Ask Amy: Wife is overwhelmed, and husband is unemployed

June 7, 2012

DEAR AMY: I am a 21-year-old married woman, working at an internship and attending college full time to finish my associate degree. I am very busy.

My husband was laid off about eight months ago, and because of this we had to move in with my parents. I’ve been trying to be the supportive wife as much as I can be, but things are becoming more challenging and more stressful.

I come home from a busy day to find dishes in the sink and dirty laundry on the floor, and I end up having to cook and clean all night. I’m beginning to lose hope that he will ever find a job. Furthermore, I don’t think he is even looking anymore. I’m beginning to resent him. I question whether I even want to stay married to him.

I’ve tried giving him ultimatums and have tried being supportive at the same time. I feel as if I am becoming the nagging wife I always told myself I wouldn’t be, but I just don’t know what else to do anymore. How do I save my marriage from a financial hiccup like this? -- Nagging Wife

DEAR WIFE: A hiccup is a temporary glitch. If things don’t change, this could be a way of life. Ultimatums don’t work if there is no real consequence attached. If your marriage is on the line, then say so.

In a healthy, functioning marriage both partners do a lifetime dance, and they switch or share roles when they need to. You two should sit down when you are not in the midst of a stressful maelstrom and talk about expectations and efforts.

Is your husband willing to have the housework done by 4 p.m. each day? Is he willing to hustle to mow lawns or wash windows to keep busy and bring in some cash? And if not, why not?

After your schooling and professional training, are you willing to go to work full time to support the two of you?

In addition to being helpful to the household (and respecting your parents’ home), stepping up will make your husband feel energized and useful and will help with his job search.

DEAR AMY: “Wondering Boyfriend” wondered if it was acceptable to keep an ex in his cellphone contacts list.

I tried online dating. If things didn’t work out, I deleted my date’s contact information from my phone.

Several months later, I answered a call from an unknown number, and it was a former suitor. Because I had deleted him from my contacts, when I took the call I had no idea who he was. Awkward.

After that, I stopped deleting but grouped dates together in my phone under the letter “X.”

I am amazed at who will call out of the blue as much as two or three years later, and I now know who they are when the phone rings.

I am now married and have no desire to answer the calls from these former suitors. My husband laughs at my “X files” and gets a kick out of voice mails left so long after a date. -- Still Laughing

DEAR LAUGHING: You have presented a plausible reason to keep exes in your contact list, if not in your life. This sounds like a good idea — as long as these contacts stay in the “ex-file.”

DEAR AMY: “Madison” wanted her bridesmaids to cover up their large tattoos.

The tattoos are part of the people whose friendship she cherishes, so hiding or editing the tattoos out of the picture is taking away a part of her friends and pretending they are someone they aren’t.

She should focus on what is important and celebrate her friends — tattoos and all! — and the days, months and years of kindness, love, laughter and friendship they have given her.

It is the love inside, not what is on the outside, that matters.

Friends come in all shapes, sizes and physical appearances. This is more important than a “perfect picture” on a wedding day. -- Love Bug

DEAR LOVE BUG: Tattoos are personal choices, not birthmarks. And while I agree that friendship should not be skin deep, the bride should have some prerogatives on her wedding day.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

SECTION: {section=lifestyle, subsection=style}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Comments
SECTION: {section=lifestyle, subsection=style}!!!
INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!

UGC FROM ARTICLE: {allow_comments=true, allow_photos=false, allow_videos=false, comments_period=14, comments_source=washpost.com, default_sort=, default_tab=, display_comments=true, is_ugc_gallery=false, max_items_to_display=15, max_items_to_display_top=3, moderation_required=false, stream_id=}!!!

FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=m6yzjj840m, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=3, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=15, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Show Comments
Most Read Lifestyle