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Pressure from DH

(106 Posts)
BranchingOut Tue 05-Mar-13 09:40:22

Trouble has cropped up again with my husband...

I am sitting down to write this quickly now, otherwise I am in danger of splurging on the first sympathetic person I see at work.

I have posted a few threads before, so feel free to look for some of my old ones. The potted history is that we have been together 20 years, married 10 and have a son of 3 years.

When my son was 1 year old we went through a terrible patch in our marriage. I had not returned to work (employer refused pt working) so was at home for a year. At the end of the year, after a lot of searching, I managed to get a different pt job. During that year DH gave me a really hard time about being out of work, said he wasn't sure about being married anymore and went 'cold' (not really speaking to me apart from neutral matters, no physical affection, expressing lots of doubt about the relationship). This went on for five months.

My previous job had been a senior teacher (SLT) - earning about 50k but hugely long hours and lots of pressure. I was probably earning the most that I could reasonably expect to do as a teacher.

DH works in the city - long, unpredictable hours and lots of pressure, but earns £100k plus.

We have good standard of living, but live in quite an expensive area of London so nothing hugely extravagant. 3 bed house, but nice car and the occasional holiday. Quite a lot in savings - including a £90k inheritance from one of my relations.

I am not boasting about any of this and count my blessings on a regular basis.
I think we are extraordinarily lucky, wealthier than we ever dreamed of being etc.

The job I have, in the voluntary sector, has all sorts of advantages. It is part time, 3 days a week for now but could probably convert into a school hours job when my son is at school. However, the pay is poor - £28K pro rata. So I bring home less than 20k, which is a lot less than what I was earning before. Plus I lurve my job and colleagues, and they are hugely tolerant of all nursery runs etc. The quality of the work I get to do is also excellent - national intiatives etc.

I am due to get a re-grade (slight promotion, maybe £1.5k more) and last night, before we went to sleep, DH suddenly started asking why this hadn't happened yet and feeling that I should leave to get a better paid job. He came out with gems such as 'I have to shoulder all the burden of breadwinning, it would be nice if you could contribute', said that my employers treat me like 'a dogsbody' and that 'You live the life but I am supporting it'. He thinks I should give in my notice if this re-grade does not come through.

I pointed out that my job might involve him giving some of the flexibility around childcare if I were to get a better paid job, but he seems to think that all part-time jobs would offer that. I currently do almost all nursery runs, childcare arrangements etc.

I am just feeling really upset about some of the things he said and wondering which direction things are going in.

I was half wondering whether to confide in my immediate boss, who is lovely, and possibly hope that this might exert a bit of leverage around the re-grade, as I don't think they would want to lose me.

Feeling miserable and biting back a few tears, but relieved to be able to get this out on MN.

Got to go now, but

sorry obviously that should read that her ex husband earns about £100K per per not £100 grin

and to add, sometimes dp and I have wondered if a spell out of work might shock him out of his snobbish attitude.

AmayaBuzzbee Tue 05-Mar-13 10:44:25

of mistress or something?) I don't understand the obsession with money when you seemingly have more than enough to live happily and comfortably.

AmayaBuzzbee Tue 05-Mar-13 10:45:32

Oops, apologies for posting my message in two parts, it wasn't intentional.

BranchingOut Tue 05-Mar-13 10:52:23

Do you think that if I show him some job ads that might help?

hillyhilly Tue 05-Mar-13 11:02:48

I think your dh needs to recognise that your "poor" job goes a long way to enabling him to do his high salary job. He needs to have a proper think about what's important to him. For you to go back to a higher paid career would quite possibly mean a nanny or au pair and more input from him, would your family unit benefit from this? I don't think so. I think that he is valuing ££ but not realising the value of the rest of your lives and inputs. He needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Mar-13 11:03:12

show him some job ads for what ? why ?

he lives on this planet, does he not ?

Pilgit Tue 05-Mar-13 11:18:09

yes, of course you should, because the job market has a glut of well paid, incredibly flexible part time jobs. What a twat!

Sometimes I feel a lot of pressure because I'm the main earner and sometimes when work has been particularly stressful and juggling full time work with being a mum gets just a bit too much I yearn for my DH to be earning more so that I could find more balance. But these are moments. My DH is happy, he is growing a business and I like being able to provide for my family. I certainly wouldn't want him to become a frustrated wage slave doing something he hated just so that the pressure is off me for a bit. And, crucially, I am able to find balance because it is my life choice to work as I do and because my DH is self-employed he is able to give me the flexibility to do my job. Indeed if I really wanted to reduce my hours my DH would suppport me and we'd both tighten our spending to ensure it was possible. He seems to have lost the sight of the fact that not all contributions to family life are financial. Money doesn't make you happy it just allows you to be miserable in comfort!

Just to offer a different perspective, only you know if it is relevant to your DH.

It is salary and bonus season so maybe he is very focussed on earnings right now. In some roles in the City salary and bonus competition can be quite heated and people are used to bargaining for more money so that may be the norm for him. I could see him going to his boss and saying "I'm not a dogsbody so why have you only given me this payrise / bonus...". (and yes I have done similar myself).

I earn a City salary but so does everyone around me so it is easy to lose sight of what is normal. Your benchmark for normal earnings and normal spending becomes skewed and I suspect that has happened to your DH. It is worth reminding him what an average salary in the UK is as you are probably in the top 5% of earners in the country.

I must admit I did have a bit of a winge to DH the other day about his pension planning or lack thereof (he runs his own business) and said that I don't want to have to work under this much pressure for the next 20+ years to protect both of our retirement incomes.

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 05-Mar-13 11:48:49

Before writing off your husband as an unreasonable idiot it might help to sit down and try to specify exactly what his issues / concerns are - if he is willing to have a calm, rational discussion.

It sounds like you are working in the ideal job now. What do you see yourself doing in the long term? Is your husband happy in his job? Does he feel secure? What would happen if he were to lose his job, or would he like to take a less pressured role and take on more of the childcare / household work?

I am the main earner (of a much more modest wage it has to be said!) and DH is a SAHP although he does also contribute a decent income from investments built up before we married. Every now and again the pressure of wanting the best for all of us financially gets to me but I would never be so crass as your DH.

Also I would second the posters who said not to confide in your boss, but it's perfectly legitimate to have a conversation about a regrade.

Good luck.

MustafaCake Tue 05-Mar-13 11:57:49

If both of you have F/T, long hours jobs your family life will be very different to how it is now.

Is that what you and your husband want?

joblot Tue 05-Mar-13 12:18:35

FWIW I would hate to be in a relationship with someone who treats me with contempt and is so mean into the bargain. Your h sounds like a selfish arse, the type of greedy person who makes the world a less pleasant place to live in. Just my personal thoughts on what you've written

PatriciaHolm Tue 05-Mar-13 12:32:06

He sounds like a mean man, who has no consideration for you.

We are in a very similar position; very high earning DH, I work 50% in a very flexible role, but something I can only now do because I've spent 15years in the industry establishing trust and credibility. I also work from home most of the time. I earn more than you, but still only about 20% of our household income.

The difference is, DH loves this. It works really well; I do most of the school runs etc, though he works from home occasionally when I have meetings. We both agreed that someone being here for the kids at the end of school was important, and that has the inevitable effect on salaries. I admit I love my life too; i do get more time off than he does, but he doesn't mind that as I also do all the tedious stuff. He's off to watch both football and rugby this weekend so he doesn't do too badly ;-)

Your Dh doesn't value you in any way other than financial, and that's terribly sad. Does he have any concept of how hard it would be to find a well paid part time school hours job?

Have you life insurance? Calculating how much it would cost to employ people to replace me was interesting....!

Clearly what he said was twattish. But I think it would really be worth a calmer conversation to see if there are genuine concerns that lie beneath this. Namely:

1) Is his job at risk and is he under a lot of pressure of work? So many redundancies around at the moment - maybe he's under more stress than he is willing to let on.

2) Re the dogsbody comment - you said yourself that you are working above your grade, and it sounds like he perceives that you are being taken advantage of and is possibly angry on your behalf, iyswim. Clearly £1.5k is trivial in the scale of what you both earn so in his eyes it's probably more the principle of it.

littlemrssleepy Tue 05-Mar-13 12:39:27

Wow. I have a very similar situation to you, although having moved whilst on mat leave and therefore unable to return to previous job, I am currently largely a SAHM, albeit trying to set up my own business. My husband is well aware that the reason he can do his job and earn his money is because I took a hit on mine. Whilst I do wish to return to the workforce and have some financial independence (everything we have is equal but I'm not niave enough to think nothing could possibly go wrong with our marriage - particularly after some of the horror stories on here!) there is no pressure from him to do so, probably cos he realises it would make his life harder. If he acted like your DH I'd be telling him fine, I'll get myself a 50k job, will do half the nursery / school run, one week of the inevitable 2 week chicken pox exclusion, half the school holidays. It would then be up to him to ensure he could pick up the slack - which would mean him getting a new, almost certainly lower paid role.

That said, when people do earn a lot they do have a warped view of what is good money. I think if I got a job at £25k my DH would feel I had undersold myself because he knows I am 'worth' more and have the skills and experience to earn more, even with the flexibility you describe. Are you sure you are not misinterpreting what he is saying - he thinks your employers should value you more, as opposed to putting pressure in you to make money per se?

discophile Tue 05-Mar-13 12:41:20

The fact is that you have been together for 20 years. This suggests to me that for a long time you have bought into the idea that gathering money and living a high standard of living is important to you. In fact is important to both of you and this is the way you have lived your life throughout your relationship - No? You chose this man did you not? Did you not think about the values of the man you chose? The man you chose as the parent of your child/children. (To me, his values sound utterly, utterly repulsive. But I have different values).

Now it seems something in you has changed. You are finding a job that you consider poorly paid (£28k per year, pro rata) rewarding, challenging and enjoyable. Maybe you have changed and he hasn't. Will he accept that your values have changed? Can you explain to him that your values have changed?

Good for you for doing something in the voluntary sector. Many people find it highly rewarding and accept the lower salary it might come with. It sounds like your husband has no idea about the wider world.

StillSeekingSpike Tue 05-Mar-13 12:43:06

But sadly - £25k is a fairly normal salary in the voluntary sector- and in many other sectors as well. They can pay like this as they know the jobs are very sought after because they can be very enjoyable. It's your husband who has the distorted view of a salary.

Peka Tue 05-Mar-13 13:12:10

I think the big issue is not what you earn etc it's that he's treating you really poorly. You need to tell him (in whatever words you use) that he's being a rude, entitled twat and that you didn't enter a relationship to be abused like this. I earn a lot less than my dh and this is actually quite a financial problem for us but he respects me and understands that someone needs to be there for our child. I am having to go for better paid work because we are very tight for money but he is supporting me and stated that he wants me to be happy and valued in my job and developing myself more than the money I think I'm more preoccupied with that.

You are a person in your own right not just a mum or financial contributor to a household and you deserve to be valued and nurtured by your dh!!!

pausingforbreath Tue 05-Mar-13 13:23:16

He sounds like a complete tit over this - unless I have read this wrong.
He's up in arms over a possible 1.5PA.? Which equates to what, an extra £29 per week before deductions.
I know to many this would mean a huge help to the family finances of many families - but reading your post through, it's not going to change your lifestyle is it...
He needs to grow up, you and he are in a partnership together bringing up your son.

Sadly, having a child means a drop in income to the partnership . Either one either stops working, drops hours or changes career to fit around the child , or the cost of childcare needs to be factored in.

Also, having a child changes things full stop. Another Person is added into the partnership and needs considering.

To expect it to be the same, with both your earnings unaffected is simplistic and naive at best.......

As I said - he's being a tit.

BlingLoving Tue 05-Mar-13 13:31:08

He's living in a dream world if he thinks you can find better paid work while still doing the bulk of child and home care.

Is he unhappy at work? Is he worried about his job? Those ar the only reasons I can think of for his comments to be even vaguely ok.

Fairylea Tue 05-Mar-13 13:31:27

Where is the partnership here ? Your dh sounds like a twat. Money can't buy an equal relationship.

Hmm. I don't know where to start really. He doesn't see your contribution as equal... does he? Even though you shoulder the burden of everything to do with childcare etc... so if he didn't have you he'd have to do it and then where would that leave his career? Try billing him for childcare and travel arrangements for the children... !

Me and dh earn peanuts compared to you. I'm not bitter or anything, I'm just saying that despite earning just about 20k all in all we manage ok - we are on the same page financially. I am a sahm, we have two dc, we have a joint account, all our money is our money, we have joint spending money - split equally.

I have worked in very demanding jobs in London in another life and we made the decision to move to Norfolk where life is generally cheaper.. not a decision for everyone I know. But what I'm trying to say is you really need to work as a team, and I don't get that feeling from you about your dh at all.

Catkinsthecatinthehat Tue 05-Mar-13 14:13:20

OP, I had a look back at the previous threads you alluded to, and it's clear that your h's behaviour has been poor for a very long time, years in fact. Frequently tearing you to shreds, giving you the silent treatment for days on end, telling you he's not sure he wants to be with you, that are a vile person with a slobby physical appearance and so on. I agree with the posters who think that working in the City gives a skewed perspective on what is a 'good enough' income really is, but really it's you, not your salary that he is incredibly contemptuous of. This is a man who gets horribly pissed off at you as the manner in which you walk down the street offends him.

I really don't know what to suggest as it's clear that you've tried hard to fix this, but he doesn't see a problem, won't attempt counselling, and sees all the fault with you. You've had a baby, lost a job, made a career change and are successfully raising a child. I'd give you a un-mumsnet hug (and salute you!). You're doing brilliantly, but your self-esteem must be on the floor after years of this.

BranchingOut Tue 05-Mar-13 14:13:42

The only mitigating factor I can think of for him is that he has been under some pressure at work and didn't get much of a rest over the weekend. I had a long-standing arrangement to go out for the day on Saturday, to meet a sibling whom I only get to see a few times a year. On Sunday I normally take our son out in the morning and he gets some pottering-around time, but I woke up unwell (vertigo/dizziness) and was not really fit to do it. However, I acknowledged this and apologised for his lack of a lie-in. DH spent most of the afternoon upstairs while I looked after DS, as I was feeling better, so did still get some down-time.

Values. Well, we met when we were in our late teens so it was a bit difficult to tell. Through the early part of our relationship I was always quite interested in going in to teaching or the voluntary sector. He was always focused on this City type role. But salaries were different then - at the time, someone with a few years experience in his role would probably earn twice what an experienced teacher would earn, not the huge differentials there are now.

Have I gone along with this? In some ways, yes. Obviously I have benefitted from the lifestyle his salary has brought us, but I have always contributed to the joint account in proportion to my salary. I am also not a big spender, I buy mid-range brands and don't have any expensive hobbies. I am doing a postgraduate course, pt, (to support my job) but am paying for that using a small amount of the inheritance I received.

An ongoing theme has been him hassling me about whether I am saving, how much I am saving, what am I keeping back from my salary, even before we had our child. I was so fed up that with this job I just arranged for my salary to be paid straight into the joint account, then I take out £300 approx for my own expenses, transport etc.

There is also a sense in which I am quite happy with slightly more modest things in some areas - of course I love the expensive car and kitchen, who wouldn't? But I would have been happier with the cheaper alternative.

BranchingOut Tue 05-Mar-13 14:15:26

Just seen your post Catkins. Thank you, I don't know what to say.

PanickingIdiot Tue 05-Mar-13 14:18:41

I seriously don't understand the "shouldering the burden of breadwinning" argument. It gets trotted out a lot, but WTF does it supposed to mean? That he works for a living? Don't we all? What would he do if he was single? Who would earn the money then? Would he not work the exact same hours for the exact same wage as he does now? So what burden does he shoulder exactly?

It would be different if it was you pushing him to do longer hours because you wanted a bigger house and a flashier car, but this shite about oh-it's-so-hard-to-go-to-work-I-deserve-a-medal-for-it argument is usually trotted out by people who aren't exactly forced into their (very) high-paying jobs against their will.

this will sound awful but my gut feeling is he wants out but loathes the idea of having to pay child support and maintenance to you whilst you work part time only in a job you love.

did he want a child or was his reluctance the reason you left it so long?

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