My husband looks at me as competition

Here’s our situation. Currently my husband and I are pregnant. I’m the only one employed and things have been not going good at work. I’m being forced to work 50 hours a week and though I’ve been doing well all year, I feel like because of the exhaustion with pregnancy, the morning sickness and being forced to work hours I could barely handle, that during my first trimester my production and quality went down. I’ve been told if I don’t improve I could lose my job. This has been scary, so my husband and I decided it was better I start applying now rather than wait for them to get rid of me.

Right away, I found a great job that is just ideal for me. My husband even thought it was ideal for me and encouraged me to apply. So last week I applied. I was planning on making a follow up call this Friday.

Well over the weekend, I mentioned that I had started applying to my in-laws and about the writing position and his mom was like “Oh that position I recommended to my son. Yes, he should apply there.” She sort of gave me this funny look that I had applied and then scoffed at where my husband was thinking of currently applying to. He had told me he was going to submit his application early this week and he hasn’t. Instead, on Tuesday, we went to a sort of bible study thing at the parish, and stayed after socializing. Some men started recommending this same writing job to him and encouraging him to use them as references. This made him feel great, till I mentioned this was the same job I had already applied for.

He is now acting like its the only job in the area that he qualifies for and has been insisting that I email them and state that I rescind my application or at least promise him not to take a job interview or to promise him I won’t accept the position if its offered to me. He says he’ll resent me if I take it. Meanwhile he keeps talking about how he needs a whole additional week to prepare his resume and writing samples and that normally he’d want me to look over them and advise them, but he feels like I’d sabotosh his chances. I’ve tried to assure him that I’d never do that, and he just goes back to trying to make me promise I won’t take the job.

I just want to leave it in God’s hands. There’s a good chance that neither one of us will even get interviews and that someone other than the two of us will get the job. I’ve tried to explain to him that my not getting the job doesn’t suddenly guarentee him the job. I am actually more qualified for the job than he is. He knows that. Of the two of us, there is a chance that I’m the only one who could get the job, but he refuses to even entertain that thought. Meanwhile he’s not applying anywhere else. He just wants to focus on this one job. He’s convinced I’m qualified for other jobs that he’s not qualified for at all and that I should only focus on those types of jobs.

He does have bi-polar but its been very controled. He’s very good with taking his medication. He did recently start having trouble sleeping through the night. It was like his medication wasn’t kicking in and he did mention to his mom that he was starting to feel a bit manic last weekend. He did what his doctor advised and took some extra medication to help him sleep and that has seemed to help. But yesterday he just completely blew up at me and started calling me names and slamming doors and using vulgar language. I had a dentist appointment to go to and when I came back he had written me an apology letter and even said he hoped one of us got the job. He seemed extra tired and when I asked him why he was tired, he mentioned he took an extra dosage of his prescription because he thought his blow up might be due to the bi-polar.

Anyway, after seeking advise from some friends, I was told to really consider the fact that he’s going through a lot with being unemployed and that I should let him apply (I wasn’t not letting him, however) because being employed would boost his self esteem. I decided (and it was so hard for me to do) that I wouldn’t make a follow up phone call. I told him this last night and was hurt that he didn’t seem appreciative of this gesture. Then this morning, I just started crying because I really do want to go after this job and its hard to not pull it all out to get it. I spoke to my husband asking how he was doing and he said he felt numb. Then he found out I had only meant that I wasn’t going to make a follow up, not that I had told him I wouldn’t take the offer. At first he seemed peaceful and agreeable but then he said that he felt numb and just didn’t want a conflict and wasn’t really thinking things through.

Once he got in the shower however I heard him swearing and venting and going off referring to me as his “stupid wife.” When he got out, I tried to hold him and tried to show him that I understood the pain he was going through and tried to assure him this wasn’t his only job opportunity and that I would actually work to improve his chances by helping him out with his resume and what not and he just went off that I’m not willing to do enough and that its not good enough unless I email them and tell them rescind my application. He then suggested I do this, let him apply and if he doesn’t get it, than I can apply. I was like “We have the same last name. It’ll look bad and ruin both our chances if we do that.”

What should I do? Do I need to just submit to his temper tantrem for the good of the marriage?

Thank you for coming here and for sharing your story. This must be so very difficult for you.

There are so many things coming into play here it seems difficult to sort out and you are right to be confused because it is confusing!

First of all I am praying for you first and foremost.

I can understand why your husband wants/needs this job…however I think the fact that you are pregnant changes this dynamic dramatically. You mentioned that you are exhausted and are being forced to work 50+ hours a week. At this point in time I think a primary focus should be on what is best for the baby you are carrying and how to take care of yourself body, mind and spirit for the care of your little one.

Please tell your husband that you love him and then tell him that you love him more. Take a deep breath and pray together. After reading your post I am not so concerned with your husbands’ feelings or your feelings or egos that may be involved…what concerns me is a woman in early pregnancy not getting enough sleep and being under an enormous amount of stress that issue needs to be first and foremost I beleive. Perhaps that means applying for a new job? Perhaps that means letting your husband apply so you can cut your hours?

Try as best as you can to focus on your baby, then turn to Christ and trust in him that he knows what is best for your beautiful family. I know it can be so hard to trust.

When I find my mind spinning out of control with ideas and counter-ideas and plans and counter-plans I think my mind is so busy that I find it difficult to hear the voice of God. Do what you can to listen…perhaps Eucharistic Adoration? It can be hard in the business world where it is go-go-go and achieve-achieve-achieve to remind ourselves we are really not the masters of our destinations. The pressure you are under is intense, seek God in every way possible.

I know I did not give you all the answers of course but I hope this helps a little.

I’m so sorry. You don’t need this stress. :frowning:

I am wondering if the fact that his mother recommended the job to him, and the fact that later his friends at the Bible Study recommended the job to him makes him feel like a failure and a fool for not initially wanting the job for himself.

So he thinks now that he needs to have that job because if he doesn’t actively pursue it, it might reflect negatively on him (that he’s lazy, not supporting his family, etc…)

Might be more of a peer pressure thing for him to look good and do what others think he should be doing, rather than really wanting to compete with you. Of course, it’s coming off as competition because he’s kicking himself for encouraging YOU to apply when now it’s clear that everyone thinks HE should apply. :shrug:

I can’t cut my hours. That’s why I need a different job. If I could cut my hours, I wouldn’t be applying at other positions. I’m being required to work 50 hours a week or I’ll lose my job. I feel like an absolute slave at my job and my supervisor is completely unsympathetic to my needs and what I need to do to take care of this baby. The entire team has been forced to work this much overtime since before I even got pregnant. They refuse to hire new people because they’re trying to cut their opperation costs.

Even before this, I’ve worked for this company for about 5 years now and there has been maybe a handful of weeks where we’re not required to work overtime. There’s no choice in the matter. If I still have this job after the baby is born, I’m still going to be stuck working tons of overtime whether we need the money or not because its that or absolutely nothing.

Help him with his resume if he asks.

Keep your resume in motion.

Pray that the best qualified person for the job will be selected. It may be that neither you or your husband will get the job.

Require and encourage that your husband work, no matter what the job is, full time and hopefully with benefits that help support your growing family. I don’t care if it’s work he’s over qualified for, or work that he dislikes, so long as it is paying work.

Doesn’t your husband have some sort of counselor that he could discuss this with?

Personally, if I were you, I would keep working at the job as well as I could, and if they let me go, then deal with that. Let your husband be the one who looks for a job, it is crazy for you, a pregnant woman working 50 hours a week, to add a job search into the mix.

It sounds like you would be eligible for unemployment if they let you go, so you wouldn’t be in that bad of a situation if they did. What you seem not to be considering is that you and your husband are *not *both pregnant, *you *are pregnant. He has to contribute to your household too, and I imagine that the imbalance is part of what is affecting him.

OK, well as a newlywed myself (just hit a year this past month! :D) who got pregnant right away (just turned 2 months! :D), I hope I can be someone who seems to be in a similar position.

I agree with your husband, I think you should rescind your application. I think this because for A LOT of men their whole self-image is wrapped up in whether or not they can support their families. You have already been the sole breadwinner, he has been unemployed. While I’m not normally one to say someone needs to do something for self-esteem issues, I think your husband really needs this. And, in reality, as you’ve already said there’s a good chance neither of you will get this job, so why fight about it? :shrug: He has other issues that make this harder for him. I think you should suck it up for the good of your marriage. If/when he does not get this job, then you can just move on; do not say anything about how you might have gotten it.

Not to mention that you aren’t necessarily being fair to the position, you are pregnant, within 9 months you will need 6 weeks off. They aren’t allowed to ask you about that, but my personal/professional opinion is that you need to tell people that when applying for a job.

I think the pressure your husband received from his mother and friends to apply for the job is what is causing him to stress out and mistreat you and use foul language. He might feel like he looks like a failure to others because his pregnant wife has to work so many hours at a job that makes you exhausted, while he struggles to find any employment. I think it is time for you to consider taking a step back and ask him how he wants to support you. Maybe he would like to find a job (easier said than done, I know) that would support the family enough that you could quit and either stay home and rest or seek a less stressful position? If so, that is a commendable attitude on his part, even if his way of demonstrating his worries is immature. Talk to him, find out what his vision is now that you are beginning your family together.
From my own personal perspective, because I am a woman, wife, and mother, I would never apply for the same job as my husband, no matter how qualified I was. This is not to say that what you did was wrong, so please don’t misunderstand me. After all, he did encourage you to apply for it. The way that I view things is, if my husband wanted to go for the job, then I would step back and encourage him and help him prepare for the interview process. I am not sure I would even seek the job in the case that he did not get that job. My husband and I both came out of college with chem degrees, so this was a concern for us to begin with. I have repeatedly waited for him to find a job, and then I would apply for other jobs in the area where we were living after he made his decision. Later, once our first child came along, it became obvious that the best thing for our family was for me to be a SAHM while my husband moved around to several different jobs, in order to maximize his experience and earning potential (10 moves in 4 years!). That difficult time has passed, thank goodness, but I know that following him (to the ends of the earth, if necessary) and waiting for him to decide how to provide for his family has built his confidence and brought him to a place where he feels respected and admired by his wife, and his parents and sibling, for that matter. :slight_smile:
So anyway, I know a bit of the difficulty you have faced. I have shared a bit of how we worked in out in our family. But only you will know what is right for you and your husband. I think the best bet is a heart-to-heart with your husband, some serious prayer on your own, but most importantly, praying with your husband. And I think it is also important that you set aside any guilt for how this situation has played out and tell your husband in no uncertain terms that he does not have permission to treat you poorly just because he is having a stressful time. He should never call you names or swear at you, ever. You are his beloved wife, whom he has been directed to cherish, and for whom he is expected to lay down his own self in order to love. This can be said at a time when he is not upset, in a loving but firm manner. We teach people how to treat us, and tolerating such poor behavior only leads to more of the same. Preserve your dignity by demanding respectful treatment, and offer the same to him in return.

He shouldn’t be doubling up on his meds unless he has explicit instructions from his doctor for the event of blow-ups. If he thinks his condition may be inadequately controlled at the moment, he should see his doctor about adjusting the prescription.

Good luck to both of you.


Where are you located? In the US?

I ask because there are other issues I am thinking of, regarding maternity leave and unemployment benefits…

I’m going to come at this as a recruiter and HR professional. As that’s some of my background…

A person can not take a job away from another. Generally speaking a recruiter is looking for the desired skill set. You’re a writer? And the way you present that skill set will be VERY important.

If called for interviews, then it comes down to showing your skill set, discussing how it will best fit with the company, and then personality. Assuming you both have different last names, or don’t show your shared address, you will both be given equal opportunity. And whoever gets the job offer, if EITHER of you get the job offer, can not assume the other was 2nd in line.

Given today’s job market, I think not putting in both resumes is absolutely foolish. This isn’t about letting the best man win, this is about getting and keeping food on the table. YOU (not your husband btw) are having a baby. It’s common that this doesn’t even register with husbands until a baby is in hand. You both need to think about income for your FAMILY. And if there were SOOOOO many jobs to apply for this, I think this would all be moot wouldn’t it? Why not get 2 chances at 1 job. No one else gets that! Personally, I’d look at this as a team effort.

If you think your marriage can’t survive the ego that’s popping here, then just drop out of the race. However, expect this type of thing in the future. It will also be a bummer, if he doesn’t get the job. (Is it somehow guaranteed to him?), and you get fired (my next topic), and you have no money. Hope his ambition picks up much faster. It always stinks when you have to accept a job because you HAVE to… not because you actually want it. And if his mental status can be set off… having a job he doesn’t want but must have to feed the family is going to test that too. I would imagine.

NOW, regarding your current status? What state do you live in? In California, you are a protected class. How many employees? In fact, you could probably get your Dr. to write restrictions on your job/time, and your employer MUST abide. IF they fire you, that’s retaliation. There can be some issues (where there are less than a certain # of ee’s) they can let you go. Personally, I would make a call to the labor board. Just to be totally versed on my legal rights here… like making you work 50 hours. Are you getting paid extra for that???

If I were you, I would make the first priority encouraging him to go to his psychiatrist to talk about the mood swings and behavior changes. As another poster stated, tweaking his meds should only be done under the supervision of a doctor. To me, what he’s experiencing could be more of a mental health issue than a career issue.

But speaking of careers, writing jobs are very hard to get and stressful to maintain. I used to work as a reporter for two years and as an advertising copywriter for about 10 years before I resigned and went freelance. Many journalists and writers are losing jobs now, so the competition out there is fierce. Do you have lots of published writing samples and many years of experience? If not, you probably wouldn’t be put in the “interview” pile anyway, so there would be no harm in taking back your application.

I’m not saying this to be harsh, but I saw first-hand the piles of resumes and writing samples my boss used to get. She put many of them in the “no” pile, simply because there were so many candidates. I’m just telling you what I witnessed; whether or not to keep your app in the mix is your decision.

The good news is, you are blessed with a growing baby. So, the first issue should be your physical health and your husband’s mental health.

I couldn’t agree more.

I’m in Wisconsin. Right now my main concern is that we really do need two jobs. We currently put my student loans in deferment because our economic situation is so tight and so uncertain right now, we really need to cut costs everywhere. We’re living on bare minimim right now.

If you don’t mind me asking, how do you do this?

Well my husband seems to have gotten over whatever mood he was in. He says he no longer feels threatened by me. We talked a bit about the issue with these occassion outbursts he has when he starts unreasonably feeling attacked or threatened especially when he feels like its coming from me. He acknowledges it is a problem and is willing to go to group couciling to get help to help us through these. He also assured me he’s going to bring it up with his physician to see if any changes need to happen with his medication.

He was a little concerned about the cost of counciling, but I told him this was really important to our marriage. I mean, these episodes are months separated from each other, but they do happen. They’re also brief events and so far apart that you just forget about them and think “Oh he’s fine.” Then it happens and its like “Gosh he hasn’t been this way in so long. I thought we had this covered.” But its hurting me when he’s like this and something has to be done. It may only last for a brief hour and again have been months since it happened the last time, but when he does get like this is really hard on me.


Excellent post and I definately agree with everything you said. :thumbsup:

It is no easy thing to live with someone who has a mental illness. I know. And Bi-Polar is no small mental illness! Its MAJOR.

I have an old friend whose husband is Bi-Polar. They were married 22 years - a successful marriage in many ways. I was in their wedding and she was in mine. They have two beautiful children of their own and one adopted special-needs child. Though her husband is very capable and educated, he only intermittently functioned competently. Good thing my friend has a ton of energy and is highly-functioning (to the point of being a bit co-dependent, probably) and was willing and able to take on the lion’s share of the responsibility - because she always had to be the rock, and carry the biggest load. She supported all his dreams at her expense. She wanted to stand by her man! Finally when the last big dream was wa-ay too way-out left-field, she said no, and they sought counsel. Thats when the diagnosis came, and finally all the puzzle pieces fell into place and the craziness of their life made sense for the first time.

So, I want to share what helped her the most. First of all, the crazy life-shifts they embarked on came when he was manic - when he thought his ideas were the GREATEST and most AMAZING, like he himself. They’d put everything they had into the big shift, re-settle into a new life, and before long he’d crash, it would fall apart, and she would diligently help him pick up the pieces. It was the* idea* that was all wrong, though, and when a good manic phase would come along, he’d have another great idea, and on and on this cycle went.

He couldn’t do all this without her most dedicated help, but it was taking a toll - making her crazy. It had to stop. Maybe not for him - when you are “manic” you can do ANYTHING. But real people reach breaking points, even people with unusual energy and dedication. The insanity had to stop. So, the rules changed. He loved her and didn’t want to lose her, and for her to go on, he had to take his meds. He didn’t like them - manics are great highs, and many bi-polars just don’t want to live without them. But he agreed - he had to stay on meds. And the other thing that helped her so much was getting in a support group with other spouses of bi-polars! It put her whole life in perspective. Life with a mentally ill person is not like anyone normal person’s life. It helps to have peers, and learn some coping mechanisms.

This helped them function well for a few more years. However, I should tell you the rest of the story. Eventually he missed the manic too much, he missed having a co-dependent wife and wanted someone who adored him, adulated him, as he so adulated himself when he was manic. The new normal just couldn’t compare to the high-life of manic, and the depressive stage was a price he was willing to pay to experience that high again. So, devastatingly for my friend, the marriage ended when he got manic and found someone who adored him thus, who wanted to start all over with him, and be his support in his fantastic dreams… :frowning:

though your dilema seems mostly solved, my perspective is different from most posted so far:

assuming your husband’s outbursts really are brief, sporadic and mostly controlled by meds, occasional professional help and his own goodwill…

i really FEEL for him being out of work, watching his pregnant wife work AND watching her productivity drop because she’s pregnant and sick, while his productivity is stagnant.

the poor guy is feeling like an abject failure. this is the time to step aside. forget the so-called practicalities and strategies and let your husband try at this thing. 2angels, you had asked if you should cave to his temper tantrum. i think that’s unfair question. your husband wants to provide. he has his heart set on trying this job. if he loses it to you, he’s a triple failure. he still has no job. his wife still provides for the family. and the job he wanted, his wife has.

my experience with this is fresh. last year (after 21 years of marriage and 10 kids) i stopped being a SAHM and took two jobs so my husband could quit his job at the steel mill. 22 years of that job was killing him. weekly swing shift, screaming loud environment, terribly stressful ad dangerous.

i thought he would be relieved to be home. happy to be off the swing shift.

my husband stressed all last year. he was fretful, worried, grumpy with me. i was so disappointed because he was supposed to be happy and he wasnt. heck, he was almost depressed!

turns out a good guy needs to provide for his family. to my husband, it WASN’T all the same to him-- that we had some money to pay some bills and buy sime groceries. HE wanted to be the one to do this for us.

when he took a 30 hour week job this summer (and i have a 30 hour week job) he became incredibly more peaceful and happy-- despite the trickiness of sharing childcare/ housechores/ bills and other management.

be happy and grateful that your husband has a strong sense of what it means to be a man, a provider for his family!!

I have bipolar. No, I don’t think you should submit to his temper tantrum and unlike some other posters, I do not believe he is acting well at the moment. Swearing and calling you his “stupid wife,” is disrespectful. It is also a bad sign when the person with bipolar starts to have interrupted sleep patterns or switches days and nights (I know this from experience).

He’s been unemployed; my question would be how long has he been unemployed and how much of the family income was he able to bring in while he was employed? Working while having bipolar can be hard and maybe his moods are reflecting that and he feels insecure but still, taking that out on you is not a good sign. I guess I don’t know how impaired he is.

Just as your job sounds like it’s a really unreasonable place to be, with an unsupportive supervisor :(, it can be really hard to work when you have mental illness, even if you are capable of working. Often co-workers are not that understanding of people who need breaks for treatment and etc; I’m not even talking about acting “weird.” I ended up on disability b/c of this, after 18 years in the work force as an adult. I now have a steady income to use to pay for medication and treatment. Prior to this I was taking a lot of leave without pay.

You may want to find a therapist who focuses on bipolar and work issues to see what the best strategy is here. Maybe your husband wants to provide and is feeling insecure b/c he’s afraid most places will hold his having bipolar against him. Or maybe he has had enough bad experiences in the work force that it’s hard for him to keep trying unless he thinks a particular position (like this one) will work for some reason.

Another issue is, since this is a writing position, does he get manic when he spends a lot of time writing. That happens to a lot of people with bipolar unless the condition is pretty well controlled. I am much more creative and calm than I used to be when I wrote a lot that made little sense. My suggestion would be to talk to a priest for spiritual advice and to see a therapist who has experience in bipolar and work life to see what suggestions he or she would have. Maybe getting some expert guidance would calm your husband down. As I said, many workplaces in the US are not sensitive to the needs of people with any chronic health condition, including mental illness.

My husband and I are doing well after 14 years of marriage and part of that is that I have always pursued treatment and I never liked being manic; I always felt shaky and dangerously out of control although I never did anything dangerous. A marriage can work when one person has bipolar but specialized career counseling might be needed, and that might not be a long process.

Good luck to you.

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