June 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
We’ve all had our share of stressful days at the office, after which we’ve gone home to greet our hubbies with little more than a peck and a grunt. But for Jon, a 38-year-old chief financial officer at a small engineering firm, every day is sheer torture. And his wife, Lara, a stay-at-home mom to their 1-year old son, can’t deal with his stress any longer.
Lara’s turn Jon is completely shut-down, anxious and jumpy, and ignores her and their son. She wants to help ease his stress and empathize, but every time she asks a question about his day he snaps at her. He’d been out of work before he took this new job, so she understands he’s reluctant to leave it, but his boss is a raving tyrant. She did anticipate that Jon would work hard, but he’s doing more than that, keeping his phone on at all hours and skipping weekend activites. They haven’t been married very long and Jon didn’t work for much of the marriage, so she knows they’ll be able to survive if he gets out of this horrible situation. So why won’t he help himself?
Jon’s turn He’s so tense from the situation at work that he has no energy left for his wife or his son. He’d heard his new boss was difficult, but he had no idea it would be this bad. The man bullies everyone, berates his employees and calls Jon at 2 in the morning. He was happy at his former job but when the company moved to a new state and Jon didn’t go along, he thought he could find something else he liked just as much. Now, he feels stuck and he’s not sure why – maybe because he was recently unemployed or because his own father unhappily stayed at the same company his whole career to provide for the family. Jon plans to stick it out and learn to deal with his ogre of a boss, but he’s resigned to a life of misery that his wife can’t accept. Read more
November 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
It’s a funny thing, marriage: The more that couples’ problems change, the more they stay exactly the same. The story in this week’s Can This Marriage Be Saved? vote-a-thon comes from August 2005, but it’s even more relevant now than it was five years ago. The issue? It’s an unspeakable word that starts with an “un” and ends in “employment” and generally wreaks havoc on even the most stable of partnerships. You may have heard it tossed around a bit lately, provided you haven’t been living in a cave since 2008. The stresses of a job loss are hell on the spouse that’s out of luck, to be sure, but just as awful on the member of the couple that’s still working. And our model couple is no different.
Howard, a 44-year-old business owner, and Marcy, a 42-year-old marketing director, have two kids and 20-plus years between them. They both come from mildly dysfunctional families – Marcy being the product of a divorce and an alcoholic dad, and Howard the son of a successful businessman who was too busy working to pay him any attention – and their childhood issues are coming to a head following his unemployment. Read more