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Husband's job stress ruling our lives

(63 Posts)
Typo45 Thu 18-Feb-16 21:27:21


I've name changed for this as some details could potentially out me. In a nutshell, my husband's job, and the stress that goes with it, is starting to control our lives, and I feel is well on the way to ruining our family. I can't see a way out. I also don't know if I'm being unfair towards him and all the stress is transferring onto me, or if it's ok that I feel this way. This is going to be long, please bear with me!

He's a secondary school teacher. For context, we've been together 8 years, married nearly 5. We have three small children, second pregnancy was twins. I work part-time in a less pressured and slightly lower paid job, currently on maternity leave. He's the main breadwinner, although I am paid pretty well for what I do. There are no real opportunities for me to earn more at the moment.

I understand that a teaching job is stressful, but over the years I've known him it's got worse and worse. He hasn't changed schools but has had one promotion in that time. If he's not working he's stressing about the house, the children, the car, anything. And his stress is manifesting itself in him getting moody and angry - at times very angry, altohugh I'm pretty certain he wouldn't lash out at me and the children. I feel like I can't complain if I have a bad day. If I complain I'm tired (baby twins means little sleep!) all I get in response is "welcome to my world." I was ill a few months ago and he goes on and on about how stressful that was for him. I'd think he was jealous of my maternity leave, but I can never complain if I have a bad day at work. He never says anything nice, just says how I'm lucky I only have the occasional bad day, because all his are bad. I know my job is easier and less stressful. But maybe that's because I have a job that suits me perfectly, and he seems to resent that. It's not my fault. I've had my job longer than I've known him.

I can never make plans for weekends because he chooses when he's going to do work last minute, so opportunities for child free time with my friends are very limited. And my friends have stopped inviting me to places and make plans without me. He also can't switch off - I offered to pay for a day out of his choosing for a recent birthday, and he said no because he'd spend all the time thinking of things that needed to be done and wouldn't relax.I've started to really seriously hate how his job rules everything. He can't really change jobs as he'd have difficulty getting the same salary.

At the same time I feel guilty for feeling the way I do. He works hard. He earns money. He's (usually) a caring husband and father. When he's not having a bad day that is, and the bad days are getting more and more frequent. I have massive respect for teachers. I think they get a lot of very unnecessary stick. I wouldn't do the job, and I'm very glad that there are people who do.

Is anybody else the partner of a teacher? What's your life like? Or is anybody a teacher? How can I support him? I already do the majority of household types stuff and all child related thngs. He does his job and organises the finances. What can I do to make our lives better? Because sometimes I feel like I'd be better off a single parent. And those thoughts are popping into my head more than they used to. It scares me. I want to be as happy as we used to be. I think we could be if he wasn't so constantly stressed.

CocktailQueen Thu 18-Feb-16 21:32:32

God, that sounds horrific. I think that teachers do hVe a very stressful job but most of the ones I know manage it a lot better than your h and still manage to find some joy in life!

Is he depressed? Was he always like this? Can you sit down with him and have a heart to heart about how his moods are impacting on your life and marriage?

You have to have friends and a social life too - you have three dc, a job, and do all the household stuff! Your dh is being really unfair to you.

Eminado Thu 18-Feb-16 21:35:48

You need to talk to him and tell him exactly what you've said here, and that it's affecting how you feel about the entire r'ship.

Hopefully he just hasnt realised it confused

For what it's worth it sounds awful to live with. The bit about you not being able to meet your friends is just selfishness angry

worriedmumred Thu 18-Feb-16 21:37:14

Dh isn't a teacher but has an extremely stressful job dealing multi million pound contracts and difficult clients. I am a full time student which comes with its own stresses and we have three children, 2 primary age. I too feel I can complain about my stress as it really doesn't compare to his but stress is what it is to the individual. We recognise that there isn't a great balance at the moment but we are both in it for the long run. The difference in this situation is that my h doesn't have difficult behaviour at home and I don't have to deal with with this...however weekends are a write off because of the amount of work we both have.
I can't really offer any advice but would say that there shouldn't be a power balance based on income or who is more stressed, it's a partnership and when kids are young it's a case of heads down and try to make it through the other side, best of luck!

Typo45 Thu 18-Feb-16 21:39:06

I think he is depressed. I've mentioned it before. He dismisses it. I also suggested some sort of counselling a while back after he got himself into a minor road rage incident, but he said there's no time. I told him if it happened again he'd be going to talk to somebody or he'd be going to his mother's. I think he realises I'm serious about that.

I know a few other teachers, and they do seem stressed, but have more balanced lives, even those who have children. I just think he's so stressed he doesn't see what he's got - a wife who loves him, three beautiful children, a nice home. I worry that he'll realise that only when it's too late. It takes effort to keep a family going, but at the moment all the effort is on my part because all his energy is going elsewhere.

Believeitornot Thu 18-Feb-16 21:40:12

Me and my husband do jobs which at times are stressful. Very stressful.
Bad times mean weekend working late evenings etc
However we both acknowledge this and make sure we give each other space and try not to take it out on each other or the family.

Your dh must know what he is doing is not acceptable. Can you insist on taking some time out to explain the impact this is having?

Marchate Thu 18-Feb-16 21:50:20

- He's (usually) a caring husband and father

Replace usually with seldom, since you say the bad days are getting more frequent. Stress is no excuse for nastiness. Especially sustained nastiness

He appears not to give one damn about your health and welfare. His needs must be met, but yours can be ignored or denied

Typo45 Thu 18-Feb-16 21:51:28

If I try to talk he just gets angry. Bringing up anything like this is like treading on eggshells. At the moment I sleep in our room with the twins and he has the spare room so he can sleep properly. I'm fine with this. In fact, I'm trying to think of reasons why the twins will still need me in with them past 6 months because I don't want to share a bed with him right now. Yet I do still love him. Our oldest asked us to give each other a cuddle the other day, and it nearly had me in tears because I remembered how much I always loved having his arms around me (never happens nowadays.)

seditious Thu 18-Feb-16 21:51:56

I a a male teacher. I don't agree your husband's stress should rule your lives. I can only tell you what my experience is. I am a hod at an independent school. My quality of life has been utterly destroyed by the appalling stress of my job. A relationship has ended over it, I have counselling for depression and my self esteem is on the floor. It has been a truly terrible experience and I cannot see beyond myself. I don't have children because I don't want anyone to depend on me financially and I don't think this job is sustainable. If I did I think I would be contemplating whether my family would be better off without me. I worked 10 years in finance prior to going into teaching and it was not as bad as this, bad though it was. It breaks my heart seeing peers earning more and getting more respect than me while having a life, family etc. I am going to hand in my long planned resignation tomorrow and try to start again by selling up and relocating to a cheaper area. It is a totally miserable experiencephalitis, it isn't secure, it isn't rewarding and I would be dead within a few years if I carried on like this. That's my input. I wish you all the best

Typo45 Thu 18-Feb-16 21:54:55

Seditious - you've actually hit on my biggest fear, that his job might kill him. I wish you all the best for your future.

And, going beyond my problems, why are teachers feeling this way? I said that others I knew weren't as stressed, but they're all under immense pressure. Of course it's an important job, and there has to be some pressure, but why is it so awful?

cestlavielife Thu 18-Feb-16 22:07:49

He needs to go to gp and get signed off with stress
He needs to address the stress.
Resigning might not solve it.
Sounds like how my exp was . Looked it was the job he resigned just got worse underlying mh issues plus personality...

Send him to his mother's
Get a break and make it clear it s in his hands to address his stress.
Taking it out on you isn't fair.
Ultimatum time.
He goes to gp and goes to his mother's Nd sorts it out. Get signed off first to take some time out before quiting and get union advice.
Do nothing and he will explode.

Believeitornot Thu 18-Feb-16 22:14:02

Is it really just his job? Is there something more.

What about writing him a letter, lay out exactly how you feel and leave him to read it.

cestlavielife Thu 18-Feb-16 22:16:08

It may be hus may not be.
But unless he goes to get help and work it out himself nothing will change.

You can only do so much for him. Match him to go tomorrow have them do depression questionnaire and set up counselling for him
Send him to his mother's tell him he needs to find a way forward.
Don't put up with rages.

cestlavielife Thu 18-Feb-16 22:16:37

March him to gp

uggerthebugger Thu 18-Feb-16 22:33:47

Hi OP, I don't have any answers, but there's a good series of blogposts here - written by teachers, they help explain some of the insane stresses in teaching right now, and what some teachers did to reduce or avoid these stresses. Search for posts marked 'The Darkest Term.'

Might be your DH is just handling the job he's got badly - but teaching has become a profession that is relentlessly, robotically eating itself alive.

Caramelslice Thu 18-Feb-16 22:37:01

It sounds like he is having a bit of a break-down and somehow it has become normalised within your relationship. I think, from the way you have described it, that the poor man has got into quite a persecuted state of mind and will not change unless something shocking happens to him.

I know it's radical, but I would consider telling him that you love him but that the state he is in is taking all the joy for your lives.!that you only have one life and you are not prepared to live it like this. Tell him you are going away for a bit with the kids, long enough to freak him out and realise you're serious, and when you come back, you insist on going for a walk/ a drink together to discuss the situation.

He will act as though you are betraying him and that you don't understand how awful things are for him- he really will believe that. But stick to your guns, I think insisting on valuing happiness is the only thing that will save you because he sounds like he's completely lost sight of it.

Then try and work through the facts together: if you prioritise being genuinely happy, what are your options? Maybe to get signed off sick, get therapy and then slowly integrate back into work with more support? Or maybe, quit work. Less money is hard, but not as hard as your life now. Walking on eggshells like that can really mess you up, and your relationship. Good luck, this is really familiar to me and I think you can get sucked into thinking that supporting someone else's stress and depression is loyalty. It's actually not.

ImperialBlether Thu 18-Feb-16 22:45:33

I knew right from the start that he was a teacher. Ex teacher here and I was married to a teacher, too.

I think the job is very stressful but it sounds as though he needs something to help him cope. If he can do that then his job will seem much more manageable.

When I was in your position I told my husband that if he didn't go to the doctor, I would divorce him. I told him if the doctor said he didn't need anything, then I would accept that. I also made an appointment for myself before he went and told the doctor (who'd known us for a long time and was the same age as us) exactly what he was like.

He came back with ADs and it made a massive difference. I think he needed someone to take the responsibility from him - to him, it seemed like yet another failure.

Mellifera Thu 18-Feb-16 22:47:17

Ex secondary teacher here. I left after 18 years because I became the person your DH is turning into. I couldn't relax, ever. At the beginning of each holiday I became ill, my body just exhausted, so no real rest.

I'm working in a very undemanding job atm while figuring out what to do next. Anything but teachinig.

ImperialBlether Thu 18-Feb-16 22:57:27

Seditious, I hope you find happiness in another job and that you have support while you're looking.

Msqueen33 Thu 18-Feb-16 23:01:36

Why do people think teachers are so stressed? I have great admiration for teachers and feel for them the amount of pressure they're under (sats, ofsted, GCSEs).

OP I think you need a quiet and rational chat about how he's feeling. You yourself must be under a huge amount of pressure with work, kids and living with his moods. Would he visit his gp?

Frizzuk1986 Thu 18-Feb-16 23:04:28

My husband was a teacher for 6 years. Constant redundancies, stress and just an awful life.
Dd is 2 and it felt like we never had any family time and I had to take on everything as he was so low.
He's ended up losing his job but I'm hoping that this will cause him to sort out his life and change career.
I hated him being a teacher and wouldn't wish it on anyone the state that the system is in at the moment.
You really need to chat through everything and try and support as much as you can but I understand the feeling of the job destroying the family and relationship.
Being a teacher is an all encompassing career and I think you have to love it a lot to continue with it.

Duckdeamon Thu 18-Feb-16 23:06:15

Sounds really hard, especially that you're working AND caring for three DC, including baby twins! At night! V unfair that he's not doing a fair share with that.

A couple of practical things: do you have enough money for a couple of hours' childcare, every weekend, so that you can be sure of time to do something you enjoy? He should look after the DC, but he's unreliable at present and you need breaks. Could you contact friends, explain you'd like to see them and that things are difficult for you right now, arrange for them to pop over or meet you with or without DC?

MaybeDoctor Thu 18-Feb-16 23:06:41

Oh god, I knew it would be teaching even before I got to the second paragraph...

In the very short term he must, must designate part of each weekend as non-work time. Work prohibited. Verboten. I never worked on Saturdays. Sundays were hideous, but Saturdays kept my health/sanity almost intact.

I say 'almost' as in the year before I left I would regularly have stomach pains and racing heart during an average school day. Plus I felt utterly drained of creativity - it took me longer and longer to come up with lesson plans and ideas. I suspect that I would have been heading towards some kind of breakdown if I had continued.

redexpat Thu 18-Feb-16 23:07:28

Oh wow. Something has got to give or someone is going to break. Ultimately the change has to come from him. Im not sure that there is much you can do really. If you ask questions or come with suggestions he wont be able to react in a constructive way due to where he is atm. Dø you think he would talk to a life coach? It might be less intimidating than the dr if he wont see the dr. It is sometimes easier to talk to someone you dont know.

CalleighDoodle Thu 18-Feb-16 23:10:11

Secondary school teacher here too. Thought about handing my notice in tomorrow but financially i just cant do it at this point. Have told my dh im leaving after summer definitely so he has to step up. It is relentless. In my dept i know 3 are definitely leaving this summer. Another possibly. There are 7 in the dept in total. I cannot sustain the workload with children. I leave the house at 7.30am to start work at 8.30am because 8am is the earliest i can drop off my children, and leave work at 7pm at the earliest and it isnt enough to get everything done. The admin is ridiculous. Filling in forms to tell Other people what im doing for each individual pupil in exam Classes. Who has the time for that?! Plus about 6 hours at the weekend.

And to add insult to injury, we received salary summary statements last week. According to the government i work 27.5 hours a week. Wtaf?!

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