Dear Carolyn: My wife is hunting for a new job and has been for two-plus years. She keeps getting close and then getting turned down after two or three rounds of interviews. She has a graduate degree in her field and is doing everything “right,” from networking with alumni to talking to a career coach to asking for feedback from rejections.
A promotion for her would allow us to move on in our lives in major ways (buying a home, starting a family). I am already working overtime and am at the top of the pay scale for my job. I try to offer her suggestions and leads, and when I do, it leads to a fight.
Meanwhile I feel resentful and I am ashamed to say nervous, like she has some bad-luck cloud over her head or isn’t really trying or something.
She thinks I resent her for holding us back and resent putting her through school with no result, and maybe I do.
By my count, you’re laying your lack of a house and children, your resentments, your nerves and your nonstop fighting all at the feet of your wife and her job situation, when in fact the limits on her income are just one wedge of your marital pie.
Other wedges are the limits on your earnings; your location and the cost of housing there; your current expenses and other demands on your two incomes; the insufficiency of the savings each of you brought to the marriage; your mutual lack of investment-income sources, and the absence of extended-family support.
You need to stop the arbitrary, selective blaming now. Instead, you and your wife need to revisit your plans, and limit them to things you two can control.
I don’t doubt you’re feeling a money pinch, but the kindness pinch you currently feel is hurting you both even more.