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TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1681
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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Background - my husband and I met 10 yrs ago. I was 47 and

Customer Question

Background - my husband and I met 10 yrs ago. I was 47 and he was 50. He had a long career in land development but lost his job in 2007 when the recession hit. He ended up loosing him home to foreclosure, his car was repossessed and he had to file for bankruptcy. We got married in 2010. He has never found meaningful employment in line with his experience. He now works as a construction inspector for a company. He drives to job site, takes pictures of the completed phase of construction then enters reports on the computer at home. He does not have to be to work at a certain time, as he drives to job sites. Because of this, he stays in bed almost every morning until 8 and later. I have a problem with this and I get angry over it every morning. I try not to let it bother me but I can't help it. I feel blessed to have him in my life. Not only the fact that I have a partner/friend, but he also fixes things in the home and cooks dinner. We also have cats and dogs and we foster dogs for a rescue. He helps by taking the dogs out for potty when he gets home from work. He gets home usually hours before me. But I still feel that it's wrong for him to sleep in til 8 or 9am. I get up at 6 and walk all the dogs, feed the dogs and cats, clean the litter boxes and have to get ready to be at work by 8am. Last couple of days I left the house late (830) and he was still in bed. He gets mad if I say anything about it. And, he'll make it seem like it's miserable for him to have to hear my bitching in the morning. Ugh....is there anything you can get out of this that would make me get over it ? Or, is it understandable for me to feel that it's pathetic of him to stay in bed later in the morning than most people. I understand his point of not leaving early and sitting in traffic....it can be bad around here. But I think he could be doing something. We drink every night too. I mostly drink wine. He goes from wine some nights to vodka. He probably has his first drink starting at 4pm most days. I don't like coming home to seeing him already drinking but I can't say anything because I drink too. I do feel that it contributes to him staying in bed. But I have to get up, I don't have that option.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I presume you know that there are millions of couples in the same bind for decent work as you are, and that these differences in expectations over breadwinner roles can readily lead to divorces--when husbands are very touchy because of the shame/embarrassment of not being able to earn the main income and wives are irate that they have to cope with the long hours and disgusted with husbands for not doing more. You would probably not like it if your positions were reversed--if your husband complained about you not getting up as early as he does for work because he's the one with a stringent work schedule. Drinking is a normal reaction to disappointment with life, and can eventually lead to greater loss of control and marital conflict than you have now.

You didn't cause this trap, America's economy did. But you could work on a plan to make your future better than your present, by clarifying your values and setting goals for more meaningful work, more satisfying and meaningful leisure, more financial security or all three of these. It might be energizing for your husband to explore his hopes of a more meaningful employment (including starting his own business). New training, new horizons and new passions could give you access to the energies. There are books on values clarification and job counseling resources at community colleges. The psychological burden of career loss has fallen disproportionately on men 50 and older, approximately 80% of those downsized in mid-career are men. When the prospects of restoring one's prior income and profiting from 20-30 years of expertise are very slim, one may restore the joy of living by seeking NEW challenges, CREATIVE or CLEVER new paths, and doing what one is passionate about.

I don't expect that what you face as a couple will be simple. But developing more dimensions of PURPOSE for your lives together could help you graduate from what may feel like barely treading water to swimming with more energy and resolve across life's currents toward a better lifestyle. And that change in daily living (which might include physical workouts for your husband) could give you reason to skip the drinking as passive ways to make yourselves feel good.

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I would also look for other sources of counsel on work changes after 50, such as AARP online.

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