I would also sit him down and have an honest conversation about how heavily this is weighing on your heart (and your bank account)
Help! My husband is 26 and has been jobless since . He’s applied for things but hasn’t taken it seriously, and his unemployment ran out long ago. He has struggled with anxiety, which I’m sympathetic to, and I know can make some jobs difficult. But at this point it feels like he’s using it as a crutch. He refuses to apply to any job he feels is beneath him or will make him uncomfortable. I asked him to apply for disability if he feels his anxiety is too bad to work. He refused and said his anxiety isn’t that bad.
I am a 24-year-old woman and make a very small wage at a local nonprofit. He currently has zero income and I am supporting both of us. I’m paying for our house, cars and daily living expenses plus I’m also paying back his $80,000 in student loans for a degree he’s not using. At this point, I struggle to feel bad for him even though I know anxiety is hard.
What should I do? I can’t pin him down and force him to fill out applications. I can’t stop feeding him. I can’t let bills go unpaid. I’ve tried encouraging him. I’ve tried helping him find jobs and filling out applications with him. I’ve sent him job links. I’ve followed up with him to try to keep him accountable. Nothing I do helps. I feel hopeless and helpless. I know we said for richer or poorer, but I didn’t think I’d grow up to be a piggy bank. Am I in the wrong somehow?”
It is not fair for you to be floating all of the expenses, and especially not his student loans for a degree that is not being used (talk about an expensive piece of paper!
Answer: It sounds like you are dealing with quite the relationship dilemma, and I myself would struggle if I were in your shoes. I know how crippling anxiety can be, but it sounds like your husband has gotten very comfortable with letting you support him.
I think one of my regular podcast co-hosts Alejandra Nagel may have some useful advice for you. Alejandra works as a legal recruiter in Los Angeles, and she will be able to provide some great insight for you. Alejandra, what do you think?
“First of all, I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling hopeless and helpless, while navigating a tremendous financial burden. And second, you are absolutely not wrong for feeling this way!
You are right. You cannot fill out the job applications for your husband or in other words; you can’t help someone who does not want to help themselves. Although it is understandable that you sympathize with your husband during this time of joblessness and anxiety, he is an adult who, at some point, needs to take responsibility for himself and his family. ). Your feelings of frustration are completely valid.
It sounds like you have exhausted all avenues by taking on his job hunt as your own and trying to motivate him. Sure, you said for richer or poorer, but at what expense? I think a good place to start would be encouraging your husband to seek out professional help for his anxiety. I can understand from personal experience just how crippling anxiety can be and, ultimately, it can manifest in important aspects of one’s life: career, finances, personal relationships, etc. I important hyperlink would hope that in hearing how concerned you are about his well-being and how this is affecting your marriage, it would resonate and motivate him to take action.
From your note, it is clear that you love your husband and want to make it work, and I commend you for being an all-star partner. But you also deserve a partner who will reciprocate and help you fill your cup instead of draining it. If after your conversations and some professional help, he still cannot take initiative, then you may need to consider how much longer you can tolerate having your needs go unmet.”