In a marriage strained by mental illness and financial pressures, the Original Poster (OP) finds himself working grueling 84-hour weeks to keep their life afloat. The tension reaches a boiling point as both husband and wife confront their mounting frustrations in a no-holds-barred argument. Just when it seems like the couple is at the precipice of an irreversible rift, OP faces a choice that could redefine their future.
A Breaking Point in 2018
OP’s wife has a mental breakdown during her fifth year of teaching. She stops working and begins attending therapy. This puts OP in a position to work extended hours to support both of them.
The couple starts attending marriage counseling during the Covid pandemic. The therapy is initiated because OP’s wife feels he’s pushing her to return to work prematurely. OP aims to keep up with their expenses and retirement contributions.
OP’s workload increases to an exhausting extent to compensate for his wife’s absence from the workforce. He works shifts that sometimes last 18 hours a day and averages an 84-hour workweek. He has been doing this since 2018.
The Repeated Conversation
A fight ensues after OP has a particularly challenging week. The couple revisits the conversation about his wife returning to work. His wife reiterates that neither she nor her therapist believe she’s ready.
OP Loses Patience
Frustrated, OP dismisses the input of his wife’s therapist. He is weary of hearing the same excuses and feels that she’s hiding behind her therapist’s words. This deepens the rift between them.
OP’s wife breaks down, feeling belittled because of her mental health struggles. OP argues that his own well-being is also at stake, wondering what would happen if he had a mental breakdown.
Accusations of Manipulation
OP’s wife claims that her therapist warned her that OP would eventually try to manipulate her into returning to work. While he vehemently denies this, his wife doubts his sincerity, leading to a heated argument.
Harsh Words and a Stormy Exit
OP’s frustration boils over, and he confronts his wife with several harsh criticisms, including her lack of contribution at home. His wife storms out of the house, branding him insensitive and self-centered.
OP shares that he’s attended a few therapy sessions with his wife and her therapist. However, these sessions make him feel ganged up on, as the focus remains predominantly on his wife’s well-being.
During therapy, when OP suggests that his wife should consider part-time work or they should downsize their living situation, the therapist advises against it. They prioritize the wife’s emotional health over their financial strain.
Lost in Translation
When OP suggests cooking at home to save money, his wife feels insulted. She doesn’t understand why finances are tight when he’s making more money than when she was working. OP explains that it’s about the toll the hours are taking on him.
Counselor Vs. Therapist
OP’s wife is not a fan of their marriage counselor because her advice often contradicts that of her personal therapist. A friend suggests that OP consult a lawyer to explore his options. With his well-being deteriorating, he begins to consider this seriously.
Temporary Respite and Plans
OP takes a two-week vacation and stays at a friend’s place, contemplating how he can bring about change in his situation. He’s aware that something has to give for the sake of both their lives.
A Turning Point
Realizing that he’s aged dramatically over the past five years, OP resolves to make a change. He acknowledges that if his wife can’t change, he must regain some semblance of the life he once had.
Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online for feedback and advice from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “You sound almost at the end of your rope. 18-hour workdays are not sustainable for you, and it sounds like she is not doing anything around the house. Certainly, she’s not cooking.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “Find a lawyer first. She’s got all day to call every lawyer in town to make an appointment, so you can’t use them. See an attorney first. Say nothing until the day before she will be served.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “You sound burned out and pushed beyond capacity. FIVE YEARS of up to 84-hour weeks? Do you sleep?”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “You’re probably burnt out yourself after dealing with all of this for five years. Should you have shouted at your wife? Possibly not, but you’re a human being, and you can only take so much. I don’t think it would be unreasonable of you to end this relationship.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.