Time to get your hus­band back to work and your­self back to a better frame of mind

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - JANET EL­LIS

I have al­ways been the main bread­win­ner in my 40-year mar­riage. My hus­band is a cre­ative who works from home. His salary was never huge, but he did much of the child­care when our daugh­ter was younger and has al­ways sup­ported my ca­reer.

I re­spect and love him and count my­self lucky we are still to­gether. Ten years ago he was di­ag­nosed with stage 4 can­cer and is now in re­mis­sion. He has never re­ally had a paid job since.

When he sur­vived, I thought I would never com­plain about any­thing again. But now, at the age of 63, I find my­self feel­ing in­creas­ingly ex­hausted.

I am still work­ing full-time to sup­port my hus­band and my son who, in his late twen­ties, has gone back to col­lege as a ma­ture stu­dent. I have some health is­sues of my own and there is never time to re­cover or recharge my bat­ter­ies.

I have paid off the mort­gage (for­tu­nately) but how do I per­suade my lovely hus­band that it would help if he could make some sort of fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion again?

QLONDON: Take a mo­ment to breathe. What’s hap­pened to you over the past 10 years is huge. Even if your hus­band hadn’t be­come so ill (and thank heav­ens for his re­cov­ery), a life­time of con­tin­u­ous em­ploy­ment would be catch­ing up with you now.

We may all have to go on work­ing un­til we’re in our dotage these days, but it doesn’t have to be with the same in­ten­sity. In­deed, it can’t be – we’re not made that way.

It’s time to take stock and pri­ori­tise the im­por­tant things. What are you ac­tu­ally ask­ing your hus­band to do? I doubt you want to put enor­mous pres­sure on him, fi­nan­cial or oth­er­wise, but I sus­pect that over and above his help­ing you by earn­ing some money, you’d like to feel like a team again.

When some­one comes through can­cer, it’s easy to con­tinue to treat them as a pa­tient, even after the all-clear. And it’s hu­man na­ture to re­sent the fact that they can seem to be opt­ing out of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a re­sult.

You feel he should be aware of how hard you’re work­ing and how tired you are, but I sus­pect the brave face you put on when he was first di­ag­nosed is still in place.

Women gen­er­ally de­clare they’re fine if asked and put ev­ery­one else’s needs first. And if you were feel­ing low for any rea­son while he was suf­fer­ing, you prob­a­bly didn’t want to men­tion it and would have felt guilty about your con­cerns when he was go­ing through so much.

With­out go­ing into the ins and outs of your fi­nances, it sounds as if you can man­age on your salary. Your son won’t be a stu­dent for­ever.

In other words: this cur­rent state is short term.

But what’s miss­ing is your other half pulling his weight and look­ing after you, too. You can’t turn the clock back, but you can re­mind your­self and your hus­band why you were such a good team. You want to be his part­ner again, not his carer. And that’s where he can help. He may be fear­ful about re­turn­ing to work, but the fact you’re sure he can man­age will be a tremen­dous sup­port.

You’ve seen him at his low­est, after all, so you’ll be a good judge of how far he’s come since. Why not sug­gest he puts any earn­ings into treats for you both?

Know­ing he’s back at some sort of em­ploy­ment and it’s putting a smile on your face will do won­ders for his self-es­teem.

You’ll both have ex­pe­ri­enced such a huge range of emo­tions it’s not sur­pris­ing the more play­ful and re­laxed side of your re­la­tion­ship has taken a back seat.

I don’t think this is about money, but about some­thing more valu­able: in­vest­ing in the fu­ture of your re­la­tion­ship. – Daily Mail

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