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Getting rid of the knot in my stomach(19 Posts)
This is driving me mad, so I'm going to put it in writing and hope it eases the knot I carry around.
I’m 25 years into our relationship. We’ve been married for 22 years. One child of 16, due to take GCSEs this year.
The passion waned years ago, but we got along - I guess we've both put up with periods of dissatisfaction and carried on. I care about him, for old times' sake, but I'm fighting a constant battle in my head to stay with him. He’s funny, faithful, can be thoughtful and is laidback. That’s the good part. If we carry on though, I feel I might lose that good feeling too. Here are the bad bits:
He doesn’t contribute financially to our family. After losing his fairly well-paid job about 7 years ago, he hasn't got another reliable one. He gets paid in cash (part time job) and it never reaches the bank account. He spends it on beer (which he drinks at home - he doesn’t get drunk, but the amount he drinks has steadily increased), weed and top-up shopping (loaf of bread, milk etc which he picks up when he goes to buy his beer). This wouldn’t be so bad if I earned a fortune but I don’t - I've upped my wages since he lost his job, but not enough to cover the shortfall. We struggle and sink further into the red each month. I’ve explained this to him and asked him to put money into the bank but he never does.
He is selfish and everything seems like too much effort for him. For instance, he won’t put himself out to pick up our daughter from events and wouldn’t give us a lift to a stressful hospital appointment for her – we had to get buses and a taxi. That’s what’s really eroded what respect I’ve got left for him.
I think he is depressed but he does nothing to help himself – ie go to doctor. He’s been depressed before and it was torture for several years, walking on egg-shells through the gloom he cast all around himself. He did at least get help then and got through it.
In the past few weeks he seems to have changed. He’s picking little arguments, criticising things I do and efforts I make to save money. He lives in a fantasy world about money and gets irritable about our lack of it but does nothing to generate more (like get a full time job – he has a bank of excuses which cover everything from a bad back to looking after the dog).
We don’t communicate much any more and have little in common. He sits in “his” room (best heated room in the house, incidentally!) and my daughter and I sit in the living room. We all meet up at mealtimes. He doesn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. We rub along okay, but the money thing is starting to worry me to the point that I am losing weight (silver lining!). We just got through last year by cashing in an investment and living on that. Our retirement plans are now ruined. I’ve explained we no longer have any cushions, but he just nods and says “we” need to earn more.
I’m getting to the point of wanting to leave as otherwise I feel I’m just waiting for the undertakers. My only role seems to be as a breadwinner, parent (to my husband as much as our daughter) and household manager. He’s not happy with me either (not as a wife, anyway), I just need him to face that (I’ve broached this in the past and he says that I’m not making him unhappy – more likely he just needs me to pay his way).
Why don’t I leave?: daughter already stressed about looming GCSEs and don’t want to add to her burdens. Don’t want to be the bad guy in this and really don’t want to cause upset for anyone. And, it will be financially disastrous for us both – house in such a dilapidated state it will not fetch much if we sell it - not enough to set up in two separate households, for sure.
Just needed to get that out of my head - it's been whirling around inside me for so long. No family nearby and no friends to talk it through with.
In four months time your dd will have finished her exams. Why dont you get your facts together and start making plans to leave/kick him out/divorce? Get legal advice on the division of assets so you know where you stand.
It does sound like the relationship is dead and I could not live with a man who did not contribute in any way. What also stood out from your post is that he would not even drive you to an appointment. That would have been the last straw for me.
Thanks Doingmyheadin - it's hard to live with someone for whom you have no respect (and who, apparently, has no respect for me and dd). The appointment issue blew me away - and dd. Couldn't believe that he wouldn't come to the appointment for support or even drive us there.
Your advice is good. It is only four months away. I've sucked it up for years, so I can suck it up for a few more months. Thank you.
Yes, the relationship is dead. Also he is playing you for a fool. He is getting board & lodgings + pocket money in the form of his earnings
He'll never give up his easy life. You'll have to remove it from him. Stop supplying his meals, turn the heating off in 'his' room, don't put petrol in the car... etc
He's laughing at you. Show him you're not part of the joke anymore
Btw, his depression is keeping you in line. Let him & his GP deal with it. You look after your own health
Hi Marchate. That's a really interesting point about his depression keeping me in line - you're right, it does. It's his trump card and I guess that due to that he has no incentive to deal with it - by having it he ensures that I provide and care for him. Yuk, I'm an enabler.
At the moment, I can't pull the plug as dd is very anxious (seeing doctor/counsellor) and to pile on more anxiety before GCSEs would be awful. So, as Doingmyheadin suggested, I'm going to bide my time until she's through them and then turn my attention to sorting this mess out.
Thanks so much for replying.
Do you think he might be the main cause of her anxiousness? When my mother finally ditched my horrid stepfather, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders.
Hi Doreen. I think he is, at least in part, the cause of some of her anxiety - his mother has said the same to me. Firstly, although he is generally laid back, he has a temper. It's seldom directed at us, but he can lose it with others if he feels they're "idiots" - so, for instance he had a huge row with someone whilst walking my daughter to school when she was much younger. She was terrified and fears it happening again.
Secondly, his black moods change the atmosphere in the house. It's pure misery to be here, although he does try to jolly himself up a bit in front of her.
Thirdly, now she's older she's aware that our financial situation is bad. No holidays for years, not even visits to family any more. She doesn't invite friends to our house now since it is falling apart (I'm not exaggerating) and that embarrasses her (and me too).
I know my husband would be horrified to think he caused any of her anxiety - but he wouldn't address it, he would just sink further into his own self-pity.
It's half term for us (I work in a school) so I'm going to take dd out for a hot chocolate - wouldn't normally because of saving money, but husband took out a former work colleague last week to "cheer her up", so I think I'll cheer up our daughter!
You poor thing.
Nice to know your husband takes out other people to cheer them up, while refusing to give a lift to an appointment. That's a man with priorities.
I would see a solicitor for a free 30 minute discussion. You can then see where you stand financially. A nice clean small happy flat together with DD is far preferable to a large dilapidated dark feeling house.
He sounds absolutely bloody horrible. How did you not rip his head off when he didn't give you and your daughter a lift in the car you pay for!
I agree with IguanaTail - forget about a house, go for a nice two bedroomed flat and move into it with your daughter. Let him sort himself out, the lazy, selfish bastard.
His wages don't reach the bank account - the only one? how convenient for him! Still manages to run a car, (unavailable for his child's ride to a hospital appointment) and socialise with an ex colleague.
His sitting room is the best heated.
You only meet at mealtimes.
When you say you'd rather not be the bad guy, sorry, I think his opinion won't matter, and anyone who knows you probably won't be disappointed you finally flip.
Would he really be horrified to think his behaviour is affecting his DD, I don't know. He certainly isn't interested in sharing life with you his DW unless you shoulder the bulk of responsibility and keep the house running.
I wish your DD luck in her exams and hope you spend some nice time together over half-term.
When I read it back, it does seem an incredible situation and I'm ashamed to have allowed this to happen. It's got incrementally worse over the years while I've been hoping that I can make it better or he finally sees the light.
I know he sounds awful, but most people find him really lovely. He can be really lovely. Just bloody lazy, irresponsible and selfish too - unfortunately, these days that's far outweighing the loveliness.
At the moment I'm concentrating on DD - getting her well, supporting her through exams plus studying for a course I'm doing. By the summer, I can address the rest of the problem. I do worry about finding a property - our mortgage is almost paid off and I'm concerned that I won't get another one on the wages I get now. Even if we managed to sell our tip of a house, there wouldn't be much to go towards anything else - even a flat. Renting would cost more than I pay for the mortgage at the moment - I fixed at a low interest rate years ago, which has been our saving grace. If I hadn't, we'd be homeless by now. But, it will get sorted, I'm sure. Just worrying times - hence the knot in my stomach.
And thanks for the replies and good wishes, I really appreciate them.
I think he is, at least in part, the cause of some of her anxiety - his mother has said the same to me.
Yes, so getting rid before her exams could be a good thing.
Both your daughter have knots in your stomachs, and the cure will be to get you both out of this toxic environment.
I don't think you should get rid of him before her exams, it would be too destablising. Have a plan in place and be ready to roll as soon as her exams are over.
I would open up another bank account, put your salary in there, and then siphon off what is needed for mortgage and bills. Why the hell should he sit around being "lovely and funny" with everyone else but his family, while he leeches money off you?
Don't be ashamed of what's happened, it's easy to slide into this kind of thing. Do you have to remain in the area you are in? Could your daughter access her sixth form by public transport if you moved slightly further away, to a less expensive area?
If he has access to a joint account or any credit cards you could stop that asap, and separate the finances as much as possible.
Your daughter will know you're unhappy.
Are you married? If so early legal advice would be good to inform your planning, since you're the higher earner.
Definitely get legal advice, so you have a clear idea of what the situation is, whether you leave him next week, after the GCSEs or next year. It will give you time to gather documents you need and to protect assets for yourself and your daughter. If you've done the preparation, then you can leave when it suits you.
I've spent some time looking at houses/flats around the wider area and I don't think it will be as dire as I thought. Although we would have been mortgage free in a few years, if I can get another mortgage to run until I'm retired, I should be able to downsize and afford something for about what I pay now.
I think my best plan is to just quietly sort things out in the background until the summer when the exams are over.
Again, thanks so much for the support and advice. So helpful to have some answers to my questions instead of just running it through my head endlessly.
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