Need guidance with marital problems


#1

I'm 40 years old. I've been married for 12 years. This is my second marriage. I have one child (age 16) from my first marriage and 2 from the current marriage (ages 6 and 4).

My husband has not held a full-time job for over 6 years. He currently has a part-time job -- about 12 hours a week at minimum wage. He stays at home with the 4 year old, but she ends up sitting in front of the TV most of the day. The house is a wreck. I work full-time and can't keep up with the housework on my own. I've reached a point where I really need to get out of this situation. He can't help support our family, he can't/won't help around the house. We don't talk, we don't share a bedroom. I feel like I have an overgrown teenager living with me. Only, he's never going to grow up and move out.

He has epilepsy, and it seems that he has some brain damage from seizures. He's had neuropsych evals done that show his cognitive processing is impaired. His processing speed is in the 4th percentile. They also tell us that he has executive dysfunction -- which means that he has trouble prioritizing tasks. All this makes it difficult for him to communicate, since he can't organize his thoughts very well. He has a master's degree in Chemistry, and has experience working with fancy analytical machines, but he can't get past the interview process.

I feel like he could take care of himself if he had to. The problem is, as long as he's living with me -- he doesn't really have to.

I want to reclaim my home and my life, and get him out. I'm angry that I am expected to be a wife, when I don' t have a husband.

I do feel guilty, since at least part of his problem is from a brain injury. But I don't know how much longer I can deal with this.

I'm an Episcopalian. I've tried talking to my priest, but he doesn't want to frame anything in terms of right or wrong. The closest he'll get is psychologically healthy or unhealthy.


#2

I’m sorry that you are so stressed and hurting.

But, marriage is for life and it is for better or worse. Your husband is physically/mentally disabled due to an epileptic seizre and you want to kick him to the curb now because of that?

I’m sorry, I don’t understand that. I also think you are likely wrong about him not “wanting” to fix it because he doesn’t have to since you are there. It sounds like his situation is real impairment, not just an attitude or willful disregard for you.

Where’s compassion and love in all of this?

I think you need to find a support group for those with family who have mental impairments. There are many spouses who stand by their spouses through alzheimer’s, dementia, brain injury through accidents, etc.

Find a support system. Hire a cleaning service. Make him a list to prioritize things around the house.

But, leave him? That’s not Christ’s command to us in the vocation of marriage.


#3

Some get the "in sickness" vow in droves.

Prayers for you.

Please, find a support group for spouses of those with TBI.


#4

How is it that your family's life would improve by kicking your husband out?


#5

My own dh and I did much better when he was better able to understand my own issues wiht epilepsy and how it impaired me at times- this meant finding a neurologist that didn’t just want to work with me the patient but us the family. Maybe journaling his behavior and bringing it to the neurologist could help. I found that some of my issues were not emotional outbursts they were untreated frontal lobe seizures. Wehn those were under control everything else was better able to be put in to place.


#6

I would suggest some sort of specialised counseling for the two of you together. His difficulties are causing problems for him as well as for you, and what the two of you need is to learn to deal with the difficulties together as a team.

What I would do is to contact his doctor or a clinic specialising in his types of problems (If you would be interested in the spiritual aspects of how to deal with all this) and ask about something that would be sort of like vocational counseling for a handicapped person. Like they have special programs for people who become blind later in life? Only for your husband's problems. (And maybe also Catholic Charities if they have very Catholic-oriented counselors.)

He may well be depressed about his lack of a proper job as well as his health situation. As a general rule, I do not see men handling that the way women do and so it can be hard to tell because they tend more to just shut down rather than express themselves.

But I really think that if the two of you can go to someone who can help teach you two how to deal with this, then both of your lives would be much better off! For example, the counselor could guide the two of you through a process for figuring out priorities, splitting up the responsibilities, and getting things done. If depression is causing some of his "teenager-y-ness", then that could also be dealt with.

The reason that I also suggest some spiritual counseling is that in our society it can be very difficult for someone with a handicap, esp an "invisible" one like your husband's, to cope with. Here he is: he knows that he should be out there doing chemistry and making a living to support his family, but he can't right now. This is a cross in his life, and handling the spiritual aspect will be more helpful than only handling the physical and psychological aspects. This is also a cross for you: your own cross, to be married to someone with these difficulties. When we women marry, we don't generally think that we might end up caring for the other, we think he will care for us! But it doesn't always work out that way.

Your local jobs place or social services might have some ways of helping out with his job situation, with interview training, special jobs, etc. But it may be that that won't improve, but if you two can at least pull together what needs to be done at home, that will be a load off your back, which it sounds like you sorely need.

The counselors will also be able to help him figure out what he can do, and also help you figure out what he can't do. It may well be that with a clear plan and direction, he would do more at home, but with his trouble prioritising, he may just be overwhelmed or confused. Or it might be that he is able to do more than he is, but has been overwhelmed by the changes in his life.

I do hope that you two will be able to sort all this out so that you two can work together better.

Praying for you both!


#7

I’m not one to recommend living off the government, but maybe he would qualify for social security disablility? I know it takes a vccouple tries to get it, but it would be worth investigating if he can’t maintain a job and it’s because of his illness. Then you’d have a bit of income to pay for a housekeeper and the little one will be in school soon. Perhaps looking forward to that could get you through? I will pray for your cross (and his)


#8

Your situation sounds a lot like mine. except that my wife does not have the medical disability.

From a moral situation, you committed for sickness and health. However, that does not make things easier.

I am guessing that you are physically and emotionally exhausted. If you feel your spouse is not making an honnest effort it can magnify the strain. Is he making any effort and falling short of your expectations or is he just a deadbeat freeloader? He should at least be trying a full 10 hours per day.

I agree with the advice of hiring a maid and would have done it myself except for the objections of my wife who thinks it is an insult and waste of money.

Does he try to show you love?

Except for the stress, and lack of productivity, is his being there harmful? Is he creating a financial situation (maxing out credit cards, etc)? If so there may be a pragmatic reason for a divorce.

I likewise came to these boards with similar concerns and was told that this was my cross to bear. I am sure you will get simmilar advice although posters here do tend to be more sympathetic to women in bad situations than to men.


#9

I understand some of your struggle b/c I have a chronically ill husband, too. Since you're on a Catholic site, you're going to get Catholic advice-- stay with your husband, work on things, keep on loving him (love is a verb!), and offer any suffering you experience up to God. You simply don't have grounds to divorce your husband.

As far as the housework is concerned, I truly feel that most men lack the ability to figure out what to do and how to do it. I think you need to communicate your desire for him to take care of the house better and then make him a chore chart so he has something concrete to follow everyday. In a kind way, tell him you can't do it all-- and tell him exactly what he needs to do everyday.


#10

Royal Archer, I don’t remember seeing your previous posts other than on TheAdvocate’s thread. Anyhow, if you are dealing with verbal and emotional abuse, it is NOT your cross to bear.

As to the OP in this thread, it sounds like she is dealing with a husband with some type of disability, not a mean-spirited one. If she feels like she is stuck doing it all, becoming a single mom won’t help her. It will just add to the complications.


#11

Bless your heart! You are carrying a very heavy load. I will pray for you very earnestly.
I can’t really relate to having an ill husband, but my DH was military and used to be gone for months at a time. I had to handle 4 children and everything else, including my stressful career. It was beyond difficult. There were certainly times that I broke under pressure. I was definitely NOT a saint.
My solution came at a price, but it was worth every cent. I hired a full-time housekeeper/nanny. She came in at noon and stayed until 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. She literally saved my emotional life :wink: ! Yes, it was expensive, but I wanted to continue with my career and yet have a clean home and happy children. She made sure dinner was ready, the house was clean, and the children were happy, plus she did the laundry and ironing.
We had her for years until my children were teenagers and about to graduate HS, and she decided to go to another job. It really helped us out. Give it a shot.:shrug:


#12

[quote="Musician, post:11, topic:188294"]
Bless your heart! You are carrying a very heavy load. I will pray for you very earnestly.
I can't really relate to having an ill husband, but my DH was military and used to be gone for months at a time. I had to handle 4 children and everything else, including my stressful career. It was beyond difficult. There were certainly times that I broke under pressure. I was definitely NOT a saint.
My solution came at a price, but it was worth every cent. I hired a full-time housekeeper/nanny. She came in at noon and stayed until 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. She literally saved my emotional life ;) ! Yes, it was expensive, but I wanted to continue with my career and yet have a clean home and happy children. She made sure dinner was ready, the house was clean, and the children were happy, plus she did the laundry and ironing.
We had her for years until my children were teenagers and about to graduate HS, and she decided to go to another job. It really helped us out. Give it a shot.:shrug:

[/quote]

Sometimes dealing with no spouse is emotionally easier than a spouse who does not contribute or worse drains resoureces. When on travel I have to do my own laundry etc. whether I am in 12 hour meetings or not. That is fine and just part of the job. But when I am not traveling and come home exhausted and then have to do chores while an able bodied spouse watches tv it feels exponentially worse.


#13

[quote="royal_archer, post:12, topic:188294"]
Sometimes dealing with no spouse is emotionally easier than a spouse who does not contribute or worse drains resoureces. When on travel I have to do my own laundry etc. whether I am in 12 hour meetings or not. That is fine and just part of the job. But when I am not traveling and come home exhausted and then have to do chores while an able bodied spouse watches tv it feels exponentially worse.

[/quote]

i have to say i empathise with u as my ex would sit around and do nothing and on top of it, actually made it difficult for me by being mean-spirited and spiteful to boot!
it is like having all the pains of having children without the joy of one and it can get to you as it did to me.. if he is not mean spirited though and is open to counselling, i would suggest you do that, else.. i really dont know what to say.. :(
will pray for you.. :hug1::console:


#14

prayers for you. have you tried talking with your husband about this issue?

it does sound like he may have some brain damage, but should hopefully be able to sit down with you, in counseling for example, and listen to your concerns, and voice his own.

love means loving them in spite of everything that is unloveable. their incompetence, ingratitude, lack of initiative, meanness, etc. this does not mean that your husband has the right to make you unhappy, if you two can work contructively on your issues, and find ways for him to be of some help around the house, in ways that he can handle.

my husband and i made charts of chores we had to do, and it did help. now, we don't need the chart.

a Catholic priest will likely phrase the issue in terms of right and wrong, spousal rights and responsibilities, and the sacrement of marriage. but what may help first is counseling, private and as a couple, to help you find constructive and practical ways to work together.

splitting up is not the answer. your husband is disabled. this does not however excuse him from being the best husband and father that he can be, and working on your marriage in realistic ways.


#15

anyone know of such a list of husband’s and wive’s or bread winner’s and home keeper’s responsibilities. I found one on line but my wife took offense to it. In addition, It would make a nice check list to ensure I am not failing in any of my responsibilities.


#16

thanks for your responses

We've tried counseling in the past. It usually ends up that the counselor spends all of the alloted time trying to coax my husband into actually talking. Nothing is ever really accomplished. We've had dozens of people help make out to-do lists and schedules for him. They get followed for a week or two and then abandoned.

We tried a weekend couple's retreat. That was a disaster. They told all the men that wives want their husbands to listen and understand rather than try to problem solve. They told the women to be sure not to deny their husbands sex. For months, he felt justified in not addressing any issues I brought up, because some moron told him that I don't need him to solve problems. And nobody even mentioned that he shouldn't deny me sex, apparently that's just fine.

I've reached the end of my strength. I feel like I can help him get settled in a place of his own. But other than that, I don't want him weighing down the family's finances or time.

I realize that I probably should tough it out. But I really don't think I can. I'm weary of dealing with this. And, not to be crass, but I miss sex, and I would like to have the opportunity to look again for a partner. I'm not gifted for celibacy.


#17

[quote="Frozen, post:16, topic:188294"]

I've reached the end of my strength. I feel like I can help him get settled in a place of his own. But other than that, I don't want him weighing down the family's finances or time.

.

[/quote]

How do you intend to do that? Aren't you worried about loosing the kids?


#18

[quote="Frozen, post:16, topic:188294"]
thanks for your responses

We've tried counseling in the past. It usually ends up that the counselor spends all of the alloted time trying to coax my husband into actually talking. Nothing is ever really accomplished. We've had dozens of people help make out to-do lists and schedules for him. They get followed for a week or two and then abandoned.

[/quote]

What do you do when they get abandoned? Can you get together and put the to-do lists, etc., back together? Or start a new one?

You said that he has trouble prioritising--could it be that when the plan is "new" he is more aware of the high priority, and then as time goes by, that awareness dissolves?

We tried a weekend couple's retreat. That was a disaster. They told all the men that wives want their husbands to listen and understand rather than try to problem solve. They told the women to be sure not to deny their husbands sex. For months, he felt justified in not addressing any issues I brought up, because some moron told him that I don't need him to solve problems.

Oh, man, I had something similar happen to me, and that is such a bummer.

If he's still on that, tell him when the problem is *him *(OK, be nice and say when the problem is his health problems!), he has to help problem-solve, but when you have a rough day at work, he has to listen and understand.

And nobody even mentioned that he shouldn't deny me sex, apparently that's just fine.

Might this be related to the brain problems he is having?

I've reached the end of my strength. I feel like I can help him get settled in a place of his own. But other than that, I don't want him weighing down the family's finances or time.

I realize that I probably should tough it out. But I really don't think I can. I'm weary of dealing with this.

In your first post, you exhibited a lot of anger and frustration, and you are certainly in a very frustrating situation. However, I wonder too how much of this is showing to him? How long you have been experiencing it? The reason I ask is that it seems like maybe you two have slipped into a pattern of relating that is not healthy marriage-wise. You are the mommy, and he is the kid.

It's hard to say if the tough love approach is appropriate because we don't know how much of what he is doing is a result of his health problems, but if you are acting like the mother instead of the wife of a man, who is disabled, then that might not be helping either of you, and certainly won't help your marriage.

I know you said he won't talk with a counselor--you also said he has trouble putting his thoughts together. So maybe that's not the way to go. Altho I don't like to recommend that one spouse go for counseling while the other one doesn't go, perhaps this is an instance where you might be better off going to a support group for spouses of those with problems functioning. If you don't have access to anything like that, maybe call Al-Anon and ask if you could go there.

And, not to be crass, but I miss sex, and I would like to have the opportunity to look again for a partner. I'm not gifted for celibacy.

Well, we are Catholic, so we think that you are married, and that even if some legal actions were taken were to occur, you would still be married in the eyes of God. A lack of sex may be a part of your cross.

I would like to tell you about a woman I know. She is in her late 60's/early 70's, and I have known her for several years. However, it was only a few months before her husband died that I found out her story. I had always assumed that her husband was incapacitated due to old age, but it turned out that he used to drink heavily, and that he had had an accident years before, while drunk, and become completely incapacitated as a result of that accident. He was bedridden for 17 years before he died, and she cared for him all that time.

We can't really tell you what to do in your situation, since we know so little about it. But from what you have written here, I really think that your marriage might be salvageable, even improvable. But you would have to make a commitment to stay with your husband and work on that rather than dreaming of setting him up in his own place. As long as you are fantasising your "defective" husband's replacement, you will remain angry and frustrated.


#19

[quote="Frozen, post:16, topic:188294"]
thanks for your responses

We've tried counseling in the past. It usually ends up that the counselor spends all of the alloted time trying to coax my husband into actually talking. Nothing is ever really accomplished. We've had dozens of people help make out to-do lists and schedules for him. They get followed for a week or two and then abandoned.

We tried a weekend couple's retreat. That was a disaster. They told all the men that wives want their husbands to listen and understand rather than try to problem solve. They told the women to be sure not to deny their husbands sex. For months, he felt justified in not addressing any issues I brought up, because some moron told him that I don't need him to solve problems. And nobody even mentioned that he shouldn't deny me sex, apparently that's just fine.

I've reached the end of my strength. I feel like I can help him get settled in a place of his own. But other than that, I don't want him weighing down the family's finances or time.

I realize that I probably should tough it out. But I really don't think I can. I'm weary of dealing with this. And, not to be crass, but I miss sex, and I would like to have the opportunity to look again for a partner. I'm not gifted for celibacy.

[/quote]

That's nice - I do feel badly that your husband had this terrible injury but you planning on leaving your husband and becoming an adulteress surely does not make anything right - besides not only will you be committing adultery you will be teaching your children that when situations get tough they don't have to honor their committments either.


closed #20

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