Wife unemployed since 2 years, threatens separation when I bring the issue up

posted 1 year ago in Relationships
Post # 76
1184 posts
Bumble bee

OP i really think much of this could be due to her depression. My mum fell into a deep depression when she had cancer years ago, and she completely changed. Her personality, everything. Complete lack of motivation, and just sat around complaining and crying and just a total lack of caring about anything. It went on for years. Anyway she’s completely back to normal now, and my husband who has only known her as her happy usual self can’t even picture what it was like when I told him about it. 

 I’m sorry you’re going through this, but I think you need to help her address this. She probably needs anti depressants. She’s still your wife, try to remember that xo

Post # 77
30 posts

Sounds like she is depressed and stuck in a negative pattern. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I had a friend whose husband was out of work for a long time (maybe a year or so?) and got in a similar situation. Just sitting in the basement watching TV eating junk food and getting fat. She was working full-time paying for everything and doing most of the housework and cooking. He really wasn’t contributing anything. She was really frustrated and almost left him. She did leave briefly but ultimately loved him and wanted to make it work. She asked around and a friend helped get him a part-time hourly job. It wasn’t great money but he liked the job and his co-workers and it got him moving. He lost some weight just for not sitting on the couch all day and started socializing with coworkers and friends a little more. Eventually a full-time salaried position opened up at his work and he took that. Still not great pay but he enjoyed it. Before the long period of unemployment he had been in and out of jobs he didn’t like so him actually enjoying the work made a big difference. He started working out, being more social and fun, caring about my friend more. He got his personality back, they moved to a better place, he lost a lot of weight and got back in shape, they started a family, he continued to move up at work. This was over the course of a few years. He still is not super motivated. Doesn’t help too much around the house, still isn’t paid that much. But they seem to be doing really well now. 

It is not fair that you are in this position but maybe there is hope! She probably needs to baby step back into real life. Although it might be hard to bite your tongue give her lots of encouragement at every positive step she takes. Maybe help her look for part time work so it’s not so overwhelming? Or maybe she could try Temping or substitute teaching to ease back in? Once she gets a little momentum and confidence she can build on that. Hopefully anyway! 

Post # 78
2463 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

mrstodd2bee :  what if OP just didn’t *want* to work anymore either? Would that be okay? Because if this were reversed many bees would be saying her husband needs to get a job or he’s  a manchild. I’m not insensitive to mental health disease as I’m around it every day at work. But at the end of the day we live in a world where contribution is necessary regardless of our circumstances . I’ve been depressed due to deaths in my life and got past it while still holding a job and going to school time. A young college student whose brain still wasn’t fully developed wishing I would just die. I was in therapy for a year both individual and group therapy. Yet I managed because I had no help from my parents with my living situation. So point is, don’t demote OPs *wants* and make it seem like he’s requesting that she put on a daily talent show with live performances just because he wants her to. He wants his wife to be a partner in his relationship and get the help she needs to help their marriage survive. 

Post # 79
261 posts
Helper bee

The one thing I haven’t seen addressed is the difficulty of having moved to a new country. I don’t know how good her English is or how much of a culture shock moving to the U.S. was for her. But just consider for a moment that when you moved here, OP, you had a job to force you to go out every day and interact with people. You had a built-in mechanism that immediately started integrating you into the new culture.

Your wife didn’t. She moved somewhere she didn’t know a soul, and then every day that she didn’t go out and interact with people and get used to the U.S., it probably got a little more isolating and a little more scary. For a whole year, until the green card came through. I can imagine being quite depressed by that time. 

I’m not saying that makes everything okay. I feel for you, because it’s true that if she refuses to really treat her depression then there’s not a lot you can do. But if that’s not a factor you’ve really considered or talked about with her before, maybe you should. 

Post # 82
109 posts
Blushing bee

beeleez :  very legitimate point! Moving to a new country, especially some place as dramatically different than your country, when you are an adult already is so so so so difficult and isolating. If you don’t go to church or other community events frequently, essentially, she has been home and cut off from any socializing for a year. So by the time she is even eligible to find work, a year’s worth of isolation and depression has happened.

OP, I know you are frustrated, and people of course divorce for this. (But ppl also divorce a lot in this country) but she moved countries for you. Yes for you. Her living apart countries away from you is not realistic or good for many couples… And she is severely depressed. As others mentioned, some depressed people can’t, not don’t but can’t, get out of bed from the crippling depression. While you are not her mom or anything, you still promised to be there for her through good and bad. And the bad can be terrible. 

You really can’t blame a depressed person in this situation as “not trying” to get better. Sometimes with depression, you want to try, but you just can’t… And fall deeper and deeper into depression, until you are so crippled by it, and people take drastic measures to end all the pain and uselessness of their lives. 

I hope she can get help soon, and that you or someone else can be there for her. If being there is harmful for you, you should do what is best for you, but I am just concerned that you also don’t see how severely depressed she may be. 

Post # 85
1068 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

singsling :  It sounds like your wife is going through some sort of life crisis.  You said she couldn’t wait to quit the job she had in Asia even though she was up for a promotion.  It can be emotionally draining to be in an industry that you hate.

I hope I don’t sound insensitive or come across as being stereotypical in saying this, but the industry your wife was in, was she given a choice about it?  I ask because I have a friend that is Asian and she said in her culture that she wasn’t allowed to pursue a career that she would have enjoyed, but she was expected to work in something in the sciences like medicine or engineering.  She was literally told by her parents that she could either pursue medicine, and become a doctor or pharmacist or reseacher, or engineering.  She’s an engineer, but her passion is art and graphic design.  She would have loved to be an art teacher full time but would have gotten a ton of grief from her family.  She didn’t have the courage to stand up to them and say graphic design was the field she wanted to go into because they paid for her education, and she didn’t want to be completely cut from their lives (which she said she has seen happen to others).

So could it be that when your wife first quit her job, since she couldn’t work anyway because of the visa issues, that she was in a quandry about what she could do?  And unfortunately the time off did not help her make a decision about possibly changing fields, but instead fueled those feelings of what would happen if she did make a career change?

I apologize if I’m completely off base, but I’m just speculating based on what you’ve provided.  I’ve seen people go through a career crisis and I can only imagine how much harder it would be if you had family pressure on top of it.

Overall though it does not sound like your wife does not have very good communication skills.  We always say that communication is the key to a healthy relationship, but if there is some truth to what I’m thinking, maybe she’s afraid of looking “less than” in your eyes (not that you would look down on her, but that fear may be there because of her upbringing).

Maybe I’m reaching for straws.  I’m not sure what else you can do since it sounds like you’ve been very supportive for a long time.  I wish you a lot of luck.

Post # 86
2667 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

singsling :  why don’t you want her to be a homemaker if there isn’t a money issue? 

Post # 89
2788 posts
Sugar bee

nykkee :  There is no kids in the picture. I️ think a LOT of husbands would have an issue with stay at home wife. When it’s not by extenuating circumstances (like disability, etc) but practically by unilateral choice and lack of motivation. What if he would just stop paying all her bills. In a small house, cleaning and basic cooking probably takes 1-2 hours a day. What does she do the rest of the time when full time job with commute is 10-11 hours out of the day. It’s not fair if one partner suddenly decides to stop contributing anything to the family. 

Post # 90
2788 posts
Sugar bee

nykkee :  I️ also think he would be ok if she did SOMETHING. Part time job, volunteer, get involved in the community. I️ think he has an issue with her sitting on the couch day in and day out literally doing nothing with her life. 

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