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Can't afford Relate but MIL is offering to pay - WWYD?

(275 Posts)
LazyCake Mon 18-Jul-16 08:58:50

DH and I have been having lots of problems, for a very long time. We recently started to receive counselling from Relate, but are really, really struggling to pay for the sessions, which take place every week and cost £65. The counselling has been helpful to a degree, it makes me feel calmer as I am no longer dealing with all the problems and worrying about the future on my own. DH says that he enjoys it (a bit odd, but good I suppose?!)

Anyway, our finances are in chaos, and any discussion of how things might be improved leads to long arguments that go nowhere. This has been going on for years, but has got worse recently. Today I am trying to work out how to feed DD until payday, which is ridiculous as DH is on a good salary. So the added drain on our finances caused by Relate's £65 a week fees is not helping matters.

I suggested to DH that we stop receiving counselling, simply because we cannot afford it. He agreed initially, but then said that he had discussed it with his Mum, who had offered to meet the cost of 10 sessions as a birthday present. There are lots of reasons why I think this is not a good idea - to begin with, it's just a miserable, depressing thing to receive for your birthday, isn't it? And then there's the fact that I think that the eventual outcome of the counselling will be separation. MIL certainly does not realise this - she things we are just having 'a few problems'. She is very traditional, strict Christian upbringing, etc, and this will come as a dreadful blow to her. Also, I don't want DH acting the martyr over the fact he has received such a present - I feel guilty enough.

But if I don't accept MIL's offer to pay, am I throwing away the chance to try to work on our marriage and make thing better for DD? H will certainly reproach me with this for years to come, especially if we do end up separating, and maybe he would be right to do so?

AnyFucker Mon 18-Jul-16 09:02:29

Any relationship where you struggle to feed your child despite her father having good pay is not worth going to counselling for. Just file for divorce now and the finances will get settled.

I suspect MIL'S offer comes with massive strings. Or indeed ropes/ball and chain.

Bobochic Mon 18-Jul-16 09:04:29

It sounds as if a financial advisor, rather than a relationship counsellor, would be of more immediate practical support.

crayfish Mon 18-Jul-16 09:06:38

I would steer well clear of this. As pp said, it will come with massive strings and expectations and if you are thinking about a separation then it could get complicated. It's an odd offer on lots of levels, sort of like she is paying you to stay together or something? I'm sure her motives are good, but I don't think it's a healthy arrangement. Plus, what if, after another three sessions you decide to separate? Or that you don't want to continue counselling? Is she going to hold you to ransom over it?

alltouchedout Mon 18-Jul-16 09:06:55

I would say to MIL that the £650 she's willing to spend on Relate would come in very handy to feed your daughter seeing as your H isn't taking care of that.

crayfish Mon 18-Jul-16 09:07:45

alltouchedout has it.

Botanicbaby Mon 18-Jul-16 09:17:15

Yep. I'd be fuming that he'd discussed finances for relate with his mother yet nothing about how you're struggling to feed your child until pay day. I suspect she's only getting his version of the problems in your relationship.

Agree with others get out now as this is only going to get worse & yes get her to buy the food as a birthday gift!!

JCo24 Mon 18-Jul-16 09:20:53

Can't help but notice your attitude toward relate. Do you not want to stay with your husband? If your view towards it is negative anyway, surely it's already time to throw in the towel?

WibblyWobblyJellyHead Mon 18-Jul-16 09:21:52

Is he financially abusive, OP?

mamas12 Mon 18-Jul-16 09:35:31

First of all make an appointment with CAB to discuss financial affairs they are absolutely brilliant on this.
Your h should go with you you with all evidence of income and outcome etc. and they will be a lot better than a relationship counsellor believe you me.
Do it today, and I also like the fact that yes you should suggest to your h that the £650 would be great present from his mums on his birthday to fFEED HIS CHILDREN

Iggi999 Mon 18-Jul-16 09:37:47

Do you mean he has a good income and yet the money somehow all goes on other things leaving a struggle at the end of the month (which would apply to me all too often) or that he still has money in the bank but won't share it?

ravenmum Mon 18-Jul-16 09:40:40

H will certainly reproach me with this for years to come, especially if we do end up separating, and maybe he would be right to do so?
a) if you separate, he will not be living with you to reproach you for years to come
b) your financial problems are good enough reason to leave, and no doubt a root cause of your relationship problems. If he will not get financial advice he is throwing away the chance to try to work on your marriage and make things better for your DD. Point that out to him now.

myownperson Mon 18-Jul-16 12:22:50

OP, only my experience but I found the idea that Relate could help with ending a relationship nonsense. Despite what they say, I felt a lot of pressure to work on things and frankly had terrible advice. Luckily I realised after a couple of sessions. Still feel like asking for my money back!

LazyCake Mon 18-Jul-16 13:26:43

Thanks everyone for your thoughts, advice, experiences, etc. I really appreciate them.

So it's seems there's a pretty clear consensus that allowing MIL to pay for Relate would not be a clever thing to do. Interesting, as I spoke to my DM about it earlier today, and she took the opposite view: 'If he wants to pay for it, let him pay for it however he likes. And tell him that he needn't think he can go on at you for wasting MIL's money if you do separate!'

JCo24, I hear what you are saying about throwing in the towel rather than pursuing Relate. At this time, I am very pessimistic that a separation can be avoided. However, I wanted to go to Relate in order to leave no stone unturned, if that makes any sense? I didn't think I could break up DD's home without at least seeing what light a professional counsellor might be able to cast on the situation.

WibblyWobbly, no he is not financially abusive, although there are major financial inequalities in the relationship. I am a SAHM and the house deeds, mortgage, bills and savings are all in his name. This is one of the reasons why it has been difficult to make economies: I am not authorised to make adjustments to our largest outgoings, and discussions will him about re-mortgaging, switching utility suppliers, etc. never go anywhere. We actually do manage to save £100 a month, which could alleviate some of our difficulties, but it goes into an investment account that I do not have access to. However, (under protest) DH did agree to a joint account when we married, so I am not without access to funds on a day-to-day basis. The problem is that, in our different ways, we are both bad at managing money, and things never improve because we can't seem to work together on this (I have previously taken payday loans, loans from family, etc when the money runs out because I so dread raising it with him). I don't want to imply that our financial difficulties are all, or even mainly, DH's fault. I have certainly been no saint - I fritter away money on nonsense purchases of coffees, makeup, etc. Really need to get a grip. sad

mamas12, Yes, I do think CAB would be a good idea. They run a drop-in session in my area, which I shall try to get to this week.

AnyFucker Mon 18-Jul-16 13:34:48

If you dread asking him for money for essentials them you are being financially abused

Unless he takes concrete steps to equalise all assets of the marriage, you would be better advised to consult a solicitor and divorce him

You will then be sure to get your fair share of the pot

LazyCake Mon 18-Jul-16 13:51:44

Yes, what you say makes sense AnyFucker, but I can't but help feel that I have misrepresented the situation somewhat. I think I dread pointing out to him that we are about to run out of money, because I am ashamed of my own spending habits and aware that I have contributed to the crisis.

When I raise financial worries with him, he doesn't fly into a rage. He either becomes subdued and whingey, or starts to review our characters, values, family histories, etc. to illustrate how different our attitudes to money are. Him = self-disciplined, prudent, hard-working, etc. Me = feckless, spendthrift layabout. It's very hard to explain, but we get into bizarre, mind-numbing pseudo-philosophical discussions about what the problem is, but nothing changes and nothing gets better. And far from having a tight hold on the purse-strings, he seems to have only the vaguest notions of how money works, often picking figures out of thin air in response to questions that should have a very definite answer. Recently, he appeared to have completely forgotten about an account he holds which has £24,000 in it. It's so weird.

But now I am just venting. Had better stop as I could go on forever!

SandyY2K Mon 18-Jul-16 14:15:37

Why isn't the house in your name too? Were you married when it was purchased?

Did he really forget about £24k ? Or was that an attempt to hide it from you. I don't know many people if anyone, who forgets about an account with that much money.

Can't some of that be used for the counselling?

It doesn't sound like you have easy access to money. There's a very big financial imbalance and you not having your name on the single biggest asset I. E. your house, is concerning.

I wouldn't go for another session until that was sorted out personally.

Bitrustyandbusty Mon 18-Jul-16 14:18:38

I suspect he knows far more than he lets on. So, you struggle to buy food yet he 'forgot' about £24k? I smell more than a rat. Total and utter bullshit is the overpowering aroma here.

Botanicbaby Mon 18-Jul-16 14:43:18

He sees you as a feckless spendthrift layabout? Charming.

Sounds like financial abuse to me. Why would he need his mother to pay for counselling for his birthday (another stick to beat you with) if he has access to savings?
No matter how rubbish you are with money, spending it on coffees or whatever, you both need to communicate re food for the family. I'd give up on trying to make this relationship work, I doubt he's as financially savvy or prudent as he makes out if he has no clue about savings he has.
Please get advice from cab.

MatildaTheCat Mon 18-Jul-16 16:08:31

How about one more relate session which is solely to discuss financial equality? In the 21st century it is almost inconceivable to me that you have no access to your family finances such as the mortgage and utilities.

I suspect your (small) impulse purchases are a form of rebellion. Having said that you will need to be able to budget and exercise self control when / if you separate but somehow I don't think you will struggle.

LazyCake Mon 18-Jul-16 16:11:08

Why isn't the house in your name too? Were you married when it was purchased? No, he bought it about a year before we met, and a couple of years before we married. He owned property previously, but I was renting. He's quite a bit older than me, (I was 28 when we met, he was 40).

Did he really forget about £24k? I don't know - conceivably, yes. He seems to be able to operate a kind of double-think whereby he simultaneously knows things and is ignorant of them.

Why would he need his mother to pay for counselling for his birthday (another stick to beat you with) if he has access to savings? He was initially very reluctant to enter counselling because of the expense involved and also because he feared it would be the prelude to us separating. He wanted me to guarantee we would not separate as a condition of us entering counselling, which obviously I could not do. He has a curious attitude to his Mum's money since his father died a few years ago. He seems to treat it as his own, to be tapped into whenever the need arises. His Mum is very elderly, he is her only child and the sole beneficiary of her will. These kinds of attitudes are why I have gradually ceased to love him.

I suspect he knows far more than he lets on. Yes, me too.

MephistoMarley Mon 18-Jul-16 16:11:28

I bet you're not the financial fuck up he portrays you as.

LazyCake Mon 18-Jul-16 16:15:27

I suspect your (small) impulse purchases are a form of rebellion. Yes, probably. I think that I have allowed myself to become infantilized.

Having said that you will need to be able to budget and exercise self control when / if you separate but somehow I don't think you will struggle. Yes, I have attended a course on budgeting, etc and taken some advice from friends who are very good at managing their money. Need to get better at following the advice I have been given, though!

familyfarm Mon 18-Jul-16 16:16:56

Why don't you go for couple counselling on the NHS (for free)? We had excellent couples counselling. If you are in London, send me a PM and I'll send you details.

Mrskeats Mon 18-Jul-16 16:17:56

Why are you worried about feeding your daughter if there's an account with £24000 in it?
I am a bit confused

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