Why do spouses "freak out" about us going to nursing school?

  1. Hi everyone,
    I was just wondering if anyone else is having some relationship problems. My husband is a good guy, but lately, the last couple of years our relationship has just been getting farther and farther apart. (Since I really got serious about school) Now, it's gotten so far apart that I just recently found out he has been talking to and seeing a woman "friend" in another state. (He drives truck) He says it's not a physical thing (and I DO believe him) however, it's still an emotional thing because he talks to her about alot of things that he is obviously NOT sharing with ME!

    When I found out, he said the biggest reason is that he can't talk to me anymore, he feels resentful of me going to school fulltime and not being able to contribute financially and that I am CHANGING as a person. I don't see myself changing at all! I will admit, that I have made new friends..but that does not change who I am. I now share the same interests with these people, something he has made clear that he does NOT. That's also one of the biggest reasons I come here, so that I can share with others who are in the same/similar situations and who actually WANT to hear about my clinical "experiences".

    He has been trying hard to be a better husband, and he has ended the relationship with her, but we have a long way to go. (Trust issues obviously) I asked if he wanted me to quit school and he was adamant that I NOT. He said even if he has to drag me there and chain me to a desk all week I am going. I have another 22 months of nursing school to go and this could be a VERY long haul. I guess I am fearful that he will put me through school and then when I can financially stand on my own, he will say that our marriage is over. He says that he has no intention of that happening...but right now I don't know if I believe him.

    Anyone else ever been in a similar situation? Thanks for letting me relieve a little anxiety, I know that he loves me and he realizes that I am doing this for the good of the family down the line, but it can be hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel, especially when you feel the tunnel is closing in on you. As I am sure that is how he feels.
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   Jennerizer
    Sorry to hear you are going through this. School is stressful enough, let alone wondering what your husband is up to when he's not around. Have you thought of going to marriage counseling? The communication has to be there. Even if all he had with this other woman was an emotional affair--sometimes those can be more devastating to the relationship than if it were simply a physical thing. He needs to turn to you when he has problems...not outside of the marriage. I would strongly suggest counseling at this point before the resentment starts to build up on both sides. Definitely do not quit school. You've made it this far...22 months is not that far away.
  4. by   KC CHICK
    Wasn't married while in my nursing program. However, ended relationship with boyfriend of three years after the first year of school. Met my hubby and dated/lived together during my second year of school.

    Good luck to you during this trying time.
  5. by   wv_nurse 2003
    You are right in thinking that the 22 months will be a long haul--but if you think about it rationally--you need to complete this for your own sake, and self esteem. It sounds as though he wants to be supportive, try including him on what's going on in school. He can quiz you, help you study, etc. I would also reccommend counseling--it sounds like you two are willing to work, so get some help to make it easier.
    Best of luck to you!
  6. by   PennyLane
    I agree counseling might help. It sounds like he doesn't really want you to be your own person with your own interests and friends. Some frank discussions need to take place between the two of you to save your marriage.

    I wish you both the best.
  7. by   luluann
    We are going to try counseling..when I can fit it into both of our schedules! That is the hard part, he is only home anywhere from 24 to 36 hours in a week. And with 2 younger children here at home, he tends to try to spend alot of time with them because they just can't understand Dad being gone so much as easily as Mom can (at least that's his thinking) I have been married to him for close to 14 years and he has been trucking for over 13 of that so I guess I have come to understand the routine.

    I will finish school and I know deep in my heart that no matter what happens to us, I will be okay. I just hope that he is still here to share in the "wealth" of what my nursing career can bring to us. You know, like maybe less working time for him.

    Thanks for listening and the input! It's great to have the support of others.
  8. by   JudithL_in_NH
    hi, luluann!

    my husband is very intimidated by the added independence that a well compensated, sought after career will bring. our children are getting older (all school age now), and even though i've always worked part time, they have been my focus. now he sees my focus shifting to returning to the "adult" working world, and he is very intimidated.

    converse to what you envision, my husband often says he thinks i'll leave him when i finish my studies.

    what to say . . . he, like your husband, works long hours and is away more than home . . . it's been this way for 20 years (our oldest is about to turn 18) . . . sorry, hon, but i grew a life while you were gone . . . i have friends and interests that he does not share, and school is one of those.

    my husband had the option to be home with us more, but he chose work over family. he, like your husband, had "a friend" a couple of years ago; it wasn't as innocent as your husband's distraction may have been. i told him to end it or the marriage was over, and he did end it. he, unlike your husband, has ignored our children and has no relationship with them. the kids were my "job," not his. funny part is, i was pretty content in the marriage until he found this "friend," because that really made me rethink the bases of the relationship.

    my husband has made it clear in counseling that he resents my growing independence and liked it better when i was essentially barefoot and pregnant, and my only focus was the home. well, i'm 46, i'm done with childbearing and in the home stretch of childrearing, and i'm not going to sit here waiting for the two afternoons a week he's home and conscious; i don't plan on looking for men, i plan on going out and getting a good job!

    we'll see what the next couple of years bring; i have no plans to divorce him . . . but i really don't want a life for the next 20 years where i'm paid attention to only when it's convenient for him, and i don't plan to be held captive at home or in a low-paying job that would keep me dependent upon him financially. he knows that when i'm a nurse i'll be able to support myself and our youngest . . . and he's terrified i'll do just that. yet nothing changes on his end of the partnership, and he'd like me to move backwards, which i won't do <<sigh>>

    so, no, you're not the only one with relationship problems . . .
  9. by   PennyLane
    Judith, I'm sorry you're in that situation. Good for you for doing something for yourself. You're a woman, and you can do anything you put your mind to!! You go girl.
  10. by   babynursewannab
    Judith,

    I know what you're feeling. My EX-husband (ahem) couldn't handle my going back to school...especially when I ended up doing really well. He made life miserable. Funny part was he claimed to be a feminist and he is a professor! I did drop out of school a number of times bc of this. Finally, my thought process changed and I decided I was going to put up with it until I graduated...then leave. That was not the healthiest thinking, however, I did not have to endure that long.

    We did not try counseling. We had a number of huge, life altering issues going on at the same time as well and were in various states of denial. Maybe if we had tried, we'd still be together today. My point is, we didn't even try.

    NOW, my current husband and I started seeing each other while I was in school. Night and day. He's constantly pushing me to go study.

    I think the big thing is that even though we don't see it so much, we DO change due to nursing school and it is a huge threat to those who knew us before. Not only do we change...now we don't even spend time with them to boot! No one is right in the situation. Please, do make every effort you can to get help if you want it to work...and it sounds like you do.

    Good luck to both of you.
  11. by   emily_mom
    Sorry to hear you're in this situation. My hubby was the same way, although now that I'm almost done, he is better. We even separated for 5 months because of it. There were other issues, but it all built up. He is better since we've reconciled.

    Good luck to you. If he will agree to it, counseling can be a great outlet for you.

    Kristy
  12. by   NurseWeasel
    School for one spouse just seems to intimidate and threaten the other. It's not just nursing and it's not just school, really. Any big change is scary. This person you've known and loved is moving away from you in a way, meeting new people, learning new things, becoming much more independent. While it's easy to portray this as a "man thing" or a "control issue", it's not. Almost everyone feels this threat to one extent or another. To the person doing the "growing", it feels natural and that they're not changing at all. To the person being "abandoned", it's flat scary. Maybe while this person is out learning new things & meeting new people they'll suddenly discover they want something totally different than this life we've had. People *do* change, in very subtle ways. Especially if you've mostly been a stay at home mom or only worked part time, and your focus has always been on the home and kids, this is a big change.

    Be thankful that your hubby gave up the friendship and is encouraging you to finish school. Be thankful he hasn't just up and left you "period". These are good signs in my opinion. He's demonstrating a commitment and that he loves you.

    Try not to worry too much, be sure you make it very clear to him how important he and the relationship is to you. Give up a few hours of studying to do nothing but bond with each other when he's in town. State repeatedly that you're looking forward to being able to contribute to the finances soon, and verbalize your "couple" dreams for once you get out of school. Make plans for the future and make sure he hears them.

    That's my nickel's worth of armchair psychology. It's the voice of my own experience and that of watching friends go through it. Change is threatening but it can draw you closer as well as tear you apart. Your choices in the next 2 years will help determine the course of events, as will his choices. I wish you the very best.
  13. by   julieK
    My husband is a doctor and he was very much against my going to nursing school. I think it was more to do with the fact that I was already trained as a teacher and why bother spending time and money on a new career, especially when he expects me to start having babies pretty soon (we're 25 and 28).

    My husband was against it also because he didn't think it would make me happy, and he's concerned that I'll start with this career and leave it like I did teaching.

    But, you have to decide what is best for you. Clearly, you have to settle whatever financial issues seem to be upsetting him. Sometimes just getting them out on the table is all that's needed.

    -Julie in NYC
  14. by   cpgrn
    Nursing school is hard on a relationship. I got divorced while in nursing school and so did a lot of other people. Actually the instructors stated that this would happen. I think its threatening to a spouse when you try to grow. In my case there was no saving it, but I'm much happier now with my husband of 5 and 1/2years than I ever was or would be with him. Things happen for a reason I guess.

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