In our culture, there is a certain financial expectation for adult men....

In our culture, there is a certain financial expectation for adult men living in a committed relationship.  When that is disturbed, it seems that serious household dysfunction nearly always follows.


When men have ADHD, anxiety, depression, PDs, bi-polar, or other issues that prevent them from being consistently employed or self-employed with earnings that adequately support him and at least a fair-share of the household, there seems to also be a common theme of anger, money mismanagement, procrastination, impulsivity, mistreatment towards their wives/GFs who are supporting the household and doing nearly everything.   The wives/GFs are naturally annoyed that the household burdens are unfairly falling on their shoulders, sometimes completely.


I have only known one instance where such a man did not display anger or disrespect for his wife and is very good with money and somewhat took care of the children.  He did cook and clean, but his inability to socialize outside the home, and his lack of emotion (aspie maybe?) and periodic procrastination, would occasionally cause troubles.  The troubles were minimal enough that the high-earner wife has chosen to just accept these things as a minor, but livable, flaws.  


I would suggest that this man's ability to control his temper, relatively good home-management, and his excellent money management have been his main saving graces.  From what I have gathered, he has social anxiety, some depression, and maybe some schizoid PD or schizoid-typal PD. He is extremely cynical and somewhat paranoid.  He has never had a friend.  He is married to the only person he ever dated; the result of a blind date set up by his sister.  He is highly educated, so he was able to succeed in that area.  He is fine to talk to in his home.  I have had numerous conversations with him.  


However, the fact that his high-earner lawyer wife has the type of job that includes a certain amount of socializing, it has been an issue that her H will not come with her ~ somewhat due to his social-anxiety, but really mostly due to the fact that people are naturally going to ask him, "What do you do for a living."    He is able to travel, and they do take two luxury vacations each year.  I think he's able to do that because there are few opportunities for people to ask him questions about what he does.  


Now, getting back to the more typical situations where the man isn't regularly employed, has anger, procrastination, extremely annoying habits, etc....

The dignity that comes from being the "breadwinner" or at least a "fair share" contributor cannot be underestimated for males in the western culture, and probably other cultures as well.  Most men "know" that they are judged by what they do for a living, how much they earn, and how they provide for their families. 

I think that men who become essentially "moochers" in their homes "know" that they're not living up to the expectations of our cultures definition of how men should be.  I think that this realization manifests itself in increased anger, resentment directed at their wives/GFs, and so forth.  

I think that much of the anger that is directed at their wives/GFs is some kind of projected anger or is some kind of reflexive anger because these men "know" that their wives are "doing the man's job" while also often doing the "woman's job, and that their wives are likely disgusted by the situation.  So, instead of responding by living up to the culture's and their wives' expectations, they rage and insult their wives for being the constant reminder of their own shortcomings - even if the wives are nearly silent martyrs.  These wives don't really need to say much to their husbands, the guilt is going to be there regardless.  


Of course, many wives aren't probably silent martyrs and probably do occasionally express dissatisfaction in their husbands.  Any justified complaints often get discounted or twisted, and the wife is often told that she's being a nag or worse.


It is one thing when a mentally-stable man stays home to truly manage the household and children because the wife's job pays enough to support this family composition and role-switch.  I have seen a few (very few) instances where this has worked well.  The men in these instances are very hands-on parents, and probably more in touch with their "feminine side" (I don't mean that disparaging), because perhaps they were raised in a household where they did a fair amount of household chores, took care of younger siblings, planned and executed organized plans, etc.  However, since our culture tends not to raise young men to be "caretakers" of young children or households, many men cannot fill this role very well.  

It's also another thing when an otherwise healthy, working man becomes seriously ill (cancer, stroke, etc) and suddenly cannot contribute.  This discussion isn't concerned with cases like that. 


For women who are in extremely annoying or verbally/emotionally/physically abusive situations where they are wondering whether things will get better, I can only conclude, "no."   Mild annoyances can be tolerated.  We all are mildly annoying to some extent.  But, anger issues and job instability are issues that likely rarely get better to the point that these people are tolerable to live with for long periods of time.   

My own mentally-unstable H is somewhat of an exception because although he has many of the uglier aspects of ADHD, depression, anxiety, PDs, addictions, etc, after he finished grad school he was blessed to land in a well-paid profession that worked well with his strengths and where his weaknesses were long kept under-wraps.  It was only after 25-30 years that his job changed, and then the "fit" was no longer a good one, and many of the instabilities often mentioned here came out...missing work, confrontations with fellow employees, anger at bosses, unreliable worker, etc.  Luckily, these things only came to a head after he had 30+ years in his career and was able to retire comfortably.  Obviously, if his job had been a poor fit from the beginning, or had become a poor fit midway in his career, the results would have been disastrous.  


Thankfully, H was always able to hold on to his dignity that he had a very long and stable work history, was well-respected in his field, was promoted regularly, and made a high income.   Although his behaviors got steadily got worse at home, particularly when his job was no longer a good fit, most of the outside world was unaware of what was going on.  During the last several years, he began drinking more and more, mismanaging meds, and became near suicidal towards the end of his career as the changes in his job exposed some of his most vulnerable areas.  


I grew up in the 60's and 70s.  I never knew ANY fathers, living in the family household who didn't work full-time and fully support their families.  I grew up in a good-sized city, a good-sized neighborhood, had a good-sized extended family, and belonged to a large church, so I knew hundreds and hundreds of families.  I only knew of 2 families where the dads had abandoned the families.  Likely, these men would be the ADHD men that we see written about today in this forum.   I can only guess, since I don't know if after they left if they were regularly employed or not.  I only know that the moms single-handedly had to raise the family - no support, no visitation, nothing.  Again, all the fathers who lived IN THE HOUSEHOLDS were all fully employed.  Some may not have been high wage-earners, but they all worked full-time.  It was an expectation.  I suspect that the 2 families that I was aware of, had husbands/fathers who were either too unstable to work (ADHD? alcoholism?) and they were not permitted to stay in the home or they took off on their own to get away from society's and their family's expectations.


I can only assume that back then, a man would not have been permitted to just "sit on a couch" all day, watching TV (no video games back them) and not bringing home a regular paycheck.   


Something seems to have changed.  There was a time, it seems, that women would not have tolerated having husbands who didn't work regularly, or at least honestly attempt to work regularly.    Sitting around all day on the couch would not have been an option.  


I'm not saying that things were perfect back then, hardly.  There were still alcoholics, abusive behaviors, cheating, etc, but there just didn't seem to be as many "unemployed or under-employed male couch potatoes" in family households.