My boyfriend had been looking for a job for months and was offered an awesome-paying position.  But he would have been working 6 a.m.-6 p.m. 4+ days/week. Instead of taking it, he bought into his friend’s business selling game cards. We have no real monetary cushion so I took the first job offered (food-service) hoping to support us and our 5 children.

I can’t get him to even do the bare minimum when he is home. He won’t help with dishes or fold laundry, but he’ll spend hours playing video games and uploading his game card stock onto his online store. I work 4-8 hours a day and come home to a dirty house and unkempt kids. Then, he leaves for 2-3 days on the weekend. My days off, I can’t even spend with him.

I honestly don’t think he understands how upset this makes me. And I’m afraid to tell him outright that I don’t think he needs to devote his whole life to this “business”. I feel neglected and taken advantage of. I know he is trying to do something he loves, but my ‘loves’ are gathering dust in the closet along with my dreams.

How can I tell him how I feel without being a dream-crushing jerk? Or how can I feel less like a martyr and learn to let him have his moment? 

-Biting My Tongue

Before you say anything to your boyfriend, repeat this to yourself: asking a partner to actually BE a partner is not crushing dreams, it’s valuing yourself.

Here’s the thing: your boyfriend sounds like the one being a jerk. If it were just the two of you, I’d say he should pursue whatever career or goal makes him happy, and you should decide to stay or go based solely on how that impacts your relationship.

But you have five children. The moment he decided to bring a child into the world with you, he was committing to the responsibility of caring for that child.


Part of that is monetary–taking a job solely to fulfill himself when he has a family sounds pretty selfish to me–and another part is emotional support, where you say he’s ALSO dropping the ball.

Don’t go into a conversation with your fists swinging, of course, but do go in armed with the knowledge that he is taking advantage of you if he refuses to help maintain the life you’ve chosen–one where you support five children together (which involves cooking and cleaning up, btw). 

You don’t have to ask him to give up the job that makes him happy, and you should try not to resent the time he spends maintaining his online store, since that is a huge part of his business (though I give you my blessing on resenting the video games).

But you do have every right to sit him down calmly and tell him that his behavior is unfair and that he needs to contribute more around the house and with the kids.

I’m unclear on why he’s gone weekends–presumably it’s work-related, but I think you can also ask for him to make more time for you (say one weekend a month that’s just for you as a couple). That said, on the weekends when he’s not around, take time for yourself. Specifically, start looking for a job that will give you more satisfaction, and, if he doesn’t change, think about whether someone willing to sacrifice you to pursue his own selfish dreams is a partner…or just a sixth child to care for.