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Finding it hard to stay friends

(45 Posts)
whatithink Fri 09-Sep-11 12:41:33

My best friend and I were both in the same boat. Stay at home mums with 2 kids struggling to make ends meet. Recently she split from her husband and went on benefits. Her husband pays her a good maintenance for the kids and basically she is living the life of riley. I believe when they calculate benefits they don't take into account maintenance. She is out all the time, going on holiday and buying designer clothes. I can't afford to do any of this and I feel I don't want to be her friend any more. I know she is not actually doing anything wrong but I feel she is just flaunting her extravagant lifestyle and the tax payer is paying for it.

Am I being horrible in not wanting to see her anymore. It's not that I am jealous I just don't think it is right.

Kayano Fri 09-Sep-11 12:44:47

Well... It's not like she's changed as a friend though?
Although you deny it, it does smack a bit of jealousy. And anyway, why is it your business what she gets?

If she was claiming stuff she wasn't entitled to I would get that, ie fraud
But if she is only claiming what se is legally entitled to I think YABVU and unfair

FagAshLill Fri 09-Sep-11 12:45:33

You are sounding jealous. It's her money, her life and has no bearing on you or yours or anyone else for that matter.

If you dont want to be friends with her then fine, but you will have to find a better reason than her buying stuff and going places.

ihatecbeebies Fri 09-Sep-11 12:45:42

YABU to end a friendship just because you are jealous, which you clearly are. She's just separated from her DH you should be giving her support. The maintenance money should be for the children though, not for designer clothes, do you know for sure this is where she got the money for the clothes?

lisad123 Fri 09-Sep-11 12:48:20

well you sound jealous and judgemental tbh. She claims what shes entitled to, would you rather she be shinping and saving instead. Be happy shes getting on with her life and that her ex isnt a complete arse and not paying anything.

Cocoflower Fri 09-Sep-11 13:06:11

TBH what is better- a husband who loves you or a designer dress?

Really you have far more riches

Proudnscary Fri 09-Sep-11 13:15:43

Depends. Is she banging on about it in subtle and not-so-subtle ways? If so - very annoying and unfair.
If not, then yes YABU money shouldn't affect a real friendship.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Fri 09-Sep-11 13:21:49

Of course you're jealous. You don't think it's right - what? That she's got more money than you now? That you're still struggling but she's not?

Do you want her to be as poor as you? Would you be happy if she had nothing, like you? Because that's not very nice.

If you were her friend, you'd be happy that she's not elbow deep in shit any more.

I'm sorry that you are. It's tough. But feeling like you want your friends to have nothing or you can't be friends with them will only turn you into a bitter, horrible person and you can and should be better than that.

She's in this situation because her marriage has broken down. Poor woman. Do you think that she flung out her husband so she could live it up on benefits? She's doing what she's got to do at this difficult time.

And fwiw, a lot of people do things like go out a lot, get a whole new wardrobe, etc when their marriage breaks down. It helps them to feel a bit better about themselves.

If you were her friend, you would be supporting her emotionally during this time, not resenting her for having more money than you.

If you don't want to be friends with her because you can't stand to see her have things that you can't afford, then walk away. But be honest with yourself about what you're feeling.

Friedtomatoes77 Fri 09-Sep-11 13:26:33

I had this with a friend and it was hard in that we suddenly had quite different lives and she seemed to have more freedom, going out the weekends her ds was with dad, whereas we were skint and didn't seem to get a break either. Apart from the financial differences it also felt like she was regaining a new, single lifestyle although in some ways was a bit funny that we had 'achieved' staying together (we had discussed many times the strains children bring to a relationship and supported one another in this). So, there's more to this than simple jealousy over money.

My friend met a new dp who moved in last year and is now back to being skint. Although she still gets the maintenence from her ex, because she is now no longer eligible for tax credits (and in fact they are claiming back a repayment) she is not as free/well off. And they are expecting a new baby.

Cocoflower Fri 09-Sep-11 13:29:30

Perhaps I will get 'flamed' for this but...

Benefits are only there for hardtimes. It doesn't seem quite right to me that that should give access to luxuries like designer clothes and holidays that millions of people cannot access in their everyday lives. These are not an entitlement to me.

The intention of benefit money is for people who really need because they cannot eat or need provisons for disabled children etc. I would prefer to see more in the pot for those who cannot survive with it.

It does seem something has gone wrong in the calculations

fanjobanjowanjo Fri 09-Sep-11 14:50:13

Seems like you think the grass is greener (money, freedom etc). You ARE jealous, which is understandable but not a reason to be ditching your friend.

whatithink Fri 09-Sep-11 15:03:16

Thank you cocoflower. I was beginning to think the mumsnet board must be full of very liberal people and no-one like minded as me.

I am definitely not jealous, I am annoyed and angry that the benefits system provides this for her. The benefits system should cover food/ housing etc. I would never want anyone to starve or not have a roof over their heads but I think there is something wrong when it provides luxuries that people who are working full time cannot afford.

For instance when she was married they couldn't afford school dinners for 2 kids but now she gets them free. Her mortgage is paid and because she has a low interest rate and apparantely they work out the interest rate on a default rate that is higher than hers, she is also paid more than she needs to cover her mortgage.

I think it stems from the fact that maintenance payments are not taken into account when benefits are calculated. Maybe they should be?

tiredgranny Fri 09-Sep-11 15:05:00

income support takes into acc maintenance the only benefit that doesnt is tax credits she obviously not declaring it

tethersend Fri 09-Sep-11 15:08:34

Well, it seems that the only option is for you to follow her example and wave DH off at the door.

mumsamilitant Fri 09-Sep-11 15:15:56

DP's bags are packed and at the door!

StrandedBear Fri 09-Sep-11 15:16:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FreudianSlipper Fri 09-Sep-11 15:18:01

what a horrible friend you are

do you not think she is having a hard time adjusting to being a single mother? maybe they share responsibility 50/50 i doubt it though as life is often too complicated for it to work like that. so her marriage has broken down, she will be dealing with her children who will no doubt be finding it very upsetting and probably taking their tantrums, frustration, hurt and anger out on her, she now does not have the support she did from having a husband at home and has a friend like you these are not circumstances anyone would wish to be in.

oh but she has a few dresses wow to compensate for all the hurt that is really going to make her so much happier

really if that is how you feel step away and let her surronded herself by people who really do care because she will need their support

aldiwhore Fri 09-Sep-11 15:21:22

My angry with the system, not with her. Being angry with her if she's doing nothing wrong IS jealousy.

I sometimes get miffed when my friends put less into their lives and get more out... but I'm miffed at the injustice, not my friends. They are my friends because they're good people, not because they have an easier/harder life than me.


aldiwhore Fri 09-Sep-11 15:21:37


Hullygully Fri 09-Sep-11 15:21:39

wot a cunt she is

fanjobanjowanjo Fri 09-Sep-11 15:24:19

If it was based on maintenance how is that sustainable? If the court or whoever works out that your ex should pay you so much, and then work out your benefits based on that, but EX goes awol and pays nothing....

MadamDeathstare Fri 09-Sep-11 15:35:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SnapesMistress Fri 09-Sep-11 16:30:51

They do calculate maintence payments when seeing what benefits you are entitled to.

fuckityfuckfuckfuck Fri 09-Sep-11 16:36:09

They don't take maintenance payments into account anymore, for the very good reason I think that many absent parents can be erratic with payments. But it has meant that there's a huge divide between what people get who are all on equal benefits- I've seen it in my group of friends and it has caused bad feeling in one in particular. I don't think that policy will last long htough. It's only been policy for a year or so, so don't be surprised if it gets scrapped and your friend ends up losing her benefits. Though it doesn't really sound like she'd miss them tbh.

unpa1dcar3r Fri 09-Sep-11 16:37:43

I believe when they calculate benefits they don't take into account maintenance.

Of course they take it into account, she will get less in things like Income support if he is paying her maintenance.
Used to be that they took out of IS anything the absent parent was paying but now the lone parent gets to keep £20 of it plus their IS.

Try to remember that as well off as she seems (although i can't imagine how) that this is it for her, at least for now. She won't get a wage rise or a chance of progressing in her career for the time being, until perhaps her circumstances change again.

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