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Need to vent - LONG

We have been married for a little over a year, and lately I have been really unhappy. I don't know if it's me that's causing this unhappiness or what.

 The situation is that DH doesn't contribute to the household income because he is a FT grad student. I work a FT job that I don't particularly like, plus a 2nd job, and I'm a PT grad student, and we make ends meet financially, but I don't feel like he is contributing his "fair share" to the relationship, whatever that means.

The agreement was supposed to be that he would contribute 50% to our "responsibilities" even if that 50% was not a monetary contribution. Like he goes grocery shopping, and he is supposed to be doing repairs and other things to our house that we would otherwise have to hire an outside person to do. Right now he is working on a large repair, and it is crawling along at snail pace. I get upset every night when I come home and see how little progress he has made during the day, while I'm sitting at a job I hate just so we can pay the bills.

I told him that I expect him to be working 40 hours a week outside of school on the things that I can't do because I"m here sitting in a cube for 40 hours a week. But I don't believe that he actually works on this repair for 8 hours a day. He goes to the gym, and he watches TV while he has lunch, and he has to do work on his mom's house, there's always an excuse. And so I come home and I get upset. And then he gets mad at me for being upset. It never ends!

Is this unreasonable? I feel like I'm on the verge of tears 24/7, and I am increasingly thinking real bad things about my marriage. He thinks I'm being "a taskmaster" and being irrational, unreasonable, all that. I keep thinking that I should just not put my paycheck into the communal pot, and then what would he do? I don't want to emasculate him and make him feel like he is not a man because he is not making money. But its causing some SERIOUS problems for me. And I hate being the taskmaster.

 Advice please?

Re: Need to vent - LONG

  • Tell him you can't afford a SAHH anymore since you will need to pay for the projects he can't get done - and tell him to get a job.
  • He may have bitten off more than he could chew with the repair. It's maybe irreparable or needs to be given to an expert to fix.

    You are right: entirely fair of him to hold up his end of the deal by doing housework and chores and whatever else he agreed to. He's got to follow through no questions asked.

     Maybe start him with the lighter chores (like dusting and taking down the laundry) and then gradually add more to the list.

     Or sit down and the both of you go over what needs to be done -- have a "couples meeting" once a week when you both have some downtime and then the both of you decide what work needs to be done that week. 

     

  • Ok, so you work a FT job and he is a FT student. AND then you work a 2nd job and go to school PT? He should be doing EVERYTHING around the house.

    Unfortunately, making that happen is easier said than done. Its easy not to grow up when someone else will take care of things for you. I unfortunately married someone who also was not an equal partner and ultimately it ended our marriage.

    Is there a counseling service at school you could use?

    image
  • I'm confused....

    He's not working b/c he's a grad student but he has an 8 hour day to do chores around the house. It seems like if he has all this time there is no reason, he shouldn't be able to get a part time job.

    image

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  • Maybe he needs to get a part time job so you can quit yours.  That way you'd each be doing school and work part time and full time or full time and part time... and then you could share the at home tasks. 

    While there are a lot of advantages to the division of labor, it's really hard for one spouse to know how hard the other is working or not working.  Maybe he's being lazy, or maybe the project is harder than you realize.  Or maybe it's hard because he's the only one working on it... so there's no one else with fresh ideas when he gets stuck or frustrated.

    You might also want to reconsider home ownership while in grad school, as well as both attending at the same time without student loans to live on.  You guys are trying to do a lot all at once... and it occures to me he might just not be on board with trying to do so much so fast... I know I can't see myself getting on board with such an ambitious lineup.  If his goals for the next few years include slowing down and enjoying life, while yours involve both of you working your butts off... there's bound to be some conflict.  I'd urge you to sit down together and discuss your goals for the next few years and see if you can come up with a compromise that you are both enthusiastic about... because he's obviously not enthusiastic about the game plan you are trying to live by. 

  • Like PP said "he's obviously not enthusiastic about the game plan you are trying to live by."

    This is so true. And now I'm sitting here crying at my desk, thining about how I wish I brought my gym bag so I have somewhere to go other than home. 

    I'm 26, I don't think I could ever get divorced, I believe in sticking it out, and I think I made a huge mistake. What the F am I supposed to do now?

    Obviously I need to talk to someone other than this computer. Which I will do. Thanks for your comments. I just feel like I put myself into the worst situation ever, and now I'm stuck.

  • Wow, it sounds like there's a lot on your plate! I say all of this having just been a full time grad student for a year (I took an accelerated program and got it done quickly, but it was majorly stressful). ?The first thing that came to my mind is, how do each of you handle stress? ?It could be that when he's stressed, he needs (not wants, needs) down time because he's burnt out, and when you're stressed (from working at a job you hate and being so busy with school and another job yourself) you have a hard time relaxing at all and come off as a bit of a "taskmaster".

    Anyway, I get the sense that both of you might be thinking "My spouse doesn't understand what I need," and are both digging in your heels a bit. ?Talk to each other about how stressful things are. ?No blaming, no finger-pointing. ?Is he completely burnt out by the time he gets home? ?Are you boiling over because you hate your job so much? ?Really, really listen to what's going on in each other's heads. ?Then make a list of things that you both agree MUST happen (groceries, specific cleaning tasks, studying, classes, work) and approximately how much time each of them takes. ?What needs to happen so that all these things get accomplished? ?Work together to figure it out, and have your schedules out so that he can see where you're gone and away from the house so many hours a week and how much it would cut into your free time and study time to have to come home to chores he can do. ?Let him figure out at what times he can get things accomplished- if he's too burnt out after class, does he need to get up earlier to do grocery shopping or cleaning in the a.m.??

    If you guys have this conversation and can't seem to make it all work without one or both of you losing it, something's got to give. ?Can he take on a part-time job with flexible hours so that you can have some financial freedom to look for another full time job? ?Can he lose a class so that he will have less studytime and class time, and that will give him twice the time to accomplish the house project? ?The idea is to work together to make your lives work for both of you, not to punish or demand tit-for-tat. ?

    Sorry I just wrote you a novel, this situation just hit close to home. I hope the best for you!

  • Sit down and talk with him. When you're calm, and not so emotional. He really needs to understand where you're coming from.
  • I think you need to try looking for another job.  I think a lot of your resentment is b/c you are not happy with your job.

    You guys are in a tough situation right now, but it will get better.  When does he graduate?  Can he wait tables 1 or 2 nights a week?  Would you consider taking out a loan so that you don't have to work 2 jobs?

     I could have almost written this post a few months ago.  I work full time and am a pt grad student.  DH is a full time student.  Until very recently, he did not contribute anything financially.  I hated my job and I bitched at him ALL THE TIME over stuff like you mentioned.  All it did was make me more unhappy and him unhappy. I found a different job that made me happier and viola... homelife started getting better. It's not perfect... I'm still get annoyed when I come home to a messy kitchen and find him playing Xbox, but really it's not the end of the world.

     

     

     
  • The thing that I don't understand- if you expect him to work 8 hours a day at home, then why isn't he getting a JOB?  If his not working is because he needs to concentrate on work, expecting him to work 8 hours a day around the house kind of defeats the purpose!

     I am NOT excusing him from doing work - not by any means.  But I just think the expectations you have don't make SENSE, to be honest.

    I think this IS something you all can work on and through. I really do.

    But I will say this- you dno't get a gold star in life for staying in a marriage that doesn't work.  NO ONE wants to get divorced.   But it's a reality, and I can fully respect a person when they acknowledge something isn't working.  Staying in a marriage that isn't working for you doesn't amount to a hill of beans.  It really doesnt

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
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  • I am in a very similar situation, and at the moment am trying to work through it.  My husband is from out of the country, his visa is for his studies, no work permitted, so I had to put school on hold to work a full time job and also a part time job.  We get into the same arguements as you're describing, as I too, get irritated after I have been working for 18 hours when I come home and find him playing his playstation and there is a messy house.

    Right now, after we had the calm talk about our goals and expectations for the marriage and our relationship, am trying to make a schedule for us to keep track or our day.  My husband has horrible time management skills, and I take on too much responsibility and run myself ragged trying to get it all done (we are polar opposites).  Since he really doesnt understand that me being at work for 18 hours actually equates being out of the house for 20 hours (if you include driving time).  Im not exactly sure what his classes demand, or how long he is at school or studying.  So, we diceded to make a list of chores, and how long they should take, and who should take care of those chores...and also document our time usage throughout the day.

    It might seem a bit over the top, but I think it will better help him understand that when I am away from the house, I am away AT WORK, at also help him realize how much time he wastes....and it will also help me understand how much time he uses effectively for studying, homeowkr, etc.  When someone is in school, it is difficult to estimate how many concrete hours are spent working on school related issues, studying, etc.  Im just hoping this will make the both of us understand how much the other is contributing, and find how we can contribute more.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

    Good luck!!!

  • ditto kem1024 100% - I think you hate your job so much that you resent that your DH doesn't have as equally a miserable job.  If you loved your job, would you be so angry and resentful?  

     Look for a different job, and oh yeah - it's really not the end of the world to take out student loans.  I know it's not for everyone, but seriously - if it's killing your marriage that you have to work another part-time job just to make ends meet, it's worth it to take out loans to save your marriage!

     Also, my guess is that you're a bit of a perfectionist (and I don't mean that badly - I am too), and your DH could probably care less if things were spotless, much less put away.  You couldn't sit still with dishes in the sink and just relax, while he could.  You need to come to a compromise.  Maybe your DH doesn't work on the big project during the day, but tell him you at the very least expect him to have supper started, and the laundry caught up by the time you get home.  You shouldn't expect him to do it all every day, though, just because maybe you would if you were home yourself.

  • This does not sound like a marriage that's headed for divorce to me. You just have a lot of work to do.

    You need a system for division of labor in your marriage, and the one you have is not working. "50%" is way too hard to quantify. "8 hours a day" leads to all that quibbling over how many hours he spent doing what.

    I think you two need to sit down and write out specific tasks with specific timelines and specific goals. "Do dishes once/day." "Finish sink repair by September 15th." "Do all regular laundry on Wednesdays." This way it will be clear what he needs to get done, and yet he still has the autonomy to manage his own time however he sees fit. By the way, your chores should be on there too, whatever they are. Don't use it as an opportunity to compete or one-up each other, but as a tool to gain clarity & purpose.

  • ibis that is exactly what I was trying to explain...you were WAY more clear than I was! hahaha.  I think thats a great idea tho!
  • If it were me and DH this is what I would do.  I would sit down with DH and explain that things need to be equal.  If his contribution is going to be making repairs then he needs to do so and do it in a reasonable amount of time.

    For each repair that needs to be a time line should be developed.  Then you don't have to come home every night and inspect the work, or ask what happened.  You should know.  If he isn't a professional he might need to adjust the time line, but it still needs to be there and show that he is putting a good amount of work into every day.

    If he is unwilling to set a time line and finish the jobs in a reasonable amount of time then he needs to get a job.  Being a full time student is not an excuse for not working.  Especially not when your spouse is working two jobs and going to school part time.  

    I really think that there is a way to approach this that will help him to understand how you feel and help him to realize that what he is doing isn't a fair balance.  Hopefully when he realizes this he will step it up. 

  •  But I don't believe that he actually works on this repair for 8 hours a day. He goes to the gym, and he watches TV while he has lunch, and he has to do work on his mom's house, there's always an excuse.

     

    i guess people missed this part!

    He doesnt have to change he has YOU....you want a change then youll have to make it!

    STOP doing all the work at home.

     

  • I disagree somewhat with some of what's in this thread in that I do not think you can arrive at equality by nickel & diming each other to death. No offense Soulchild, but accounting for every moment of each other's time sounds like a very tenuous hold on "fairness" to me. Equality comes from the way you regard each other and have consideration for each other, a baseline level. Division of labor comes from communicating and compromising. I don't want my idea of coming up with a system to be mistaken as a solution for having a husband who doesn't value you... no chore list can rectify that, if that is your real problem.

    And on your end (the OP's) - scorekeeping ONLY leads to resentment. If you are resentful about the fact that you work and he "only" goes to school, there is no amount of household duties he can do that will change that. He can clean the house top to bottom and you'll come up with another shortcoming - maybe he isn't romantic enough - if the chores are not the real issue.

  • image ibis:

    scorekeeping ONLY leads to resentment. If you are resentful about the fact that you work and he "only" goes to school, there is no amount of household duties he can do that will change that.?

    I couldn't agree more! Well put.

  • You cant arrive at equality if you nickel and dime eachother...you will only resent eachother.  I suggested a temporary time keeping so that both parties involved can come upon a better understanding of what the other does, and if there is needed adjustment, then adjust accordingly.  For example, I know that when I come home to a messy house and find my husband on playstation, I assume he has been doing nothing all day, or that he has been shucking his house responsibilities and has been playing video games for hours.  Maybe he had been at school, and just got back from his study group and needed to unwind, and had been on playstation for 15 minutes.  Because I am unaware of what he actually does, and the concrete hours he spends taking care of his responsibilities, I assume that he has been doing nothing constructive, when in fact, he has been busy, and just needed some time to unwind, relax, etc.  He probably thinks the same of me, on the days that I am off and he comes home and I am outside playing with the dogs.   I think, for understanding's sake, that TEMPORARY time track would be beneficial, you may realize that your partner is doing a lot more than you think.

     I think that some people, maybe myself included, feel that I do A LOT more than my DH just because I am at work, because the hours I spend there are easier to be accounted for, whereas working at home, studying, etc. isnt so easy to keep track of.  Its really easy to say that the person staying at home isnt doing as much as the person who is at work.  I am sure a lot of SAHM's can attest to that.  And just because certain gender roles are being reversed doesnt mean that the parties involved in that relationship dont value eachother.

  • Recognize that the orginal deal isn't working.  It's just too distracting at home to get the reapirs done, a professional can get them done faster and better.  Its no one's falt.  Nothing to point fingers at.  He just has to get a job.  Now.

    And quit your 2nd job.  Really.

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  • I don't have anything completely new to add except take divorce off the table at this point.  You are exhausted, stressed, and resentful--with good reason!  Maybe you can get a job you like better, maybe you can quit your second job, and maybe DH can pick up a PT job, at least, and forget about DIY repairs.

    Also accept that DH will sometimes do certain things much more slowly than you would like and put a high priority on other things that seem trivial to you.  Some of it you will have to deal with.  But you can't feel like you are carrying the whole load all of the time, and he will have to make adjustments, too.  GL and hang in there!

  • I'll never understand why people can't work FT while they're going to school FT.  I did, and I lived to tell the tale.  Tell him that you hope he enjoyed his vacation... because it's over now.
    image
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  • The agreement was supposed to be that he would contribute 50% to our "responsibilities" even if that 50% was not a monetary contribution

    First I ditto about 103% of what ibis posted.

    But I wanted to say that the sentence above this bothers me. That 50% is very vague and arbitrary - especially seeing as how both of you have 100% of yourselves to give to your lives, goals and futures. When you say - you need to contribute to something 50% - did he hear that he needs to contribute 50% of his time to the house and school combined and the other 50% is his to do with as he pleases? While you heard that as 'my 50% contribution is the cash and his 50% contribution is doing ALL the housework?  I think you guys had some seriously different definitions of what was expected from each of you. Especially since you each have 100% to give. You don't get to hold back 50% for yourself when you're in a committed partnership. You have to give 100% to helping you both move forward together.

    In our house - there is no set division of labor. There are things that need to get done - and we don't spell out who does what each day or each week - that may work for some people, but it isn't what we need. Neither of us ask the other to do something we wouldn't do ourselves. If a home repair project needs done, we talk about whether it's something my H has the time/energy/desire to step up to doing it - or whether I need to figure it into our budgeting for outsourcing. If dishes need done or trash needs taken out - it's who has time/energy/desire to get it done that day. If I come home and my H is out hiking with the dogs - it's not play time for us - exercising our dogs is a fun priority, but it's still a need he's meeting - and so I do the dishes and take out the trash. I don't let them sit until he gets home just b/c it's his turn while I go read a book. We're a team and either we help each other out and succeed as a team, or we suck as a team in a given week. Teams don't always win every game, but when they lose one - they take notes on how to defeat the opponent next time and they move on to the next thing.

    I think you both need to sit down and have some communication as to what your team needs to accomplish in a week and how you can best accomplish that. That may mean him getting a job. It may mean you scaling back some on the hours at work but spending more time on the house. Right now you're viewing him as an opponent rather than a teammate.

  • I remember when I was working two jobs and going to school, and I was stressed out to the absolute max. Don't make any big marriage decisions when you're under that kind of pressure. I would flip out at everything and just cry for no reason at times. Not that you don't have a reason--you do. But it probably seems even worse than it is because of your stress.

    Personally, I would ask him to get at least a PT job so you can quit yours. Then, you guys can split the housework since he'll have a little less time and you'll have a little more. In the meantime, when you quit the PT job, use some of that free time to job hunt for a better FT job.

  • image notapetrock:

    The agreement was supposed to be that he would contribute 50% to our "responsibilities" even if that 50% was not a monetary contribution

    First I ditto about 103% of what ibis posted.

    But I wanted to say that the sentence above this bothers me. That 50% is very vague and arbitrary - especially seeing as how both of you have 100% of yourselves to give to your lives, goals and futures. When you say - you need to contribute to something 50% - did he hear that he needs to contribute 50% of his time to the house and school combined and the other 50% is his to do with as he pleases? While you heard that as 'my 50% contribution is the cash and his 50% contribution is doing ALL the housework?  I think you guys had some seriously different definitions of what was expected from each of you. Especially since you each have 100% to give. You don't get to hold back 50% for yourself when you're in a committed partnership. You have to give 100% to helping you both move forward together.

    In our house - there is no set division of labor. There are things that need to get done - and we don't spell out who does what each day or each week - that may work for some people, but it isn't what we need. Neither of us ask the other to do something we wouldn't do ourselves. If a home repair project needs done, we talk about whether it's something my H has the time/energy/desire to step up to doing it - or whether I need to figure it into our budgeting for outsourcing. If dishes need done or trash needs taken out - it's who has time/energy/desire to get it done that day. If I come home and my H is out hiking with the dogs - it's not play time for us - exercising our dogs is a fun priority, but it's still a need he's meeting - and so I do the dishes and take out the trash. I don't let them sit until he gets home just b/c it's his turn while I go read a book. We're a team and either we help each other out and succeed as a team, or we such as a team in a given week. Teams don't always win every game, but when they lose one - they take notes on how to defeat the opponent next time and they move on to the next thing.

    I think you both need to sit down and have some communication as to what your team needs to accomplish in a week and how you can best accomplish that. That may mean him getting a job. It may mean you scaling back some on the hours at work but spending more time on the house. Right now you're viewing him as an opponent rather than a teammate.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this and I would say that it is very similar to how DH and I are. There is no list, scorekeeping, or anything. We do what needs to be done and we work together as a team. You guys need to be on the same page and this can only be solved with talking to your husband and figuring it out.

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    4/22/2012 10M Parkway Classic
    10/28/2012 Marine Corps Marathon
  • image imoan:
    I'll never understand why people can't work FT while they're going to school FT.  I did, and I lived to tell the tale.  Tell him that you hope he enjoyed his vacation... because it's over now.

    Ditto.  I worked FT when doing my MBA.  It sucked.  I got over it and leap-frogged my career.  Time for him to work, and you to quit your PT job.  It also sounds like your FT job sucks, look for a new one.  Then work on your home project together on the weekends to finish up.  Next time hire a pro, or live with it until you are both out of school and making more money.  GL!

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  • image kate2bride:

     but I don't feel like he is contributing his "fair share" to the relationship, whatever that means.  

     

    If you don't know what "fair share" means, then how do you expect him to?

     

    Sometimes, what looks good on paper doesn't necessarily work in real life. While you two may have set out together saying "I'll go to school and do housework, you go to work and school part-time" doesn't mean that A) He knows exactly what needs to get done every day around the house B) He is "up to the task" to do those things and C)He wants to do them.

     I think you need to sit down together and write up a new plan, a plan that works for NOW. It may not be perfectly fair, but if everyone knows what they need to do and get to doing it, it'll make things better.

     Does he know what needs to be done EVERY day around the house? I know when it comes to housework, I have in my mind exactly what I need to do (ie: when I get home I gotta throw some clothes in the washing machine BEFORE I start dinner that way I'll be able to throw it in the dryer while the noodles are boiling and it'll be done by 9pm. Then I can fold clothes after I put the dishes away after dinner.) But I can't expect my husband to know all of that because he doesn't deal with it all the time.

     Maybe you can set out a chore sheet for him (mondays: vacume and unload/load dishwasher, Tuesday: laundry, Wednesday: bathrooms, etc...) setting out what absolutely has to get accomplished every day, and remember to set aside time for him to get schoolwork done as well as the repairs that are needed.

     don't worry, at a little past 1 yr mark I was getting frustated with my husband too, but you learn what works and move on.

  • I'll never understand why people can't work FT while they're going to school FT.  I did, and I lived to tell the tale.
     
    I'm sure that depends on the program.  Some undergrad/grad school experiences are...lighter...than others.  My grad program did not allow students to work full or part time for the duration of the program (with the exception of summers).  It was a demanding program, and they made it clear that to succeed, students had to committ their full energy to study. 
     
    They did not, however, tell students that they were exempt from household responsibilities.
  • ditto NJ girl...while I am a TA, my program does not actually *allow* 2nd jobs except for tutoring for tax reasons, or I would get one like white on rice, just to have more of my own $ to spend.  But also, if you are really going to look at it as a 40hr/wk each deal shouldn't you also be counting the time he spends studying or in class....since presumably this is his "job" and *will* further his career in the future?  To play devil's advocate, it is also hard sometimes to manage time w/ a weird grad student schedule since there are usually night classes, extra work they tell you at the last minute, ect.  I'm pretty lucky that my DH is understanding about it.  If he is just going to class w/out researching or TA-ing, then yeah give him a kick in the pants.  If he loves you and knows you are considering leaving for this he just might shape up.
  • I'm not really understanding how a school can control whether or not someone works.  I worked during law school, even though the administration cautioned me about it and discouraged me from doing so, and by my second year I was working two jobs.  Somehow I managed to get good grades and graduate while also being able to pay for all my own living expenses.

    From what OP has described, it sure doesn't sound like her DH is going to classes and studying around the clock and thus unable to find the time for a PT job.  I agree with the PPs who suggested that he should get a PT job so the OP can quit hers and be less stressed.

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