I dislike being a housewife: My struggle with being financially dependent on my spouse

Guest post by Rosi Posi
Yeah… doing this does not make me THAT happy. (By: EthanCC BY 2.0)

Many women dislike the word “housewife” because of implications of feminism and the stigma of gendered domestic roles. I dislike the word “housewife” because I am one. Well, I don’t dislike the word itself but the actual role. I dislike being a housewife!

I’m also not a housewife and “stay-at-home mom”; not because I dislike that word either, but because I am not a mother nor am I expecting. My only children are a nine-year-old dog who thinks she’s the queen of the world and a rescued cat with the personality of Garfield. I am, however, a wife to a very loving husband who drives me insane and woos me simultaneously. My love for my husband, my animals, and my beat-up home do not change the fact that I really dislike being a housewife.

Like any other housewife (or househusband), I get shit done! However, I still find myself attempting justification of my housewife role to others. More importantly, the biggest challenge I’ve faced is justifying that role to myself. Why I dislike being a housewife and why I’ve struggled to justify this role to myself is complex but at the core is a very simple explanation: I can’t handle being financially dependent on my husband.

Financial dependency has always been an emotional struggle for me. I have a hard time even taking money from my parents, which typically comes in the form of payment of a student loan or treating at a restaurant (both of which I greatly appreciate). With my husband, I struggle even more because this dependency typically involves receiving cash directly.

My husband knows that I struggle with this. He attempts to make me comfortable with the situation by reminding me that I contribute greatly to him and our household, that I brought a fair amount of savings (from pre-law school employment) and financial savvy to our marriage, and that my lack of income is only temporary. These well-intentioned attempts rarely ease my discomfort.

I remind myself that I help in ways that make his life more comfortable and convenient, I maintain my legal skills through my freelance job, and I volunteer contributing to the greater good. Sometimes that makes me feel better. But most days my contributions make me feel like my husband is paying me to be his maid/chef/dog walker.

I understand and even encourage one to provide for his or her spouse, family, or household in non-monetary ways. However, I am not offsetting many expenses but rather am an expense. I do not feel like a provider. I feel like the line item on my husband’s budget so that he can provide to himself, our animals, and our home in order to relax and not have to do it himself. I am “earning my keep” and that makes me feel like a financial burden. Because of this feeling, I have yet to ask my husband for money when I need it; I just wait for him to offer and begrudgingly accept it.

My husband is not to blame for this; he even tries to mitigate the situation. It’s all in my head. But I can’t be the only who feels like this. Whether you prefer the term “housewife/husband,” “homemaker,” or another term entirely, how do you deal with the discomfort of financial dependency on a spouse?

Comments on I dislike being a housewife: My struggle with being financially dependent on my spouse

  1. I totally get it. I went from working a normal job that I was miserable at to quitting and working at my art career from a home studio, during that transition we bought a house and I lept into DIY home renovations for several months and pretty much moved us into the new home with minimal aid since my fiancé was working full time. Now that the renovations are over and I’m working solely from my studio and things are slow, and we are broke, I panic daily about “earning my keep.” As a kid my dad worked really long hours and whenever he would come home at night he would be agitated if he saw us relaxing, even if it was a 9pm and the day was over, in his head if he saw us sitting, we had accomplished nothing all day. I still find myself mentally calculating all things I did that day to justify whether or not my day was properly productive. I know I need to separate old triggers from my current situation, but I struggle daily with feeling that I never accomplish enough. I’m only a few months in and hopefully I can work out the kinks.

  2. Didn’t read all the replies, so sorry if this has been said. You have all the time and access to internet. Why don’t you start a small e-commerce business. Take a few weeks to read up and study this. Then start something small and manageable. Even if its fleece blankets and baskets for pets. Then change your name from housewife to entrepreneur. Write a few e-books and self publish them. Next, offer your services to walk neighbors dogs perhaps. To make this feeling a reality, buy a book in which you write all your ideas and buy a crash box. Do yoga everyday. Set up a space in your house you call your ‘office’. Anything you can imagine, you can achieve.

  3. So I have noticed, when i look up things on the internet to help me, I find more posts from men to men and although it does give me insight, i find comfort in this. a real life relationship written by a woman about her displeasures as a wife. what wife has NO displeasures? what husband doesnt feel the need to help with these?

    My conclusion is that we all just try. but try only for ourselves and see what happens.

    As I stumbled onto this conclusion I found myself wanting more out of ME not him.

    so now I am Excersising, making connections to old friends and trying to fallow my dreams which I havent believed in since high school.

    We will all figure this out. Just be strong and take control of your own lives.

  4. I could just envy you for the kind of bond you have with your husband regarding this issue. I am as well dependent to my husband and we have a great lifestyle but I feel the same struggle – so I decided to work 3 times a week to have my own money that I can use for my personal expenses and mostly to fund a business at home. Unlike you, my husband is laughing at what I am earning and for what I am trying to accomplish… He tells me I didn’t have to work but he kind of controls me financially, he would kick me out of the house because I did not squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom – things like that and I never once raised my voice to him nor said hurtful things… Well he’s been paying 100% of our expenses even the car I drive, he also paid for my education years ago.. I manage and pay the bills and everything with our joint accounts but that’s just what I do. Now, I have enough savings to start up my business but he wants to keep the money for our vacation instead ( I promised him to pay for our plane ticket only.) I owe him everything so I am really feeling so helpless right now. But I feel like I need to push this business to feel like I am worth even just a little but it’s impossible without his approval.

  5. I’m going through a similar issue with my husband. I have 0 children, 2 dogs and 2 cats who I love like children. About a year and a half ago, I quit my corporate job to stay home and take care of the books for his 2 businesses. Having money to pay my bills was never going to be an issue, however, asking for money to do ‘my’ things is very challenging for me. Asking for money to get my hair cut or go out to the occasional dinner with friends makes me feel guilty and makes me question what I bring to the table. I pay all the bills but he holds the cards. Anytime I need money for groceries or gas, he takes me to the ATM or gets money out of the safe and gives it to me. It’s a huge struggle for me because I quit my job to make our lives better but I don’t feel equal enough to ask for things that I deserve every once in a while because he is the one that goes to work everyday. I’m not a materialistic person, so I don’t have a lot of fancy things but I want to feel like I don’t have to ask for money for ‘my’ things. Am I being selfish?

    I couldn’t agree more about the ‘asking your parents for money’ when I ask him for money.

    Thanks for writing this article and comments! It has helped me realize others are struggling with the same feelings I have.

  6. I feel the same way, I am in a homosexual relationship and at the moment I am unemployed and totally financially dependant on my boyfriend, I have no family to support me and can’t get unemployment benefits because I am in a relationship and he earns too much. I HATE asking for money from him so I basically stay home all day everyday and keep the house clean and cook the meals and look for jobs. As I am over 40, I am having a lot of trouble finding a job too, I can’t drive and we can’t afford for me to retrain (I used to work in retail and now all those jobs are going to under 25s), I feel worthless and depressed and suicidal. I feel trapped and alone and don’t see a future.If my partner left me, I would be homeless and living on the street.

  7. This post really spoke to me. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS!

    I am in the SAME position. I graduated from law school over a year ago and a I am still in the process of finding full-time employment. My husband has been the sole provider for our family since graduation (my family consists of myself, him, and our adopted shelter cat who occasionally adds some happiness to our daily routine when she’s not tearing the house apart).

    My husband has been incredibly supportive over the last year as we had several changes that impacted my employability and set my career “timeline” back a few months (we moved across country and then I had to wait to take the bar exam for the new state – and I’m still waiting for those daunting results). During this whole process, he has continually reiterated that he appreciates what I do at home and how much it helps him, even if I am not earning. However, I know my lack of income is a stressor for him since we have a very limited income. My husband is a medical student who is already extremely overworked. I hate that I can’t provide for him and ease some of the stress he’s enduring by at least paying our bills. Not to mention, you can only wash so many dishes or do the laundry so often before you go insane!

    I have volunteered and gotten involved in organizations to fill my time and give me a sense of purpose until I can actually pursue my career. Everyone says this is just “temporary” and that I should enjoy being a “housewife” for a bit. It’s hard to enjoy it when I know what comes with that title: financial dependence, putting your life on hold until you are earning/inability to fully pursue your goals, and feeling guilty when you want to spend even the smallest amount of money (…just the other day, I bought a $7 shirt – with my husband’s “ok” – and instantly regretted it! Pathetic.).

    All I can say at this point is that I am excited to finally start my career and am excited for the possibilities that lie ahead of us when I do start. Until then, I keep trying to remind myself that this situation will only make me and my relationship with my husband stronger. I also make sure that my husband knows I am appreciative of all that he does for me, and I work as hard as I can to mitigate some of the financial burdens we have.

    GOOD LUCK to everyone else dealing with a similar situation!!! Try to stay positive and take it one day at a time!

  8. Same thing here. I got married and moved to my husband’s home country where he has a job and an apartment, because it just made financial sense. At first it was very hard to get used to the idea of our money. We live in Spain, pretty hard to get a job here. So I’ve sorta gotten used to it, althought I feel like ane xpense as well and have a hard time spending any money on me. I barely live my house by myself or buy clothes. I do understand I need to snap out of it and just relax. My husband has made it clear he doesn’t expect me to contribute financially to the household and couldn’t care less if I get a job or not. But it makes me feel so insecure to not have a fallback plan, it scares the shit out of me to think If we were to break up I’d have to fly back to America with 0 dollars no car or job.
    It’s tough as a 27 year old raised to not be that girl, fed cautionary tales on how it happenned to so many women.
    I do have the best husband ever and We love each other so much, truth is I need to chill out,

  9. Hello, I’m 30 years old and struggling with self-identity, low self-worth, and low self-esteem. I came across this article when I searched the internet about how to take my life back with no car, no job, no money, not a student, etc. After reading all your comments, I’m blown away! I felt like I was alone, no one to turn to. Although I’m not a Latina myself (100% white girl) I feel a personal connection with all of you! I come from a long line of “home-makers,” and now that I’m unemployed myself, I’m beginning to understand the struggle.

    I’m currently living with my boyfriend, who is 100% Latino. I’m originally from California, and that’s where we met. After 5 months of being together/living together, my boyfriend lost his job in Cali and had to move out-of-state because he couldn’t find work. I decided to move out-of-state to be with him, start fresh. There’ll be plenty of job opportunities. Also, I had nowhere else to go: my parents’ house is full with my 2 brothers; my sister’s place is a 1 bedroom and is subject to random inspections at anytime, and no other relatives to turn to.

    The struggle I’m having is 1. No support system. All of my family and friends are back home in Cali. ALL of my boyfriend’s family live here in Arizona (he has a huge family, lots of aunts/uncles/cousins) but it’s different. 2. Unemployed. It started off as temporary. Soon after I moved out-of-state with my boyfriend I took some time off before applying for jobs. And then my health started to go down hill, and with no health insurance. So it took alot of time to get that back on track. . So its been 3 years, still no job. But now, I have 50% hearing loss and need a hearing aid, with no insurance. I’m scared I might not be able to work again because it’s been so long. And now I can’t hear. I haven’t received an interview in over a year. Mostly just get emails saying “thanks for your application but we have considered other people for the position” 3. No kids, just a 2-year-old toy poodle to keep me company. So I’m stuck at home, twiddling my thumbs, figuring out what to do with my time. How to get out there and make friends… My boyfriend works 9-10 hour days 5 days a week, with mandatory overtime one weekend a month, roughly (it goes by rotation so sometimes it’s mor weekends.) It’s hard. 4. I have no car. I was recently involved in a car accident. My boyfriend doesn’t want me to take the bus because there’s a lot of crazies.

    I just feel so lost and confused. I don’t know who I am anymore, and what my purpose is on this earth. I’m rarely happy, very depressed. I feel bad for my boyfriend because I feel like such a burden. And with my unhappiness, it’s another thing for him to worry about.

    When I moved from Cali, I didn’t know how to do a lot, as far as household stuff goes. I had to learn how to go grocery shopping, and what a budget means. I had to learn to cook, etc. Basically I’m getting a taste of what it’s like to be a house wife.

    It was fun in the beginning. For me, it’s always exciting learning new things… Until I started to see it might be more permanent. Now, I HATE BEING A HOMEMAKER. The other thing is, I’m not married so I’ve been questioning alot what I’m doing: Am I doing too much for my boyfriend? Is this because I’m unemployed, or is this what’s gonna be expected of me regardless of being married or not, or both? Is this the best it’s ever gonna get? A. When/how do I find time for me, when I’m on someone else’s budget? B. Or is not appropriate to even think of myself?

    I feel like all of my time and energy needs to be concentrated on my boyfriend because he does so much for me. He doesn’t help me around the house, because he says its my job and I don’t help him with his. Even though it’s a struggle every day to even get out of bed because of my health. I feel pain, and fatigue a lot. I put on a happy face most of the time, but I feel that’s hurting me in the end because my boyfriend and his family think I’m fine. He/they doesn’t see me struggling. And when he does, he tell me to forget about it because I still have responsibilities.

    He compares me to his mom alot. She has never worked a day in her life and doesn’t speak any english. She’s been a housewife since 19 years old. He says she’s sick too but she still keeps a nice house, performs her responsibilities, etc. Its hard. I’m 100% dependent in my boyfriend and don’t know what to do. I don’t know who I am anymore.

    My boyfriend is a good man, a good provider… But sometimes I feel he’s not that supportive of me, he could be better. Any suggestions? I’m open to anything at this point.

    • Hi Holly, Its been a while since I’ve read comments to this article. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles with your personal identity and with your health. I’ve struggled with both of those things. I don’t have any specific suggestions- I don’t even know if you still need them. But what has helped for me was trying to regain my confidence and remind myself that I should be my own priority. While my husband makes me a priority and he is one of my priorities, I also have to put myself first (not all the time but definitely sometimes). Its a balance. Sometimes my husband needs a bit more out of me (like he’s having a rough day and he’s tired because he’s had a lot of overtime), We have two kids now (most of the time they are both mine and my husband’s first priority), sometimes its my dog (if she’s sick and requires a vet trip or if she’s needy and requires extra loving, which happens when she shares a house with two human babies that soak up everyone’s attention). But some days, I put myself first ( I’ll let myself catch an extra bit of sleep by letting chores wait until the next day OR I’ll go for walk outside) and most importantly, the few time I put myself first, I don’t feel bad. Not feeling bad about putting yourself first is hard to learn mentally. Its taken time and the aftermath of some arguments with people I love to learn that I need to stand up for what I need out of life. I don’t know if any of this helps but at the very least I’ll send some positive vibes your way.

  10. hi,

    I read most of the comments and I thought too I was alone. I’m sad to see a lot of women feeling this way, it’s not doing any good for anyone. I’m also struggling everyday to learn to love homemaking and housewiving, as I call it. I’m 26, we are a couple of 100% latinos living in the USA, no support system whatsoever, he works full time and comes home and works some more, I can’t work in the USA with my kind of visa. I liked the comment where someone said to look for personal growth instead of academic achievement though I just registered for College…. there is so much in my head right now and I just want to tell everyone that you’re not alone. My hatred more than to housework relies on being a woman, I hate that I want to be an awesome housewife. I’d rather have me doing adventurous lifestyles and professional paths but I can’t because my nature says different, I also was the black sheep but now I understand the tia abuelas and my mom, there’s just too much love sometimes housework is the best way to express it to your family, providing a loving nest. I’m angry at the fact that my education and society sort of told me or got me thinking at least that I’d be happy away from family life, that housework and being a hosuewife was no way to live and that I was destined to greater things. That is what makes me angry, I wonder how different my life would have been not growing up disdaining the lifestyle I have today. It makes me mad that on top of housework and being kind I have to wax my eyebrows, shave my legs and keep my weight. I feel the way you feel but there are days like today where I have understood I have a role and so does he, we help each other and that is how it works for us. Whenever I hate the idea of housework I start thinking of my husband doing it and then I panic completely because our home would be chaos that way. We’re pretty lucky ladies, let’s embrace it. And if you feel down, read all of these comments and you won’t be able to tell me you haven’t figured it out. Love is all you need in your heart to understand it’s all about making it functional and everything can worked out with conversation . Love y’all.

  11. Thanks for sharing this! I loved what you wrote and I can relate on many levels. There seems to be a unwritten and rarely discussed (yet very real) divide amongst mothers over the past few decades. For a while there it seemed as though there were many independent and well educated women who were making the choice to stay at home and expressed their happiness with that. As the economy began to worsen, and I’m not sure if there is a correlation, but there have been more and more women who are going back to work again and being “superwoman,” like in the 80’s (remember the “bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan” commercial?). There are more fathers staying at home too, things are being switched up. My point? I’ve heard so many comments on TV and in movies about how moms that choose to stay at home are more independent and not as driven. I’m finding that I have to defend my “stay-at-home” position too and even *white lied* one time to someone, saying that I was late for something because I had to WORK. It made me feel better to say that. Yikes! So two points, one, why do women keep doing this to themselves??? We need to stick together!! The other is, unless one experiences *exactly* what another person experiences, one simply cannot judge (so yeah, I would totally not judge you for saying you dislike being a housewife and financially dependent on your hubby). My husband and I made the choice for me to stay home after we got married (we already had my 1 year old nephew to raise by the way) and in the beginning I enjoyed being at home after working since the time I was 16. But not too long into being pregnant with a toddler, then being pregnant with a 5 year old and a toddler with a husband who was never home, I realized I was NOT the kind of mom who could do that. I needed SPACE. With no kids. No husband. I needed to be around other people and needed to be accomplishing something that didn’t have to do with laundry and dishes and cooking. Every day. Suddenly I found myself depressed and unhappy with my life, but I’ll admit much of that had to do with the fact that I was alone with the kids into the evening every single night and all weekend, and that may be rare for a lot of stay-at-home moms. But I think another reason I got depressed was because when I married I was a very independent feminist and when we had kids it seemed so *right* to just be with them, and to not go back to work right away. And here’s the but….but, I just couldn’t deal with the idea of my husband being the one earning the money and being able to choose when he comes home etc. I felt I lost too much freedom. It drove me crazy and I needed that independence. The sad part of the story is that I stayed with him for years and years, telling him how much I needed to work and he just didn’t see how important it was to me. I was caught in between incredibly strong feelings of needing to just run away from it all (yes! please don’t judge) and being the most awesome mom in the world to them (there are three!) and just giving them my whole life. THEY ARE MY JOB and I did the best darn job in the world because that was my job and I’ve never been paid a dime. We women work so HARD and it can be very frustrating when we’re matched with someone who not only doesn’t support your desire to work and get paid but also not support the fact that kids really need a lot from their parents, especially in the in the beginning. We sadly divorced and the inevitable happened which was not only am I still taking care of my kids 24/7 (he moved to another county and left us) but I’m also going to, very soon, be also working to support the 4 of us and that is one thing I did not ever take for granted when we were together, knowing that we were financially supported. The husband and wife / working not working thing is such a complex issue and people feel different about each situation so I don’t think we should ever judge, so I love your story and I love that you shared it.

    • Thank you for your kind words and sharing your story! No judgment here. I definitely agree that it would be great if we could all be more supportive and encouraging of others and the life choices they make. Everyone’s situation is different and we must make decisions based on what we feel (individually or as a family) is in our best interest. Our situation has since changed. I eventually got pregnant and was a stay-at-home mom with my first ( I felt less like a burden because we were contributing to our daughter’s well-being in different ways). Then I found out I was pregnant with baby # 2 (they are 14 months apart) when I was interviewing for jobs. I was lucky that I got a job with the federal government so I had a job to return to after maternity leave. It was stressful being pregnant again thinking that I would not be able to have my space away from the kids or the opportunity to utilize all of my schooling and licensing. I am fortunate that my husband encouraged me to work and that my mom moved up to take care of my kids. It also made me realize that while it helps to have a spouse to listen to our desire to work/get out of the house/have some freedom, another huge obstacle is the cost of child care. If we didn’t have my mom, I’m not sure I could afford to work (which is what is messed up). It makes me sad (and frustrated) to think that a person would not be able to work because its cheaper to stay at home taking care of your own children, then to earn an income that should ideally be enough for childcare and other necessities. That definitely adds to complexity and often times the necessity of being a stay-at-home parent.
      Sending positive vibes to your and kids!

  12. I totally feel the same way at the moment, we moved to a new state last October for my wife work. I got temp work when I first got here and now it dried up. Doing some freelance work and have savings but do not think I am pulling my weight. I have been a so-called “Housewife” for six months to my beautiful new wife (we got married two weeks ago) just would like my own job and money and don’t like being dependant. so totally get it

    • I am on the same situation Nic. I just lost my job a few weeks ago and i am focusing on working as a freelancer. My husband is kind of demanding that i become more housewify since i am at home right now. I fear that he will have this same behaviour even if i get a sucessfull career as a freelancer. Just because i am “at home” .

  13. I also have to put it out there. I am recently unemployeed and me and my husband just bought a house. It is all full of boxes and so on. things need to be fix, naturally. But since i lost my job i am also focusing on finding a new one. I had a similar situation that i have quit a job two years ago and i realized how my husband kind of starts to demand that i behave like a housewife, since i wasnt getting any income. He knows i am not good at doing this kind of stuff but i know for sure i do it more than he does. He then says that he doesnt do that kind of stuff like helping to cleaning the house because he war the only one getting the money, basically. I know it is only naturally that since i am more time being in the house to do some stuff, and i know how hard must be for him to support us meanwhile, but i really bothers me. I dont know if i am crazy and i shouldnt be thinking like that, that i should behave like a housewife meanwhile i dont have a job, but i dont wanna be a housewife. I am trying really hard to get a job right now. But i think it is so low of him to throw it in my face that since he is the one paying now that i should be the nice little wife at home, and also look for a job, because he expects me to do both, of course.
    I have a big issue with that. My mother is a housewife and she didnt go to University. I love her so much but i always hated this type of old fashion husband and wife kind of relationship. The husband goes to work and brings the money, while the good wife stays at home cooking and cleaning. But i know how my parents works, my dad doesnt do much and my mom cleans and so on, but she likes it. And she is obssessed with cleaning. I am not. I hate doing the dishes, doing the laundry, vacuuming the house. My goal in life is to work and get money so i pay someone to do that. And my husband knows the person he married, but still seems like a pattern has formed and now being the second time i am without a job he is again demanding me to be the housewife. I know there is a logic to it somehow, but i would really doubt it that is he was in my positiong, if that would have happened.
    I feel bad thou, he is a loving husband besides that sort of thing. He is 4 years older than me and even while i am working he makes more money than i do, and still he some times let me know about how i should do more stuff because he is responsable for that.

  14. Rosi, thanks for sharing such an intimate feeling. I feel the same. I have been reading offbeat home for years now, but reading your article was like reading about me, that I just singed in.  I was raised and currently live in a Latin-American country, raised to be an educated working woman, but life had others plans for me.  It was hard to assimilate things were different to all I was taught and dreamed.  A month before our wedding six years ago, I quit my stressing demanding unfulfilling job; I tough I would find a better one, but it was real difficult to do so. After a year, I got real depressed and with no job I refused to do the house shores, I refused to be a housewife. My husband had been the most understanding loving partner who brings money home. I hated to feel useless. But then, I understood this was a lesson the life wanted to teach me. I needed to let go my ego. I needed to learn my house and home is as important as a job. I do something very useless for us. As years passed, husband and I learned we feel better when we work as a team, we learned to support each other on hard times, we learned to save, we learned to enjoy little pleasures with little money, we learned to drive our only car. Also, was difficult for him to learn to give me the money he earned and it was difficult for me to learn to receive it. During this time, I got two temporary jobs, and because we had learned to live on my husband income I was able to save all the money for those two jobs and decided to use it to remodel our 40 years old bathroom. Every time I feel I throw my career in the toilet, I go to our brand-new bathroom and let myself smile looking at what I did. If I could do this with so little, I know I can to do big things for me and my husband.
    Also, I am teaching other people about different ways to see life and money. In this always changing money world, you need to learn and learn again. What are you learning of this experience?

  15. This really hits home a little bit. I’ve recently taken the roll of a housewife, or well. House girlfriend. I moved in with my long distance boyfriend last July, and haven’t really been able to get a job aside from one seasonal position because they were desperate.

    Any who, because my other works so hard to provide for me and my cat, I have taken to doing all the chores. And honestly, it bothers me that I can’t help pay for anything. Before I moved I had a job, albeit it was fast food, but it was still some sort of income to help out. So this is really hard on me. And I feel terrible because I have so many selfish thoughts because I’m kind of a spender and want to do things socially. For me being a housewife is rather lonely here due to the fact that I don’t have any friends still and I’m not really close with his family. So all I do is clean and when there’s nothing more to clean I have to figure out how to fill the void until my other comes home. >.< I'm feeling like my words are all over. Kind of hard to express what I feel. I feel really similar to what you do. My mother could never provide for herself or she tries to take care of others and I've seen my granddad's family on his side always take him for granted and ask him for money, hell my uncle and his wife live with his mom because he doesn't feel like paying for an apartment. Growing up with this I never wanted to financially depend on anyone and it hurts that I am. I don't feel like I deserve to live here and do nothing to help out with bills. Especially since my boyfriend's ex refused to get a Job, and just lazed about the house. I don't wanna be or do that. I feel as if cleaning isn't enough. Cooking isn't enough. I feel like I'm just a maid who is paid with a roof over my head and food. Maybe I'm selfish for wanting more.

  16. I feel I am experiencing a lot of what you all are thinking about. I had identities as nurse, teacher, chef. Now, I feel sometimes as unappreciated as ever, it seems. However, I know that I’m important and can stick up for myself. Being a wife and mom has been sometimes like a punishing gauntlet (hope that isn’t too dramatic) but if we remember times we were rewarded and recognized, it helps. I also focus on ways I can be thankful (and reasons)…ways to push on and have hope. I am in a home ec. club, so that gives me a chance to socialize…also thinking of ways that life is better (up times) or predictable. ..helps us to deal. Very Best. Thanks for the comments…we housewives/husbands (I have studied) still make up a good sized fraction of the workforce (a quarter to a third)…because somebody needs to care for kids, homes, clothes, pets, meals…it is purposeful work, and yes, worthy of some kind of pay allowance, whether it’s monetary or resource or both.

  17. I’m a stay-at-home husband who spent my adult life as a financially independent, career-minded person, up until 2006 when I moved in with my partner (now husband). As a musician, I knew (and he knew) I had to start my career over, auditioning for different musical opportunities all over again and it would take time; he had no problem supporting me. In 2008, though, I was diagnosed with end-stage AIDS (having no idea when I got it or who from) which turned my life upside down for a decade, through a rare form of meningitis, fluid on the brain, necrotizing pancreatitis, dual kidney failure, ending with Stage 4 lymphoma – I somehow survived all of this, and am left a dependent.

    My husband has done all he can to make me “OK” with this, but I am not. I am a horrible cook and I’m not as tidy as he is. Basically, I provide nothing for him other than an expense. Because my health always seems to be on the edge of frail, I can’t work much to help.

    The first few years of this problem centered on the fact that I became financially dependent. Though this didn’t go away, my health problems became the new source of this guilt. My husband has nearly lost me so many times in the past ten years, going through several month-long stretches not knowing if I were going to live through the night.

    In all this, he still seems to be OK, which makes me MORE distraught because I don’t feel I deserve to be treated like such a prince. I wonder, what could he possibly get out of this relationship now?

    I hate this guilt/PTSD whatever it is, and am going to seek some counseling; I’ll be glad to share whatever info I get. I’m so glad to know that there are others who are dealing with this guilt – whatever it is – too.

    • Scott – thank you for sharing your experience. I feel you on the guilt of being financially dependent. I hear you and while I’ve not personally experienced your health scares, I’ve experienced health concerns which added physical and emotional dependence at least temporarily to the ways I was reliant on my spouse. Thus, I feel you on how that can further exacerbate the feelings of guilt.

      I think the problem that many of us in this thread face, and you seem to fit the bill along with us, is that we do not always see our own value. Our value is not measured by how much we make or how well we keep a home. While a person may have strengths, like a good income or great cooking, that are attractive to our spouses, they have chosen to love us (hopefully unconditionally). It sounds as though your husband (and I am lucky to say the same of my own spouse) sees value in our companionship, and when health scares arise, they see value in our simply being alive, in our surviving.

      You said “I somehow survived all of this, and am left a dependent.” As I read of your experience, I thought “You survived all of this, and became a survivor.” I agree that counseling is probably a good idea (it has definitely helped me). I also think we “guilty” ones only see our shortcomings and (through counseling and other resources) need to change our perspective. I don’t have many answers as I still feel the guilt. However, the guilt isn’t as strong any more because life (and marriage) is dynamic – things have changed and I’ve learned to let go of much guilt because other things required my attention. I also found it helpful to think about the shoe being on the other foot. If your husband had been the one with serious health complications, how would you feel about him during near-death struggles and after he became a survivor?

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