Dear Family Whisperer,
After being a stay-at-home mum for three years, I would like to go back to work. My partner is well-educated, talented and self-employed, but does not earn enough to support our family. I have higher earning potential, but returning full-time to my previous career would involve relocating, which he is unwilling to discuss due to his anxiety about change. For example, one of our son’s toddler classes was moved to a day my partner usually spends with us. He was stunned. Finally, I decided on my own and told him how HIS week would now be, HIS time table, and he was fine with it. We have a good balance in our relationship, in part because I have a high EQ [empathy quotient] and understand his difficulties. He strives to do and be the best he can be and gives everything he has to give to our son and me. But he doesn’t want to discuss my career options and how they will impact our family, and I don’t want to make this big decision without him. I’m stuck — how do we move forward with a matter that effects the whole family and which needs discussing? This is something of a burden because I’m not a dictator.
In every relationship, there’s a “deal” — often unspoken, and sometimes unconscious. It seems that you carry much of the emotional weight of your relationship in return for your partner’s love and generosity. You make decisions and arrangements, and he adapts. Until now, you’ve accepted his unwillingness to participate in family decisions. But your question suggests that it also might be time to reevaluate the deal. Is it still working for you? Continue reading article