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Pressure from DH

(106 Posts)
BranchingOut Tue 05-Mar-13 09:40:22

Trouble has cropped up again with my husband...

I am sitting down to write this quickly now, otherwise I am in danger of splurging on the first sympathetic person I see at work.

I have posted a few threads before, so feel free to look for some of my old ones. The potted history is that we have been together 20 years, married 10 and have a son of 3 years.

When my son was 1 year old we went through a terrible patch in our marriage. I had not returned to work (employer refused pt working) so was at home for a year. At the end of the year, after a lot of searching, I managed to get a different pt job. During that year DH gave me a really hard time about being out of work, said he wasn't sure about being married anymore and went 'cold' (not really speaking to me apart from neutral matters, no physical affection, expressing lots of doubt about the relationship). This went on for five months.

My previous job had been a senior teacher (SLT) - earning about 50k but hugely long hours and lots of pressure. I was probably earning the most that I could reasonably expect to do as a teacher.

DH works in the city - long, unpredictable hours and lots of pressure, but earns £100k plus.

We have good standard of living, but live in quite an expensive area of London so nothing hugely extravagant. 3 bed house, but nice car and the occasional holiday. Quite a lot in savings - including a £90k inheritance from one of my relations.

I am not boasting about any of this and count my blessings on a regular basis.
I think we are extraordinarily lucky, wealthier than we ever dreamed of being etc.

The job I have, in the voluntary sector, has all sorts of advantages. It is part time, 3 days a week for now but could probably convert into a school hours job when my son is at school. However, the pay is poor - £28K pro rata. So I bring home less than 20k, which is a lot less than what I was earning before. Plus I lurve my job and colleagues, and they are hugely tolerant of all nursery runs etc. The quality of the work I get to do is also excellent - national intiatives etc.

I am due to get a re-grade (slight promotion, maybe £1.5k more) and last night, before we went to sleep, DH suddenly started asking why this hadn't happened yet and feeling that I should leave to get a better paid job. He came out with gems such as 'I have to shoulder all the burden of breadwinning, it would be nice if you could contribute', said that my employers treat me like 'a dogsbody' and that 'You live the life but I am supporting it'. He thinks I should give in my notice if this re-grade does not come through.

I pointed out that my job might involve him giving some of the flexibility around childcare if I were to get a better paid job, but he seems to think that all part-time jobs would offer that. I currently do almost all nursery runs, childcare arrangements etc.

I am just feeling really upset about some of the things he said and wondering which direction things are going in.

I was half wondering whether to confide in my immediate boss, who is lovely, and possibly hope that this might exert a bit of leverage around the re-grade, as I don't think they would want to lose me.

Feeling miserable and biting back a few tears, but relieved to be able to get this out on MN.

Got to go now, but

BranchingOut Tue 05-Mar-13 09:41:46

sorry for unfinished sentence, not sure what i was trying to say!

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Tue 05-Mar-13 09:47:19

If he would be prepared to downsize, perhaps move to a cheaper area, take a step down career-wise, have a less flashy car, more modest holidays, and, yes, take on some of the childcare amd logistics - then I might think he had a point - NOT in being nasty to you about it, but in feeling as if he would like to share the financial responsibility more equally.

However, from your description I get the vibe that he wouldn't pull his weight childcare-wise and thinks that's what you're there for. angry

I wouldn't push for the regrade (although of course it would be nice for you, to have your work recognised). I would push for your dh to agree to relationship counselling and really thrash these issues out. It's not fair of him to resent you.

Good luck.

Thistledew Tue 05-Mar-13 09:47:34

The problem is not with your boss and how much you are paid, but with the fact that your husband values the financial contribution that you make to the relationship more than your happiness. Provided your decisions regarding work are not putting your family under financial stress, why shouldn't you pursue any career that makes you happy? Talk to your H, not your boss.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Mar-13 09:48:38

Please don't use your money-obsessed and disrespectful husband's words to try and lever a pay rise out of your boss, that is wholly unprofessional.

The rest of it ?

Who the fuck does this man think he is ? You sound like a bright, intelligent, independent woman. What the hell are you with such a cock for ?

GeorgianMumto5 Tue 05-Mar-13 09:48:57

Oh, BranchingOut, he's being completely unreasonable. I don't think you should have to press for this re-grade, unless that's something you want to do for you and your career. Doing it because dh is putting pressure on you might only damage your relationship with your boss. It won't make dh happy.

I get that he has financial worries and he sees higher earnings from you as a way out of them, but he sounds like he's become absorbed by his concerns and he's not being very nice. I know what it feels to be on the receiving end of that, so have an unmumsnetty hug.

I'm sorry - no real advice from me, but I didn't want your post to go unanswered.

AnythingNotEverything Tue 05-Mar-13 09:55:55

Sorry - didn't want to read and run (and hate to judge), but your relationship doesn't sound very equal. Money is not everything in life, and yet your husband seems to value his contribution to the family higher than yours.

Is your current job a good way to keep in your industry while managing family/childcare? Could it be seen as a short term compromise?

I suspect you and dh need an honest discussion about money, power, roles, and the future - not suggesting you separate, but he may be stressing about money because of a long held desire for early retirement, or paying the mortgage off quickly or something similar.

PeppermintPasty Tue 05-Mar-13 09:58:02

God I agree, it's your husband's perspective which is all wrong here.

It may have skewed your perspective too- 28k is a good wage taking into account all the other benefits along with it, plus what your husband is earning.

What is all this guff about him saying you should leave if you're not regraded? Does he not know what is going on out there at the moment?!! And as you say, the flexibility of your job affords him flexibility, even though he will conveniently ignore that.

You sound happy in your job, he should be happy for you too.

Who died and made him king?

something2say Tue 05-Mar-13 10:00:33

I think the thing is, you are married to someone who values money differently to you.

I was in the same boat. Felt I'd constantly have the huge mortgage and pressure of high paid work year in year out, in order to maintain a house I didnt really want. I left him and now work for a charity and earn the same as you, 28 k.

I would sit down and listen to him and say how you feel, and ask him h ow he feels, and then acknowledge the differences. Maybe walk away from the table with the differences still set out upon it, and not apologising for them.

Twenty years is a long time, you were probably quite young and you may have changed where he may still be motivated by money. Got much in your own name in case a split occurs? X

scaevola Tue 05-Mar-13 10:02:50

Well, he's being a knob, in terms of both when and how he chose to raise this subject.

As he works in the City, perhaps he is more accustomed to putting a price on things, rather than considering value. Appropriate at work, where you seek to maximise the cold hard cash; not right at home where you are seeking the right balance to get the life you both want.

I was wondering why he raised it - is his job less than secure? Does he want to feel less pressured (take a different role, perhaps)? These are valid thoughts, and perhaps can only be achieved with similar lifestyle if you earn more. Have you spoken recently about how he sees his job, and what he really wants to be doing with his life?

You might also like to point out the price of your domestic role. Have a look at ads for a live in nanny and a daily housekeeper. Tell him what that costs. Then tell him the value in excess of that - what it means to provide yourself for the needs of DCs, the stability of a home with united parents and what his role is in that (which sure as hell isn't cold-shouldering you for months over income). Tell him the value of your mental health and the importance of the fulfilment you find in your current role, and how that's worth more than the timing of the pay rise.

Tell him you'd swop money for contentment, and you'll look at downsizing, and ask how much he wants the family budget reduced by.

trustissues75 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:03:32

Wow. Was any of this discussed at all before having a child? Were his expectations that you would continue working and earning your previous amount of money and to heck with the child seeing his parents? Is he willing to look at other options or is this all really on you? He seems to be pretty unreasonable so far...

In fact scratch the above....the whole basically threatening to leave the marriage in that first year smacks of someone who is a horrible control freak....

BranchingOut Tue 05-Mar-13 10:04:51

Thanks, all.

Take point about not speaking to boss, although re-grade is something I have been hoping for too as at present I am working at a level that is higher than my grade, iyswim. Although I would love to talk to a human being about this right now....

We seriously don't have any financial worries. In fact, I downplayed his salary in the OP for privacy reasons and also because I have seen threads where people talk about high earnings go badly on MN. We also have a substantial sum in savings.

That is why I feel miserable - that sense of not being valued.

trustissues75 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:05:52

Also, does he show any signs of seeing value in you other than how much money you can earn while singlehandedly doing most of the grunt work as a parent?

Phineyj Tue 05-Mar-13 10:06:04

Your DH is bonkers -- that is actually a pretty good wage for a p/t job with that level of flexibility! I fear working in the City has completely skewed his idea of what average earnings are. There is a graphic, on the Guardian website I think, that will show you are in the top 5% of earners --higher even. Besides, what does it matter if you can pay the bills and be there for DC? angry

Phineyj Tue 05-Mar-13 10:06:58

As a couple, in the top 5%, I mean.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Mar-13 10:08:58

Greed can do strange things to people's sense of decency, I have found.

OP, your husband sounds like a twat.

coppertop Tue 05-Mar-13 10:09:02

The irony that your dh thinks it's your employers who are treating you like a dogsbody!

TeaMakesItAllPossible Tue 05-Mar-13 10:14:01

As others have said do not use your husband's emotional blackmail with your boss. AF is right, it's unprofessional.

It sounds like he doesn't value the non-financial contribution you're making.

I would suggest being unavailable for a week so he can see how flexible his own employers are, he can see what's involved in your contribution and so he can see the reality of the status quo. Perhaps you can volunteer at work for an assignment that requires you to work away for a couple of weeks? And leave him to it. Then sit down and talk about the additional financial and opportunity cost of you doing this ongoing.

But I'd only suggest it if you think he's capable of changing his mind. He sounds quite entrenched in his views and perhaps lacking in emotional intelligence from the little you've written here.

Don't trade your happiness and fulfilment for a few extra £s in the bank.

Lucyellensmum95 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:20:59

Oh, he sounds vile, just greedy, grabbing and vile - that he would put money over his family - its not like he doesn't have enough of it, whats wrong with him, could he not afford his holiday in St Tropez this year? (you don't sound that way at all - you appreciate what you have, i can see that)

I bet HE doesn't want to redcuce his hours/ reponsibility to enable you to get a better paying job.

<<dreams of a 20k job FULL time sad

Your DH doesn't sound like a very nice man - i bet he is never home for the kids either.

Lucyellensmum95 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:24:04

GEorgianmumto5 - they don't have financial worries, they have a combined earning of over £100k per year and over 90K in savings!! If HE has financial concerns and is suddenly put pressure on his wife - maybe there is something going on that he hasn't told her? An investment gone sour? He has gotten into debt??

Lucyellensmum95 Tue 05-Mar-13 10:25:13

gotten? ugghh, sorry blush

MustafaCake Tue 05-Mar-13 10:27:24

I don't really understand where your husband is coming from - as a family you have enough money to live really well.

What is it that he feels is missing? Is there something he cannot afford to have/do? Does he want to reduce his hours or get another job?

Do ask him why he wants you to earn more when you have more than enough.

PS well paid p/t jobs are quite rare as I'm sure you know!

BranchingOut Tue 05-Mar-13 10:34:29

I think that part of the issue is that some of his colleagues have spouses who also work in the city, so two big salaries.

Flibbertyjibbet Tue 05-Mar-13 10:42:28

I knew a couple like this once, although they didn't have children. He earns about £100, she earned about £25k (10 years ago so would be more now with inflation etc) as a mental health nurse. Her job is vital to society. His definitely isn't. He would constantly make reference to how she earned 'a pittance' and how he had to pay for everything. He thought £25k was a pittance. They spent £5k min on each holiday, had new cars etc every year.

Anyway they are divorced now. She lives in a little house in a cheaper area, drives an old car, gets Rynair if she fancies a hol. She is happy as a pig in muck with a new man who earns less than her as a groundsman at a golf club.

Her ex husband? last time I bumped into him he was STILL moaning and bitter. Said that she had 'cost him' £xx of money each year she was with him as he still considered that he had paid for everything. He is still single btw...

There is more to life than money. Many women with high earning partners don't work at all! He sounds greedy and grasping and as others have said, your husband, like my friends' ex, had a skewed view of typical earnings due to only moving in high earning circles for years.

AmayaBuzzbee Tue 05-Mar-13 10:43:07

Just a thought - do you know where all the money your H is earning is going? Could he be living some kind of double life (i.e. paying for upkeep

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