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Husband who won't work!

(39 Posts)
BoundlessEnergy Mon 11-Mar-13 17:28:35

Hello everyone, this is not a forum I normally end up on but I’ve seen some good, honest advice here before and I’m hoping for more of the same.
I have been married for 7 years and we have two boys aged 7 and 2. It’s fair to say we’ve had a bumpy time and sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going.
I’ve supported my husband for the whole of our marriage. In the time we’ve been together he has never worked and his only form of employment has been things I have arranged on a ‘casual’ basis for him – a day here or there. The discussion has always been on the delaying tactic kind and he’s told me ‘he’s looking’ or ‘there’s not jobs’ or basically anything that will get me to change the subject. He swings between proper victim behaviour ‘it’s not my fault that…’ and complete rage. I suspect somewhere that he might be bipolar as his anger is so quick to flair with me and the children that even our 7 year old asks why Daddy isn’t every very happy with other people.
I’ve worked full time since we were married and started work again when my oldest was only about 4 months. I’ve just changed jobs and have a demanding job that pays okay but still doesn’t get us out of the woods each month. For a long time my husband appointed himself as stay at home carer for the boys and I’m not denying that this saved us money but as I used to go out the house 12 hours a day 5 days a week I did get upset as I felt I had no balance in my lfie and my children needed me more.

My husband has a wealthy widowed mother and she’s very happy to hand him over money (quite large sums) for whatever it is that he’s needed to have or wanted. This in the past has included £10k for a flying course, £3000 for a ski race course for 6 weeks (I let him go for 6 weeks as he was ‘desperate’ to be allowed to do this as this was his whole life that he says I took him away from) and now he’s doing a photography course which isn’t cheap but MIL has again paid for. He does have a lot of creative talent for this but when I have broached him working part-time and doing his course (really doe-able I think and would so help us) he flies off into a massive blame rage and says that how can I expect him to succeed when I don’t support him. He’s such a tricky character and often it’s never his fault when he hasn’t managed to do something. Basically between his Mum and I we fully fund him. The flat we live in is technically his Mum’s and we don’t pay rent so she kind of has a hold over him too and not in a good way. I’ve had a 2 really horrible arguments with her over this. I’m not into arguguements but they come from a very highly charged background and it was very upsetting. Now my relationship is better but I still feel wary around her. They can be a joint force but often they seem to argue amongst each other badly as well so it’s highly confusing. They can also be killing each other (or me) one minute and fine the next. He’s never off the phone to her and he wants her to sell some property to he can use this to fund other property purchases and renovations so that’s another big sticking point in our relationship. I think he needs to leave her and her money alone and start to stand on his own two feet.
He also flies at the children as well for very minor things so family time is never something we all look forward to.

About 18 months ago I decided enough was enough and told him I wanted to end this. He kept saying he didn’t want to and we attended counselling. I don’t feel it got to the root problems as and it was more about how to treat each other in a relationship. Without being big headed I do feel I can approach a relationship with a lot of love and compassion but I do feel that I can’t keep standing by why he keeps saying he’ll work and every month we are left struggling. Will his attitude to work ever change or from an outsiders perspective am I just a deluded wife? I want to hope that he will succeed at this but while he has him Mum and Me paying for his life – why would he change?

ginnyjeans Mon 11-Mar-13 17:44:09

I wanted to reply as I've kind of been in your situation. I have an ex-husband with enormous potential, also very talented but who basically let me take on the responsible role. I always worked, didnt shy away from grafting even when we had a daughter. I organised our mortgages and paid all of the bills. For years I convinced myself I was happy and the thanks I got was when he decided he wanted a divorce - because I was too hard to please!?!? The reality us I was married to an immature boy and not a man. Ive been divorced for nearly two years, I'm single (whilst he got into another relationship very quickly with someone also willing to take on a 'mother' role) but I'm happy. Im not constantly frustrated by someone who had no commitment to his family, someone who didnt want to provide for a Beaitiful child. Unfortunately you cant change people into being the best they can be. It's exhausting. Whatever you decide, big hugs because I've been there. X

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Mar-13 17:47:37

An angry, spoilt, lazy, selfish brat, constantly making excuses.... What exactly does he bring to the party? I think you'd be better off without this 'tricky character' bleeding you dry.

Mintyy Mon 11-Mar-13 17:48:34

I sympathise and am very curious ... do you find him an attractive or appealing character? How can you have any respect for him? He just sounds excessively spoiled and selfish, sorry.

I think, as its been 7 years, that you have your answer.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Mar-13 17:48:45

"He also flies at the children as well for very minor things"

Nasty piece of work isn't he?

colditz Mon 11-Mar-13 17:49:48

Yes, you are a deluded wife. He and his mothernrunnhisnlife, you get to tag along if you fund it, shut up and behave yourself.

Its easy to dismiss immaturity as a minor problem but it is corrosive in a relationship when it reaches an extreme like this. He has never grown up and been independent and whines and stamps his foot like a stroppy teenager when called on his behaviour. You could waste years waiting for him to grow up and recognise that the world doesn't revolve around him and it might never happen, especially with his mum still supporting his whims.

I'm not sure there is an easy solution but I don't see him wanting to change in a hurry when life suits him so nicely - all the fun and none of the responsibility.

Why are you with him?

Would you not be much better off without him?

Will you be able to afford rent elsewhere on a single income?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Mar-13 17:55:19

Is he basically hoping mother snuffs it and he cleans up on the inheritance... thus negating the need to actually do anything? I knew someone like that once. Bright guy from a formerly wealthy but recently impoverished family. Public school educated, very spoilt, big ideas about his natural place in society (at the top basically - no talent required) and resentful as hell that Daddy had blown the lot and ruined things by making him have to endure life as an ordinary bloke.

Horsemad Mon 11-Mar-13 18:52:14

Who does the childcare whilst you work full time?

I ask because if it's him and you split then he could have a legit claim as a sahd. It might be prudent to sort alternative childcare in the event you consider splitting.

Saltpig Mon 11-Mar-13 19:17:23

May I just say something about your suspicion that this man may 'be bi-polar'?

He isn't. Bi-polar disorder is a very serious mental health issue which is diagnosable only following extensive psychiatric assessment.

This bloke is just an angry, spoiled, immature, and lazy knob. (who has a rather worrying enmeshed relationship with his DM).

Dozer Mon 11-Mar-13 19:36:33

Agree with horsemaid, you should get legal advice.

botandhothered Mon 11-Mar-13 19:42:55

Most people's main financial burden is mortgage/rent and childcare.

If you were to separate you would have to fund both, as at the moment him and his mother you have no need to pay for these things.

Maybe he feels that he is providing these things, and therefore doesn't need to work?

I can understand it grates that he isn't working, when you are, very hard, and his attitude does stink, but wouldn't you be massively worse off financially without him?

FarBetterNow Mon 11-Mar-13 20:15:36

Does he do the SAHD bit well?
Does he do the cleaning, shopping and cooking?
Do you come home to a meal on the table.
How much of the household 'stuff' does he leave for you to do?
Does he do a good job of being at home with the two year old- or is he short tempered with him?

Adversecamber Mon 11-Mar-13 23:24:18

My dsis has bi polar, she is nothing like your DH. Sometimes people look for a disorder such as bi polar , aspergers or BPD to excuse people's behaviour. Seriously I find it quite insulting to people with MH issues.

Your DH is just a totally indulged mega arse. He has a hugely unhealthy relationship with his Mother. I just could not have put up with this, so he may provide in another way but there is no way I could respect anyone that lives on hand outs from their parents.

dothraki Mon 11-Mar-13 23:46:11

Another one here - saying this is not bi-polar. He does sound like a narcissist. Have a look at an old thread - goodness versus niceness, and see if you recognise him - he sounds entitled, so he's off doing various courses - but nothing useful that could lead to employment. Good luck - you sound like you need it.

Dryjuice25 Mon 11-Mar-13 23:58:44

I blame the mother too.Ex was like that. He is out of my house now and guess what? Mum and dad organised to remove his belongings from my house to his house, which is about two minutes away! Only they had to drive for 8 hours to do that. And they did allthe decorations, carpets etc and they have never allowed him to grow up so I blame them big time as I tried to pick up the peaces till I couldn't ride it any longer.

He is up to his neck in energy bills and eats crap.I was sick of mothering the manchild and still do in a way as I always have to remind him of what the kids need and I still find that I buy all their uniforms/clothes/shoes/ extra-curricula activities etc and If I ask for help, he is always skint! Idiot.

He will never change.

Earlybird Tue 12-Mar-13 01:32:05

Did he work before you were married, and before dc?

What is he qualified to do?

Presumably the 7 year old is in school. When will teh 2 year old go to nursery? Perhaps you could talk to him about readying himself to work when that happens.

My guess is that he doesn't work because he doesn't want to, and thanks to you and his Mum, he doesn't have to. Both of you will see to it that there is a roof over your heads and food on the table.

Earlybird Tue 12-Mar-13 01:34:47

Is your dh an only child? If not, what are his siblings like? Do they work? What is their relationship like with their Mum?

NicknameTaken Tue 12-Mar-13 10:55:40

Ah yes, my exH was (and is) far too special to do any mundane work either.

In your shoes, I'd take the dcs and leave - you obviously can't stay in MIL's place. But do talk to a solicitor first. As pps said, he could try to keep the dcs residing with him on the basis that he is a SAHD and that is the status quo. Worse-case scenario, you could end up working and paying him maintenance for the dcs. (Not that I think it's automatically wrong for dcs to live with their father while their mother pays maintenance; it just doesn't seem like a just outcome based on these facts). Get good legal advice about what you would need to avoid this outcome. It may be a question of putting your 2-year-old into childcare if he/she is not already there, and being able to prove that you do the majority of the care for the dcs.

cestlavielife Tue 12-Mar-13 11:09:56

hmmm, you live rent free...but there are three of you in this relationship - you h MIL..
if you split how will you afford mortgage, rent etc ?

where was ds when he was away for six weeks? nursery?

but "He also flies at the children as well for very minor things so family time is never something we all look forward to. " if you dont enjoy being toether as a family then that would do it for me... how do you want your dc to remember growing up?

Corygal Tue 12-Mar-13 11:19:09

He's a nightmare. Of course he doesn't want to end it - you're valuable cover for a normal life for him and a cash machine. He prob thinks this is normal. You are starting to realise it isn't.

I don't think he will suddenly start to work. Honestly, these people get a lot worse when they hit 35 and stop being pretty - they can turn nasty. Talk to a lawyer. In the meantime, stop funding him as much as you can - even teeny amounts will help. Build up a running away fund.

How generous is your MIL to the children? Not the one you married, the ones you gave birth to. She might help you.

RivalSibling Tue 12-Mar-13 11:51:18

It sounds to me as if your husband has no 'resilience'. He needs these courses and treats to make him feel better because actually he feels really crap. He knows he should get a job. He is bad tempered because he feels like shit.

Yes to building a fund for yourself. Your husband has all the power at the moment. Don't feel guilty - you are restoring balance.

My brother is like this. Very bright. Thinks the world owes him a good job where he can shine, but actually he hasn't really worked for about 8 years. Wouldn't take on regular childcare or household duties as he saw this as demeaning, and has a go at his wife for not supporting him. By which he means she should help him set up a business at home where he does the clever stuff and she does the boring stuff. He was always the Golden Child, so when things aren't going so well he can't cope. My brother also has a fantastic lifestyle with expensive hobbies - paid for by others, one way or the other.

oldwomaninashoe Tue 12-Mar-13 12:30:52

I loathe people with no work ethic, unfortunately I was married to one for a short time, it is most unattractive when the person closest to you does not contribute in any way.
He has no intention of doing an honest days graft and whats more, being out of the job market for so long without actively looking makes him a very unattractive proposition to a potential employer.
Its like having an extra DC, that you can't even pack off to school every day.
OP why are you allowing this to continue?

anonacfr Tue 12-Mar-13 13:05:35

RivalSibling d we share brothers? sad

Southeastdweller Tue 12-Mar-13 20:46:30

I feel quite angry for you.

Agree with the others that you need some legal advice. Take some time off work this week if you can and do it, and carry on as normal so he doesn't suspect anything. Do you have family nearby? If so I would confide in them about this and prep them for you and the kids to stay for a while if need be.

He won't change and I think you need rid of this albatross round your neck.

What's his mummy like with your kids?

I wonder if one reason you've stayed with this prick for so long is - to put it crudely - the free rent?

AnyFucker Tue 12-Mar-13 20:51:55

He's not bipolar

He is simply a nasty twat, who is a terrible role model for your children

I don't blame his mother...I blame him

LadyLapsang Tue 12-Mar-13 23:41:59

Well, lots of mothers with two children don't work outside the home. Personally, I would not like your set up but if you are to give him his marching orders I suggest checking out the situation re: childcare / maintenance first. If he is good at being a stay at home parent and you are in agreement with the set up fine. Remember if you go you will have to fund somewhere to live & childcare - not easy.

Another one saying, get legal advice first, because if he is the SAHD then it might be tricky. However, does he look after the DC, or does he dump them on his mum? It isn't necessarily wrong for a man to be the SAHP rather than taking paid work, but it doesn't sound like your H is doing this if he's fucking off on self-indulgent vanity courses all the time, and if he's nasty and short-tempered with the DC then you undoubtedly won't want to leave them with him.

BoundlessEnergy Wed 13-Mar-13 17:32:39

Thank you ladies for all your honest opinions. Mine has been clouded for so long that i have really believed that I am the one that has needed to try harder. I've not been sure whether to believe that I am behaving like an indulged princess or if I was going a bit mad.

For informations DH isn't stay at home dad - we actually have an au-pair that I have employed so he could 'focus' on his course. I've also been thinking that if I do leave at some point then he's not the main care giver - athought he is defo the one that kicks around the house the most....

Funny enough when I complained about finances the other day he said we maybe needed to move house so it would be cheaper. Strangely the solution didn't come up that he should find a job. That would have been my first plan if the situation was reversed but I think that DH has been bailed out by MIL for a long time and has no incentive. A third child for sure.........

My family and friends are amazing but they have long been too involved so to hear from 29 of you who have all told me the same thing has been a total eye opener but really invaludable.

Thanks ladies for the advice - I totally appreciate your opinions x

purplewithred Wed 13-Mar-13 17:37:52

Good grief. LTB. And I've never said that before.

onefewernow Wed 13-Mar-13 17:46:46

Please count me in the chuck him out brigade.

I dont think I could even look at him, if I were you.

He is just a big baby.

GoSuckEggs Wed 13-Mar-13 18:27:12

sod BoundlessEnergy, i think BoundlessPatience would be more appropirate!

expatinscotland Wed 13-Mar-13 18:35:48

Good grief! Get rid of him. He's a lazy bastard.

NicknameTaken Thu 14-Mar-13 09:35:48

Great news that you have an au pair - that should help to counteract any claims that he's a SAHD. I don't think you're behaving like an indulged princess at all. Good luck!

TheSilveryPussycat Fri 15-Mar-13 13:28:20

Mine was like this. I kept thinking he was going to "fulfil his potential". In our divorce settlement papers, he claimed I was too mentally ill for him to work - hah! not true, and he did no houswork, mostly played on computer. I had 2 kids, tried my hardest to work, and we lived on capital (a little from his DM but mostly from MY DF) which I eked out frugally as thought he was going to earn eventually.

It's true I was depressed - but he was the main reason. As soon as I filed for divorce (after decades blush ) my depression lifted. Thanks be to MN and for the Emotional Abuse thread for my awakening and for empowering me to finally take action.

Earlybird Mon 18-Mar-13 15:46:56

OP - any news?

I keep thinking about this issue, as i have a friend who is in a similar situation with a dh she married 10 years ago. About 4 years ago, he was made redundant and hasn't worked since - hasn't even looked for a job as he wanted some time off, and since then has been 'thinking about what he'd like to do next'. She owns their house (free and clear), and they are living off her savings.

As her friend, it is very difficult to watch the strain she is under - especially as she insists she is happy in the relationship. In the meantime, she is shopping at charity stores, cutting back/going without, and buying value priced groceries (nothing wrong with any of that, but very different from the life she led previously).

Her friends who have income for essentials (and some extras) receive regular pointed comments about our 'extravagance' and how 'lucky' we are. I think she is deeply unhappy, but doesn't know how to deal with the situation. Any suggestion that her dh should get out and work/earn to ease their predicament is met with 'I couldn't be responsible for forcing him to do anything that would make him miserable. He'd resent me'. Like the OP's dh, he takes courses that, in theory, should help him move in a new professional direction - though neither my friend or her dh know how this will translate practically.

It is almost as if she has been brainwashed. And in the meantime, the strategy seems to be stretching savings until they are old enough to claim her generous pension (which is many years away).

Lueji Mon 18-Mar-13 16:20:29

My ex stopped working because of MH issues, but at some point, and as he was getting better, any suggestions of getting back to work were just met with negativity and no action at all. Even suggestions of setting up his own business.

Eventually, it completely felt as lack of want to work, although he claimed he'd rather be at work than at home taking care of DS, who was at school by then.

His efforts were more on how to get benefits and at some point he insisted that we should declare ourselves homeless and get a council home, when I had a good salary, we had savings, and could afford to buy.

Thankfully, my salary meant we didn't struggle financially.

MN has a good term for these men. Cocklodgers.

Mumsyblouse Mon 18-Mar-13 16:31:00

So, you have an au pair to do the childcare (should she really be doing it all day anyway?) and this guy gets to swan around on courses and gets very angry if you ask him to get a job.

You have been had big time here, going back to work at 4 months. Honestly, this is terrible and I bet all your friends and family think so too.

The good thing is that once you break free, you won't notice any difference because you work hard, and have an au pair anyway and so your finances (bar rent) will be pretty much the same.

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