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Financial struggles affecting relationship, what to do?

(7 Posts)
robotpenguin Tue 02-Apr-13 09:46:22

Hi all - sorry if this is a bit garbled but I think writing it down is very theraputic in itself - but I know there are some wonderful supportive people on here and I guess I just need a pat on my head and sending on my way as much as anything else!!

Around a year ago I moved in with DP, we found a rented property in his home town. We are both early 30s to set the scene!
I am self employed -a bt of a niche job but basically (and without outing myself) I am a professional sportsperson and I earn some money to fund this by coaching for clubs etc. Its for the love and not the money clearly, but its who I am and what I do,have always done.

This winter has been the hardest I have known and it has impacted terrificially on my finances, literally been unable to find income through my coaching etc as there literally is none when the weather is prohibitive - its always harder in winter as no one wants to be outside getting cold etc!

Unfortunately, I've reached a horrible point where I have no disposible income left to pay bills, rent etc, I had healthy accounts and savings last year but this winter has been so hard, with several unexpected large bills for other unavoidable things, I literally have not a penny. Income has always fluctuated seasonally, I know it will pick up in the summer but at the moment I am at crisis point.

We have always split everything 50/50 - rent, bills etc. We worked it out that if he paid X and Y utility and I bought all the food, it balanced out and so seemed easier that way. I have tried to save money on my part by buying reduced/basics etc (I cook everything from scratch, batches, freezing etc - pretty economical) but DP has a bee in his bonnet about "value/basics" food, I know its exactly the same and I have lasted 30 years on it without suffering but he won't have it.
I asked if we could maybe split things differently, given that I do all the cooking, housework and washing. This caused major argument as he said that was ridiculous and tantamount to paying me as a housekeeper, which was not why he was moving in with me.I could totally see his point - i think?!

The crux of this is, his annual salary is about 40k more than mine - he is senior management etc. I don't want to be sponging off him, which is why I wait on him hand and foot to compensate for things I cant provide in terms of finances, but I don't know what else I can do here. He has a very different value of money to me, thinks nothing of spending £xxx on meals or social nights etc - he is just basically "richer"!

We have talked about it in brief but his stance is always "you need to give that up and get a proper job, how can we ever afford to buy / have kids / get married (already engaged but cant save for wedding) if you wont contribute?".
That is simply not going to happen, my professional vocation has always been my life and who I am, the more I think about it if this is the only viable solution then perhaps I've misled him (and the rest of the world) over the past few years and I shouldn't ever be in a relationship - am I being very selfish in only thinking of myself and my needs/gains/pleasures etc - ie doing a job I wholeheartedly love and thrive on, when I should instead give that up for something that earnt a regular fixed income to support our relationship for the future.

What I'm wondering, is how is the best way to approach him to explain that I am hugely struggling - and what to do from here? I'm so confused, I have a feeling its likely to be the beginning of the end, this is a constant source of stress and upset that is impacting on other areas of our relationship, and it upsets me so very much.

Thanks for reading.... Bit early for wine so a brew if you made it this far!

Mumsyblouse Tue 02-Apr-13 10:36:49

I am sorry you have having financial problems, I know only too well that they can really make everything more stressful.

My main thoughts are though- is it likely that your income will pick up? will you have to claim benefits?

I can see your partner's perspective because although it would be lovely (if you were married/life partners and sharing everything) for him to support you, you don't have any right to expect it at this stage in the game. He clearly thinks you need another job, and I might get a bit annoyed with a partner who expected me to support them for reasonably long periods of time.

Or perhaps you just don't have the same priorities in life, in terms of living the nice life/meals out.

In short, I think it's hard to see where this can go if your job is the most important thing to you, because you don't make enough to live on and you have to do that whether he is with you or not. I have supported my husband through the odd few months of underemployment and also for childcare, as he has done for me, but I couldn't live like this long term and perhaps this is also his fear, that you are not sorting this out now and so it could go on for years.

Perhaps see if this year is better, but if it is not viable and you need more to live on then you will have to seek extra employment (perhaps additionally or swapping in some of the time with your other job you love).

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 02-Apr-13 10:46:10

I think you are entitled to be selfish about what you want to do for a living as long as others are happy to finance your dream. Like the PP I would also be unhappy if a partner moved in that had some pie-in-the-sky job that paid nothing and expected me to subsidise them, unless this had been clearly agreed up front. If your DP doesn't agree and if the income from your vocation doesn't match your living expenses then I don't see a future in it, sorry.

crunchybiscuit Tue 02-Apr-13 12:51:37

When I moved in with my DH we pooled all our money from the start, as for us, it was the start of a permanent partnership where we needed to be equals. I disagree with the other replies that you don't have the right to expect him to support you at this stage. I lost my job shortly after we moved in, and wasn't able to claim anything basically because there is an expectation that a co-habiting partner is expected to support the other.

You are clearly contributing to the household through all the cooking and housework you do - does he do any of this at all? He is trying to claim that you are more than a housekeeper/cook yet he isn't treating you as if you're in a real partnership.

I think someone who loves you would want you to continue to do the things you love. I work in the arts, so I can understand your need to work in a field that is part of your identity. Not everyone sees life this way, they just see work as something to pay the bills, and I don't know how you can be compatible in the long term with someone with that attitude.

Verbalpunchbag Tue 02-Apr-13 13:32:02

If the sport your involved in is largely seasonal why can't you get a job in the winter? Could you work part-time and coach or coach part-time and work? Think you need to decide what is more important to you, your sport or marriage and children.

robotpenguin Tue 02-Apr-13 14:05:14

Thanks for replies so far. To clarify: i'm not bumming around at home expecting the world to owe me a living - I'd never get anywhere!I work 7am to 5pm 7 days a week in my industry/profession, , which is less than minimum wage in what I take home but they are hugely supportive in terms of training and on going development, competition and transport costs etc. (so hard not to out myself here and I think SIL has already spotted this!!). In summer months i also coach at place of work as well as freelance but this just isnt an option when no one wants coaching in winter! The money I earn just about pays for rent, food, trainjng and other expenses, but there is nothing left over at the moment for nights out, personal shopping, savings etc. this is fairly standard for the industry! I am going to chat with DP And show him my diaries from the last couple of years to show that it will pick up come better weather, when I can go from sub min-wage to £100+ a day. I really do pull my weight - to the poster above, yes DP leaves all cooking cleaning washing ironing to me, I have no gripe with that and it works and keeps things harmonius between us - most of the time, sometimes after a long day it feels like another job!

swallowedAfly Tue 02-Apr-13 14:58:35

it's fine to have a dream and do something that doesn't pay etc if it only affects you. i think if it means another adult is having to subsidise you then it's not on. he doesn't sound very pleasant fwiw (the doing nothing round the house, expecting you to do all cooking then moaning about the quality of the food etc) but i wouldn't want to support someone financially unless they were looking after my child for example.

you say the money picks up in summer - that's kind of irrelevent unless it picks up enough to allow you to save to be fine for winter - even a slow winter.

you say your dream/sports/whatever is your life so he's probably right to question how you'll ever have children - working 12hrs a day for next to money isn't very compatible with having children.

perhaps you do need to work out what is most important to you. tbh it doesn't sound like he'll be much of a loss.

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