Stressed Husband Needs A Change

Q: After ten years of being completely miserable at my job, I have decided that it's time to quit. The problem is, my wife doesn't know I have made up my mind. We only briefly talked about and she sorta said it would get better, stick with it. But it never does get better. The job only gets worse. The money is great, though. But I can't do it anymore. I work 12-15 hour days. When I come home I'm completely exhausted. I have no patience for my wife and can barely keep my head up when my kids are talking to me. I am scared to break the news to my wife because I'm afraid she'll somehow convince me to stay a little longer. Any advice on how to handle this would be greatly and desperately appreciated. -Robert, 39

Dr. Anna: You need to let your wife in. With tough topics like this, it can help you write things down before having the conversation. Write down how you've been feeling. Write down WHY you want to do things differently. Any partner would value hearing things like, "I need to change because I want to have more patience with you and I want to spend more quality time with the kids."

When you try the conversation again, don't just casually mention it as you're falling asleep. Do it right. Take a vacation day and tell her you want to spend some time just the two of you. Tell her you love her and you need to talk about something important. Read what you've written if you have to. Tell her you can't continue in this job, but you care deeply about your family's welfare. In fact, it's because you love your family and want better quality time with them that you need to make this change. Brainstorm some options together. If you need to budget differently, make some financial adjustments, go back to school—do it, but do what you can to get her support first before making a big decision on your own.

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