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It Takes More Than A Good Dinner To Gain A Husband’s Trust

 

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Dear Rachel,

I am writing to you for advice on how to deal with a messy and rapidly escalating situation. My husband does not want to admit it, but his elderly parents are on their last legs here on earth.

Just last year, driving them to medical appointments was a tolerable, occasional occurrence, but now it consumes every free minute my husband has when he is not at his stressful, demanding job. If that’s not bad enough, every day they call with another problem (losing their keys, losing their dentures, not understanding a letter they got in the mail).

Here is where it gets even more complicated. Despite (admittedly not very glamorous) alternatives, my husband has chosen a route that leaves us very financially dependent on them. Our lease is up in less than three months and we cannot afford to renew it since every town for miles around us is gentrified or gentrifying, and my husband blows up every time I try to have a mature conversation about where we will be moving.

He insists that his parents have at least 20 years left to live (they are around 90 and in much worse shape than any of my grandparents were when they each died before reaching 80), and he accuses me of being a greedy, ungrateful, spoiled gold digger when I press him for more than a bare mention about a financial plan for survival after they die or move into a nursing home (since we are currently dependent on them – by his insistence, I might add).

As my in-laws encounter one catastrophe after the next, constant changes of plans are bandied about. My own mother gets so stressed hearing me complain about our situation that she is getting sick herself. She actually had to leave shul in the middle of davening on Rosh Hashanah. I was staying with family over the holidays and everyone is feeling the whiplash of the constant drama between my husband and myself.

So, just weeks away from losing my own home, I still have no solid lead as to where my in-laws will be living (or if, for that matter); what their care plan will be, or our role in it; and how we are going to work our own survival around it.

My husband cannot handle any serious discussion about these issues. He insists that I should just be grateful for the vague solutions he throws at me, but when I try to pin him down for specifics he complains that I don’t trust him and argues that I should be grateful to have any options at all.

I am writing this through tears. My husband just stormed out of the house several hours ago, and food I lovingly prepared for him is sitting out cold, the house I just cleaned for him painfully silent. Where on earth do I go from here?

Losing it in Nowheresville

 

Dear Losing It,

Through the somewhat confusing details and fuzzy glimpses of your current state of affairs, one thing that’s made painfully clear in your letter is the dire lack of communication and bonding between you and your significant other.

Let’s back up a bit, to your first grievance. You husband’s feeble and elderly parents have taken to turning to their son for help – a situation you decry as “bad enough.” If you would appreciate it for what it is – a blessing rather than a burden – you might well be on your way to shedding that cloak of misery you’ve wrapped yourself in. Not everyone is fortunate to have the zechus of caring for parents in their senior years.

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