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to think my friend is being really silly giving up her career?

(32 Posts)
headfairy Mon 25-Jul-11 14:27:44

Yes, I know it's AIBU so I'm going to get a pounding. I've got my hard hat on.

My friend and I used to work in the same industry. Its very competitive, really hard to get in to, once you're in most people stay because new jobs are rarely advertised externally. Anyway, 4 years ago we both had babies, she took voluntary redundancy and is now a SAHM (she now has had another baby, an 11 month old).

She's not married to her children's father, and has given up any idea of returning to work. Her relationship with the children's father is quite unstable, they argue a lot and she's said lots of times that she doesn't think she loves him. They do seem like chalk and cheese to me.

Anyway, I worry about her if they do break up. I don't know what the rules are as regards to maintenance support. I know the children's father has to pay to support them, but am I right in thinking he has no responsibility to support her? So she's given up a career she won't get back in to. She won't marry her dp, and I think she's really exposed and vulnerable.

Of course I'm not going to say anything to her, not my business. But I do worry about her.

HighBrows Mon 25-Jul-11 14:32:29

Honestly if she is a good friend you should raise this issue with her, explain that you are worried about her, list the reasons.

I think she is mad to give up a career for her less than stable relationship. She is leaving herself open to being not able to support herself should her relationship break down.


PamBeesly Mon 25-Jul-11 14:33:48

YANBU to have concerns about your friend and to think about her security but YABU to think she is silly, she is a grown up mother and she knows what best for her. Nothing wrong with being worried about her though, thats what friends are for. I don't think the father has to support her, only the children

altinkum Mon 25-Jul-11 14:35:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mousesma Mon 25-Jul-11 14:36:36

Well YABU but I'm sure you know that already as you've stated it's none of your business.
There are lots of good reasons for being a WOHM but doing so just in case your partner leaves you is not one of them. Even if they were married her partner wouldn't necessarily have to support her if they divorced.
Maybe she didn't enjoy her work anymore and is thrilled to be a SAHM? Or maybe she thought that the early years go too fast and she'd rather spend time with her children than on her career. Whose to say whether or not this is the wrong choice but her.

headfairy Mon 25-Jul-11 14:37:42

Pam, silly's probably not the right word. Foolish perhaps? I don't know. When she was pg she was offered redundancy, and it was a lot of money so it seemed right at the time for her. It helped them buy their house and do some home improvements so that's fine of course. I don't question that at all, putting a roof over your children's heads etc. But if they split she couldn't pay the mortgage on her own. Would he have to continue paying his half of the mortgage, to allow the children to continue living in their home?

headfairy Mon 25-Jul-11 14:38:32

altinkum she's been out of the industry for 4 years. It might as well be 400 years now, it moves very fast, technology changes very quickly in it.

GeneralDreedlesNurse Mon 25-Jul-11 14:39:46

YABU - her children, her career, her relationship......and most importantly her choice.

Worry about what is happening in your own life, that you have control over. Whilst it shows an interste in yourfriends afairs, it is her business how she leads her life. She may nothave enjoyed her `career' as much as you do, maybe she enjoys being at home with her childrfesn and finds the rewards that brings greater than any financial rewardshe could earn at work.

Has she said her relationship is in danger of breaking down .........or that she is scared she can't support herself and her children financially if they were to split up? If not, leave her be and stop looking for problems in her life. If she need you, be there for her, just not with "I knew this would happen" type advice or face

headfairy Mon 25-Jul-11 14:40:08

Mousema I think being financially independent is a very good reason for being a wohm. Anything could happen. And I may be wrong but I think if she were married it would be different. I think he'd have to support her too, though I'm happy to be corrected on that one.

headfairy Mon 25-Jul-11 14:42:52

generaldreedles To be honest I don't think it's even occured to her what her situation would be if she were to split with her dp.

I do get that it's not my business, really I do. And of course I would be there for her if the worst happened. But I just worry that she's got no back up plan.

she did enjoy her career before she gave up work. I know she found it hard being pg and working, that's fair enough. It is quite hard towards the end. The funny thing is I'm not sure she does love being a sahm. All she ever seems to do is complain about things, how hard it is, how tired she is etc. I don't get the impression she loves it.

eurochick Mon 25-Jul-11 14:43:13

FWIW, I think she is being really shortsighted. But there is nothing much you can do other than gently point that out to her. And realise that any comment might not be well-received.

AnansiGirl Mon 25-Jul-11 14:43:28

I think that if you have a choice about it, it is not good to be reliant on someone else for basic finances and support. I couldn't do it.
I kept my job and put in insurance and income protection to give an extra level of support if I needed it.
If I split with my partner now, I'd have to make major cuts and live like a student, but I could do it without losing the house or worrying about feeding and clothing the children.
But YABU, it is her choice to trust her partner to support her and their children, and to continue to do so if they split up.

fedupofnamechanging Mon 25-Jul-11 14:43:46

Personally, I think it's foolish to be a SAHP without being married. Like it or not, being married gives a person (male or female) some legal protection in the event of a break up (or a death, come to that).

I think if this was my friend, I would raise the issue with her. At least introduce the possibility of sorting out a will, making sure her name is on the mortgage (especially if purchased with her redundancy money). Once you've had a discussion about it, leave it be. She's isn't stupid - you'll have given her food for thought and where she goes from there is up to her. You'll have been a good friend and opened her eyes to something she may not have considered.

HighBrows Mon 25-Jul-11 14:44:40

While I agree it is the OP's friends life and it is her choice, it does need to be pointed out she has left herself vulnerable.

I would place a great emphasis on being financially independent. It is important to me.

jellybeans Mon 25-Jul-11 14:44:57

YABU. Her business. If she wants to SAH or work and can do that, she is very lucky. Life is short. If she wants to SAH then she should do it. Yes her situation, like anyone's could change. That is a risk she seems willing to take. It is a very personal choice, you should support her in her choice if you are a good friend.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 25-Jul-11 14:45:25

If it were my friend I'd hope that they'd tied down the legalities regarding how much money she's put into the property, shared names on the deeds, his name on the birth certificates etc. I'd also hope she'd got some money put by for herself. Because, if it is a thorny relationship & they break up without her having those kinds of things in place then, as an cohabiting rather than a married partner, she has very few rights. Her choice to give up her career may not prove to have been a smart move if she ends up solo but, presumably, she didn't go into the relationship or being mother to his children thinking that was on the cards. Few do.

Also.... many 'chalk and cheese', constantly rowing, constantly complaining couples like it that way and are still bitching about each other on their golden wedding anniversaries. So tread carefully there as well.

PamBeesly Mon 25-Jul-11 14:45:51

OP yanbu to feel like she is being foolish and looking at the practicalities re her mortgage, but its her choice, you know this though. If she is a very close friend maybe you could mention some of the more practical aspects of leaving and the repurcussions to her? If she is just a friend you see from time to time its best not too or else she may feel like you are interfering. Good luck to you (and her)

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Mon 25-Jul-11 14:46:13

It's done now though? She's out of the industry? I wouldn't point it out to her at all if there's nothing she could do to get back in anyway, you'd just be rubbing her nose in it and there's nothing positive to be gained. It is a shame though, I agree.

minipie Mon 25-Jul-11 14:46:14

Perhaps the really silly thing is to have children with someone you don't love and don't want to commit to?

Birdsgottafly Mon 25-Jul-11 14:46:28

No he wouldn't have to pay half of the mortgage, only child support.

Your friend would have to apply for benefits, if she wasn't working.

The job that she use to do isn't the only job in the world and she is quite cabable to getting back on her feet, if she went through a period of unemployment.

I was widowed with three DC's and recovered after going through a finacially tough time.

Its her life, if she wants to be a SAHM, it is her choice, she doesn't have to stay in work or plan her life based on her marriage ending, she can cross that bridge when she comes to it.

AnansiGirl Mon 25-Jul-11 14:46:46

You only have to look at the number of posts on this site with mothers worrying about getting money and support from ex-partners to see that it is a real concern to many and that sometimes, love just doesn't last forever.

Ephiny Mon 25-Jul-11 14:47:14

People's priorities do change, and there's more to life than career progression and making money. So I don't necessarily think it's silly to give up a 'good' job because you decide that isn't the life you want. I did a similar thing myself and have never regretted it.

It does sound like she's putting herself in a vulnerable situation though - being financially dependent on a partner despite being unmarried and in an 'unstable' relationship. If they break up he will be expected to pay child support, but has absolutely obligation to support his ex-partner. She could lose her home as well if it's owned/rented in his name.

Do you think she knows what she's doing, or is under some illusion about 'common law marriage' and imagining she'd have some rights?

stillstanding Mon 25-Jul-11 14:49:45

I've always thought each to her own really - never really got this whole SAHM/WOHM thing. But recently a friend of mine has had her husband leave her for another woman. She gave up her job when she got married, has two kids under 3, is being shafted by her ex over money and is now thoroughly, thoroughly screwed.

I think about giving up work now and again (admittedly not seriously) but this experience has really put things in perspective for me. I know that you can't live your life planning for the worst scenario but making yourself wholly dependent on another is dangerous, not because he may leave you for someone else but because any number of things may happen (losing his job/being run over by a bus/getting sick etc).

I also think that being dependent on someone else can truly effect the balance of your relationship. My mum was a SAHM but you never would have known it from the way in which my father behaved - they truly shared everything and there wasn't any of this crap about his/hers, allowances etc - but most of my friends who stay at home now have considerable pressure (perceived or otherwise) and I think this is an issue.

Which is my VERY long way of saying that, either way, you don't get to judge your friend's choices but you can be concerned about her and (very, very quitely to yourself!) think that they may not be the right ones ...

Birdsgottafly Mon 25-Jul-11 14:55:10

Even if you are married the divorced husband has no obligation to support his ex, only the DC's.

Every case is different depending on income or property owned etc but as long as things are in joint names living together doesn't change the settlement, as opposed to being married, when you have DC's. It depends, also, on wether she is down to inherit any in service death payments, otherwise the DC will inherit.

It does make a difference towards the way N.I contributions and pensions are worked out, though.

GeneralDreedlesNurse Mon 25-Jul-11 14:55:42

You'd think I hated being a WOHM if you heard me whinge - that's just my coping mechanism, I was just the same when I ws a SAHM (needs a contrary mary emoticon)

I think you are worrying too much - the choices she and her partner make are up to them. It could be that they have a cohabitation agreement (would suggest one if you can find a way of slipping it in to conversation) or the mortgage may be in her name only (mine is with my partner noted as living here but having no interest in the property)

Msybe next time she says she thinks she doesn't love him, you could ask about how she would nmanage if they separated and pass on advice that way.....I fear anything else could be seen as interfering.

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