Author Topic: How do I support my husband through this?  (Read 6121 times)

Meggslynn

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How do I support my husband through this?
« on: June 22, 2015, 04:23:56 PM »
Sorry I know this is not MM related at all but I love the quality of feedback that is given on these forums.

My hubby is 33 and seems to be going through some sort of dip(?). He left his place of employment of ten years back in December and ever since then has been miserable on and off. He seems to really resent having to work since then. His old job was a dead end. No room for movement, no breaks, lots of bs to deal with. He found a new job closer to home, but was misled into what his actual job would be. He left and landed a job with the city which we have heard over and over is the crème de la crème in his field: it pays the best, the most vacation, defined benefit pension, the benefits are unreal, its the most cushie, etc.
He has been there for 3 months now. I personally believe that is too little of time to figure out if you are going to like a job. He really struggles with not knowing everything and he was the "expert" at his old job and now he is the newbie.

We are not in place for him to stop working. He makes $67K and I make $75K. We live in in HCOL area.
I have suggested going back to his old job as they have said he is welcome back anytime. I have suggested him going back to school for something different all together. We also have a lot of other stress right now that is probably not helping. We are moving across town soon, our son has health issues, and I have some minor health issues going on.

He seems to really want to move back to his home province. Which I can understand his family and friends are there and the weather is nicer but it doesn't seem realistic. Jobs there pay half of what they do here and COL isn't much less. Plus all my friends and family are here and we are finally making lots of couple friends.

I think he is also bored and asking himself that there has to more to life. I know he daydreams about winning the lottery etc. so he can do whatever he wants.

We have been so lucky in our marriage. It has been so good up until this point but I am unsure of what to do or how to handle this.

Sorry for the rambling all over the place post. I always appreciate the advice/feedback I get from here so much.

Frankies Girl

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2015, 04:35:32 PM »
He sounds like he's in a depression (not just based off the job thing, but all the other stressors in his life have pushed him into a situational depression). Have y'all discussed this possibility? He might need professional help if he can't move himself out of it on his own.

Might try giving him some time for him to just go do whatever without job/family commitments - a weeknight and/or a weekend day where he can go hang out with friends all day or go bike or hike or whatever he enjoys doing. He's starting to crumble with all the stress/responsibility and giving him a "get out of jail free" day once a month (or even once a week if you can manage yourself) might just be enough to help him pull himself out of the funk.

Maybe plan some family activities that you all used to enjoy? When things get bad or people get stuck in a grind, the fun stuff tends to fall away by accident. A picnic in the park, go to the beach or lake, have a cookout with friends, game night? Something that both of you can do together and have fun doing can go a long way towards snapping someone's down in the dumps feeling.


expectopatronum

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2015, 04:38:52 PM »
Can you encourage him to give it a year, and then re-evaluate?

It sounds like the only complaints are the learning curve and feeling like you're new. And frankly...he is, if he's only been there 3 months. Depending on his line of work/position, I can see it taking a full year to sort that out. Also, it takes time to make friends, especially as an adult, so some homesickness could be factoring in here.

Think of it this way: the only place he's not going to feel like the "newbie" is his old job, not a different one, and since it was a dead end and full of BS, it's not worth it. Short term discomfort (getting your feet under you and earning respect at a new position) vs long term discomfort (career going nowhere, hating the job itself).

It sounds like the transition is tough and he's out of his comfort zone, but I wouldn't go seeking ANOTHER transition until you are both sure that the job is the problem.

If he's daydreaming about the lottery, maybe also you can re-evaluate your spending and savings right now. Perhaps there are changes you could make that could bring that freedom closer. I'm in a job I don't like for one more month and planning out our FIRE date is helping me get through the workweek.

Ziggurat

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2015, 05:07:40 PM »
He sounds like he's in a depression (not just based off the job thing, but all the other stressors in his life have pushed him into a situational depression). Have y'all discussed this possibility? He might need professional help if he can't move himself out of it on his own.

+1:  he should get screened for depression.  It's classic depression to be dreaming of how a different life will make everything better... especially when there have been several versions of this, and it seems there has been in this case.

Noodle

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2015, 07:37:01 PM »
The 3-6 month period is the absolute worst at a new job. You are not the exciting new person anymore, but you don't have the experience yet to do the job at the level of your co-workers. And memory is so short that people are forgetting you are the "new guy" and need to have allowances made. Barring actual abuse or other untenable conditions, I would always say to give a job at least six months and in the case of jobs that have an annual cycle, to try for a year. (Other than casual part-time jobs of course). Plus, if your husband was at the last job for ten years, and started it in his early twenties, he does not have any recent experience with the "new job cycle" which would make it even harder. (I had a terrible time with it this last job and it was my fourth professional position as an adult). But it is amazing how fast time passes, and soon you are not the new guy anymore.

Since he doesn't have anything specific he wants to do instead, I would encourage him to stick it out and put a little extra effort (if you can, with everything else going on) to organize some fun things to do outside of work. I know only a limited amount about depression, but this long-term malaise sounds like it would be worth talking to a doctor about.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2015, 07:40:32 PM »
Government jobs have a reputation for being very frustrating for people with a drive to be productive. Not that they are all like that, but is he feeling stymied?

Spondulix

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 02:49:45 AM »
I wouldn't suggest getting screened for depression unless he wants to seek professional guidance. I went through a bout of depression at 32 (which was similar - stalled career and no purpose). A diagnosis of depression doesn't do anything to change the situation, and situational depression does not necessary call for meds (or therapy). I'm not saying disregard those options (therapy helped me a lot, actually), but as someone who's been on the other side, it's a very sensitive thing to have your spouse tell you that you need help (or that they can't help you). It's tough to see your spouse in that place, but that's part of the ups and downs of marriage and learning to support each other through those periods. Getting through this together is only going to strengthen your marriage.

It sounds to me like your spouse is:
- bored, not being challenged
- not feeling the self-worth that he felt through a past job
- craving something that he felt at home but is not getting in your current situation/location/friends/family, etc.

All of those imply a feeling of lack - he's not getting something that was being fulfilled before. My guess is that in his 20s, a lot of your husband's self-worth came from his job and he may have had good friends at that job. Not only is the new job boring but he might be lacking some of those connections that he formed. So, I'm curious if you talk about that - what is it about the job that he found fulfilling? Was it that he felt he had a purpose? Had friends? Felt challenged? Is it possible you can fulfill any of those needs in your marriage? Does he need more quality time with friends? What does he see as his career goals, and how does he want to get there? If he has no goals, what can he do in the meantime to feel more personal fulfillment - volunteer, devote more time to family, etc? What can you do in your current situation to bring those elements back into his life?

Keep in mind that this is something your spouse has to decide for himself; you can't solve the problem for him or make his blues/depression/boredom go away. What you can do is listen and to ask what it is that you can do for him.

Schaefer Light

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2015, 10:53:49 AM »
I think he is also bored and asking himself that there has to more to life. I know he daydreams about winning the lottery etc. so he can do whatever he wants.
I think this is fairly common amongst men of this age.  I'm 36 and I feel the exact same way.  Things just aren't as exciting as they used to be.

StarBright

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2015, 12:16:37 PM »
My family has been going through this for the last year + and I think others have offered great suggestions regarding things like depression or trying to stick the job out a bit longer.

I wanted to take a moment to say take care of yourself as your husband and family deal with this funk. About six months ago I started to find that every day I was trying to find ways to make my husband happy. I ran myself ragged trying to make his life easier so he would be happier. It wasn't working. He was still in a rut and I was just tired.

Your husband will eventually decide he can try to be happy or not, you can only be supportive on that journey - not force him to the end goal. It is one of those things that seems like it shouldn't be a big deal but can be so emotionally draining. Anyways - I didn't mean to ramble but also wanted to just sort of give you an internet hug.






Bettis

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2015, 01:30:01 PM »
I totally agree with StarBright.  I'll tackle this from the other side since I am the husband in a funk and can relate to the depression and malaise.  If you make his life easier (doing all the housework instead of sharing for instance), he'll likely feel bad you're running yourself ragged which will make the depression worse and make him feel less useful.  It's a tough spot but offer all the support you can to listen and help him deal with the depression.  Heart to heart talks do wonders.  Be there for him as much as you can but don't be his mommy.  He has to feel as an equal or else the depression gets worse.

PurpleEi

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2015, 11:24:37 PM »
As someone who has supported a husband through chronic anxiety, merging into depression, for a decade, there are some simple things you can do, that will make a real difference if it is depression, and will probably help even if it's not. They probably won't completely solve the problem, but they help us keep things at a manageable level (at least until major external stressors come along. Thanks, mystery illnesses!).

1. SLEEP. Uninterrupted, restful sleep. If either of you aren't getting it, start there.
2. Exercise. Really helps. It really really does. And it makes getting 1 easier! If you "don't have time" look at doing High Intensity Interval Training. 10 minutes will get you panting and sweating, which is of course the point of exercise. Fitness Blender does a fantastic range of guided videos (free online) that can help. No excuses for not exercising - if you have bad knees, do push ups. If you have bad joints, swim. Or if you can't take intense exercise, do longer stretches of low intensity exercise. Other than sleep, regular exercise makes the biggest impact on DH's moods.
3. Social circle. Belonging is important!
4. Nutrition. You don't have to be paleo, but THREE slices of cake for breakfast? Every day? More veggies, less process.
5. Remove external stressors. I put this last, because it doesn't sound like the problem in your situation, and also, because if you could easily remove them, I figure you already would have.

On another note, if it is the loss of feeling he is an expert that is the issue, is there something else he is an expert at that he can focus more on? A hobby? Volunteering? Watching sports and critiquing the plays?

Spondulix

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2015, 11:51:21 PM »
I think he is also bored and asking himself that there has to more to life. I know he daydreams about winning the lottery etc. so he can do whatever he wants.
I think this is fairly common amongst men of this age.  I'm 36 and I feel the exact same way.  Things just aren't as exciting as they used to be.
It happens with a lot of women too (especially career-driven women). I've read a few books on it, and here's some things that come up: One - the frontal cortex of the brain doesn't finish developing until the early 30s. That's part of why the shift happens from "I want to jump out of a plane this weekend" to "I'm going to rebalance my 401k this weekend." We can wrap our minds around the future in a way that we probably weren't capable of previous. The other thing is that we transitioning to mid-career, and for a lot of us, it's not quite what we thought it would look like. There's a lot of people who can't retire, which affects the ability of younger people to move up into better positions. For some of us, we've achieved our career goals in our 30s, and what we thought would make us happy just feels empty. As a 20-something with a full career path ahead, there's no where to go but up. In our 30s (and 40s, for some) we might see that our career goals are actually unachievable or undesireable. It reminds me of this thread:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/realising-you-arent-going-to-do-anything-particularly-great-with-your-life/

Bearded Man

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Re: How do I support my husband through this?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2015, 05:24:40 PM »
I think he is also bored and asking himself that there has to more to life. I know he daydreams about winning the lottery etc. so he can do whatever he wants.
I think this is fairly common amongst men of this age.  I'm 36 and I feel the exact same way.  Things just aren't as exciting as they used to be.


Here-here. Thirty three years old and feeling the same way. Nothing seems to be the same, or as exciting as it used to be.