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to be losing patience with non-earning DH

(30 Posts)
Skrewt Tue 23-Feb-16 10:11:11

DH is self employed so his income is somewhat sporadic. However since having children 12 years ago I have been a sahm. I help out with his business but because he is the sole earner I have always done everything at home. We were badly affected by the recession and he suffered from depression but did his best workwise and we managed to keep our home (we have no mortgage as I had enough put aside before marriage to buy outright). Last year I got a job that fits perfectly around my children so it's not a huge earner but should have been enough along with DH's income so that we could start to have a reasonable (well less fraught) quality of life again. Instead DH has totally lost interest in working - he has not contributed anything in 6 months. He doesn't bother to go into work til afternoon (but is rarely available to pick up the kids or do anything extra to help at home). We are really struggling more than ever financially as we are totally dependent on my small income now. He is just not interested. I helped him sort out his business last month to try to generate his enthusiasm but he just seems to have this idea that earning is my responsibility now and talks about me doing extra hours (I have applied for a second temporary job - which he could have applied for too but he refused). Our current account is down to it's last few £'s and he just looks at me blankly when I say it to him. He has suffered two bouts of depression before and I am afraid to say anything to him about his lack of get-up-and-go in case he slides into depression again but I have to clamp my lips together not to say anything to him. My parents have helped us out and I am too embarrassed to ask again but I really don't know how we'll cope. He seems to have checked out of pulling his weight. The reason I think I ABU is that he carried the responsibility all those years and never said a word about me not earning. He's gone for a cycle rather than work this morning because it's a nice day and I am aware that this might be what's helping him keep his spirits up but I am cracking up.

VimFuego101 Tue 23-Feb-16 10:13:30

It sounds like he has already slid into depression tbh. Are you eligible for any sort of tax credits based on your new, lower income?

taptonaria27 Tue 23-Feb-16 10:15:13

If he's not contributing he really should be pulling his weight in the family. This won't help your financial situation but currently he sounds like he has the life of Reilly while you do everything - that is totally unfair. It sounds as though you have carried it all - paid off mortgage, brought up little ones, supported his business, and now you're going out to work and looking at a second job. You are also the one in charge of finances in fact he sounds like another child

FetchezLaVache Tue 23-Feb-16 10:15:41

But for all the years when he carried the earning burden, that was what you agreed as a family and, crucially, it worked. You've now stepped up and he's asking you to step up even further without seeming to want to lift a finger himself, and it's unilateral. Poor you, no wonder you're fed up.

However, as a depressed type myself, I do have sympathy for your DH. Has he sought treatment?

LaPharisienne Tue 23-Feb-16 10:16:04

Have you talked to him about this?

Much sympathy - you sound like an incredibly strong person and bloody well done for getting this far

I think he may already be suffering depression. He is hiding away from life. However, that doesn't give him an opt out. I would be quite blunt with him. Either he gets help from the GP or he starts to pull his weight. He doesn't get to behave like a retired gentlemen just because you are earning a bit. Does he realise how tough the financial situation is?

SugarMiceInTheRain Tue 23-Feb-16 10:43:29

It definitely sounds like he is already suffering with depression, not just likely to slip into it again. Get him to the doctors asap. You do need to be blunt with him about how tough things are and the need for him to step up a bit, but also understanding regarding his mental health - it's a fine line to tread, but he needs to get help, not ignore the problem hoping it'll go away and you pick up all the pieces. You have my sympathy, it sounds really tough sad

Gobbolino6 Tue 23-Feb-16 11:00:38

He sounds depressed now.
If you are to be the main earner, that's something you need to discuss and he needs to take on responsibilities elsewhere.
I'd suggest he sees his GP to start with. It's not healthy to be going for a bike ride instead of working when money is in short supply.

WhereYouLeftIt Tue 23-Feb-16 11:10:00

I agree with others, the apathy sounds like he's already in depression. He won't get out of it if left to his own devices, so I'd be insisting he goes to the GP and starts to inject some purpose into his life (e.g. work, domestic responsibilities, exercise). The longer he's allowed to retreat into the apathy, the harder he will find it to recover.

"The reason I think I ABU is that he carried the responsibility all those years and never said a word about me not earning."
Not. The. Same. Thing. At. All. 'Earning' is not the same thing as 'contributing'. It is merely a subset. You contributed childcare and domestic care, which allowed your husband to be absent from the household to earn money. Without your contribution, he couldn't have done that. Money is not the only thing required for a successful household.

Jux Tue 23-Feb-16 11:12:23

You need to have a full and frank discussion with him. And yes, for those 12 years you were working too just not earning - enabling him to concentrate on work and earn. This is not what he is doing now. If he were, he would be far too busy to be depressed.

I am guessing that he is still suffering from depression rather than lazyness, btw.

Wolfiefan Tue 23-Feb-16 11:15:54

"Too busy to be depressed" really?
So busy people don't get depression?

LaurieLemons Tue 23-Feb-16 11:16:58

If he was looking after the kids and doing the housework while you worked then fair enough but it sounds like he's not pulling his weight. I mean, did you not work because you just couldn't be bothered or so you could take care of the home/kids better? Could be depression and/or pure laziness. He hasn't earnt ANYTHING in 6 months? He either needs to up his game or give it up and take over with the kids after school/housework.

magicstar1 Tue 23-Feb-16 11:30:19

"He never said a word about me not earning"
But you'd saved enough before marriage to buy outright with no mortgage....that's enough for anyone to do! Basically you've provided the family home, and now you're the sole earner to keep everything going. He needs to step up, go to his GP and try to get some can't continue like this.

SevenOfNineTrue Tue 23-Feb-16 11:49:54

He sounds like he is already in a depressed state. The not going to work regularly, not caring about money, not bothering to help out in the home etc all signs of it.

Can you suggest he goes back to his GP?

Jux Tue 23-Feb-16 17:05:16

Sorry, WolfieFan. That was a thoughtless and stupid thing to say. flowers

Of course busy people get depressed. I apologise unreservedly.

myname2016 Tue 23-Feb-16 17:07:46


Skrewt Tue 23-Feb-16 18:01:34

We are in Ireland and the €60 to visit the GP plus subsequent counselling/medication are just beyond our budget at the moment. I don't know - I just don't feel I can carry him anymore. Sometimes it feels like I am pushing the whole family uphill and they#re digging their heels in as we go!
When I try to talk to him it's like there's no-one home. I guess it doesn't sound very good

myname2016 Tue 23-Feb-16 18:21:06

You shouldn't have to Skrewt. Feel cross on your behalf really.

LifeofI Tue 23-Feb-16 18:27:22

He is depressed again

BlimeyCrikey Tue 23-Feb-16 18:36:15

I'm sad for you as it sounds so hard. I've been in a different, but in some ways similar, situation. I had to get very tough and persuasive to make dh realise he needed to get out there. He didn't even have hobbies though and if I were you, no matter how frustrating it must be, I'd encourage the cycling. Exercise is good for depression and it's great that he does go out.

I'm sorry I don't have much to add, I think it's hard to come out of that negative mindset and feel motivated again. Everyone is different, I hope you can both sort it out very soon.

fakenamefornow Tue 23-Feb-16 18:45:34


I've been trying to pm you but for some reason I can't. Will you PM me so that I can reply?

LizKeen Tue 23-Feb-16 18:57:15

If you were able to get him to contribute to the household and childcare would you be able to get a higher paying job?

Do you ever challenge him on the household stuff or the childcare? What is his response?

SolidGoldBrass Tue 23-Feb-16 19:05:51

Hang on - what is this business of his? Has it ever brought in more than pocket money? You bought the family home, so it was your money that was keeping a roof over the family's heads while you raised the children.

As to his business, is it something that was once sustainable and isn't any more? (If it's something like photography or anything artistic, he won't be the first perfectly capable and talented professional to go under now that there has been this cultural shift towards the idea that people in the artistic/creative industries should do their work for love rather than money). He may have to shut it down and look for another job - or, at least, take on his share of housework and childcare.

Twinsareplenty Tue 23-Feb-16 19:11:56

Depression is immensely difficult to deal with and discuss - but the first step has to be talking, and then the GP, regardless of the cost it has to be done or you just won't move from the point you're at now.
He needs to accept where he is now before he can move forwards.
He won't progress or change without input - and an open talk with a decent GP is probably the best option, but very tricky to achieve.
All easy to type, very hard to put into practice. Good luck.

LadyB49 Tue 23-Feb-16 19:13:36

Is there no way to access GP for healthcare, for those who can't afford it.

If not, I'd somehow scrape together enough to get him to the GP. But go with him to make sure the most is made of the appointment, that GP understands how bad it is and also that GP helps as much as possible without unnecessary costly visits. Would GP do a telephone appointment, you speak to GP and then hand phone to dh. Would medical practice have help available for patients in your position.

Take some action.....

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