fb-pixel
ASK AMY

Young marriage faces old problems


Q. I have been married for a year and a half. We got married super-quick without knowing each other well.

I am mostly happy. My husband treats me well and we have a baby on the way.

My complaint is that when we got married, he had a good-paying factory job that he had been at for three years. Immediately after our marriage he got fired (for not showing up). Since then, he has had five different jobs! He has quit or gotten fired from all of them. He also does not seem to care if a job pays well.

Advertisement



I have had the same job for four years at a factory and make good money, but the job can be demanding. I try not to nag him and instead encourage him, but it doesn’t seem to help. I am getting fed up. I don’t want to end my marriage over this, but I also don’t want to be the only responsible person worried about our finances.

Do you have any advice for me?

WORRIED WIFE

A. The first thing you should do is to face the reality that you are very likely going to be the main — if not only — financial mainstay for your family.

Unfortunately, realistically the person who enters into marriage and parenthood by immediately retreating and acting like an entitled child is establishing that he has no intention of being a partner. Your behavior (whether “nagging” or encouraging) has little impact on him.

If he proved capable of caring for a home and child, he might be a good candidate for being the primary at-home parent (while you remained the main breadwinner).

The qualities for being a good dad are remarkably similar to the qualities for being a good employee: Demonstrate the dedication to show up every single day; perform tasks that are boring, repetitive, and thankless; and have a boss (your baby) who might occasionally scream at you. And guess what? You can’t quit!

Advertisement



So far, your husband does not demonstrate any of these qualities.

He may have a substance abuse or mental health issue that has caused this behavior, but again — those are issues only he can work to fix.

The good news is that you sound like a solid, responsible person, and you will be a great role model for your child.


Q. About 15 years ago my sister sold her house and started living in rented accommodations in the winter. She camps from May to October. This has resulted in her calling me up three to five times a year, asking if she could stay with us in the city while she went to appointments (such as dentist, doctor, car repair, etc.).

Last year my siblings and I inherited some money. I was hoping that she would buy some basic accommodation (such as a condo) somewhere in our province in Canada.

My sister’s winter rental is ending and like clockwork she has just contacted me to see if she can stay with us for two nights.

I am really struggling with how to answer her. Part of me says to just go ahead and let her stay with us for a couple of days — but my wife and I don’t want to enable a lifestyle that depends on us having her in our home several times a year.

Advertisement



CONFLICTED

A. Your sister’s lifestyle does not depend on you hosting her. If you didn’t host her, she would find another way to accomplish what she needs to.

You should only ask yourself whether you and your wife want to see her, everything else aside — if you do, then welcome her.

All you have to do to change this dynamic is to say “no,” one time: “We’re not going to host you this season, but maybe next time.” You don’t need to make up an excuse, or supply a reason. In beautiful Vancouver, it would be easy for your sister to rent a room for a couple of nights.


Q. Thank you for offering actual practical advice to “Grieving Daughter,” regarding her smoking addiction. When I read her question, I assumed you would just say, “Quit!”

Ingesting some nicotine while I quit was the only way I could do it. Thank you for suggesting that.

FORMER SMOKER

A. Many people did NOT like that I recommended gums, patches, and vaping as things to try, while quitting cigarettes. I don’t think any of them were former smokers (I am).

Amy Dickinson can be reached at askamy@amydickinson.com.