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Work, Mortgages, Husband...LIFE?

(37 Posts)
Gangie Wed 14-Oct-15 17:23:54

Things are a bit shit. I don’t know where to start. All low level stuff really I suppose, I am not destitute – I have a roof over my head, just about. Kids are happy. Enough to eat. I have a good husband who loves me dearly and I love him too. But, Im starting to feel resentful:

Background is that we have been together over 7 years, married last February. He has been unemployed a lot of that time. We are in Ireland so as you know there was a major recession and my husband was in construction. So he has been working sporadically when things have come up in his own field. When he works he works very hard and earns good money – which he just hands over to me. He never questions that as I am in control of the finance (not necessarily because I want to be but because I am better at it than he is). So he might get work for 6 weeks or 6 months but then just as we start to get a bit more comfortable the contract ends. That’s the game he is in I understand that. Last year he took a low paying unskilled job. I know he didn’t like it there really but he worked hard and was kept on for 7 months but then was let go as it was quite seasonal. He knew that at the outset so I don’t think it was because they didn’t want to keep him on. In fact they have said that when things pick up again in February next year they would love to have him back.

There has been many discussions over the years of him going over -seas. The money would be fantastic. It would be horrible to be separated from him and the kids would miss him so much as he is a very good and hands on father. I have heard promises of this over the last 6 years – a job breaking in Holland/Falklands/Germany/Belfast, but it never seems to happen. Or if the job does then he hasn’t got all the necessary tickets etc. A couple of years ago he went back and did an intensive training that was supposed to make him extremely employable in his field. It hasn’t. That was 2 years ago. He hasn’t ever got one of those jobs that were going to be ‘’the answer to all our prayers’. He has done extra training in other things and that would supposed to get him a job but never did either. He says he wants to work. As I said when he is working he is in better form, works really hard and takes any over time going. He is still hands on with the kids and does his fair share around the house. When he is not working he is the stay at home parent and mainly does a good job (I try not to be critical but his housekeeping isn’t up to my standard, Id get a lot more done if I was the SAHP but maybe that’s just me).

We are renting. The past few years we just about scraped by so haven’t been able to save deposit. I often thought, by this time 6 months or next year he will be working and we will be a nice normal family.

I went back to work 2 years ago (baby was 9 mths old). It was a low paid internship but I worked my ass off and now earn ok money but I really really love my job!

We have moved 5 times in the last 5 years. It has been so hard. The rental market is abysmal here – prices going up and up and not enough properties. Landlord can increase the rent year on year by large amounts. We cant keep up. We have once again just been given notice on our beautiful home. We have until March to find a place as our landlords are selling. Our son just started school its an Irish school in the courtly with only 64 students in the whole school, which is fantastic. He loves it, but I am so worried now about where we are going to live? It will most likely not be in the area we are in at the moment (its very rural).

We need to get a mortgage. We need the security of it. For us and most importantly for the children. We cant get a mortgage if my husband is unemployed. I tried to find out about a council mortgage, but they wont assess me as a single application as I am married. I rang a mortgage broker for main stream banks and they said that it can be done, I can apply for a mortgage on my income but would only get a very small amount as I have 3 dependants .(Husband is considered a dependant.) She also said that if he was working in any job, even minimum wage that we would be able to get a lot more (still taking small amounts by the way, but we are happy to buy something and do it up over time)

Anyway – I love my job but just do not earn enough to support my family. I earn less than €25k a year. I currently do a 4 day week, but its way more in reality as I am contactable outside work and do a lot of evenings and weekend meetings and events. My commute is 2-3 hours a day. The place I work is a charity so we get no sick pay, bonus, health insurance, pension, etc. I don’t even get a phone and have to use my own mobile. I cant get a mortgage with that wage, I need to be earning €35k to qualify for a mortgage of €82k (what sort of house I can get for that God only knows!! Property here is expensive). I met my manager the other day and told him my situation – I don’t earn enough for the work I do and the hours I put in. I asked for a pay rise, extend my hours so Id work on a Friday too but also to be able to work from home 2 days per week. The nature of the job means it is not a desk job – I can do it anywhere. But they came back to me yesterday and said no. No pay rise, maybe next June? No working fro home, we have no policy for that. They will extend my hours but only by 5. That means more driving (another 10 hours a month in the car and the difference in my take home pay will be minimal with tax and diesel). Also it still wont bring me up the €35k minimum I need.

I have been so upset. Upset with the organisation that they can’t see that I have worked my ass off. They will replace me. I have never worked as hard or as been as dedicated in any previous role. Also I am very good at my job!! I know I am, but the powers that be must not be as sure. I also, whether IABU or not, feel upset that it is because my husband isn’t working I have to give up my much loved job. I am feeling resentful that it all seems to fall to me. I have too much on my plate and I have started thinking if its his fault? How long can the legacy of the recession go on. Other people we know that were in the same game and position as DH were not out of work for nearly as long. They are all certainly back in employment by now. Why is he not? Is he not trying hard enough? He says he is. He says he is looking and applying all the time, which he is. But is he applying only for jobs that he would like to do? I don’t know. When we talk about this he says all the right things, but surely it can’t just be bad luck at this stage? I actually put off going back to work after I had my son as I knew Id feel resentful, rightly or wrongly. I know men can be stay at home dads in my head, but I don’t feel it in my heart, not when we are struggling to make ends meet. Maybe it would be different if I was earning €€€€.

Everything is up in the air. I don’t know where I will be living in a few months, now I don’t know where I will be working either. I can get a better job for better money but that means going back to a role I have been trying to get away from and working in a private company rather than a charity that I believe in so strongly. I am starting to doubt my marriage. Not because I don’t love my husband but because I have to be the head of the house, the breadwinner, the mammy, the organiser, the cleaner, the house administrator, the one to worry about mortgages and the possibility of future children (ID love one more but not when I haven’t a house to call my own – also I only get basic maternity so we couldn’t afford me to be off work). I told him on the phone today that I am at the end of my tether and that maybe Id be better off on my own. If I said Id leave over this would he get a job in no time? On the other hand he is doing a job minding two kids, he cooks, he cleans, he puts my electric blanket on every night, meets me at the door when I come in, makes me endless cups of tea and packs the car for me in the morning as well as my lunch (I don’t ask or expect this he just does it). He makes me laugh, is good in bed, great dad, great friend and loyal to the end. He has always got my back and would die for me and the children, I know that without a shadow of a doubt.

So what do I do? Leave him in the hope that he will get a job? Stop being so horrible and believe that DH is trying his best and is doing a valuable job with the children? I cant talk to anyone else about this as I don’t want to say negative things about my DH.

Jan45 Wed 14-Oct-15 17:32:23

But he's not trying his best, he has shown you for years that he has a lazy attitude towards work.

Helping with his own kids and doing the occasional work does not make a great man.

Sorry OP, he's been leaning on you for years and imo dragging you down with him. A man who can't support his family in my book is pretty dismal.

I think he is incredibly lucky to have a lady who has put up with this for so long.

The great things you describe he does is normal partner/parent behaviour, it has naff all to do with the fact that he is not supporting his family.

Ultimatum time I'd say, he's had years to sort his life out, he's not a teenager.

Couldn't stand it myself, you must feel exhausted just watching him.

Your feelings are perfectly valid btw, he needs a massive kick up the arse.

kellybee90 Wed 14-Oct-15 17:48:27

I'm in a similar situation but my husband works full time just in a very low paid job. I'm the breadwinner, and I will always be - and I knew this going into the marriage. I guess I dislike the fact that once I have a baby I will go back to work and he will go part-time, but I love my career and it makes sense for us.

From what it sounds like to me, you have a great partner who loves you, and takes care of you and your family. He may not be contributing so much financially but there are more important things in life than money! The fact that your children have such a vast amount of quality time with him is great, and if he was to go off and work abroad or just a standard 40 hour week nearer to home, would they not be missing out?

I completely understand your stress of having to be the earner so I'm not saying that things should stay as they are - i am saying that I don't think separating from a man you love who is such an important part of your life and the kids lives is the right answer. Sit down with him and explain your stress levels. Focus on one thing at a time - so how we can contribute more financially (you said he got a seasonal job before, but can he not find a part-time low skilled minimum wage job just to help top up the income?). Then look at the housing situation; are any government schemes available to help you buy? Can you look at shared ownership? Worst case scenario and you need to rent, have a look at affordable areas near to good schools.

Do you have any annual leave you can take from work? Maybe a week off whilst you get to grips with it all might do you good?

I just really don't think throwing away what sounds like a lovely marriage just because of money is a good idea, and I worry that you'd struggle just as much without him and wish you hadn't done it!

Wendied Wed 14-Oct-15 18:31:34

Oh OP I really feel for you and your situation. I wonder are you at risk of thinking 'if only', if only I had X life would be perfect?

Your DH sounds like he has many amazing qualities but instead of focusing on them you're focusing on what he doesn't have ie a secure permanent contract. I think if you are not in his industry it's very difficult to judge just what he is going to secure work. He sounds like a hard worker who'll take lowly jobs when he can.

To be honest a mortgage sounds like the very last thing you need right now as it could prove to be a millstone round your neck.

I'm sorry to be able to give you good advice but maybe try and focus on what you do have - a DS in a good school, a job you love, a DH who can work hard and one who will do more than most to show he loves you.

LadyShirazz Wed 14-Oct-15 19:23:50

I feel for you OP.

I too feel the pressure and resentment of being the "saviour" - emotionally, administratively and financially - in this relationship. In some ways more so, as actually I moved countries and gave up a wonderful job / lifestyle abroad to relocate back to the UK for OH's sake (long back story - we were both British expats and met abroad when both working there at the time, 2 1/2 years long distance between him moving back for work and me finally joining him here). Together 8 years, married 3, just over 4 of those in the same country.

The difference in our salaries is not that great (though in my favour, despite his many more years' of experience - he is 20 years older than me) and we both work full-time.

However. He has lost his job three times in the time we've been together in the UK. In two cases completely down to the recession and not him (he too worked in a vulnerable industry - think whole departments being dissolved etc), and one time partly down to bullying boss and part OH totally crumbling under the pressure.

Each of those times, I kept us financially afloat (money tight, but do-able in terms of keeping rent / mortgage paid). Then in the latter instance, I also had to peel him up off the floor (both literally and figuratively) when he suffered a nervous / physical breakdown as a result.

All of which would be fine, if he were "responsible" and made hay at those times the sun was shining. He is in what is hopefully a "job for life" at the moment - lower pay than he could be making, but with the pay off of security for the first time in years. But he's incapable of saving, quite materialistic, over-dependent on anti-depressants and wine since the breakdown, and still needs propping up / chivvying (by me) into doing the sensible thing at times, e.g. not spending every penny on "frivolities" and even driving sensibly (having nearly lost his license once through stupidity already)!

Not made easier in the sense that I have also been the "driver" for sorting out his mother (who suffers from Alzheimers, and as a result plays a big factor in our lives). I have been the one to truly recognise and "manage" her decline, on both a practical and emotional level (i.e. transitioning her from struggling on alone, to getting carers in, to coordinating an entire move into assisting living - all single-handedly as OH continues to stick his head in the sand as to the extent of her condition).

Sometimes I think without me, both he and his mum would be in the dirt by now, and that I am the only one keeping this whole pack of cards standing....

I'm making him sound a total dick, but he's not. He's a good man with a larger than I'd like reckless streak. But it is the one source of true contention between us, within an otherwise loving, thoughtful, considerate and long-standing relationship (very much like yours, it sounds like!).

Oh dear! What a rant!

Worse for the fact I've hijacked a bit, without offering much by way of advice - other than the fact I can really, really empathise, and your post struck a massive chord with me...

Given you have to move anyway, have you considered relocating to an area / country where the recession is not such an issue / excuse for him not to be supporting you as much as he potentially could be...?

mellowyellow1 Wed 14-Oct-15 19:28:10

OP I feel your pain. Sounds like you're juggling so many plates at once that you're close to breaking point. I'm in a similar predicament with my OH only ever earning minimum wage and myself being the breadwinner. It's a lot of pressure and it does get to you every now and then. I am expecting our first and think I will only have one child as I won't be able to provide the financial support for any more.

Maybe if you had some roots down somewhere you might feel better but agree with pp that a mortgage may just make things even more pressured? It really does sound like you're stuck between a rock and a hard place sad

ILiveAtTheBeach Wed 14-Oct-15 19:50:16

Lots of marriages go thru hard bits. That's no reason to bail. You love him. He loves you. He hasn't cheated and neither have you (I presume). You are just in a dip. Things will get better. He sounds very attentive. He must be feeling like a real loser right now and what a shame. I think he needs to change industry really. It's a shame you are in rented accommodation....if you had your own home he could do what I do for a living (working from home) which is really easy and nets me £3k a month. But you can't do it in rented. :-(

Gangie Wed 14-Oct-15 19:51:58

Thanks all for your comments and sharing your situations. I just feel so confused, I swing between loving & believing in him to wondering about my life if I had married someone else hmmthen other days I feel really happy and loved smilethought about giving him an ultimatum: get a job before Xmas or I'm have to call it a day? But then I think that might make things worse? He had been an anti depressants for a few months now since.

Last week his mum came to visit Ava she gave me €10 to buy a bottle of wine. I gave it to oh and told him to buy a few beers as a treat as I had already been given the gift of a bottle of wine. He went out and bought me slippers as I needed some new ones with it instead of treating himself.

Gangie Wed 14-Oct-15 19:54:53

Sorry for typos am on mobile. I don't know why I told you that about the slippers...but it sums him up really. He's always doin kind things for me and he was an absolute rock when my dad was ill, I had complicated labour. He has always been there when I needed him. This is the only thorn in our relationship. I feel so confused.

MamaMary Wed 14-Oct-15 19:58:41

OP, that sounds really tough.

I don't think leaving your DH is the answer though. You would surely struggle much more on your own, with no emotional support. Don't underestimate the value of emotional support.

From what you've described, it sounds to me like your DH has genuinely tried to support his family. He's taken low-paid jobs and is still trying to get work. There IS such a thing as bad luck, and combined with the fact he's in a very vulnerable industry, it should be no shock that he's struggled to find steady work.

I do empathise. My job situation is shaky and I hate it. DH has a reliable, OK-paid job that he doesn't enjoy (but no prospects of moving - any move would be a pay-cut), so job-wise we're not that happy as a couple. However we do have a mortgage.

I agree with pp who said a mortgage right now for you would be a massive source of more stress. I wouldn't go there yet.

Your kids are still very young. There is plenty of time for things to pick up. I'd say hang in there flowers

Gangie Wed 14-Oct-15 19:59:27

Liveatthebeach what do you do?!!!! I'm intrigued grin

IonaNE Wed 14-Oct-15 20:39:38

OP, judging from your description your DH is a good man. I feel that leaving him because of mortgage/career pressures would be something you'd deeply regret. Try this: imagine having a great job, great house with no mortgage - and no partner or a partner whom you don't love/who does not love you. Would you choose that situation over what you are in now?

On more practical notes, where the ROI are you? Property is not that expensive in e.g. Kerry.

Amara123 Wed 14-Oct-15 22:16:32

Hi there!

I really feel for you and just wanted to say that perhaps you are trying to sort out too many things at once. Life is challenging for you at the moment, that is for sure! But perhaps you could break some of the issues down e.g share responsibility of the finances. Make sure you are doing a nice thing every day. Your husband sounds like he is trying and loves you but perhaps you both need a more structured approach.

Also I wonder where in Ireland you are? the economy is improving but you know some places are improving faster than others.

Could your Dh undertake some retraining? I think building will start again soon too. What have his friends/old colleagues gone on to do? Could he get in touch with old contacts and see if anything is going?

For the moment don't worry about a mortgage. I had a lot of chopping and changing in my own life so am the last person I know of my age to buy a house...but it doesn't matter. The most important thing is to do it at the right time. At the moment you need options more than additional commitments

Everything is going to work out. When life gets like this just take it day by day. You will get through it!


IrishDad79 Wed 14-Oct-15 22:55:53

What field of construction is he in OP?

whatsforsupper Wed 14-Oct-15 23:03:42

Op, you have my sympathies, I came home to Ireland before it went bust( I've since left) I was at the other end, as in Id bought property and took serious loss's. I'm back and forth lots I do understand.

Your dh sounds like he's trying I suspect he probably lost quite a lot of his identity when his job went. Ireland lost over 200 k jobs in construction I don't know those jobs will come back. That said, not everyone is going to be a It analyst. Maybe he could get some more career advice I know they are big on helping with education.

Depending on his skills. Canada and Australia are the places most Irish headed off too there is also plenty of jobs in construction in the UK.

You sound like you feel like everything is on your shoulders and are feeling the pressure of being on a low income in a expensive place to live. Add in your husbands situation your desire to buy a home, it can all feel a bit to much.

I don't think its all as bleak as you think it is Ireland is recovering I know its not felt by everyone by a long shot.

toffeeboffin Thu 15-Oct-15 01:38:29

Why don't you look into Canada or Australia? They are begging for workers out there. Awesome lifestyle, good wages, healthcare etc.

Sounds like Ireland isn't working out for you, not your DH.

Gangie Thu 15-Oct-15 07:57:23

The reason I'm stressing about mortgage now is that if we wait two years house prices will have increased significantly. Also worried about having to move ds from school. We did consider Canada/Australia a few years back but I want my kids to be brought up in Ireland! Also I'm 35 she nearly 40 so not sure we would be accepted now? That's the other problem about a mortgage if we leave it any longer what's our chances of getting a mortgage doesn't our age go against us?

I'm so sick of living like this though hmm

Gangie Thu 15-Oct-15 07:58:15

Irishdad79 he is an indrustrial rigger.

Gangie Thu 15-Oct-15 07:59:53

We live in cork. I'm from the west of Ireland, my family is there and house prices are cheap but there's no work there!

Imgivinguponyou Thu 15-Oct-15 08:02:16

It's hard to know how hard he is trying and if he is just being selective about what he is prepared to do. Can he do night shift work eg warehouse, security?

Exh didn't work for years, also in construction, telling me it was impossible to find employment, times have changed in the industry etc. However I always felt it was convenient for him to let me take all the responsibility of earning the money. I know exactly how you feel. It is a lot of pressure. I wanted to be at home more for my children.

I think it's a good idea to consider emigrating but it is a drastic thing to do. And I'm not sure how much your dp really wants a steady job?

It sounds at the very least he should be more proactive. Especially as he knows his you feel about the marriage.

ShebaShimmyShake Thu 15-Oct-15 08:21:32

This sounds like a really depressing, grinding situation to be in. I feel for you.

But it does all seem to come down to one issue - husband's lack of work. Sounds like if that could be fixed, you'd be much happier. And that's an entirely fixable problem. So I wouldn't leave an otherwise happy marriage over it.

You won't be able to do anything without his co-operation but he sounds like a good man, so if he understand properly how hard it is for you, how much you worry and so on (and do remember that you will often have to express it very strongly for men to really get the picture of how seriously you feel - sorry fellas, just my experience. I don't mean scream or shout, I just mean making it very clear how serious it is), then it sounds as if he could be persuaded to make some career changes that could lead to more steady work and better money. It doesn't sound as if you want the moon...

thesandwich Thu 15-Oct-15 08:38:17

He sounds like a really good man. They are rare. I get all the pressure you feel but agree a mortgage isn't the answer now. Make a list of all the positives and look at those slippers. Can you get any advice re careers etc for him? If you are rural are there opportunities in farming/ contracting?
Good luck

Gangie Thu 15-Oct-15 11:26:49

Every year or two we have major discussions about this. He says he gets it and that he doesn't want me to be stressed, but then he wont apply for jobs that are minimum wage or just above because then we would actually not be any better off financially as we have to pay for childcare and he says why pay someone else to mind them if its not benefiting our pockets. Now on one hand I understand his point completely. .....

If it were me, I would not want to leave my kids in childcare and go to work all day away from them for no financial gain. But then I wonder about the future, surely you are always better off to be working, maybe not financially but mentally and you can always increase your prospects. I mean I started my job on €9 ph and a temp contract Im now on €15 (meeting HR Tuesday to discuss possible increase) and I am permanent. Even if I did leave here I am infinitely more employable than I was two years ago as I had been SAHM for 3 years.

A few years back he started a degree in Health & Safety but we couldn't afford the fees after the first year. Maybe we need to put the mortgage idea on hold, see if we he wants to go back and finish it and surely we will manage to find the fees somewhere. As its evening course he could still mind the kids while Im at work and study by night. I would be happier even if we still had no money - we would be working towards improving our long term prospects.

I lost the run of myself on the phone yday and told him that sometimes I htink I would be better off on my own. He was very very quiet last night and went to bed at 9am. We didnt discuss what I said. I was so angry and fed up but I wish I hadnt said it. You cant take shit like that back....

Jan45 Thu 15-Oct-15 12:23:08

OP, you are perfectly entitled to say what you said, he has a responsibility to support his children, it's not fair to fall on your shoulders, I don't get at all why folk are saying well he's a lovely guy so deal with it, he could be the nicest man on earth, he's still not doing his equal share financially is he and I'm afraid he should be taking any job to make up the shortfall, anything! My dad supported his family through very hard times, walked miles to and from a job and worked 7 days a week, it's what you do!

Being nice and helpful at home won't pay the bills, won't let you plan a future and won't make you feel any better about things as the years go by.

It's really quite simple, he puts more effort into finding work or else you would probably be better off, and your kids if you were a lone parent.

You seem to be treating him with kid gloves, he's an adult and seems to be shirking any effort to actually help you!

I am not saying leave him but for goodness sake you cannot go on like this, it's not you, it's him!

Jan45 Thu 15-Oct-15 12:33:13

And why is he saying he doesn't want you stressed, he should be stressed more than you, it's his issue.

And yes, mentally work is good for a person, it's not just about the earning potential.

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