What to Do If Your Partner Spends All Day on the Couch

Not all advice needs to be professional. Sometimes your problems deserve honest honesty on the part of a dude who has nothing but a computer and a conscience. Lucky for you, I’m that guy. Welcome back to Tough Love. (If you would like my advice, email me at sblum@lifehacker.com)

Today we are solving the partnership problem, where one half is working hard to generate the vast majority of the household income, and the other half appears to be doing very, very little. Where do you draw the line to make sure you are not being taken advantage of?

Note: I am a reviewer, not a therapist or certified healthcare professional. My advice should be interpreted with this in mind. If you have any problems with what I am saying, please file a complaint here. Now let’s get started.

Dear Sam,

I’ve been in a relationship for what seems to be 5 years (IDRK as I didn’t follow them anymore). We have two children – a two-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl. But there is a lot of stress in our relationship, and I often think about leaving and dealing with the consequences of a separated parent and everything that comes with it. She brings in less than $ 400 a month, and I earn from 4.5 to 5 thousand dollars a month. She rarely works, a maximum of two nights a week. But I am very tired of being the only one who brings money.

She refuses to take another job even at night, so I can watch the children. She doesn’t want to work on weekends, and that’s mainly why she does the job that she has now. We rent a house for $ 1,200 a month, and she never removes it. Most of the day it takes god knows what. I came home to see the kids in pajamas and her on TV. She does not go to school, as I asked and as we talked about. She literally does nothing but make sure the kids stay alive. She mistreats children and it’s just a constant power struggle; she needs to control every situation. I really have no idea what to do. I have become detached from her and do not really want to be with her anymore. She wants to cuddle up and watch TV, but I better go and do something on my own. I just don’t know what to do, and the fact that I have borderline personality disorder doesn’t help, which means that I can completely turn my back on her and not be upset about it in the least.

Sincerely,

PLEASE, HELP

Dear PLEASE HELP,

You are in a difficult position and need to sit down with your partner and explain why the situation seems unfair. But before you do that, you must take the time to understand why your partner can live as you described.

I am not saying that what you described to me is inaccurate, but someone who spends most of the day on the couch may be depressed or suffering from another type of emotional struggle. Have you asked your partner how she has been feeling lately? Lethargy and lack of motivation, which you detailed about, are common symptoms of depression.

Here’s what you need to do if you haven’t already: Begin with a sincere desire to understand. Does she have any concerns about failure or another excruciating confusion? Does she have mental health problems? Is she depressed? Approach the situation with curiosity, because if there is something – and most likely there is – you want to be a supportive partner, not a judgmental asshole.

Giving up work is one thing, but she’s at home all day with a two-year-old and four-year-old. “Keeping them alive” is more than just stuffing food in your mouth – it goes far beyond that – and spending a full day with the kids can actually be a full-time job. You’ve also noticed that she spends all day doing god knows what, but her day to day life will always be a mystery unless you learn to communicate better together. Not suggesting that you haven’t tried it yet – of course, I have a very limited outlook on what your relationship looks like – but in order to understand how your partner is feeling and how she is spending her time, you have to ask.

Then, depending on what you learn, be the supportive partner you would like. It looks like you are facing your own mental health issues, so you can empathize. You can also tell her how the situation makes you feel – but first, ask yourself how you really feel and find the right words to describe your emotions. Try to be careful about how you feel, but express how you really feel. If you feel like she is “mistreating children,” ask her why she is acting this way, but do it without judgment. You won’t make any progress if you don’t communicate.

To understand your situation, you must understand your partner. First, your kids in pajamas are not the end of the world. Sure, you can expect your partner to have some plans with them from time to time, but there are many times when it is normal and normal to stay in your pajamas at home during the day. For the past two years I have been working from home and have not completely dressed myself for a long time. Do I feel less productive from time to time as a result? Maybe, but my priorities are markedly different from those of a two-year-old.

It should also be noted that even if you are frank and honest about your BPD, you cannot just leave her and think about the consequences. Divorce sucks, and even if you’re not married, it’s hard for kids to get over separation from their parents (I know from experience). Think well about this aspect of your situation and know that quitting it and not thinking about the consequences, as you noted, will never be an option. The consequences will always be , and they should not be ignored.

I really hope you can make some progress with her before it comes down to it. Try to remember why you came together and be direct and honest about your feelings. If it is conveyed in terms of genuine emotion – it makes you feel underappreciated, etc. – you have a better chance of the message staying the same. Just know that her emotions and personal situation matter as much as yours. Good luck.

That’s it for this week, but there is still a lot of Tough Love to come. If you would like to be mentioned, please contact me with a description of your dilemmas in an email to my address ( please include “TIP” or “HARD LOVE” in the subject line ). Or tweet me with the hashtag #ToughLove . For serious inquiries only: do not email or email me if you do not want your name to appear in this column. Disclaimer : I can’t answer everyone, so be sure to include the specific issue in your post. I will not respond to generalizations such as “rude” or vague descriptions of “relationship problems” without specific examples of what is bothering you. Take care of yourself until next time!

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