Want Match with Health and Income


Hi there,
I am the financial provider and primary caretaker for my kids/family. I’d like my husband to be more involved with both, but he has told me “no” in the past because he has been unable to do so (he has had health problems and is recently deciding to do something about them, which is really encouraging to me). I understand that his “no” answer is okay. And I actually feel okay with it. I totally understand that his health challenges are real and I actually agree that he’s unable to be 100% responsible for either realm right now. But I’m feeling tired of carrying the load.

I think I want to feel willing and courageous, but when I lean into those thoughts and feelings it feels untrue. There’s a part of me that actually wants a partner to live an active, interdependent, mutually-vulnerable, forward energizing, growth-minded life with. I feel lots of resistance to these wants because “what kind of wife isn’t willing to pick up the slack when times are hard?” and “If he says no, that’s fine, I can do this.” I value my marriage and having my children grow up with their dad. I value his professional input in my life as a business-minded, practical voice. I value learning to be happy with my current circumstance. I value having another adult around. I’ve chosen to turn my jobby into a substantial business. I have hired a nanny. I know I can find a way to make this work well, yet my heart feels longing for an emotionally and physically available partner.

My question(s) is this: how do I feel those longing feelings, and stay engaged emotionally and physically myself with him? It feels like lying. It feels like I’m putting on a show. I want to stay with him happily, but I’m afraid that if I’m happy, it’s communicating that I’m content and “fine!” (and truthfully, I don’t like to be the weekend lover when I feel alone running the day to day).

I know I can say that I want something with my words (expressing wants) but the want mis-match feels painful. It feels like a boundary might be needed to save myself from the pain. Like “I don’t want to do this anymore. I need you to help an hour a day with XYZ in our life, or I need to find someone who can.” There’s a little voice, though, telling me I’m missing something, and typing that out feels ridiculous. I’m scared that my wants are invalid, and my vision of teamwork is crazy. And while I’ve been fine choosing to roll with a bout of sickness, the pattern is something I’d like to choose to change (me covering the bases in a one-woman-show and being “fine” for 10+ years).