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My husband thinks he is a failure

The Question


About 3 months ago, it was as if a switch were flipped and my usual loving husband suddenly became very quiet and then told me he wanted a divorce because he was a failure and didn't want to keep pulling me along with him.

We have had our share of financial problems, but other than that we don't fight, we get along great and we want to spend all of our time together. We even got jobs for a while at the same company so we could be together as much as possible during the work day.

He has suffered some physical problems, job losses, repossession of vehicles, but never have I put him down or made him feel like he is a failure. His children, who are grown now, are a concern of his too, as he is always trying to help and push them in directions they don't necessarily want to go.

But he is still a wonderful man, the drummer at our church, would go the extra mile to help anyone he could, and was the perfect husband. We have been married for 5 years, this is a second marriage for me and the 3rd for him. However, we have known each other for 30 years, met in 7th grade and life pathways separated us for 22 years.

I want to help him through this, I love him so much, unconditionally, it doesn't matter to me what he says or does to me, I want him in my life and always will. What can I say to him to make him know this? I still take care of him, do his laundry, cook, clean, pack his lunch, but he won't let me touch him or anything physical.

Noel's response

It sounds as though your husband may be depressed. You can see symptoms of depression in men (they are different than in women) on my page about depression: Depression: Do you have it?.

You might suggest he look at that page to see whether he recognizes himself there. You might also ask that he get a complete physical, and/or some counselling to help him deal with his feeling of being a failure.

Many people (men and women), have subconscious beliefs about money ('money is the root of all evil', 'a rich man can no more get to heaven than a camel can go through the eye of a needle'), that keeps them from ever having enough money. He and you might both benefit from doing a simple examination with or without a financial advisor, to see whether you have some spending patterns that keep you from having more.

The book "Your Money Or Your LIfe" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin is very good for personal financial management. I also recommend "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kyosaki.

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