My worst fear is that my family won’t adapt well to my change. Especially my spouse. I feel that my spouse identifies me as a teacher, (I’ve been a teacher since before we got married) and each time I discuss my anxieties and decision to pursue a new career, I feel that my spouse tries to discourage me.
-K. in America
Disclaimer: I am not certified in any kind of family therapy or counseling (though I have been in a lot 😉 ). For a professional opinion, you would be better served consulting a medical professional!
Your comment about your spouse’s support (or lack there of) touches me deeply.
Only you truly understand your situation, but I encourage you to try to talk it out with your spouse in a few different kinds of ways before you accept the lack of support (or feel distant because of it).
I know when I first realized I needed to leave teaching, my then-fiance, now-husband was filled with all kinds of different fears.
If I left teaching would I be a different person?
Would I not love him anymore (he is and was a teacher)?
Would we have enough money?
Is it my fault that she’s unhappy?
Is it my fault that I don’t make enough money to save her from teaching?
It’s possible that your spouse is concerned about these things, unable to talk about it, and therefore comes off as much less supportive than he or she would like to be. Your spouse might even be kicking him or herself for not having solved the problem for you.
There could even be a lot of guilt and vanity tied up in your career for your spouse. You’ll never know unless you ask!
My advice would be to approach it from the following perspective to let your spouse into your mind and see how you feel and how much teaching affects your emotional health:
This is how teaching makes me feel, even though I used to love it: __________________.
This is what I hope for my future, and how I plan to make money for our household: ______________.
Some things about me will never change, like my _______________. But I do think I need a new career because I feel ___________.
Here are a few ways you could support me while I try to figure this out: _____________.
How do you feel when I say I want to leave my current career?
What are you most worried about if I were to leave my current career?
And, of course, how much happier you would be in your marriage if you didn’t have this huge education stressor in your life!