I'd PM this, but it's way too long. Sorry everyone, for making you suffer through this, but I really hope it might help. You're all getting to know me, and I'm always too long!
Heidi, I don't have advice for you. I can share my story. I can TOTALLY relate to what you're going through right now. It is not a happy story. Well - it wasn't at the time. It was seven years of he!!. Looking back, actually, I thank God for that now, because I am now married to husband number two, who I think is the most incredible, smartest, most interesting, most wonderful person I've ever met. If I didn't want to work, he would work five jobs to support me. With husband number one, I could've gone to debtor's prison and he wouldn't have helped.
I'm sure you know this, that whatever happens from here is entirely up to you. If you two love each other, you will address this and work your way through it. But this situation is not fair to you. Some day you will reach a breaking point, and whether you're miserable for another month or another three years is up to you. In addressing it, you have two choices. 1) Directly - not telling him you're stressed, but telling him you're sick of supporting him, and you don't appreciate his attitude about it. There may be a reason for his not working, but his snide attitude is not helping anyone and is damaging your relationship. This conversation can be done with love and without anger if you "prepare yourself. But on the fly when he's picking up an envelope from you at work is not the time or place. 2) Or you can seek counseling together. Sometimes it helps to have a third party help "interpret" for each of you. Sometimes the anger has built up too much that you can't find the love through it.
You know you cannot continue like this. That's why you posted. Believe me, I've been there. How long you will suffer, again, is up to you. It took me from 1986 to 1993.
I was in college. I went to an alternative Quaker College where you had to study overseas. I spent my third year in India. I met my future first husband there (let's refer to him as FH going forward). He was a volunteer at a grass roots economic development organization. (We met in 1984). We fell in love, I guess. We got engaged, I came back to the States (1985). The plan was for me to finish my fourth year of college, graduate, and move back to India. We missed each other too much. He came here. In order to have our own apartment and not live with my parents, I worked full time and transferred to a college that had actual classes. I also attended school full time. !!!! I used to have to count pennies to take the bus to work on payday. His visa was running out. We got married (1986).
FH was the son of a diplomat with a 152 IQ. He spent most of his life growing up in France and had traveled Europe and North Africa. He read, wrote and spoke four languages fluently. You'd think he could get some kind of job. O.K. Let's write the first year off as culture shock. We went on lots of interviews and constantly reworked the resume. Then I suggested college, because this was ridiculous. So once I'd graduated, I paid to put him through school. Summers spent working? How about in India (by himself) visiting family or whatever. Fine by me, he was out of my hair. Then I could work 12 - 14 hour days without having to worry about his dinner.
When he was finally graduated (after three years; our college gave "Life Experience" credits), I'd moved from Chicago to New York. You'd think someone like that could find a job in the greater NY metropolitan area. Well, he did. In a wine store, selling wine! It was a part time job that only turned him into an alcoholic. Don't get me wrong, he was actually a wonderful person. Funny, smart, engaging, gorgeous - but lazy. After a very short time, I couldn't stand hanging out with his wine drinking crowd. I started doing things on my own. And we were so underwater debt-wise (two college educations, lots of overseas travel for him, living in NY, etc.) I would wake up with night sweats. I was terrified. He could have cared less, and it just wasn't something we could talk about. I don't know why, looking back on it. I just know I would constantly bring it up, and nothing would come of it. Oh, he felt bad and all. Every once in a while there was some move to look for a different job, but I think by then it was too late. He was married to alcohol (wine) by then. (Another expensive habit, by the way).
Finally, it took me threatening divorce to get him to go to a marriage counselor. The counselor told us we had grown so far apart that she couldn't work with us as a couple, and wanted to see us separately for a few months first! LOL! Well, he didn't have the patience for that. I moved out. THAT'S when he freaked out. But it was too late. I had too much anger I just couldn't get over. I'd been working 12 - 14 hour days, six days a week for years now. I had no life, no friends, nothing. THANK GOD I was on "Wall Street," and got a $75,000 bonus that year. It didn't allow me to pay off all of our debts, but it did allow me to get divorced and to avoid declaring bankruptcy. You know what the final irony was? I had to assume almost all the debts because I'd paid off both of our college debts with the money. His college bill was about the only thing of substance he would have wound up with. And I had to pay alimony for a set amount of time (not until he remarried, thank God) because I had set a standard of life expectation for him. What do you think of that?
I felt an empty hole when I left him, and I missed him. As little as we had left in our relationship, it was all I had back then. But I stuck to my guns. Thank God I did. I never would have found true happiness otherwise.
I am NOT recommending divorce! I am asking you to think about what this current situation is doing to you. About what you need. While he may have a confidence problem, you're probably in the process of getting one. The hardest thing about my divorce was admitting that I was wrong about FH. I couldn't trust my judgment. MY confidence was shaken.
If there is love there, you CAN work this out. If you can't work it out, then maybe you need to consider doing something for Heidi. No one wins the way things are right now.
And oh, BTW. My leaving FH was the kick in the butt he needed. Several years later, he was no longer an alcoholic, had a fabulous job at a tech magazine, and was moving up through the ranks quickly. Maybe I'd enjoy being married to that guy. Who knows? I never had that chance. Life is like that sometimes.
I hope you can learn something from all this. What it is, I'm not sure. Listen to your heart. And while being sensitive to his needs, don't forget about yours. Venting is a start! But it is just a start, remember that.
Sending lots of love and lots of hugs. You need them right now.