My husband is miserable and I can't fix it! He can't wait for school (and residency) to be over so that "he can get on with life."
He's 45, established in his career, lived in a community he LOVED for 20+ years. We moved 1000 miles away so that I could be in school. And he hates it! I know he's trying. But, he has no friends, his career is faultering at best, we're renting a house he doesn't like, he hates living in the big city that we are in. He hates his life. And he's now the primary caregiver for our son since I'm gone so much.
I've suggested counseling but he says he's too burned out to go. He doesn't want me to quit school since I'm over $100 grand in debt. But at the same time, he just wants it to be done so we can move back to where we were living before school.
I feel bad for him but at the same time just want to scream "Suck it up, make the most of our lives. Live where we are living."
Has anyone else been in this situation. What helps????
I haven't been in your situation, but I think I can identify with how your husband feels. It sounds like he's sacrificed a lot. Of course, you are sacrificing a lot, too. I can imagine that with both of you so busy and so stressed out, it could be tough to give each other the support you both need.
I don't know if you've already tried this, but have you reminded him how much you appreciate everything he is doing for your family? A little appreciation goes a long way.
I had one other general thought. I wonder if you could brainstorm with him at some point (when you both have free time!) to see what kinds of things could make him feel a little better currently -- not after medical school -- because I'm sure you don't want him hating life this whole time. Some ideas might be: more quality time with you, more time to himself to exercise, more help with things around the house...I don't know what kinds of things he likes, but I'm sure he could point you in one direction or another. I'm sure you're busy and can't give much more at this point, but maybe there is something that is do-able that could help.
My husband definitely had some adjustment time (at least a year) when we moved across the country to tackle this med school thing. Nothing really fixes it until they decide to cope, but I did have a conversation with him (well, probably about 20 conversations...) about how I appreciated that he was not thrilled, but that this was a team effort and if he wasn't on the team, we weren't going to be able to get through it. And, I reminded him that I loved being married to him and being a family, and how great our baby was...blah, blah, blah. And that, as you said, this IS our life right now, so we have to live it. Also, he remembers how miserable a person I was to live with before med school when I hated my job (and I remind him sometimes), and that helped too - he remembered he was happy to see me happy. he is rahter anti-counseling too - so, when he gets to be really difficult I just say, "I don't know, if we can't fix this, we might have to get some counseling" - I always couch it as "we", which helps too - and that usually makes him stop and trya nd work something out with me.
Concrete things: (in no particular order)
1) he takes our daughter back to where we used to live, since his job is still there, and works from there for about 1 week every month to 6 weeks. (company pays for him to come back and supervise his team, so we aren't paying for it though). That was helpful because he really started to think of there as being "away", and here as "home". I also made a real point of always calling where we are Home, and where we came from "my parents house", or something. this just helped mentally get us in the mind set of "here". however, we also agreed that we aren't sure we absolutely want to go back, so that helped cut the ties a bit too.
2) he got on a soccer team. he loved to play soccer before and we always used to play together, but I can't work it into my schedule, so I make sure that goes and plays. showing him that his old hobbies existed elsewhere was helpful.
3) I make him go the gym. not every day, but once in a while - when he is way cranky. we found a gym with childcare, so he will go on the weekends, drop our daughter and get some "me time" playing basketball. and I can study, so when he gets home, we can do fmaily stuff without me being terribly stressed.
4) we pay someone to clean our house, do some laundry, etc. it helps take some of the stress off and less fighting is worth the extra money for us.
5) I tell him when I appreciate him doing something, even when it doesn't exactly work out. example: he did our daughter's laundry but threw in bibs with tights...well, velcro and tights don't mix well. so, we will get some new tights if we need them, otherwise, she will just wear more jeans.
6) I cry. sympathy helps, I tell him how bad that I feel that I am destroying his life, and that usually also helps him see the other side and realize that it really isn't THAT bad...
7) we take out the loans we need to make this work. we probably don't need as much, since he works and makes a good salary, but not worrying as much about money really helps us not fight as much.
I do love my husband and he is incredibly supportive most of the time, and I am not totally manipulative, but sometimes you need to tweak things a bit...what you are doing is HARD. really really HARD. and it will get easier, but he has to be on board. and it sounds like he knows that, but it does get tough on spouses too.
Good luck and there are others out there going through the same thing! we feel your pain.
You've pretty much described me right now (dh is the doctor and I'm the one who has been uprooted multiple times and now lives in a town where I will never, ever have the career opportunities for myself or cultural/educational choices for my children that I had imagined.
If my dh said "suck it up to me" at this point, I'd just have to pack my bags, bundle up our kids and....leave.
I know it makes me sound like a bitter hag...and I guess that's what I've become. It is very difficult to deal with sacrificing everything that is important to you and that you value to make someone else's dreams come true.
I know that you are finally at a point of fulfilling your dreams and making a life for yourself. DH and I have had this argument many times...more than I can count.
My basic counterargument to him is "what if you were only allowed to do family practice instead of infectious disease because of my career. Would you struggle with that? His dream was always ID and it meant multiple moves/transitions for us and a lot of financial difficulty. We could have spared ourselves that if he had chosen primary care but he would have been miserable.
He agrees that he would have been unhappy in primary care, would have felt trapped and would feel resentful of me for not letting him live his dream.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.