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