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At A Complete Loss This Morning, How do I Help Him?

(68 Posts)
SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 10:53:40

I'll start by saying DP is a completely awesome guy who I love to pieces, he's funny, kind, thoughtful and a total star all round! We have been together 8 and a half years, bought a house 2 years ago and have been engaged for 2 months and (although it's apparently unbelievable) we've never once had a proper argument, don't bicker and generally rub along nicely together. We have no children but want children after we get married in 2018.

DP turned 28 a few days ago and since then, he's been a bit down and generally out of sorts which is very much not like him. I've asked, he's said there's nothing wrong that he can think of but last night when he came up to give me a cuddle before bed, he admitted he's feeling "unfulfilled".

It seems to revolve around his job, it's easier for me to bullet point the next bit so apologies if it seems cold, I don't want to drip feed:

DP has a degree in Modern Music
He's worked as a waiter in a restaurant for 8 years
I pay all the household bills and the Mortgage, he pays for our food.
The deposit for the house was my money only
He earns about £10k a year, I earn £26k. We live in the Midlands.
He's a musician, a very good performer and gigs in local pubs and has a weddings functions band. Music was always his passion.
He hates his job and makes occasional efforts to find a new one in a different field, but his CV is waiter work for 8 years with no progression so he hasnt heard back from any of them.
He's very very risk averse and has a "comfort zone" he doesn't like to venture out of. He doesnt actively seek change ever.
He can't drive.

He's naturally not a motivated person, this has never bothered me before but now he's clearly unhappy and I just don't know what to do? I hate the thought that he's in any way unhappy with his life, and I find it frustrating that he doesn't seem to come up with or act on any solutions? How do I tackle this?

Help sad

DollyBarton Thu 20-Oct-16 10:55:43

I think it's up to him. But you can be clear with him that you are supportive of him retraining. Is there any career he wishes he had had?

Costacoffeeplease Thu 20-Oct-16 10:55:58

You can offer suggestions, but ultimately if he doesn't want to take them up, that's his choice

pocketsaviour Thu 20-Oct-16 11:01:06

I'm not surprised he feels unfulfilled if he's doing what is quite a basic job that doesn't really require him to use his natural talents.

Do I get the impression that you want to "fix" things for him or provide a magic solution? Because that isn't your job. If he wants things to change, he has to seek this out himself.

(This is really familiar to me because I have exactly the same impulses towards my (adult) son. He tells me about a problem, my instinct is to tell him what to do.)

Can you try turning his feelings back toward him and ask him "So what do you feel you want to do now? And how can I help?" Make it clear you'll support him if he wants to e.g. take a course which might help him get into another line of work, or help him practise interviews, or have a friend re-write his CV. But if you're sitting there saying "Why don't you do XYZ" then it's you driving the process, and that has to stop.

12purpleapples Thu 20-Oct-16 11:01:07

You can't solve this for him. Being unhappy with his job might give him the motivation to change, but all you can really do is to be supportive and encouraging.

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Thu 20-Oct-16 11:02:51

You can't make someone ambitious unfortunately.

He is unlikely to move forward in any job if he hasn't got the get up and go needed.

As others have said, you can let him know that you are supportive of him retraining, but other than that it's up to him.

How do you think he'd work out as a SAHD?

SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 11:10:47


Yeah I figured I can't actually magic this better sad

Our plan has always been that he'll be a SAHP, he would be brilliant but I'm questioning that now because is he just saying he wants to do that as an excuse not to push himself in a career? I wonder if he sees it as an easier option even though obviously that couldnt be further from the truth!

So what should my rhetoric be here? he has no idea I'm frustrated with him for this and he doesn't know how it's upset me :/

SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 11:11:38

I agree, I can't see him in any kind of career focused environment, I don't think he'd cope but in that case what happens to him?

Gymnopedies Thu 20-Oct-16 11:11:43

I think you could start by seeing if he wants to get a driving license? If yes, you could book him lessons for his Christmas pressie.

SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 11:17:57

Gymnopedies my mum started giving him lessons in her car for a while but he was never enthusiastic about it and kept rearranging them. He said his "next step" last night was to learn to drive so maybe I should just book him some and pay for them?

Guiltypleasures001 Thu 20-Oct-16 11:18:07

Op I'm sorry to say but I think you may end up the unfulfilled one here eventually

He sounds lazy, and him being the sahp is just letting him off Scott free. What happens when you realise
Your not spending any time with the child cause your working to pay all the bills.

What happens if he does the bare minimum or less in doors and your left to do it when you get in
From work. Also he's then the main carer for the child and if you split the child may go with him.

If you split he gets half or more of everything you've worked for plus child and your homeless or renting
Paying him to see your child

He sounds like a cocklodger sorry

Obsidian77 Thu 20-Oct-16 11:20:38

Hi Slimbob this might be a bit woo for your liking but when I saw he'd just turned 28 I immediately thought "Saturn's return". You can look it up on Wikipedia etc.
The gist is basically that it's a good time to take stock of your life and figure out where you're headed.
If he's just very chilled and you're both happy with your arrangement then it's fine, but extreme relaxedness can slip very easily into a lethargy that frustrates you both.
Would he be able to book a careers counselling session (perhaps with his old uni- I think uni careers services will often help their graduates?)

SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 11:21:32

Guiltypleasures001 never be sorry for honesty smile

He does almost all the cooking and cleaning and washing at home, I do barely anything because I'm out of the house 11 hours a day and usually exhausted. That's not an issue, he does pull his weight and contributes as much to the house as me, just not financially.

Stormtreader Thu 20-Oct-16 11:27:34

The thing here is he has to really want to change, he is not going to go into work one day and have someone say "Hey, we've decided youre wasted here, so we're sending you off to start your new job working from home as a band manager!", it will require effort above and beyond what hes currently doing.

If that is what he wants, then trying to help (what skills do you need to get to get this job you want, lets make a plan!) will be seen as support, if that isnt really what he wants, it'll be seen as nagging and bullying.

SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 11:29:22

Stormtreader how do I know if it's what he wants or not though? He says he's unhappy with his job but then doesnt do anything to change it? I just dont understand why he doesnt DO something which is where my frustration with it comes from.

Stormtreader Thu 20-Oct-16 11:42:27

Sometimes people dont really want to change, they just want to feel better about not trying by having a moan about it, like they are just fated to be in this position they dont like.

Ive used the phrase before "that sounds really hard/rubbish for you, what are you going to do about it?" - its supportive but also sends the message that if you moan to me about it, I'll expect to hear that you've given some thought to actually trying to change it.

I think the word "you" is important too, its not "us", its not that "we" arent trying, because that can drift from "im not happy " to "we need to do more" to "what havent you helped me" and suddenly its not their fault, its somehow yours. Its that "you", the person saying they arent happy with their current situation in life, should be trying to change it. They dont have to do it all alone, but they do have to do most of it.

QuiteLikely5 Thu 20-Oct-16 11:49:57

Ask if he wants to retrain in a more fulfilling career?

And tell him if nothing changes, nothing changes and if he doesn't do something different then you will still be having the same convo in ten years time

SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 11:56:10

QuiteLikely5 tried that a while ago, he said he wanted to be an electrician but then never applied for anything or looked into it sad

FauxFox Thu 20-Oct-16 11:58:21

Would he like to give music lessons? Is there some volunteering he could do that would let him use his music skills?

Is it possible he could focus more on his band and getting more gigs with that?

SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 12:04:04

FauxFox he doesnt want to teach music no, I've suggested he does music theropy type stuff but his real skill is stage craft, so actual performing which is the only time I ever really see him really loving life.

One of his band mates has a pregnant girlfriend and will be taking a step back from the band (understandably) from February onwards. I think that gets to him because there's fewer gigs coming in for next year. Maybe a new band would be good though? Like a new project?

FauxFox Thu 20-Oct-16 12:06:40

Could he become a session musician or something?

SlimbobJones Thu 20-Oct-16 12:10:57

FauxFox not where we live no and he doesnt drive, plus hes probably not technically good enough for session stuff even though on stage he's awesome iyswim?

IsFeidirLiom Thu 20-Oct-16 12:17:20

Whatever you do don't start organising things for him. Don't go and pay for driving lessons etc - I think people only learn a new skill like driving or a language successfully unless there an actual specific need for it - I mean, if you are driving him about and he's using public transport to manage well enough then your lessons will end up wasted money.

This is one he needs to solve himself and will probably bring about Greta change in him in many ways if he does. Sounds like his confidence is so low.

Oysterbabe Thu 20-Oct-16 12:29:24

I was in almost exactly the same position and unfortunately it didn't go well. He started to resent me for paying the bills and supporting us, he felt useless and emasculated. One day he walked out and moved 200 miles away. As far as I know he'd still working shitty jobs and trying to find himself. He definitely needs to do something to make him fulfilled before he reaches a breaking point like my ex did.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 20-Oct-16 13:15:54

Yanbu to wish he'd be more pro-active. He's unhappy about his situation so it's up to him to fix it. Of course you love him so naturally you hate to see him struggle. I would hope you convince him you recognize and love DP for all his efforts in your home life. However if he's fed up with his job he needs to go beyond his comfort zone.
I agree being a SAHP when you are already treading water and feeling under-stimulated is liable to be no picnic. However that's some way off yet.

I know people who fit gigging round their daytime work and manage to balance that with their romantic relationships. f he feels he is in a rut you can support him but you can't magic a solution up for him? I am sure there is nothing like the buzz a performer gets on stage, meanwhile, the cold hard facts are that living costs money and bills have to be paid. You're out of the home eleven hours a day, you get back exhausted, you may not feel like you're 'loving life' particularly either.

You got into a serious relationship very early in your lives, I am glad overall you find him 'awesome', and hope that this works out.

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