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What do you do if you fundamentally want different things in life?

(95 Posts)
ghostvitruvius Thu 06-Nov-14 15:53:43

DP and I have been together for 8 years, two children one at primary school one pre-school age.

We are really fucking poor and I am sick of it. I want to have enough money to be able to relax, not worry about debt, for the kids to have football or piano lessons or whatever.

He is self-employed in a creative industry. There is one side of it in which you can earn ok money which he hates, one side which is really hard to make a living from but he loves.

So currently he is doing what he loves and I am working and basically funding him having an expensive hobby. There is always the promise of some money just around the corner and I somehow end up feeling like a bitch for trying to take something he loves away from him, "years of work" etc.

He doesn't really mind having no money, I think he'd be happier going back to his life pre-children and just doing what he loves and making no money.

But I don't want that. I want to buy a house and go on holiday and all that kind of thing.

I don't know how to resolve this without at least one of us being miserable.

greenhorse Thu 06-Nov-14 16:14:20

I work in a creative industry as well and I'm not a materialistic person, so I can understand your DH's pov. It's important for me to do what I love and I would find it soul-destroying to do a job I hated, to pay for things that I don't care much to have. The work I do doesn't pay well but it fulfills my needs. I think that's a fundamental part of some people's personalities.

DH is creative too but he is more driven than I am, and fortunately he does earn well so his salary mostly supports the household. We don't see it as him working to fund my work because I contribute a lot to the household, which is easier because of the more relaxed working conditions I have.

It sounds like you're the more ambitious person in your relationship and it's worth thinking about what you can do to increase your earning power rather than expecting him to change.

Jan45 Thu 06-Nov-14 16:26:24

Why cant he do both, have his `creativity` time but also earn to support his family, he chose to have kids but didn't think or expected you to accept being poor or the main bread winner?

Either way OP, I couldn't do it, and no offence but his priority should be you and his children, not his `hobby`.

I couldn't be with a person that didn't have the same goals, aspirations, sense of responsibility and future plans to make me feel secure and on the same page, otherwise, what is the point.

ghostvitruvius Thu 06-Nov-14 16:32:00

greenhorse - to be honest I'm not prepared to spend more of my time working so he doesn't have to. I already feel quite bitter about having to cut my second mat leave very short (and borrow money from my parents) to keep us afloat.

I do want to increase my earning power and would like to pursue a post grad qualification but I can't do that in our current situation.

littlewoollypervert Thu 06-Nov-14 16:33:04

First of all, I'm a single parent, 1 DD. Have always been so, so have never had anyone else to rely on for money/childcare etc.

I have a full time job, I like some of it, other bits piss me off. It's not a vocation, but it pays the bills - and it has to, as there's only me paying them!

I also have a hobby which I am in the process of developing into a small business. It will never pay me lots (if I get min wage I'd be happy!) but I love doing the work (at home so no childcare needed).

Even if I were in a relationship, I would never give up job A to indulge myself in hobby B. I have a family, my first duty is to support it, and I can indulge in B in my spare time. I think your partner is being very unfair and you need a big chat about it.

What if you found a full time job that YOU liked but that paid a pittance, could you factor that into your current lifestyle? posing that as a possible scenario might open a good discussion.

Twinklestein Thu 06-Nov-14 16:34:05

How much is he actually bringing in annually?

Orangeanddemons Thu 06-Nov-14 16:34:25

I'm a creative person.I'd love to be able to peruse my creative hobbies.

But I have a mortgage to pay so have to work. It's important for me to do what I love too. I think it is for everyone, but most of us have to do it in our spare time.

Your dh needs to get his act together, and realise you are subsidising is hobby. How, just how can he think that is Ok? My blood is boiling for you.

I feel calmed, relaxed and soothed by my creative stuff. And agitated and stressed by work. But I still work. So should he

ghostvitruvius Thu 06-Nov-14 16:34:44

So far this financial year, maybe £5k.

Jan45 Thu 06-Nov-14 16:34:51

I was actually being kind, he sounds like a cocklodger to me.

ghostvitruvius Thu 06-Nov-14 16:35:24

Although he also owes HMRC quite a lot more than that.

Justwhateverreally Thu 06-Nov-14 16:35:59

Does he contribute in other ways - taking on most of the childcare, housework?

ghostvitruvius Thu 06-Nov-14 16:37:20

To be fair to him he is a great dad, he does 3 days a week childcare, almost all the cooking and food shopping and at least half the housework.

Justwhateverreally Thu 06-Nov-14 16:39:48

So I guess that this is partly a discussion about him being a SAHD, in a way. Though clearly you don't feel as though that's something you ever explicitly agreed to.

I guess perhaps you could try the whole 'when DC2 starts school, what are your plans?' kinda approach...?

ghostvitruvius Thu 06-Nov-14 16:42:37

littlewoolly - unfortunately I am already in a job that pays a pittance!

I think he also feels in some way cheated that once upon a time the things we wanted were similar, and now they're not. "10 years ago you didn't want to get married or buy a house or have a career, you've changed, not me". He's quite right that it is me that has changed and not him (or grown up, as I like to think of it hmm). He sees it as a positive trait that he doesn't change his opinions on things, I see it as stubbornness and not all that attractive.

newgirl123 Thu 06-Nov-14 16:46:41

Life has changed and it sounds like he needs to grow up a little bit. Most of us, including those in 'stable boring non-creative' jobs would prefer to spend their time doing a hobby whatever it is.

Surely there is a way for him to work say 3 days doing something more lucrative, which still sounds in the same industry. And 2 days doing something he prefers? At least until the kids are 18? Would he negotiate that with you?

theposterformallyknownas Thu 06-Nov-14 16:46:55

My dh is a musician and makes a modest income, if things were bad though and before his name was established he taught in schools to pay the bills. I am and always have been a sahm out of choice.

I think if he can't make money out of it he should find a paid job, however, if it does pay a wage then unfortunately this is what it is like.

I see it as I knew what dh did when I met him, he worked hard, went to college and is immensely talented. That's the man I fell in love with.

You can't expect him to be something he isn't but he should be happy and willing to partly provide for his family.

greenhorse Thu 06-Nov-14 16:47:52

Well it's unrealistic and unfair to expect someone in a relationship to change their attitudes in life just because you have, especially if you haven't improved your own job situation much (since you say you're still a low earner). DH has always respected my outlook on life and wouldn't want to change that part of me.

It is tricky about the post grad, DH did his before we had DC and funding it wasn't a problem. He has not had to increase his working hours to accommodate my preferences. There may be other sources of funding others can advise about, or different routes into a better-paid profession for you.

Jan45 Thu 06-Nov-14 16:51:39

5K to support him, you and two children, what a joke.

Big deal if he's good around the home, sounds like he spends most of his time in it!

Again, cock-lodger, why on earth have you accepted this arrangement, the only person it is benefiting is him, how selfish is that.

Also, he thinks it's A ok to let you do all the earning.

So what does your old age look like OP, living off your money whilst he reminisces about being a failed creative writer or whatever it is.

Two children, what's his idea of helping his kids with school, university etc - not a lot on 5K I'd guess.

Not many folk would live like this OP, you are being far too accommodating!

ghostvitruvius Thu 06-Nov-14 16:51:39

Just - we have had that conversation! Although I am not happy about him being a SAHD in the longer term, I have said to him that he should take this year to consider what he wants to do, retrain maybe (I would completely support this if he wanted to), at least we wouldn't be paying out for childcare.

The last couple of years he did work very hard at the stuff he hates, including supporting me while I finished studying (a year). But it meant being available all hours, he was unhappy, never took any holiday. I basically think he isn't cut out to be a freelancer as he hates the whole process of pitching for work, and when a big contract came to an end he just let all the decent paid stuff die off to concentrate on the hobby stuff instead (which may or may not produce some money at an unspecified future point) which got us to where we are now.

I'm suggested he isn't suited to being self-employed but he also doesn't want to get a job and work for someone else.

I've asked many times what his plan is, to be told he doesn't make plans, that's just not the person he is - I'm the planner. He can't tell me what his plan is beyond keep doing what he's doing. Or occasionally apply for a job and make it very clear he doesn't want to but is doing so because of me hassling him.

newgirl123 Thu 06-Nov-14 16:53:23

maybe couples counselling will help you sort this as it does sound like you both are set in your positions?

Jan45 Thu 06-Nov-14 16:53:34

He's full of bullshit, he has no plans because he doesn't care about anyone's future, including his.

ghostvitruvius Thu 06-Nov-14 16:56:22

I'm worried that what it is coming down to is that I can't change him or expect his attitude to change, but I also can't continue living with the stress and uncertainty of debt, no steady income etc.

But also I don't want to break my family up and my DC to have separated parents.

At best it seems I can push him into getting a steady job that will help provide for us financially but he will massively resent me. Or we will plod along as we are and I will be stressed and resentful.

Jan45 Thu 06-Nov-14 17:02:00

I really don't see you having a choice here, he either pulls his weight or you will have to call it a day, don't let his laziness and lack of responsibility mask into YOU breaking up the family, he's already doing a good job of ruining that already himself.

theposterformallyknownas Thu 06-Nov-14 17:07:25

If you can't support somebody who is the creative type, you are with the wrong person.
Saying this though he does have responsibilities. 5k since April is not that good but if he could up this a little bit doing the work he doesn't enjoy doing then it would boost your finances.
If you are having to borrow money and you are doing most of the work this isn't on either.
You need to sit down and talk, work out where you both go from here and how you both can compromise.
If not, then it may be time to call it a day.
No you can't change him, nobody ever can, but many start out thinking they can sad

WannaBe Thu 06-Nov-14 17:07:28

if this was the other way around people wouldn't have issue wth it if it was the woman who was a sahm and the partner wanting her to earn more money. So why is he a cocklodger just because he is the sahp and not earning as much? hmm

Op there are different ways you can approach this. Rather than insist he do what he doesn't like/insist he get a full time job I would talk to him about where the future lies. Explain that you are actually not managing on the money you are jointly earning so you need to collectively talk about how that can change. You can't force someone into applying for jobs, anyone on here whose partner did that would be encouraged to leave the relationship. But you can have a conversation around the household income and how that income is not meeting the financial needs of the household. Give him an element of a say in how this can be resolved, but make it clear that it does need to be resolved because currently things are not working the way they're going.

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