Dear Abby: Wife vents frustration after husband loses job

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My husband lost his job. He had worked there since we were married 10 years ago, and earned top wages because he had been with them for so long. Two years into our marriage, when we found out we were expecting our first child, we decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom. My husband has taken care of us financially ever since. I loved that I was able to rely on my husband for financial security.

Since he lost his job, I am angry, frustrated and hurt. His own actions caused his dismissal. I have told him how I feel, but he just yells at me. I feel he should at least listen to how I am feeling.

I’m scared for our future. We have two children under the age of 7, and we are paying child support for his oldest child, who lives with his ex. I want to support my husband, but I feel pushed away and disregarded. How can I show support when I am so scared and frustrated and blame him?

— On Shaky Ground in North Carolina

Dear on Shaky Ground: I understand your feelings, but have you considered what turmoil your husband is feeling? Having been the breadwinner for so long, he is suddenly unable to provide for the woman and children he loves.

If you want to be supportive, stop demonstrating your anger, fear and frustration for a while. If you do, it may help him regain his balance sooner. And while you are at it, be prepared to make financial adjustments until he finds another job (including seeking a job for yourself). I’m not saying it will be easy, but please give it a try. He already knows he has disappointed you. Please don’t make it harder for him than it already is.

Dear Abby: I am hoping you can give me guidance on how my wife and I can deal with my in-laws and the fact that they are sometimes socially obtuse. They are nice people, but sometimes they have no concept of appropriate behavior.

The latest was when we had a small party for my wife’s birthday. They arrived and then asked to show home movies from when she was a kid. They proceeded to show more than an hour of video in which my wife was on screen for 15 seconds and knew the other people in the movie for only the first two minutes.

My in-laws do things like this regularly, and I want a nice way to say “stop.” My wife agrees with me but doesn’t know how to deal with this either.

— Uncomfortable in Florida

Dear Uncomfortable: Encourage your wife to speak up for herself. Rather than allow her parents to take over and diminish the occasion, the next time they suggest something you and your wife are not on board with, she should “suggest” that it happen another time. And in the case of the home movie, she should have said, “Enough, already!”

Dear Abby:A friend invited me to have lunch with her. I let her know it would be a little while before I arrived because I was in the middle of doing something. When I arrived, she had already finished her lunch! I thought it was incredibly rude, and I declined to eat. Am I correct?

— Hungry no More in Washington

Dear Hungry: When you told your friend it might be a little while before you arrived, did you indicate how long you would be? Fifteen minutes? A half-hour? An hour? Longer? Friends don’t let friends starve, and you shouldn’t have sulked because she couldn’t wait. When someone is famished, even five minutes can seem interminable.

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