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Partner doesn't want me to do another degree, and I'm starting to feel resentful

(147 Posts)
ela2 Mon 21-Aug-17 20:31:39

I feel like I made a big mistake with my first degree. I've done my a levels in both science and non-science subjects, but because of various influences at young age I decided to go for a liberal arts subject. I've been regretting it for the last 10 years and I've been dreaming of qualifying in a more science based subject.

Up until three years ago I was in unstable relationships and had to support myself, so I wasn't able to do much towards this dream. I have just been working hard, collecting money and in the end managed to purchase a small house. When I got with my partner he was on a similar salary to me. We have since got engaged and had a child. My partner has also received a massive pay rise and is now on £60k.

I'm going back to work after maternity, four days a week, in two weeks. Since I felt we'd be rather comfortable on our combined salaries I started to explore my options for further education.

Basically the problem is - I'm constantly facing opposition from my partner. Initially I wanted to take a year out (in a year's time) to do a masters. He pretty much had a panic attack and told me it won't work financially (btw he wasn't worried about the postgraduate loan - just living costs.) I then said perhaps I could do an accounting BSc part time at a local uni. Again he started suggesting some "other options" like a cheap distance learning course (at a crappy uni.) Okay, I considered and agreed. Then he's done further research and is now suggesting I completely forego the degree and just do accounting qualifications with CIMA (again, because it's cheaper.) He is also suggesting that I wouldn't even need to take any time out (I mean in the evenings) for learning since "you can just study when you have quiet periods at work."

I feel like he is being unfair and expects that if I do something like that it has to be on the cheap (ideally free), while working near full time and doing most of childcare. I understand he is concerned about money but it's not like I won't be contributing at all. I feel like he would ideally want me to stay at my current job, work there full time to bring money so we can both save to fulfil his dream - a big house in the countryside. I already bought the house we live in, and I feel like I've been working long enough in my unsatisfying job just for money to now allow myself an opportunity to re-qualify. Plus it's not like I want to pursue a career as a painter, this would be a good long term investment for us as my earning potential would increase once qualified.

Ive told him all of this, and he "gets it" in theory but in practise still presents either with panic attacks or silent treatment whenever I discuss these plans with him.

He is otherwise an amazingly caring man, very family orientated and kind. I don't know if I'm beating unreasonable and selfish by wanting this for myself. I calculated that if I do the distance learning accounting and self finance it, we'd still be able to save £20k next year - but he still says no. I don't know what to think anymore.

StillDrivingMeBonkers Mon 21-Aug-17 20:36:37

Out of curiosity , what do you intend to do with your science degree?

Ropsleybunny Mon 21-Aug-17 20:37:35

I definitely think you should do the degree you want to do. If you don't you will regret it forever. If science is your passion then go for that. Do not compromise, dig your heels in and go for it.

ClashCityRocker Mon 21-Aug-17 20:43:45

He might be right that an accounting qualification such as cima or acca would maybe be better than a degree... But it seems like he doesn't want you to do anything?

ela2 Mon 21-Aug-17 20:45:16


I'm looking into either Accounting or Computer Science, both would really open up my career prospects. I work within my organisation's finance department already and I have been previously involved with internal IT systems redevelopment and review.

I suck at office politics and soft skills, going into high profile meetings gives me anxiety - because of my social skills but also because I never feel equally qualified or knowledgeable compared to the people I work with. I really flourish in roles where I can work on my own and apply logic / qualitative skills.

theancientmarinader Mon 21-Aug-17 20:45:47

Studying with small children is very hard. Much harder than working for an employer while the kids are in childcare. It's impossible to do anything in the evenings unless the other partner is 100% on board and takes on all aspects of the childcare (cooking, bathing, night time routines) for pretty much all of the time.

Notwithstanding the financial angle, I would not be considering study without a fully supportive partner. To fix that, you either change the plan or the partner (or buy in the 'support' you need as a compromise).

I would be tempted to adopt a 'reconsider in 6 months' approach at this point. Wait and see how you (both) cope with working outside of the home with a baby, how the domestic labour shakes down, how the new routine feels - who does the laundry, who cooks the dinner, who bathes the baby, who puts her down to sleep, who does any night wakings, how you organise the shower/ breakfast drop off in a limited time etc.

In the intervening six months, you can continue to think about what you want for your family. Are you planning more children in a year or two that will both increase costs/ time/ domestic labour and reduce your capacity to study? Is getting a full time nanny/ housekeeper financially possible if you both decide that two completely fulfilled parents are a necessity?

After six months back at work you will know if you want to be there, or if you need to be somewhere else.

AccrualIntentions Mon 21-Aug-17 20:46:06

He's right about the accounting qualification, if that's the work you actually want to go into. I'm a chartered accountant with an arts degree.

If you want to study science in its own right or to lead to a science based career then it's a different question, but to work in finance or accountancy, the degree is nothing compared to the professional qualifications.

StillDrivingMeBonkers Mon 21-Aug-17 20:48:46

Right. Thinking outside the box. If you didn't have a DP to financially rely upon, would you be able to pursue this degree?

PlasticSwissie Mon 21-Aug-17 20:57:21

As AccrualIntentions (love the username!) says you would be better with an accounting qualification. Even with an accounting degree you would still need one to open up your career opportunities. I'm another qualified accountant with an arts degree, and in fact nobody in my department studied accounting at university.

If you don't want to squeeze CIMA or similar around work (understandable!) would changing job and looking for a training contract be an option?

NeonFlower Mon 21-Aug-17 20:58:38

Maybe achieving a certain lifestyle or sense of financial security is important to him. Maybe he wonders about the value of another degree. Maybe he wonders what would happen financially if you seperated. It sounds to me like he is struggling with this because he wants to be supportive but doesn't really think it is a great idea. Now that might be because he sees your role in the family in quite a limited way, or it might be because he thinks you are being self indulgent. Hard to tell from the outside. Could you get on a degree apprenticeship do you think.

AccrualIntentions Mon 21-Aug-17 20:58:54

PlasticSwissie thanks, I like an accounting pun grin

RedSkyAtNight Mon 21-Aug-17 21:00:00

If you want a job in IT, a computer science degree is also not necessarily a great choice. Th, your DP notwithstanding it doesn't sound like you''re very clear what you actually want a degree for. Why not work that out first?

PigOnStilts Mon 21-Aug-17 21:04:21

OP, With kids and in those sectors, I'd always say go for professional qualifications every time!

dun1urkin Mon 21-Aug-17 21:04:25

No point doing an accounting degree really, I think he's right.
It's a bit of a waste of time, and won't really increase your chances of working in finance at a higher level. If you already work in the finance team, will work support you to study? (Financially, study leave, both?)
(Science degree, CPFA here)

5rivers7hills Mon 21-Aug-17 21:04:37

Accounting degree is a total waste of time. Do your ACCA or CIMA if you want to be an accountant.

To be honest tho, I'm not sure I'd be super positive about my partner wanting to take time out and take on debt at such an expensive and stressful time (new baby).

5rivers7hills Mon 21-Aug-17 21:05:25

You could see if young could work 4 days a week and study for ACCA one day a week (you would have to son kore during exam times).

That wouldn't be such a financial shock.

ela2 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:05:48

@AccrualIntentions @PlasticSwissie

First of all congratulations on getting into accounting, there's so much studying involved and I have upmost respect for people in the profession.

I understand a degree is not needed to succeed in the profession but I found a degree that incorporates CIMA within, so you end up both with a BSc and CIMA (Advanced Management Accountant level) so I feel this would look decent on my CV and take the same amount of time.

Someone asked if I'd be able to do it without his financial support - yes. Im earning enough in my current job. It would be tight but doable.

5rivers7hills Mon 21-Aug-17 21:05:58

But you still have to talk to people and run meetings as an accountant, especially the higher up you get.

dun1urkin Mon 21-Aug-17 21:08:49

But you could do a full professional qualification in the same amount of time that it takes to do a degree.
I did mine in three years and three months.

HeebieJeebies456 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:12:34

Why do you give him so much control over you and your life?
I'm getting the feeling that you've ended up with another abusive arsehole but can't see it.

He obviously doesn't want you to feel fulfilled and happy in your life - hence him suggesting you accept 'second best/crappy' compromises
I get the feeling this is more about him being resentful of having to spend his money hmm
He wants you to be constantly 'paying your way' - despite living in YOUR house hmm

I'd see this as a red flag OP.
Right now, he's in a stronger financial position and still doesn't consider it 'family' money' or want to share it with you...which is why he thinks he can veto your ideas
He's already laying claim to your income (has to be saved)
He expects you to help him fulfill his dream of living in a big house at the expense of your own future
He knows he can call the shots if you are in the 'weaker' position and dependent/relying on him

Studying not only will make you happy, but it will also open doors for you professionally and financially
It will give you more independence and control over your own life - you could even end up out-earning him

Please make yourself a priority, OP and safeguard your house/assets.
The fact that you were able to buy a house despite being on the same salary as him shows your different attitudes to money.

ela2 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:13:01

@dun1urkin I would like to start the qualification and self finance the first year, then approach my employer for support / experience.

Someone said they wouldn't be happy if their partner was taking time out and going into debt. The option I'm considering now involves no time out and no debt, just a financial commitment of about £4K in the first year and possibly less down the line (hoping for employer support.) Even with the expense we'd still be able to save about £20k next year, plus I'd be earning £26k on my four days a week so not exactly taking the money out of my partners pocket.

Florence16 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:15:13

Management Accounting is all about the relationships you craft out. I'm chartered and in an entry role (BA degree here too) and have four meetings I present monthly finances at, as well as three big formal meetings in general goings on with senior teams and other ad hoc meetings that slot in around those. The higher you go in my patch the more senior the people you meet with and more meetings you go to. You are encouraged out of the office to meet people and you'd be on £20k or less if you were trying to avoid that as much as possible.

Have you got a coach or a mentor? I'm wondering if someone could help you talk it out and pinpoint your best options. My DH never went to uni and would love to now. It would be too tight though, he'd not earn anymore than he does now after it and isn't unhappy in his current profession. That ship has sailed for him unless we win the lottery really.

ela2 Mon 21-Aug-17 21:20:34


"I get the feeling this is more about him being resentful of having to spend his money
He wants you to be constantly 'paying your way' - despite living in YOUR house"

This, and a lot of the other stuff you said, is exactly the feeling I've been getting but I didn't know if I was being unreasonable. He definitely wants me to be constantly paying my way, and it sometimes gives me a feeling he reckons I'm only as good as the financial contribution I make.

I don't really care about a big house in the countryside, it's far more important for me to feel fulfilled in life.

oldbirdy Mon 21-Aug-17 21:20:38

I can kind of see where he's coming from. If I had a small baby now, and my partner was looking to study and work, my head would be screaming that the studying will be after work and at weekends and I would therefore be expected to a) look after the baby solo and b) keep it quiet and out of the way on top of my working day. This would be a recipe for resentment in those early years of childrearing which are so bloody relentless anyway.

If you were my partner, I would have utmost respect for your long term plan and be supportive - but not right now. I would be discussing whether we have all kids close together if we are planning more than one, or stick at one - and maybe start this retraining once the kids are a little more self sufficient and we are less dog tired; probably when the youngest starts school.

Might that be a compromise?

dun1urkin Mon 21-Aug-17 21:24:09

As an employer I wouldn't support a degree. I would, however, consider supporting professional studies.

You have said you are hoping for your employer's support - have you explored this with them? Does your employer have a study policy?

I am honestly still confused as to why you want to do a degree so much.


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