When we moved out here though, he quit his job. Completely to be expected: the nature of his work doesn’t allow him to work remotely. The chances of him being able to find suitable employment where we are is basically zero, especially when one considers the fact he needs to be working part time and on a flexible schedule to be there to take his mom to appointments and do whatever she needs.
Again, this doesn’t really bother me. We’re staying in an apartment owned by a family member rent free, and my salary is more than enough for us to live on. We’re taking this interlude as a chance to save some serious money and put together a sizable down payment on a house for when we move back to the city.
Here’s where the problem comes in: the apartment is pretty small, just a bedroom, living room, and small kitchen. I’ve set up a desk in the living room and am using a corner of it as my office. My darling husband doesn’t have much to do at the moment, and is also using the living room to entertain himself. And it is driving me absolutely nuts.
At this very moment, he’s sitting about two feet from me, with his feet up in a recliner, watching an idiotic true crime procedural on Spike TV. I love and adore the man, but I can’t concentrate on my work. I can hardly concentrate on this email. No amount of “could you turn that down” has had any effect – the man can’t take a hint. Today I’ve finally started straight up saying “I can’t concentrate with you watching TV in here – can you find something else to do?”
Well, really, he can’t. His mom’s at work, doesn’t need his help, there’s no pavement to pound to look for a job, and there’s no real other entertainment around than to watch TV until I finish up so we can go to the next town over and belly up at a bar. When I asked him to skedaddle this morning, he dutifully turned off the TV, cleaned the apartment, did laundry, and made lunch. Wonderful. Then he sat back down and turned on the TV. I’m working on writing a very complicated grant, and hearing about the Halloween Massacre in LA between Crips and Bloods is just not helping me. I, feeling like a nagging and absolutely horrible wife, asked if he could find something else to do until I was done, and he as politely as possible said no, that there’s nothing else to do.
I see his point. There is nothing else for him to do. But this situation is untenable and is interfering with the quality of my work. We’ve only been married a year and a half, and I knew this experience would be a trial by fire for our marriage, but I didn’t expect that it was the simple act of living together that would be the hardest part.
So what do I do? Send him out into the countryside and tell him not to come back until he’s tracked down and killed a mountain lion with his bare hands? Swallow my frustration and learn to work with these distractions? I’m all about compromise but I just don’t see a solution here, so I’m turning to you.
Here’s hoping that you and yours are safe and sound and warm and living with power. Thanks for reading.
- Frustrated Farmwife in a Flyover State
Oh. My. God.
So, first: You’re right, I can relate. Intensely. Virginia Woolf was also pretty big on that “a room of her own” thing.
Second: You are not a “frustrated farmwife.” You are a breadwinner. It is totally reasonable to require some semblance of a normal work environment.
I kind of want to strangle your husband with my bare hands.
Let me digress a moment.
I have often had this kind of problem in relationships. I work all the time because I like to. Solving math problems, explaining vocabulary words to confused people, and planning new companies are my favorite things to do, provided I can do them in my home (or on a beach) with enough espresso and wine.
But then the guy gets bored. I say, “What do you want to do? If you want to make dinner plans or go see a movie, just give me some advance notice and I’ll shut down.” (Note: My ex-boyfriends may tell this story differently.) Sometimes they say, “Just come hang out on the couch.” This is nice for a little while.