To think this is NOT a partnership?!?!(51 Posts)
I have a close friend who has unburdened herself of her relationship woes to me but she thinks my exclamations of “Why the fuck are you still together?!” are “a bit much”. I’m interested to know what you MNers think.
They’ve been together 10ish years and have 3 young DC’s. She works PT from home, he works FT out of the home.
From what she’s told me (and what I’ve seen) her role in the family covers :
16 hours a week work, all childcare (including helping with homework/attending open evenings etc),all meal planning/shopping/cooking, all cleaning/washing/ironing, all birthday/Christmas/holiday planning, all gifts/cards for his family, all budgeting.
His role is :
Working (5 days a week, leaves home around 6am,returns around 7pm), organising tax/insurance etc for his car, taking the DC’s to their swimming lesson at the weekend.
Ikind of knew most of this but she has never asked for my opinion on any of this so I have never given it.
What she has recently told me, and what has prompted me to more actively question why the hell she is putting up with it, is that he is currently under some sort of financial order (I can’t remember what she said it was called) because he had, unknown to her, run up debts which he couldn’t pay back. She has no idea how much the debts are, nor what the money was used for and he point blank refuses to discuss it with her.
She pays all the household bills from her account and has to ask him for money to put towards them.
To me, all this is intolerable. She is upset and angry about it but doesn’t seem to realise quite how far from reasonable it is! She says “he’s a good dad” as though that somehow excuses the fact that he treats her like this!
Admittedly, after some disastrous relationships, I can be pretty anti-men so quite often keep my mouth shut when friends talk about their partners but I don’t think my reaction to this is unreasonable!
Incidentally, she is currently on anti-depressants due to a period of depression and anxiety which led to her not wanting to leave the house and him telling her she needed to sort herself out because he was “Sick of her being a miserable bitch”.
What the fuck?!?!
The sheer number of intelligent, funny, capable women putting up with shitty relationships never fails to amaze me!
I'm afraid I did go into a bit of a rant about him taking the absolute piss out of her but I am gobsmacked that she seems to think I am overreacting. (I did apologise for my ragey rant) but am interested to know whether other people think that this relationship is anywhere near normal?
Jesus it's not that bad. I don't think they should necessarily split over that scenario. He's not abusive to her is he?
I would just think about being more assertive with getting him to do more housework and childcare. If he refused to help more then that's different.
The financial arrangement is a massive red flag. His attitude that she's 'at home' so can do everything is shit as well but she needs to deal with him on that. She didn't like your response, but it has given her food for thought. She has to work it out for herself.
Just re-read the last bit. If she's unhappy and he's being verbally abusive then that's a big issue and something to end the relationship over.
But YABU to not allow her to sound off and then tell her to leave him and get annoyed when she doesn't immediately do what you say. You need to be supportive rather than judgemental.
It doesn't matter if anyone else thinks it's normal. In life, the person moaning about something can bitch, but they will usually get defensive if anyone else does.
Sick of her being a miserable bitch, when she is suffering from depression. Not telling her how he ran up the debt. She pays all the bills from her part time wage. Sounds pretty abusive to me.
What joy does she get from this man? He doesn't sound fun. She may find the depression lifts if he leaves, she may be better off financially and get more time to herself if he has the children eow. He can be a 'good' dad still.
It may be best to be sympathetic but not too pushy. Get her to explore how it would work financially if they split up as a starting point. Knowledge is power.
He sounds awful. But I don't think her reaction is unusual. Moaning about your partner is one thing, but for the person you're moaning to to say you should leave is a very difficult thing for most people to take in. It's not surprising she got defensive.
The financial arrangements for bill paying are not good (you don't say what she does PT in terms of work but I'm guessing she's not a hugely high earner).
His attitude to her depression is awful.
The running up of debt without telling her, and refusing to tell her what it's about, is awful.
The rest (in terms of household organisation - kids, shopping, housework, cooking, organisation of Christmas and birthday type stuff) is probably fairly standard when one parent is either a SAHM or works very part time. Not ideal - there should be more of a balance - but fairly standard.
I'm a SAHM who does about 6-7 hours voluntary type work a week (so basically 'at home with the kids') and I would say I do pretty much everything you are describing she does in terms of how the house runs, other than DH doing some cooking and washing up. Difference being, I have full access to household finances despite the fact he is sole financial contributor, he is not in debt and doesn't treat me nastily as you describe him doing to her.
So I would say you are slightly over reacting (and have a view possibly coloured by your own shitty relationships) to some of it but you are very right in your reactions to the rest.
he had, unknown to her, run up debts which he couldn’t pay back. She has no idea how much the debts are, nor what the money was used for and he point blank refuses to discuss it with her. She pays all the household bills from her account and has to ask him for money to put towards them
she is currently on anti-depressants due to a period of depression and anxiety which led to her not wanting to leave the house and him telling her she needed to sort herself out because he was “Sick of her being a miserable bitch”
He's definitely emotionally and financially abusive.
I think your friend knows this really by the fact she is opening up to you. She is probably not ready to take the first step yet and your reaction makes her realise that things really are that bad. She's probably been in denial and it's no wonder she's depressed.
Just be there for her as it looks like she is going to need you a lot in the future.
If she's got anxiety you probably need to be a bit nicer and more tactful about it.
Also, posting what she's told you about in confidence on a public online forum isn't great.
ShowMePotatoSaladI did allow her to sound off and I apologised for having a rant about it. I also didn't tell her to leave him, I asked her why they are still together - as in "What does he bring to the table?" and I didn't "get annoyed when she doesn't immediately do what you say". I was, am, shocked that she seems resigned to it.
I find it odd that you think him running up debts behind her back, threatening the financial security of her and their children and leaving pretty much every part of running their family down to her is "not that bad".
She wasnt particularly defensive about my response, she said she agrees and doesn't know why she outs up with it. I'm not going to push her to leave, etc., she is a grown woman and capable of making her own decisions. I'm posting more because I'm wondering if this is more "normal" than I would have thought.
I don't think I was "not nice" and as for tactful, we've been friends for 20 years, tact doesn't come into the equation for either of us - we are both pretty straight-talking and she wouldn't expect anything different from me, nor I from her.
I have her permission to post on MN about it, I would never have done so otherwise.
The fact that he won't tell her what he spent the money from these debts on and that she has to ask him for a contribution towards their finances brought me to the same conclusion as you. Seems crazy to me that she is struggling to make ends meet while he is doing Christ knows what with his money!
I wonder if he was from a 'traditional' family set up, where dad went to work and mum stayed home and did everything around the family...
My ex (kids' dad) was like this. He 'went out to work', so that was his contribution to the family. In total. I did EVERYTHING else, from childcare to holiday planning, decorating, cooking, because I didn't work outside the home. To him, that was how families worked.
I disagreed, of course, and divorced him, but it might be why your friend's OH behaves like he does. Does she know that's not how families generally work in the twenty first century?
He's not abusive to her is he?
Apart from withholding money from her, running up debts behind her back and jeopardising the family's economic well being, refusing to tell her why he ran up the debts, not helping with the housework and being emotionally and verbally abusive to her when she is suffering from a mental illness.
Nah, he sounds absolutely lovely.
He's not abusive to her is he?
One might consider running up debts and refusing to say what the money has been spent on as financially abusive.
x post with Papafran who put it more eloquently than me
Dietcokeandwine Do you mind doing so much more than your partner? If your partner didn't allow you access to the finances, would you go along with it or would that be a deal breaker?
My thoughts exactly!
To people now sending me messages because I said he wasn't abusive, read my second message and then kindly leave me alone.
OP, you clearly read my second message because you responded to me saying YABU. But you conveniently didnt see the bit where I said I re-read and agree he's being abusive?
ShowMePotatoSalad Yes, I did read your second message and acknowledged that you think him being verbally abusive is an issue to the end the relationship over. What I questioned is why you think financially controlling someone and treating them with disdain isn't also abusive?
The fact I didn't mention it doesn't mean I think it's not abusive. The verbal abuse is reason enough. The financial control is also abuse. Either situation is enough of a reason to end the relationship.
So he works full time and she has to ask him for a 'CONTRIBUTION' when she can't manage to meet all the bills on her part time wage?
His entire input into the family is taking the kids to their swimming lesson and begrudgingly giving some money towards the house and bills that HE LIVES in?
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