Does anyone know of a support group for spouses of PhD students? I generally come here to the BYC community for all my marriage counseling needs, but I would really love to be able to meet with a real group of people who are in the same position as my husband and I are in. Since I doubt there is a group (Google didn't turn one up) I'll post the problem here. We've gone through some ups and downs in our ten years of marriage and since he's started graduate school, it has definitely been a big down. He is about to get his Master's and then he'll go on to his PhD, and I'm concerned about the stress it's putting on us. In a nutshell, we timed the birth of our first son to coincide with him graduating with a bachelor's degree. We're getting on up there in age and felt like even though we weren't totally settled in life, it was time to get going on the child front. BIG mistake...don't get me wrong, I love our son SO much, but when I was 4 months pregnant with him, my husband's advisor pegged him as being intelligent and driven (both true, he's like a workoholic genius) and decided to sponsor him through his Master's degree and PhD with a full ride scholarship and a graduate stipend to work as a research assistant. Great, right? Not so much. My whole life's ambition was to be a stay-at-home mom. The kind of mom I had, with the sole goal of raising my kid as best as possible, with as much of the benefit of mom's attention as he can have. Well, despite the loss of this dream (which was personally devastating to me), God has blessed us by giving me a fantastic job with good pay and all the flexibility that I need. Our life still isn't easy. I work really late to get the job done, I have a lot of responsibility at work, and we don't make enough money to cover our expenses. But the real problem is the level of stress my husband's under. Since pursuing this degree wasn't his idea, he isn't happy. He just wanted to get a job and we'd go about our lives however things turned out. Now, he seems like he feels emasculated because he couldn't deliver on that. The opportunity was too good to turn down, but now he's stuck working under a professor who gives him no guidance and his task, as with all graduate students, is to contribute new knowledge to the universe, which as you can imagine is not just as easy as deciding one day that you're going to make a big discovery and then doing it. He's completely lost that spark of personal drive that he used to have. All he ever does is laze around watching ridiculous things on Netflix. The only thing he ever does around the house is to cook, which I greatly appreciate, but it's like watching the most driven person you ever saw have the spine yanked out of his back and start sitting around like a useless lump. He comes home after something like a mere six hours at work (when my dad was studying for his PhD, he was there from morning till midnight), and then basically he sits around on the computer for the rest of the day and night, pausing for dinner. Oh yeah, he also is part of a ham radio club that has lots of long meetings. As far as I can tell, he wastes a huge amount of time and then complains that he can't get stuff done at work/school. He also refuses to exercise so his chronic overweight problem is just getting worse, which is giving him lots of aches and pains, especially in his bad knee. But God forbid I try to talk to him about it - he gets angry and defensive. He shuts himself up in his office on the computer all evening long and when I come to bed, that's the only time all day I've seen him without having a screaming baby on my hip. If I don't successfully resist my natural urge to simply ask him how his day went, or anything related to school at all, even as non-threateningly as possible, he flies off the handle and asks me why after ten years of marriage I still don't know that he doesn't like to talk about his day when he's trying to fall asleep. I know he doesn't like to talk before bed, but we basically don't talk at all. I got so mad when this happened last week that I decided I just didn't care about being in a relationship with him and that if he just wanted to live parallel lives with me then that's how it would be. I barely spoke with him all week, just responded to his petty baby talk that he's so fond of in like kind (Hi, yes, I love you too. No, I love you more...no, YOU'RE cuter. Yes, our son is the cutest. Hi. Hi. Hi.) like I wasn't angry at all about the last fight and about never being allowed to have a real conversation with him. I didn't take out any of my frustrations on him at all and our relationship was as "surface" as possible. Then tonight, feeling great after having accomplished so much today, I made the mistake of asking him if he was able to get any work done and we got in another big fight that turned into him saying he was going to quit school but that I wasn't going to be happy with the money he can make without the PhD and that he hates the program and it's like tiny little daggers stabbing him all day long and I can't possibly know how hard this is for him. I'm sorry, but I'm the one who works 40 - 50 hours a week, sometimes until midnight just to work around our kid's schedule. I'm the one who's in charge of running a million dollar company. I'm the one who's climbing the corporate ladder when all I really wanted was to be a housewife. He works as far as I can tell about 24 hours a week and then bellyaches about how stressed he is and sets up walls about when I'm allowed to talk to him, which when practically applied result in "never." He says all I ever want to talk about is ways to change him, which I have to admit is true...there's a LOT in our lives that needs changing. He's completely not focused on his health or on the maintenance and improvement of our home and garden. His body and our house are both deteriorating badly, but he sits around watching movies. But I try not to bring these things up because it just causes a fight. If I try to talk about something else, he says I just want answers to questions he doesn't have answers for (like what will be your job title when you finish? when will you finish? how much money will you make? what will your job be like? will you be able to get a job at all? If so, will we have to move to make that happen?), which was true until the fight that killed my desire to question him about any of that anymore. I just have given up and turned off my brain. Decided not to think about any of that because it's obviously too much to ask. Now tonight I wasn't even going to ask about any of that, but he somehow perceived that that's what I was asking and the resulting fight ruined my good mood and my ability to fall asleep. Listen to what happened today: A neighbor offered to mow our lawn since it was getting out of control. My husband said I should let him do it because he'd have to work all weekend and he wouldn't have time to do it. So I hired this man. My husband then spent all evening watching movies while the neighbor mowed and edged the lawn. I felt like a total jerk paying someone to work while I wasn't doing anything so I went out and weeded while my mom watched the baby....and while my husband watched a sci-fi TV series. We're broke and I just shelled out $40 to pay someone to do something my husband could and should have been doing. Then my mom has to rant to me about how my husband's been acting this way the whole time she's been out here (three months, helping watch the baby so we can save on childcare costs), and she's totally right. It's all stuff I think too, but don't bring up because over the years, he's conditioned me not to nag him to help out around the house. And it's worked because I'd rather let things go to crap than get into another fight about why he doesn't repair the fence to the chicken run or mow the yard or lift some weights or SOMETHING productive. So now I have my mom on my back too, saying he's turning out just like his dad who never worked a day in his life and that I'm turning out just like his mom, who supported his deadbeat dad by working triple just to make ends meet. I don't want her to be right, and the situations are totally different, but part of me thinks she's spot on. I'm bringing in more money, my family is supporting us more than his is, I'm doing more around the house, the baby doesn't let me sleep all night (and now I can't sleep because of another fight)...yet somehow my husband says I'm wrong to bring this stuff up. I didn't even make one peep about how unsatisfactory it was that I did yard work while he sat around upstairs, even though I could have, but somehow I'm in the wrong tonight. I guess what I want to know from you guys is if I'm totally off-base here. Is he right that I shouldn't talk to him before bed? Am I being completely insensitive about the burden of being a PhD student? Is he right that I should never ever try to motivate him to change his bad habits, get some exercise, and focus on his schooling and on working around the house?