Tuesday

I got laid off work the end of last year and lost my apartment but got a new job afterwards. My bf and I saved up to get a new place, and as always I handle all bills but now I get calls daily because were still getting caught up. I don't handle stress well; I have a history of panic attacks plus today my doctor said some of my health issues may be stress related. My bf thinks that because I have both our cars in my name and just got approved for two low limit credit cards that I don't have "real issues." While I try to be grateful for what I have, we did lower our standard of living after fighting for our last place, and between working full time, making payment arrangements for bills, trying to keep food in our house, caring for his daughter when she visits, keeping the apt clean, and trying to be emotionally supportive for him I can't help but be stressed. I had a breakdown today, ended up crying most of the morning. He feels like I'm " acting like a baby, that I need to grow up, and I do this to myself and should just stop." How can I inform him that I need his support even if he doesn't understand/agree with the reasons for my stress?

Oh. My. Goodness. Ok firstly, I am so sorry that you were laid off. It is hard enough to manage a household with an income so managing without I imagine had to be a very trying time for you. It is amazing that you got a new job though! Glad to hear that. As I read about your situation, I see you as a wife. You are playing the role of a supportive wife and not only that but it sounds like a single mother too. The issue here is that you don’t have a supportive husband and you are not a wife ( You may have no intention on being married but this is just what came to my mind). The other issue here is that from what I gather, you don’t have any kids! Number one, I’d like to validate for you that you are working extremely hard and from the sounds of it, on your own. You have every right to feel stressed. Everyone manages and deals with stress differently and it is not good to compare our issues and stressors because of this. I would be very shocked if you told me that you never tried to tell him how to feel or talk to him or explain. You can explain until you are blue in the face, he won’t get it until he has to do it. But why would he want to, when you are doing it all? The way I see it, it doesn’t have to do with having him agree and understand it has to do with you drawing the line. You have got to set clear expectations, boundaries, and stick with it. For example, when his daughter comes to visit, set the expectation that he is to care for his daughter and do the majority of whatever it is that you are doing. Are there some bills he can be responsible for? Are there chores that he can do? Make a list of all of your responsibilities and have him make a list of his. Compare the lists and ask him what he thinks.  The goal is that he will take on some of what you have to do. If he says something like, he doesn’t want to or he doesn’t like this. Well not wonder you are stressed because I’m sure you don’t want to and you don’t like to do it all of the time either. You shouldn’t have to. The point I’m making is that, he won’t adjust until he has to do it, and as long as you are doing it he won’t. So draw the line, and have him try it. I guess when he says you do it to yourself he isn't completely off. You are in control of what you will accept. Obviously you don't agree with his lack of support but you accept it each time you carry the weight. This is what I mean by drawing the line, do it for the benefit of you and your health.

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