Q: I’ve been married for 14 years, and I love my wife. Our relationship has stayed strong, although we have had major issues due to my wife and mom (parents) not having a workable relationship. Because of this, we left Delhi (where we both spent the first 25 years of our life) and worked and lived elsewhere for the last 13 years. Both our careers have been affected, as we have made choices based on sustaining our relationship and avoiding staying in Delhi/with my parents. Though I managed to change jobs and grow at a reasonable pace, my wife’s career has never really taken off since we left Delhi. In the last 5-6 years, I’ve been helping her and compromising my job as well.
Now we both have bad jobs and major debt. Both of us are unhappy. This has badly affected our personal time because we spend our time trying to advance her career, and our finances don’t suffice for our wants. I am unable to focus on my job or support my mom (my dad passed away a few months ago). This is a reason for continuing stress. I am wondering how to protect my relationship, while being happy in my own space, and keeping my wife happy too. I would really appreciate your help.
A: Living in the same city as your mother in a house that is close to her seems to be a workable option for you. This may hopefully get your careers sorted out a bit, given that you can ask for your old jobs/clients back. This, however, does bring to my notice a pattern of behaviour that you may want to look at.
Spending more than one earns is not practical behaviour in most situations I can think of. People spend more than they can afford for various reasons. Either they don’t have the financial skills to know what to spend on and what to wait for, or they can’t bear not being able to spend on things they want. To a lot of people, it may signify a lower social status, which they find harder to bear than private debts. Your relationship with money needs revisiting. Is money super important or is money all-important?
Your wife needs all the support she can get for her career, but all of it doesn’t have to come through you. She probably needs to spend time reconsidering her career goals and/or strategies. Talking to a career counsellor might be an option too. Love for your wife does not automatically give you the skills to deal with her career issues. All you can do is be as supportive of her attempts as possible.