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DH can't / won't contribute and I'm at the end of my tether...

(9 Posts)
eejaykay Fri 12-Sep-08 04:36:11

This is gonna be a long one...

I'm 16 weeks pg with first child. I've been with dh for nearly 9 years, married for one. He isn't working, my (decent but not great) wage is our sole income. However, he has been living off inherited money for the past 2 years. This has run out this month - in fact, I found out he has run up a huge overdraft on his account. I'm desperately trying to sort out our finances, pay off some debts, get a bit of redecorating done and get ourselves clear for when bub arrives, and now i'm faced with having to manage all our household finances as well.

Its a complicated situation.. DH has always been a bit money illiterate (whereas I'm the sort of weirdo who likes to know exactly what's where when). He used to work as a freelancer and it was always boom or bust with money. He also didn't temp or sign on in between jobs. He left work 5 years ago to care for his Mum who had cancer and Alzheimers. I supported him financially then, but was frustrated that he didn't sign on for carers allowance or any of the things he was entitled to.

She died nearly 3 years ago now. DH was really knocked sideways by her death (his father had died some years previously). He worked part-time at Oddbins for a year, but that earnt very little so I stlll supported him. In the last year of his Mum's illness, I bought our first flat - all in my name as I was the one with the deposit and his credit rating is on the floor. This was a really tough year - he was depressed, I was getting further into debt to make ends meet, but we knew inheritance money was coming.

Inheritance money arrived and we had a much easier year last year, financially. We were in fact, a bit irresponsible. Paid off the debts, had a couple of fab holidays, and had a wonderful and extravagant wedding. Don't get me wrong - DH is not mean with his money, nor am I saying he owes me anything. Last year was a tough year in other ways though - I had two miscarriages and for various reasons, DH didn't get back on his feet emotionally. He'd left Oddbins, to find a proper job, but got no nearer finding one - couldn't work out what he wanted to do and didn't apply for anything.

So - here we are now. I've known for some time money was getting tighter and since beginning of the year I have asked (demanded?) DH pay half of the mortgage and bills. I had got so resentful over the years I supported him it seemed like a fair expectation. But I've paid for our hols and treats - I earn more, no problem with that. After a lot of pressure from me, he started seeing a counsellor in April, and did his first job application in June. He finally went 3 weeks ago to sign on - doesn't get anything because he hasn't paid enough NI - and is finally applying for jobs.

It's clear to me he's absolutely lost his confidence and is probably depressed, but he will do so little to help himself (e.g he will not go to the doctor). I am exhausted, and often angry with him even though at heart I do empathise. That said, I do believe adults have responsibilities and I just don't think he is living up to his. It feels to me like I'm always the one solving our problems.

In other ways he's a gorgeous man, very caring and lovely. I read the posts from women who have high-earning grotbags for husbands and know I'm lucky! I've read threads where Mumsnetters are very strongly opinionated about husbands who expect their wives to earn the same, and posts about marriage being shared finances etc. I agree with that and it's not like I'm not prepared to support him - but I think he has a responsibility to me, and us as a family, too.

To be honest, I need him to get his act together and am strongly considering asking him to leave at this point. We're seeing a counsellor, and I'm trying to keep sane and fair - but have been crying on and off for the past three days. have crushing headaches from the stress and, as you can tell, am not sleeping much

Any thoughts / advice?

mumblechum Fri 12-Sep-08 12:18:28

Sorry you're having such a crap time.

IMO he's well overdue getting a job but he's going to find it extremely hard in this climate, having been out of work for years.

I think he's probably got used to not having to think about money in the same way as a child doesn't have to think about it, and if he were a child, you'd give him a fixed amount of pocket money.

If this were me, I'd carry on paying the mortgage etc (I presume the house is stillin your sole name), and make sure all accounts are also in your sole name. Then give him pocket money of £20 a week. By treating him as I'd treat my teenager, if he gets desperate for money he can get a job washing up in a pub or something.

I know this is v harsh, but I think it may be the only way to force him to grow up and take some responsibility.

Fizzylemonade Fri 12-Sep-08 12:38:50

Agree with mumblechum that you need to force the issue.

Did you talk about the pregnancy before it happened and how you were going to support the child financially?

Is he looking to be a sahd or are you thinking about childcare and you both working?

TheUnsinkableMB Fri 12-Sep-08 12:40:28

Sounds like a similar situation I was in with my ex partner, he quit his job without another one to go to, so we were living off my crappy wages and eventually he just stopped trying to get another job and several weeks after the dole had stopped his money and he still didn't seem bothered about getting a job (not even trying) I decided I'd had enough (he also had debts) and one day I screamed at him and gave him an ultimatum (get a job or I'm going!) he stormed off to the job centre and managed to get himself some interviews and got a job not long after.

Sounds like your dh needs a short sharp shock, he really needs to sort himself out for you and the baby's sake.
You need to make it very clear to him that now is the time to get his arse into gear!

Dropdeadfred Fri 12-Sep-08 12:41:30

would asking him to leave shock him out of his enertia or just cause you more grief?

Did his mother not own a house...did he inherit it?

eejaykay Fri 12-Sep-08 14:04:32

Thanks for all the support! I was starting to worry I was really demanding and unsupportive and feel a bit reassured. I don't think I can keep him on pocket money, even though I agree about the childlike attitude - it just smacks too much of controlling behaviour, however justified I feel.

A couple of answers - Dropdeadfred, he did inherit a house which has been on the market since May last year. I think part of the intertia is that he has been on the promise of the money from the sale. It will One Day sell and that does mean our immediate situation does have a nice fat solution - but in a way, I'm hoping it doesn't sell too quickly as an injection of cash is only going to delay him getting a job / career, and one day we'll be back in this pit again but with no bail out on the horizon.

Fizzylemonade - we 'sort of' talked about baby finances in that I worked out what he needs to bring in, with me working 2-3 days a week, to make it balance - which is quite an achieveable amount. Although it would be sensible for him to be an SAHD (and not only because he is brilliant with kids and will probably be better at it than me!), there are two things against that - it's going to mean even longer that he's been out of the workplace, and also, I feel it is my turn to step back from work and enjoy (hopefully!) being a Mum. I know it's a bit old-fashioned given men and women's equal roles, but in a deep down and unreconstructed part of me, I feel like its my right. That said - we have discussed this and he agrees that it probably wouldn't be a good idea for him to be a SAHD.

In fact, writing this all down last night was really useful for laying out my thoughts, and it has already started a good conversation - I hope we can get somewhere this time round...

He's really such a good bloke at heart, I hope we can sort this out.

Dropdeadfred Fri 12-Sep-08 14:10:00

could he rent the house out instead and use the proceeds as a salary?

LittleWeePickle Fri 12-Sep-08 15:30:33

Renting out the house would be a good idea, prices are low just now and you'd get more from rent that you would from investing the proceeds - with far less risk.

Also, renting gives a steady income, which would certainly supplement your household. I suspect it may not be enough to replace a salary tho, which is good as your DH really does need to get a job for his sanity as well as yours - never mind the cashflow issues.

You must want to kill him, but how about you try (with gritted teeth) to help him look for a job, encourage him to apply etc. Hard I know, but it may do the trick better than giving him an ultimatum. Better he does some work, even if low paid, than does nothing at all.

Confucious say "live DH better than dead duck"

PosyFossil Fri 12-Sep-08 15:36:52

Even if he could live off the proceeds of the house sale it seems strange that he wouldn't want some kind of job.

How old is he btw?

If you have a good job then maybe he could get a non-career type job (less hours / low pay but fun maybe like in a bar or a nice shop).

Will he maybe take on more of the childcare when you have your baby?

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