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Not sure how to get past this impasse.

(38 Posts)
AgentZigzag Thu 11-Oct-12 01:14:11

I'm on employment support allowance and after a medical they said I'm still eligible for it until 2014 but we're above the income allowed to get it, so my benefit stops in five weeks time.

The jobs I can look for are limited because I have really bad OCD/related anxiety shit, but I was motivated to finding something I could do, I've been working at my qualifications in the time I've not had a job so at least I have things on my CV. Joined all the job websites, looking at working from home, making things for ebay, cleaning, further training to make use of my qualifications, how to improve my CV, got myself some interview clothes etc etc.

But one of the things I did to prepare for the money stopping was to go through our accounts, see if I could get better deals on direct debits and that. I also went through the shop receipts because I knew we spent a bit on alcohol but wanted to know exactly how much. DH knew I was doing this and seemed fine, he drinks a fair bit (as I do) but I don't keep track on how much or what it costs, it's never a problem behaviour wise or anything.

The receipts showed his alcohol was costing four times as much as mine (not telling you what mine costs though wink). It's a fair whack and I said he'll probably have to make inroads into cutting some of it out, I also said me cutting down on what I drink isn't really going to solve any problems, and he didn't take kindly to that and said he's not making all the sacrifices because he goes out to work and earns all the cash so he'll be buggered if he's going to go without any of the alcohol if I'm not.

I can kind of see his point and it did look like I was saying it was all up to him, his alcohol bill is huge though! But that's not what's bothering me, it's the fact that he tried to pull rank on me with regards to him being the one in work so he gets more say than me on the money front.

I've always done the finances, he's never been interested in where it goes before. He's never once insinuated that I'm anything less than an equal partner in our relationship. He goes out to work full time and I look after the children and house, he doesn't do anything during the week at home (but is fine if I ask him to) and I'm totally alright with this.

Before my money's even stopped though he's trying to make me feel like I'm a subordinate in my own home. He was going on about why I'd only applied for one job yet, which is a combination of my OCD/anxieties and lack of confidence and the fact that there aren't any to apply for. And when I said that he said well get a cleaning job - which I'd already said I would do!

He's just totally undermined the drive I had for looking for work and I feel like a cunt for the efforts I've put in so far. I'm also worried about the way this is going, I don't want to feel beholden to him, but he's already bloody using it as an argument that he can drink as much as he likes regardless of the cost.

This happened on Sunday and he apologised a couple of hours after and has tried to talk to me a couple of times, which after we've had words I would usually have calmed down and everything would be OK quite quickly, but I don't know what to say to him so I've said nothing sad I know I do this with other people and just shut down into myself, but I never have with him. I'm worried in case it shuts something off in my head and this will get worse rather than better.

It looks like I'm sulking from the outside, but I'm really not a sulker, I loathe it. This is more because I just feel so hurt and a bit betrayed by him using that against me when he knows what losing the benefit and the prospect of having to replace the money means to me, and I don't feel I can or want to talk to him about it. I don't want to give him anything else of myself because I'm in such a vulnerable position.

Sorry I've rambled, it's been going round my head since Sunday and I keep ranting to myself about it when nobody's around grin but it can't keep on like this for much longer and I don't know how to crack it.

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Oct-12 01:15:37

Bugger, meant to change the title because it's not really an impasse as he's OK now and it's me who's being the PITA.

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Oct-12 01:16:37

But then he's not saying anything either!

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Oct-12 01:17:31

I'm just going to fill this thread up on my own - save having to hear any difficult answers posted grin

When he apologised what did he specifically apologise for?

Could he be worried too about the loss of money and hes just taken it on on you wrongly in the heat of a discussion where he felt attacked over the drinking?

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Oct-12 01:35:18

He said he shouldn't have said what he did and I should know by now that he says things he doesn't mean when he's stressed.

We don't argue very often, but when we do it's usually because I've brought something up he doesn't want to talk about (usually if I'm forced to, like with the money).

I told him it didn't cut any ice this time.

I know he is genuinely sorry and during our text argument afterwards (to save doing it in front of the DC) he did say there was a grain of truth in what he said. He must be worried about the money, but how much of that is worried about losing the alcohol and how much about how there might be a change in the role we both have to play in the relationship, I couldn't say.

izzyizin Thu 11-Oct-12 01:38:04

In saying that 'he's OK now', are you saying he's agreed to cut down his alcohol intake to balance his family's books, as it were, and recognises that, if his dw was not around to provide childcare and multitask all of the skills it takes to keep a household running smoothly, he'd be shelling out so much of his income to buy in the necessary services that he'd be lucky to afford to buy a pint a week?

Firstly, to even need to discuss how much is spent weekly on alcohol is a major problem. For both of you. And that really does need addressed.

Secondly, as Izzy says, does he value the conttributions you make even though they arent financial? IMO this is really important. If he doesnt it really is a fundamental problem.

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Oct-12 11:26:13

He does value what I do, maybe he doesn't notice as such because it's always been the same and I've never not done it, but he's a considerate and not unreasonable person.

By saying he's OK now I mean he calmed down quickly and isn't one to play games or stubbornly point score to 'win', going on how he's been in the past I would say he'll cut the drink down, he has when we've been skint in the past.

I really couldn't give a monkeys about how much he drinks though, we don't go on at each other about stuff, unless it's causing a problem he can do as he pleases. It's the way he chose to make a stand which makes me wonder what it's going to be like when my money does stop.

It's not a surprise that after staying the same for so long, things changing are causing problems, but I wouldn't have predicted he'd react like that.

BessieMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 15:21:16

I think you touched a nerve by demonstrating how much he actually does drink.

Most people (me) realise when they are probably drinking a bit more than is good for them (there is a risk of long term liver damage) and tell themselves that they will/should cut down, but when the time comes say sod it. But still feel a bit guilty about it. So he was peeved that you flagged up his drinking and he made the comment about him paying for it because he was annoyed.

I am trying to stop the large gin or two in the evening because i suspect it affects my sleep (more likely to wake at night) and possibly my mood (makes me a bit grumpier the next day).

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Oct-12 16:46:10

You're right Bessie, before I looked it was all guesswork.

It's always easier to think about cutting it down when it's in the future.

It's also made me think whether I'd be trying to get a job to pay for the alcohol bill, which is a bit cheeky given he's been the main breadwinner for so long, but I can't help it crossing my mind.

izzyizin Thu 11-Oct-12 17:44:45

C'mon, Ziggy, don't be coy - how much are the his and hers alcohol bills? grin

Are all drinks consumed at home or is some of the cost expended at assorted hostelries? Does it include entertaining? I can easily blow a considerable sum on booze if I'm hosting a dinner party/Sunday brunch/other soiree.

Do you insist on favoured brands or would there be some scope for saving by switching to Lidl/Aldi's range of spirits - personally, I wouldn't ever skimp on the quality of the mixers but unless I'm drinking, say, a whisky sour my tastebuds are such that they can't detect the difference between famous brands and own brands in a cocktail.

Getting a job to fund one's drinking habit is something of a novel idea. Maybe you'll start a trend smile

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Oct-12 18:01:48

Hahahaha as if I'm going to air all my dirty laundry izzy grin

Lets say I worked it out over the month and it came to the yearly income for a small country grin

No hostelries or entertaining involved, some of his are favoured brands, but not hugely expensive.

I'm like Bessie and in the week I have a couple of large ones between 6 and 8 (we eat at 8), but have a lot bit more at the weekend, whereas DH will drink from when he gets home until when he goes to bed.

BessieMcBean Thu 11-Oct-12 20:18:09

Of course alcohol also increases the risks of breast cancer so we shouldn't really ignore the issues.

Try to find something to do in the evenings which you'd do better without a drink. That's a good disincentive.

izzyizin Thu 11-Oct-12 20:27:44

What a poser, Bessie... I don't imbibe every night but I can't think of anything I can do better in the evening without a drink hmm

HanSolo Thu 11-Oct-12 21:05:34

Cross stitch perhaps?
Driving
erm- bound to be quite a few things

izzyizin Fri 12-Oct-12 05:23:16

My embroidery skills improve with every sip stich, Han, and given a crate of the hard stuff I've got no doubt that I could create a tapesty to rival that of Bayeux in a lot less time.

Driving is possibly the exception that proves the rule but not necessarily if you're motoring on private roads.

It's a tough one, Bessie, so over to you - what can you do better in the evening without benefit of a little alcoholic liquid refreshment? hmm

I'll show you mine in the hope that you'll show me yours. Ziggy. A couple of bevvies say twice a week at the Dorchester on the way home from work adds up to some four grand a year, not that I always buy my own iyswim wink

By contrast my regular weekly order of 6 Stellas from the bargain basement late night offy comes to a more modest £130 p.a

Cutting down on any excess thing is something I prefer not to think about hell, I tell ya grin

mistlethrush Fri 12-Oct-12 05:47:45

The issue isn't the alcohol though is it? The issue is that your DH considers that its his right to use the money he brings in to spend (excessively) on alcohol even though, as a family, you really can't afford quite as much (and presumably expects you to cut back instead, even though you have a less excessive habit). That effectively says 'I bring the money in, you are just 'staff'. That devalues your contribution to the partnership - housekeeping, childcare etc. It might also suggest that he either has more of a problem with alcohol than he's prepared to admit, or that he's aware of it but not yet prepared to deal with it.

IN terms of your 'impasse', can you explain to him that this makes you feel as though you're not equal partners and that this has really upset you?

ErikNorseman Fri 12-Oct-12 07:27:26

Well he was wrong to say he should get to spend £xxx because he earns the money, obviously, but you were also wrong when you told him he would need to cut down on alcohol but there is no point you doing so!

If you, collectively, spend so much on booze that it is affecting your finances, then you have a problem, both of priorities and of dependence. So maybe he drinks single malt and you drink red plonk, the point remains that you both need to pull together. If you both drink 4x a week for eg, yours costing £6 and his costing £20, well the cost is an issue but it would be absurd for you to sit there drinking wine going 'Lalala my drinking is fine' while he has to cut back on cost grounds. It's an effort you both need to make.

MorrisZapp Fri 12-Oct-12 08:15:14

Exactly what Erik said. I'm really sorry, but you can't just say 'alcohol isn't the issue'. Alcohol clearly is a huge issue for you both.

You can't ask him to cut down while refusing to address your own intake. To be fair, I can see why that infuriated him.

mistlethrush Fri 12-Oct-12 08:20:42

Lets be fair about this though - if OP cuts down on 25% of her consumption - its not going to make that much difference. If her H cuts down on 25% of his consumption that's the whole of the OPs consumption money - which is much more of a difference - so in monetary terms, of course its not going to make the same difference if OP does the same degree of cutting back compared to her DH.

I'm not sure that the OP is refusing to cut back (from her post) - just that, if she does, its not going to make enough of a difference.

Feckbox Fri 12-Oct-12 08:26:13

I work, my partner is the sahp, like you not through active choice.
If he went through our finances and Immediately identified my wine consumption as something that had to be reduced I'd probably act the same way as your dh, which is not to say I'd be in the right.

You both sound pretty reasonable actually , and I am impressed you are considering all options for work. We have a massive issue because my dh is somewhat work shy ( my view not his )

ErikNorseman Fri 12-Oct-12 08:27:09

That's fine if you are looking at it as purely a financial issue, which I don't believe it is (though it is part of it)

Helennn Fri 12-Oct-12 08:27:46

Putting the alcohol consumption issue to one side, the problem to me is the underlying "I earn the money so am entitled to spend it as I like" issue.

My dh is currently in Portugal on a golfing holiday (not cheap), whereas I have given up all my hobbies because we can't afford it. He has said this week that I should work more if I want to do these things, I pointed out how difficult it was as I do all the school runs, housework etc., and he said "well, others do it".

Like you I am now suffering from depression and anxiety and feel pretty worthless, so you have to be really careful to get to the bottom of this before it destroys your relationship and you.

mistlethrush Fri 12-Oct-12 08:29:42

Helenn - present him with an invoice that covers all the work you do on a daily basis - including any time at the weekend when he is not also helping with the house or the children. I'm sure that people could help out with letting you know what childminders charge for after school care, meal preparation etc....

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