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Frustrated Breadwinners Anonymous Part II (Long - sorry) Stay or Go?

(29 Posts)
Kevintheminion Wed 02-Mar-16 10:45:57

I'm a longstanding mnetter albeit I've been doing more lurking than posting recently.

I'll try and keep this brief but please bear with me (in the interests of not drip feeding). I've been with DH since 2000, married in 2006 and we have 2 DCs - 7 and 2.5.

I've just re-read a thread I posted in 2008 on this subject which said I was tired of being the breadwinner (DH last worked for a six month period in 2006), sick of DH taking no financial accountability and steadily approaching the end of my tether.

Fast forward 8 years and fundamentally nothing has changed other than we now have 2 DCs and I have reached the end of my tether and I feel like such a mug.

I work hard, full time in a senior role with a 3 hour daily commute. DH is the main carer, doing school and nursery run daily. I don't know what he does all day other than do half-arsed diy projects. We are like ships that pass in the night, no intimacy and there is very little conversation and when we do speak it's mainly to pass on information about the children. I take over the childcare at weekends and, whilst I adore my children and hate not seeing them during the week, I resent not having any downtime whilst he does what he pleases.

He has steadily become grumpier as he's got older. He never sees the good in anybody or anything and is sapping the life out of me with his constant complaining. I am turning into a shrew like woman and I hate myself for it. It's also making me feel incredibly lonely - I prefer to be at work in the company of others and actively dread weekends.

When I married, I took my vows very seriously and have always said to myself that I would stick at it only, I've realised over the last few months that I can't spend another 30 years like this - at least as a single parent I might have the odd weekend off and wouldn't have to support his idleness. I've done a list of the pro's and con's of staying and going and the 'going' list is three times longer! I want out - only I don't know how.

I went to see a solicitor a couple of weeks ago to understand the separation process and the financial impact so I get that part. I just don't know how to have the conversation with DH though he knows I'm unhappy and it will be a shock I think.

Any help on how to have the conversation with DH, experience of similar situations and general handholding gratefully received.

ImperialBlether Wed 02-Mar-16 10:51:24

I think before you give up, you should try couple counselling. He would be forced to confront the fact he doesn't pull his weight - sometimes doing that in front of others really helps.

When you say you don't know what he does all day, doesn't he do the cleaning, washing, shopping etc?

When you come home from work, who spends the most time with the children? Who puts them to bed, cooks dinner, helps with homework etc?

Kevintheminion Wed 02-Mar-16 11:03:02

He doesn't do chores (I have a cleaner) and I do the shopping. He does pick the children up from school/nursery and will cook dinner and put them to bed (though I do if I'm home in time). I do homework with DD at the weekends.

If the boot was on the other foot, and I was a man querying what my SAHM did all day, I know it would be wrong but beyond the minimum he really isn't contributing.

Marchate Wed 02-Mar-16 11:15:25

So, you are working to pay the bills, employ a cleaner and support a lazy partner?

The only difference if you separate is you'll have to employ a childminder for drop off and pick up times. Otherwise, plus ça change...

ImperialBlether Wed 02-Mar-16 13:30:40

I would be very worried that if you separate, he will keep the house and the children and you will have to pay child support. I would do anything I could do to avoid this.

wherethewildthingis Wed 02-Mar-16 13:45:37

As imperial says, in these circumstances he is likely to be recognized as the main carer for the children, and to retain them living with him and the family home. Is that something you are willing for?

Summerlovinf Wed 02-Mar-16 13:56:53

I was in that position and my ex did not get to be the main carer after we separated. If you do as much as you say and he does at little, he might not even want to look after the children on a full time basis?

Kevintheminion Wed 02-Mar-16 14:34:16

I discussed this in detail with a solicitor. In all likelihood we would sell the house we would have shared access. The solicitor's view was that he could work, is physically capable of work just chooses not to (or I haven't made him). With our dcs in school and nursery, there is no reason why he can't find a job and at least pay some of his way. I recognise that I will have to pay some financial support to him and will, of course, continue to support the children.

Kevintheminion Wed 02-Mar-16 19:31:22

Bumping for advice on how to have the conversation.

Isetan Thu 03-Mar-16 16:17:10

Who will be the resident parent?

LobsterQuadrille Thu 03-Mar-16 17:00:08

Hi OP, which specific conversation do you definitely want to have - suggesting couples' counselling and how your situation might be improved or have you gone beyond that stage and want to work out the logistics of living apart, selling up, dividing assets and custody?

I'm sort of assuming the latter. In that case I'd get him on his own if at all possible, and away from the house (again, if possible) in a neutral environment. Ask him how he feels about everything, where he sees the two of you going etc. and then share with him how you feel - if you are 100% sure about what you want, do not give him and wiggle room or space for hope. He will cling on to it. A good surgeon cuts deeply but only once.

Summerlovinf Thu 03-Mar-16 17:08:32

My advice would be that if you are fairly sure you've made a decision to separate, get as much done as possible for yourself and then tell him. He's probably not going to want to hear it but he does need to know at some point.

something2say Thu 03-Mar-16 17:51:37

I would choose the time, get the kids out of the way.
Then sit him down and explain how you feel and what you want.
Use short sentences that are easy to digest and repeat them over again until he gets it. 'I'm sorry, I no longer love you' etc.
Then leave the home for a bit.
Move into a different bedroom.
Try not to let him see the light of life coming back on in your eyes xx

Kevintheminion Thu 03-Mar-16 21:31:43

Thank you. This is so helpful. I'm resolute that it's over. Just need to time the conversation.

Summerlovinf Fri 04-Mar-16 11:06:38

If you're resolute then it's a matter of imparting information. You tell him how it's going to be and take responsibility for your decisions. That doesn't mean that you have to explain or excuse anything/everything...but try to be clear about what is going to happen. Once you tell him this, you are probably no longer the best source of support for your husband so don't feel you have to make him feel better - you're not going to be able to...advise him to get that support from his friends/parents etc.

TorchesTorches Mon 07-Mar-16 12:09:24

Hi, I am also a long time lurker! I read your post a few days ago and it has really stayed with me. Basically all the details except one of your childs ages are identical to a friend of mine. We have never spoken about her husbands lack of action or the burden on her and she had never complained once. But i have been waiting on the sidelines for her to just leave him as he has been talking the mick for years and she has been slowly depleted bit by bit. I will cheer when i hear she has either made him shape up, or shipped him out. Good luck with whatever you do.

WestLondonDeep Mon 07-Mar-16 14:29:47

It looks from what you are saying that your relationship has broken down many years ago and that you have only been staying due to your vows. The financial side cannot be the primary issue as you are looking at a drop in standard of living as the quid pro quo to improving your quality of life.

So I think that the way that any conversation would go is along the lines that the marriage is over and the only thing left is to make it as painless as possible.

As your DH has been out of the workforce for a long time, it will take him a while to get back in. You mention that you have a long commute into work. Does that mean you live in the sticks? He will need to live somewhere where he can make a living and also have reasonable access to the children. I assume you do not want him to be the resident parent. Also as he will be starting from the bottom again, he will need to be flexible. If your child is in a state primary, flexibility is not their strong suit but he cannot be expected to do the pick-ups or drop offs, school holidays, drive to ballet lessons and odd sick days if he is going to claw his way back into the workforce. If you do not have anyone you know who can take up this stuff, and you can't move to a less demanding job nearer to school, you are looking at a nanny of some sort.

If you are turning shrewish as he is getting grumpier, then you need to do something. If you're dreading weekends with him and your children when they are two, it's not going to get better when they're twelve. He will probably have sensed that you would rather be with your colleagues than with him, so given that there is a good plan to look after your children in the long term and his transition in the short term, he might even be relieved.

Kevintheminion Mon 07-Mar-16 20:01:06

TorchesTorches tell her she's not alone. I'm sure my situation is more common than people think.

Thanks to others for your words of advice. I just need to broach the subject now.

britmodgirl Mon 07-Mar-16 21:27:32

I was in this situation. The resentment was killing me!

We split up 3 years ago and he has been forced to grow up, get a job and take responsibility - he still has a way to go.

I get odd pangs of what if (the dating world is horrible & no sex is no joke) but on the whole I have no regrets. When we split it was if a massive weight lifted.

Carrying round that resentment is heavy work x

DrHarleenFrancesQuinzel Mon 07-Mar-16 21:33:29

This sounds like my relationship. DH has not worked since 2003. Even before that he would only work in a job for a month or so at a time before something happened. He has lied to me in the past about why he couldnt do a particular job.

Luckily for him us having 3 DCs has given him a reason. Now the youngest has just turned 4 he knows he will have to look for work come Sept when she is in school FT. Which to be honest Im not expecting him to do.

He does the cooking and some cleaning, but our house is more like a student home than a family home. We have too much junk and a lot of work needs doing.

As far as Im aware DH's day goes like this, gets up. Walk the dog (while I sort the breakfast out for the DCs), sit down for a bit, say bye to me leaving for work. Gets the youngest dressed (the older 2 sort themselves out) takes the oldest 2 (11 and 8) for the school bus (we live rurally so they get a mini-bus to the school 4 miles away) come back wash up, take DC3 to pre-school (100 yrds away from home), comes home and cleans till about 10 (so an hour) sits and watches TV with a cuppa, picks up DC3 at 12. feeds her. She goes upstairs to watch TV (as per her choosing) He plays on his PS4 or Xbox. Picks up the other 2 children at half 3. Plays a bit more. Then starts doing tea. I get in about half 5. He finishes off the tea which we all eat. Then I put DC3 to bed. (DCs 1&2 put themselves to bed at their bed-times) Then we sit and watch TV before bed. Weekends are no better.

Looks like I might have to have the same conversation OP. Or at least think about it a bit more (Ive already thought I might want to leave him - its just the logistics of it all)

AugustMoon Mon 07-Mar-16 22:00:07

So he takes care of the kids, house and dinner so you can go to work and not worry about it?
Such double standards. Someone has to do the school runs and cook the meals and it can be a PITA as many know.
This is not about the dynamic of your relationship OP or DrHarleen, its about you wanting more. Admit it, its fine, just dong get patriarchal just because you go to work.

AugustMoon Mon 07-Mar-16 22:02:19

luckily for him having 3 DCs has given him a reason.... Not to work I assume? Omg, if a bloke came in here and said that about his wife the internet would explode!

DrHarleenFrancesQuinzel Mon 07-Mar-16 22:05:56

OK August point taken. Im an ungrateful bitch.

AugustMoon Mon 07-Mar-16 22:13:15

I wouldn't go that far wink
I'd probably feel the same but I'm a SAHM for the moment - not by choice, because I don't have a work visa currently. And I find it mildly abusive when my H says I'm lucky to have a roof over my head because I do fuck all. So possibly a bit sensitive.. ?

stumblymonkey Mon 07-Mar-16 22:18:54

I am interested about what makes this thread so different to threads that SAHM post about being told they aren't 'doing anything'.

I'm genuinely not trying to be 'goady' but trying to understand.

I'm the breadwinner in my home and it's possible that when we have children my DP could be a SAHD. In which case, after reading lots of threads on here, I've decided I'd expect him to look after the DCs and do a little housework but that basically we would still share the housework, grocery shopping and I'd do lion's share of childcare when at home. This seems to be what most SAHM's say is fair from their point of view.

Not sure how this is different to that?

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