and just see how that approach works.

Post # 23
4973 posts
Honey bee

wonderlily :  It’s true when I would apply for jobs and it would take me a FULL HOUR to apply for just one. Some places want your resume and for you to literally type out your entire work history for the past ten years. Someties after that whole hour the system would say I forgot something and I would have to START OVER FROM THE BEGINNING. It’s really annoying and it wears on you after awhile.

Post # 24
11614 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

OP,  I’m sure you’re frustrated and near the end of your rope, but you’ll be helping him and yourself if you remember that he deserves respect. It’s just not cool to be wondering what the person at home did all day and assuming they’re lazy. If you trust him to be doing his best, then he’s not lazy.

I know this can be super hard when you come home to dishes and a mess that you feel you have to do now, I try to remind myself that I’m investing in my relationship when I hold my tongue or say it in an encouraging way. 

If he’s ignoring chores, maybe you guys can make a chore list so you don’t have to remind him. I think no matter who is at home, that person doesn’t want to feel like they work for their loved one. 


wonderlily : agree totally, it’s important to maintain respect for your partner both ways, male or female, no one is a servant. Well said! 

Post # 25
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

I’m in the same boat. Darling Husband has been out of work for going on 2 months. I could count on one hand the number of times we had fought before this, but now it seems like we have a major fight over something every week or two.

I know not all of it is related to his being out of work, and I know I am certainly not blameless, but I also think it’s made him more sensitive than ususal (plus we are both stressed about money) so things I do that might not bother him otherwise turn into a big deal and then we wind up in a fight. It sucks. It’s very draining for both of us. I have made myself a promise (after a particularly nasty fight last night) that I am going to try harder to be more emotionally supportive, actively express my love more, and let things go more though in the hopes that we can put a stop to the madness!

Best wishes to you, I hope both our DHs find work soon!

Post # 26
3396 posts
Sugar bee

I have some perspective from the other side…..

So, my husband and I moved in together in a new, small town. As a result, I worked part-time from home. It was a humbling change from my big city, high paying, job. I understood that I had the time, so it was my job to do most of the house stuff. HOWEVER, it was a giant mental leap to go from being a singleton who dropped her laundry off at the fluff and fold to now cleaning for not only myself but someone else who didn’t put his coffee cup in the dishwasher and watches me cook dinner and wash dishes and oh mY GOD DID YOU LEAVE YOUR KLEENEX HERE? I AM NOT THE MAID YOU KNOW!!!!!!!!!!! I USED TO HAVE AN IMPORTANT JOB!!!! JUST BECAUSE YOU WORK FULL TIME DOES NOT MEAN I AM YOUR SERVANT!!!!!!!!!!!!smilesmile

Eventually, we worked it out – I felt like he was treating me like a lowly servant, he thought that when I said “can you do your part?” he thought I meant split it 50/50. Neither things were true. 

Honestly, if he left me a list of things to clean, I’d punch him in the face. 

Post # 27
497 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Greenspot Farms

I have a fiance who is currently out of work and it does drive me insane as well. I really try to hold my tongue but I feel like my tone definitely makes it clear my annoyance in increasing. I have a full time job (as a brand new first year HIGH SCHOOL teacher). My job is very stressful and I’m exhausted.

It makes me angry to no end to find out he’s been home watching Pokemon and couldn’t even walk the dog or put his laundry (that i washed) away.

Post # 28
731 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

houstonsweetcorn :  seconded!


Also, for the Darling Husband, it sounds like he isn’t getting out a ton too? Many times there are local chamber of commerce meetings that can be quite fun and also double as networking and a bit of a date. I hand out cards (really cheap on vistaprint!) and make new linked in contacts that way. Some of the most memorable events I’ve gone to with DH include go carting (free believe it or not) and wine tasting so it isn’t all stodgy and boring at all. Another good resource may be a local trade organization. For example, the society of women engineers is nation wide and attracts all sorts of scientists and men too and they do totally awesome happy hour networking. I’ve gotten 3 job offers without even really looking this way and it totally breaks up the monotony of emailing resumes.

Post # 29
1213 posts
Bumble bee

Sunshine09 :  going through the same thing. My husband’s ego is totally tied to his work. Workaholic. When he lost his job he literally sat on the couch for months. Yes he applied for jobs  but when nothing came through the depression got DEEP and he got cranky!

Accused me of resenting him, etc. I realized that being out of work he felt lost and inadequate. Drove me crazy. He still isn’t working for a paycheck, but he’s out of the house working in the film industry- which is a dream of his. Wish he was making some money, but grateful that he is out of the house and doing something. He’s a lot happier.

In the meantime, I’ve focused on my self-care: working out, going for LOTS of long walks (1600 miles since the start of the year) and meditation. I have to keep it together for my son and for him.

“for better or worse” I repeat those words to myself all the damn time.

self-care bee, self-care. And try “I’d love for the house to be clean”, then leave it alone. They want to be our heroes. Make it clear how he can be.

Post # 30
4252 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Sunshine09 :  So here’s the thing: unemployment exposes your worst self.

It’s easy for people on here to say that “this wouldn’t fly with me”…until you are in it or go through it.  My husband lost his job in April.  It has been 5 months.  5 loooong months.  I won’t lie, it has been hard on our marriage.  It has been stressful.  In the past 5 months I have felt resentment toward him because I wanted him to get a job, any job, to make ends meet.  He has felt horrible for not working.  Yet I saw him spending hours and hours on computer games and he wouldn’t clean anything unless I left a list and that was really hard for me to deal with.  I also took on two extra part time jobs to make ends meet, both that I wanted to take on, but still it has been hard being the only person working.

We never fight ever, however due to the unemployment issues we fought a lot.  I am one who really likes my own space when I get home from work…but he hadn’t seen anyone all day because he doesn’t go out to do anything and wanted to be around me all the time.  You can only imagine how that went.  He also took his frustration out on me a few times which did not go well.  I put him in his place immediately when that happened so that isn’t an issue anymore, but again, it has brought out his worst self.

My husband FINALLY got a temp job starting tomorrow.  FINALLY.  It has been a LONG time coming and like I said it tested our relationship to the max.  I love him don’t get me wrong, and I truly think we will come out of this stronger as a couple.  Someone can’t understand the strains unemployment puts on a marriage unless they have experienced it.

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