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Confused. Don't know what to do.(30 Posts)
I love my husband. But find his constant gloom difficult to live with. He is a good father to our 2 kids, has always been loyal etc. But he suffers from low mood and anger that he won't deal with, and makes my fault. This weekend he agreed to come out with me & some friends for a drink, then sat in gloomy silence all evening. Today he got angry & swore at me outside where everyone can hear (we live in v close together terraces). He never ever apologises or admits he has any kind of problem. I have no money and am a writer so v low income indeed. Don't know what to do. Am 50 too, mother dead & no family close, and the thought of starting again in poverty is terrifying. Genuinely don't know what to do.
He sounds like the husband in Nick Hornby's "How to be good" novel. Which was the book that made me decide to leave my marriage!
Have you talked to him about how you're feeling and how unhappy his behaviour is making you (and probably your DC too)?
I haven't read that book. I will now. I have tried talking. Occasionally he will admit that he has some unresolved issues from his past - hyper critical and cold parents - but then will backtrack and make it my fault again. I'm being frozen out again now, and if I try to talk I'll get the eye rolling 'do we have to, there isn't a problem' etc etc. I know the game. But two things: there are things I love about him, and I have zero cash and I saw my mum leave a horrible marriage and end up in complete poverty. She died very young. Tell me some good news, NotTheFordType. Did things work out for you ?
Just wanted to offer my support even though I don't have any answers for you.
My DH never blames me but he's full of excuses as to why he behaves in certain ways. He's changed so much over time from a happy fun loving person to a very withdrawn person emotionally and physically. Rarely shows me any kind of affection and literally sits there in silence watching me cry. It's horrible.
We used to communicate and talk all the time and agreed it was the backbone of our relationship. Now I just get radio silence followed by half hearted attempts to appease me with hollow "I love yous"
I think I'll read that book too.
Can you get a job that pays?
You would get benefits and child maintenance, also your half of the house (at least). If money is the main blocker, go see a solicitor and find out what the likely settlement would be.
I agree the trick is to earn money. Independence is important for equAlity and respect in a relationship. It's not always possible and that often brings challenges. If you can find a way to carve out some independence you won't rely on him as much for your own happiness. It might even remind him that you are fun and capable without him.
It's not right that he rolls his eyes and refuses to acknowledge the pain is behaviour is causing you.
Rather than focus on entirely on his behaviour, maybe communicate how the way he speaks to you makes you feel, and tell him how it affects your relationship. ask him if he thinks it's acceptable, and to think about whether there are things going on under the surface that are causing him to be this way.
You absolutely cannot go on indefinitely, regardless of your circumstances.
Thank you all. I have honestly tried all the talking. he always blames me for his silence and coldness, ditto his anger. Always describes himself as reasonable. Like you LifeOnHold17 it has got worse as he has got older, he has got more misanthropic and more angry with me. I work freelance so have lowly paid and patchy rather than regular, but very interesting work IYSM, and it's very important to me, took me a long time to get to the stage where I get to do this kind of work and I don't want to give it up. I think I'll have to find out what I'm entitled to, given that if we spilt up he will demand we sell the house, and as he is on a decent salary he will be able to get another mortage and I won't. I am terrified of being in poverty again, I have been there and watched my mum in that position and it is grim, I know it. I need to take stock of my options and try to sort out the next way forward. Do I go to CAB initially? Or solicitor ?
Most freelancers supplement the work they are passionate about with work that pays. What kind of writer are you? The trick here, I think, is to make yourself a decent living. That'll give you freedom to choose your own path. There is work out there.
Good luck OP
If you're 50 does that mean your kids have left home or are working full time? Or are they younger? Because this will affect what you'll be entitled to, seeing as there's technically no reason you can't be in full time employment yourself. I get that you love what you're doing freelance and that's fantastic, but is it really worth living in misery for? If you're not working every day it's definitely worth doing some other part time work to supplement the income it brings you, you can't have everything unfortunately! I would LOVE to go freelance in my profession but I have to support myself and my kids so can't. This is the reality for most people I'm afraid.
My kids are still young and at home - 10 and 13 - too young to be independent. I have worked full time for a long time through both pregnancies and into kids childhood, but it became untenable as my husband has a long commute, and someone had to be available to look after the kids. I don't really need a lesson in 'reality', or assumptions being made about me not knowing how 'most people' live or wanting to have 'everything'. I dress at Primark, know 50 recipes you can make with chickpeas and lentils and have no expensive habits at all. I would just like a life without emotional misery and with work I find meaningful. Massively ambitious perhaps, but I'd rather try for that than flash cars and holidays in the Maldives (neither of which I've ever had). Being judgemental is not helpful. thanks though, to those of you who offered supportive thoughts, and a space to talk x
I don't think anyone's being judgemental. You stated in your OP and further comments that you are worried about falling into poverty, due to your low and sporadic income. The only real way to prevent that is to make yourself more financially independent. I don't doubt the value in what you do. I'm a freelance writer too and not all jobs are about the money, but I do have to provide for my children, which means I don't love all the work I do.
I'm not sure about your relationship. You are clearly unhappy, and if talking to your husband doesn't work, I'm not sure what else you can do.
Thanks but there was definitely a lot of judgement going on from one direction. Mumsnet has a reputation for being a but like that, I know, but still, it was a little surprising and not helpful. I'm not sure what I can do, either. I asked whether CAB or solicitor should be my first port of call. I'll have to look into it myself. Thx again to those who were supportive.
CAB will be able to advise you on benefits. I was a single mum for five years when my youngest was a baby. I worked part-time on staff but the publication was notoriously low paid.
I got a lot of financial support through tax credits, which combined with the child maintenance their father paid meant I was able to make ends meet.
It was a struggle but I promised myself it wasn't going to be like that forever.
Now they are older (similar age to yours) I am making more freelance, working flexibly around them.
So life story aside, try CAB for benefits advice. I do know there have been cuts since I was doing it all solo though.
I think many men such as your husband behave badly in part because they know their partners are frightened of the financial consequences of the relationship breaking down. It is incredibly enpowering to know you can manage on your own so you don't need to tolerate poor behaviour. It shouldn't be that way of course. Have you considered consulting a solicitor to find out the likely situation if you decide the divorce? You mention your husband is well paid and you own your house, albeit with a mortgage I expect, so perhaps it might not be as bad as you think.
Many thanks that's really helpful. I will go see them. I know whatever I do will be difficult. But need to sort out exactly what my options are so I can make the best decision. Thx again.
& thx Lady Lapsang. We have a big mortgage small equity. Not enough to sell up and refinance two flats etc, even in our cheap area. I'll go to solicitor too I think, get both sets of information. And I think you are right about the bad behaviour. The fact that I have always worked and paid into mortgage as well as doing 90 percent of house stuff and childcare does not seem to count ... I could cope with all of it if it wasn't for the iciness and anger. It's too much. I'm exhausted and feeling very alone with all this.
While cooking dinner & sorting out kids return to school. Seriously wish my mum was about to cry on...
You are doing the right thing; information is some power for you to take hold of and hopefully give you some hope; he sounds like a nightmare and you should not have to suffer this passive aggressiveness; it's subtle abuse; get informed and hopefully in time you can go and leave the miserable git.
Yes knowing the options will help I think. Gives me some control back plus I might have more scope than I can see now, when everything feels very upsetting and dark. Thanks
Is there any way you could start squirreling some money away?
If you can start doing it now and on top of that have a look online at the benefits calculator to see what you'd be entitled to.
Also because your career has had to take a back seat so your husbands career could progress find out about spousal support as well as maintanance.
The children will be allowed to stay in the home, and assuming you will be their primary career, so will you. They can make an adjustment under the Children's Act to allow for it. It only defers things till the children are 18 but it means you don't have to find a new place.
Obviously being able to cover the costs on your own will be an issue and also what happens when the children leave home.
For two children, maintenance at the CSA rate is 20% of his take-home pay. That gets reduced by 1/7 for every 52 days a year they stay over at his place, so eg they stay every Saturday night, he pays you 20% minus 1/7; if they stay every Friday and Saturday it's 20% minus 2/7 or if they only stay every other Saturday it's the full 20%.
might it be that your poverty fear is a little larger than the reality due to it being a circumstance of your childhood?
sometimes we can get stuck in old fears and that stops us moving forward in life.
I'm not suggesting this is the case for you - just wondering if it is a factor.
You have the right to be happy and have a contented life - its great that you already have a handle on not being materialistic - find out as much as you can about what you are entitled to - there might even be more out there than you can imagine.
Looking at it from the other angle, if you think there is a chance your marriage could be saved by better communication, and you'd like to stay together in a better way, it's worth looking into Relate or similar.
It's not for everyone and takes a willingness to really engage from both of you. It might not be a bad thing for you to do anyway, if you aren't sure about what to do from a relationship point of view.
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