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HELP. Resentment destroying my marriage

(25 Posts)
Horntail Tue 19-Aug-08 17:32:45

Help, I need to know how to sort myself out.

I am married with 3 dc's. In a nutshell I don't seem to be able to get over the fact that I earn much more than my husband and all the responsibility for 'providing' for us falls on my shoulders.

When we married 10 years ago, he was 'self employed', tho' in reality he worked for a conman who took 27K off him. Its a long story and my husband was stupid to sign over a second charge on his house to this bloke... We married fairly quickly after we met and I don't think I fully realised what effect this had on me. It wasn't just that he had ben stupid, bt that he had no will to fight for HIS /OUR future financial stability.

Anyway I was working ft and had a house so we just absorbed the loss and got on with things.

he got a job, a very basic job, which he is still doing now. I earn probably 8x his salary. I am in a profession which I worked hard for, and I have continued to work hard at to provide a good standard of living for us and our children.

But, heres the rub, I am really starting to resent him for his continued low income and inability to even try to increase his earnngs. With the credit crunch and having had to go on to an SVR on our mortgage, money is really tight. I am having to extra hours exactly at the time when I would love to be doing a bit less so that I could spend more time with or children. Thing is I cant see it ever changing. Whenever we want anything - like a holiday, Its always me who has to provide.

he is also completly disinterested in decision making. ALL and I mean all decisions are made by me,; where the kids go to school, who we see, what mortgage company we use, whats for dinner. Its all me. Its like he dosnt want to take any responsibility in cas e its 'wrong'

I don't want to end my marriage. He is an OK dad ( dosen't DO much with the ids tbh but hes there) and we get along fine, no rows, amicable even fun ( at times relationship) sex life fine... I just feel ANGRY with him. as though I expected him to step up to the mark and at least try to provide for his children... when we married there were no children so it seemed ok, but now I expect him to have grown up and it seems to me that he hasn't...

am I being completely unreasonable?

TheUnsinkableMB Tue 19-Aug-08 17:43:28

I don't think you're being unreasonable.

A similar thing happened between me and my ex dp, he had debts and an inability to control his spending and although it was fine in the beginning, eventually I came to resent the fact that I was paying for everything and making all the decisions.

Sorry, haven't got anything really constructive to say, just wanted you to know you're not alone.

solidgoldbrass Tue 19-Aug-08 17:47:17

Well, normally, when one partner in a marriage is the income owner, the other partner does the bulk of the childcare/housework or other stuff that makes the income-earner's life happier. What does he contribute to the household? Because if it's neither money, nor childcare, nor housework, he's clearly not so wonderful in bed that you think that justifies you keeping him (in every sense).

This is not about gender, at all. It's about one adult being a complete dependent - by the sound of it you'd do just as well to have a pet instead of him. No wonder you're resentful.

missingtheaction Tue 19-Aug-08 17:47:18

well, you are certainly very angry with him. Does he know how angry you are? do you really know what it is that you are angry about? what would you like him to do, specifically, and how would that make things better? Does your success make him feel helpless? if you are earning so much more than him what chance does he ever have to make a real contribution? what responsibilities would you like him to take on? is he/you any good at sharing responsibility or do you work better apart?

and so forth. maybe a little chat with him and some counselling to clear your mind before you blow your top?

justaboutagrownup Tue 19-Aug-08 17:47:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Alfreda Tue 19-Aug-08 20:59:35

The only thing that gives me pause is the throwaway comment that he doesn't want to make any decisions in case they are "wrong".

Have you ever treated him as an equal? OK, this sounds like a harsh question, but I can see where you are coming from cos my dh says that kind of thing to me at times....but the truth is I don't feel the need to be in control of things and he likes it done just so, so in general to avoid hassle I let him get on with it, and every now and then he feels like a martyr over it.

Apart from that we are different cos I am the earner and he doesn't work, but he most certainly does run the home and feels I do not contribute enough in a non-financial way.

I think that you both need to examine the reasons for why you interact in certain ways. Perhaps you should also question the earnings thing with yourself: as the breadwinner in our home I sometimes resent that I "have" to work so hard, but I do recognise that in fact I could work less if I was prepared to live on less pension/retire later, and I have a bigger need for financial security than dh.

HZA Wed 20-Aug-08 10:01:40

I would just like to say that you are not alone. I am in a very similar situation, having supported my husband financially from the day we met, and having to organise his whole life (so it feels). It is now 4 months since our 1st child was born and I have started to feel very angry with him. We had a huge row, where I expressed all my feelings. We made up afterwards, but I still feel really angry with him, particularly when he arranges to spend time pursuing his hobbies (music) without me. I don't know what do do about this anger that I feel or how I can begin to make it better. I am not sure if it is related to any form of PND, but I don't seem to have any other symptoms.

Anyway, it is nice to know that there are other mums out there feeling the same. I only hope that we find a way to make it better.


Horntail Wed 20-Aug-08 13:57:04

thanks for your messages.

in particular the harsher ones, this is what I need.

he does know tat I am becoming resentful - and I think it is because until now we have had enough money to not really worry, and I dont really care who earns it - I havn't cared until now anyway. now that money is tight I really resent the fact that he has made no effort to increase his earning over the last 10 years. His attitude now ( we are mid 40's) is that its 'too late' and he 'hasn't got any qualifications' and 'you have a profession' as though my profession is something that dropped into my lap with no effort from me.

he does do things around the house. we ill put on the washing and do a bit of ironing - but he does a lot less that 1/2 of what needs to be done. Or what I think needs to be done. he thinks it doesn't need to be done so wont contribute.

as to what specifically I would like to change? I would like to be able to respect him. At the bottom, underneath the little things, is this nagging feeling that I am married to a man I don't really respect and that therefore at some time, our marriage will have to end. I don't respect him NOT because he earns less than me but because he is lazy in almost every aspect of his life and puts in the minimum effort - he has very few friends now for example because he can't be bothered to make the effort.

justaboutagrownup Wed 20-Aug-08 16:30:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chocolatemummy Wed 20-Aug-08 16:40:25

this thread is great. I am in prcatically identical situation and hvae been on here for support before but not found people very sympathetic.
My dh earns several £000 a year less than me, I have already been to univrsity and got the degree etc and now 8 years after finishing I am going back to uni to further train. My husband has always worked so i can't call him lazy but he has a very basic, low paid job and has no inclination to improve himself, I spent several hundred pounds last year for him to do an open university course which he started and did well in but dropped out after finishing the very first module. I get very resentful and had a big argument the other night about me being his meal ticket to a better life after he had such an awful relationship before me, he brought along several thousnad pounds of edbt which took us years to clear and I have had SO MUCH crap to put up with from his ex and child.
He IS a great dad though and IS a lovely person and affectionate and patient and supportive of me but I hate the fact that I have to be the main earner and make the decisions and feel like he is my son sometimes instead of my husband!

Horntail Wed 20-Aug-08 17:40:06

Chocolate mummy, may I ask how old you are ? I think this has come to a bit of a head for me bacase my dh said last week that he basically feels the prime of his life is over and its all down hill form here on. That biologically we 'should' only live to 40. I realised than that nothing will ever change and despite that fact that our 3 dcs are growing and need more things he will never be able to provide them.

Quattrocento Wed 20-Aug-08 17:49:20

Hmm we've had a variant of your debate which goes like this:

Him: We're stuck in a rut that is not making us happy. You need to earn LESS.

Me: But I think I ought to earn as much as I can now (at 41) in case push comes to credit crunch. Anyhow, just precisely HOW do you think we can pay our bills if I earn less?

Sometimes I think men are happy just to drift, and I am not sure whether this is a good or bad thing.

chocolatemummy Wed 20-Aug-08 20:50:52

we are both in our early thrities. At times I want to run away and feel like I am practiclaly doing everything anyways so might aswell be alone but actually I am not, he is just not an academic or career perosn, he is willing to get up and work hard everyday for rubbish money and it frustrates the hell out of me but he isnt going to change and I am exhausted and skint trying to make him!
I try and look around me when I feel really fed up and thank that he DOES work and DOES love me and IS a good dad and IS faithful and we DO get along pretty well

ConstanceWearing Thu 21-Aug-08 10:59:32

If he feels like the best of his life is over at 40ish, and that he ought to die soon, is there any chance that he could be depressed? That would certainly stop him from being dynamic and forward-looking.

ConstanceWearing Thu 21-Aug-08 11:04:21

Also, he may not feel like he has the right to make decisions, because you bring in most of the money, therefore you should decide what happens with it (especially if he knows you feel resentful, he might feel like a Cling-On. His reticence may be a way of trying to make himself less irksome to you. "Whatever you think best", type attitude, which is at least intended to minimise your resentment of him for contributing so little).

I'm just trying to look from the other side of the coin. Not designed to pee you off, honestly.

justaboutagrownup Thu 21-Aug-08 14:14:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Horntail Thu 21-Aug-08 16:47:07

Constance - thanks you - honestly I need to see this from the other side. I think that (I am the higher earner) may be part of the problem. When a decision needs to be made - for example we are considering where dc1 should go to secondary school - I am likely to look up all the options, gather information, ask his current school teachers, consider going to look at schools and then I will come to a decision.

Maybe men don't work like this, but then he will 'go along' with what I have 'decided' rather than make any contribution to deciding.

It was like this with primary schools and when dc1 had a few problems at the school I chose, he blamed me for choosing badly. I don't know if he is like this because he does not feel he has a right to an opinion or becuse he simply can't be bothered. Or he is afraid that things wont be perfect and then it will be his 'fault'??

We are NOT rowing and get along quite well, at least superficially, really. Its the underneath resentment that I feel eating at the long term foundations which is the problem.

I am considering the option of marriage councelling. Am rather afraid that once I open the box a whole heap of resentment will come out which I wont be able to contain/ we wont be able to manage.

justaboutagrownup Thu 21-Aug-08 16:56:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

choosyfloosy Thu 21-Aug-08 17:01:03

horntail, that last sentence says it all - opening the box is what you need to do most. It is easy to say 'counselling' as a panacea, but in your case it sounds like an absolute essential! - you both badly need a safe space with boundaries to talk, and that's what counselling should offer.

twoluvlykids Thu 21-Aug-08 17:03:17

i personally think counselling would help you both, yr dh sounds a bit depressed tbh. maybe he feels inadequate? surplus to requirements? it's worth solving, as resentment isn't healthy.

justaboutagrownup Thu 21-Aug-08 17:07:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheHedgeWitch Thu 21-Aug-08 17:35:32

Message withdrawn

Horntail Thu 21-Aug-08 21:07:58

hedge witch

i dont know . maybe yo rea right. When the kids were small I was happy to go back to work,Full time sahm for very small children I found so so difficult.

now they are bigger I would so like the option to work a bi tless to be there for them abit more - for homework and after school 'playdates' and swimming and all those things. But I cant because we have a huge mortgage and he cant/wont shoulder any responsibility for earning a bit more.

To be fair, I know he cant go straight out and get a job earning 20K more, but he could TRY to develop a career that would help for the future.

5 am definitely NOT a man!!

icecrystal Sun 19-Oct-08 17:24:54

Horntail - I sympathise - I really do and it all seems too familiar for comfort. I had no choice 10 years ago, only 3 months after the birth of our dc2 about who became the breadwinner in our marriage. My dh had a nervous breakdown and I had to go back out to work as he was unable to. We got rid of the nanny and I told myself it would only be for a while and when he felt stronger he would go back to work. Now 10 years later, with me having sold the company I built up - I needed a break myself having approached burn out. I literally begged him to get a job - any job -just to give me some time before I needed to return to work. He has refused - point blank for over a year and the resentment I now feel towards him is festering like an open sore. I am now working again building up another company but I am not sure I can recover from this. He is a kind and generous guy in many things and is a good Dad overall- but leaves all the decision making and social organisation to me. It is very wearing to have to carry the financial and emotional burden for the family. We have 3 kids. My argument to him is that it is about contributing and about us working together as a team - not relying entirely on one party. The problem is if you are dependable and don't want to let your family down it is very easy for someone else to leave it all to you - since they know you won't fail them. I am so angry I'm on the verge of leaving but don't want to hurt the kids

Horntail Mon 20-Oct-08 13:15:07

Hi Icecystal. That must be very very hard. at least my h is working!
I cannot understand how your husband can have not worked for 10 years and still refuse to try and get a job....

things are a bit better here. I think I am working some of the resentment through, and he has made more effort over the last couple of months to share the decision making, and to contribute more practically to the running of the household ! The interest rate cut thing has helped me feel a bit less desperate about finances too......

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