Q: Hi, I have been married to my husband for about 1 year now. We dated for about 7 years before that and we never really spend more than 1 or 2 days a week together. We did not live together either. When we got married, my husband assumed i would start taking care of the household chores, I thought we had discussed that we would do 50/50…and that included financially as well. Well it turns out we were on 2 different pages, and we still are on some issues. After 1 year, i have spent many nights crying, tired and just too exhaused to put up with things anymore. I understand that it can never be 50/50, but i just need to at least have some support that when i can’t make it home by 8, he will at least cook dinner and if not that, at least go out and get something for us to eat. He does not, and waits until i get home to decide what to do. We had a lot of debt, let me rephrase that, i had a lot of debt from the wedding (most of the stuff went on my cards) that i had to pay back, so i was not able to help him financially with the household bills. He always made me feel bad about it, like i was giving money away to someone/something that he had nothing to do with, even though it was for OUR wedding. I finally finished and had been helping in the financial department now, but he still does not help in chore department.
This is not even my issue. He is actually someone who is lazy, unmotivated, and doesn’t really want to do anything with his life. I have tried may things, but nothing works and now it is effecting my life too. I can’t really go anywhere without him, because he does not like it or makes me feel bad about it. Like for weddings we have been invited to. I ask him to come with me, but his excuse every time is that he does not know them. I have asked him if we can spend time with his friends, but he doesn’t want to do that either. All he does is sit around and watch tv or sleep. I thought maybe he was depressed or something, but i am realizing it’s his personality. He is completely unmotivated. He wants to go back to school, but never does anything about it, even when i bring him things to read about the programs, and ask him questions and tell him he can try this or that. He never wants to go out to friends’ houses and i have to force him to go to family functions. He won’t even do things for his own health. I started running, and he joined me, but when i hurt my foot and stopped, he stopped too. I told him to go without me, but he won’t.
I don’t know how to get him motivated to do anything, going out, having fun, or just living life. All we do is go to work, come home, eat and sleep. It is begining to take a toll on me now. I feel really tired from doing everything, and then trying to get him to do things and being stressed out when i leave him. Help me find an answer to how i can help us!
A: I’m not sure you can. You’re right. Marriage is rarely 50/50. It should be 100/100 with both of you giving 100%. In your case, it looks like you are giving 200% and your husband thinks that’s fair. This must be enormously disappointing and sad for you. After 7 years of courtship, you probably thought you knew this man well. You’ve certainly done a great deal to try to keep your love and your married life alive. But one person can’t make a marriage. It’s like putting out your hand for a handshake and the other person never responding. You end up moving your hand up and down in the air, eventually feeling hurt and kind of foolish. I would suggest couple counseling but I’m not optimistic your husband would agree to go. It’s always worth a try, though. If he doesn’t go, I suggest you find a counselor for yourself. You have some hard thinking to do about whether this marriage is worth the toll it’s taking on you. It might help to have some objective support.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Sep 2008
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Is it my husband or me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 17, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/09/01/is-it-my-husband-or-me/