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Doctor Kevin
Doctor Kevin, Ph.D.
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1482
Experience:  24 years in a private practice
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I feel that my husband is financially irresponsible and has

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I feel that my husband is financially irresponsible and has placed us in a terrible position. He had a high-paying work-from-home sales job, but constantly complained about various aspects of the position, did the bare minimum amount of work, and often would tell me he didn't do anything all day. He even knew his company might be doing a layoff, yet he continued to tell his manager his various complaints about the job. He blatantly disregarded his manager's directions to change how he was doing his job. Well, he was laid off this week. For the past couple of years I have been urging him to figure out what he wants to do next, so he could look for a new job or have a plan if his current job ended. I've told him how scary the prospect of him being unemployed is. I work full-time, up to 60 hours a week, and make a good salary but not enough to support us. His spending is out of control, though I think it will slow down now that he has no job. We live in a beautiful house that he talked me into purchasing-- I did not want it, but he wore me down with promises that he would always make good money. Now, I don't know what to do. I feel like he's been selfish and ignored my repeated pleas to take control of his career direction so this exact situation wouldn't happen. I feel like I can't trust him anymore. He's not a kid-- he's almost 50 years old. I am so depressed. I was actually thinking about leaving him this summer, because I am so unhappy with many aspects of the relationship, and now that he's been fired, I am completely stuck, as he is now dependent on me. 
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Doctor Kevin replied 5 years ago.

Kevin Kappler :

You are facing a major financial crisis and your husband is not helping. You need to draw up a budget, gain control of credit cards and prevent him from continuing unbridled spending. He needs to mobilizing all his energy to getting another job quickly. Next you need to take back some control of the marriage and start to make more responsible decisions. Then you need to work on your resentment and tendency to blame him even though he has been irresponsible. Only then can you start to make this a more mutual relationship and not one where he will get his way if he pesters you long enough. These are hard times and they require strong perseverance.


What do you mean by saying that I need to "take back control of the marriage and start to make more responsible decisions"?


Also-- how do you recommend I stop blaming him? I have spent the past year gently and positively talking to him, trying to help him come up with other ideas for new careers, encouraging him to talk to recruiters-- all of which he has brushed off. I feel as if I did everything I could to encourage him, to help him, and also to explain to him how worried I was that he would lose his job. Yet it appears to me that he had no regard for how his actions could affect us. Instead he would spend entire days on Facebook, sports message boards, or initiating new and very expensive home improvement projects. Many times he stated to me, "If they fired me tomorrow, I wouldn't care." I spent many sleepless nights worrying that his cavalier attitude would result in exactly that scenario occurring, and now it has. He needs my support now, but I am so angry-- I have not expressed this anger because it will only make his mental state worse, I fear. I don't know how NOT to blame him for this. Any advice would be great.

Kevin Kappler :

Maybe "taking back control of your marriage " was a poor choice of words. You have been in control all along but your husband is constantly defeating you. He may have what used to be called puer aeternus and is now called in pop psychology as The Peter Pan Syndrome (sometimes called the Peter Pan Complex) comes frrom a concept was developed by Dr. Dan Kiley (psychoanalyst) in his book “The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up” first published in 1983. It was an instant success since so many grown men were trying to act like adolescents back then.It refers to a man who does not want to grow up who fear taking on or maintaining adult responsibilities. It is hard to insist that a 50 year old man to be responsible when you know he is counting on you to do that. If this is the case it really doesn't matter how much you coach him but you need to approach the syndrome straight on and insist untiringly that he take on adult responsibility. You may want to call in a second opinion like a financial adviser. You are not alone in this. Mt wife is a realtor and faces people in this situation every day. I hope this is helpful. I am available to answer any other questions you have.

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