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

(11 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?

captainmummy Fri 12-Sep-08 20:08:46

What will you do when the baby arrives? Will he be a Stay at Home Father? His situation is no different to a SAHM, like me! (except maybe the baby is not here yet!) Will you go back to work?

He sounds depressed. HAs he seen a doctor?

tigermoth Fri 12-Sep-08 20:10:59

I really feel for you - I can't post more now but will come back tomorrow.

Alfreda Fri 12-Sep-08 20:44:43

Tough one. He needs to go to the doctor, doesn't he. If he has major reasons for not wanting to go (?phobia after Mum's illness, or something?) there are a number of depression inventories you could get him to do on line. Perhaps if he does and sees how much he needs help he might get it?

You have both had a tough few years and survived a lot between you, it seems that you have enough to work on and not let go. But that doesn't preclude you asking him to move out and fend for himself for a while, just to prove to himself that he can.

PilgrimSoul Fri 12-Sep-08 23:12:06

I think his situation is very different to a SAHM. A SAHM has a job, he doesn't. Personally I would have lost patience 2 years ago.

tigermoth Mon 15-Sep-08 11:00:43

How are things?

I do hope you partner does not see you as the universal problem solver. You must show him how upset and worried you are - how helpless you are alone - if he does not help you.

tigermoth Fri 19-Sep-08 07:25:24

eejaykay, I don't know if you are still out there, but I really hope you are.

I was going to write more on your thread, but life got in the way.

I went through a pretty desperate and stressful time when I was pregnant, my dh was not working and depressed, and I was trying to decorate our house, so I can relate quite a bit to your OP. We did get back on our feet, but it put a big strain on our relationship. I would say it is so important to not be seen as the magical person who can solve all the problems.Do not let others see you in that role - watch out that your extended family do not see you as this.
I hope you are not hiding all your stress from your dh as IME it just perpetuates the imbalance. Your dh sounds like a decent man - what has his reaction been to seeing you sleepless and in tears about all this?

I am glad your dh is looking for jobs. Do you look for jobs for him, too? I realise it is yet another task to fit into your day but it could give him (and you) that vital lifeline back into work. Breaking the job hunting down into specific tasks makes it easier IME. Showing him an actual job application form, selling the idea of that job to him could be the carrot in the carrot and stick situation you are in. This is what I did and it worked. dh got a job her really liked. When he first began, he was really worried that he would be too tired as his sleeping pattern was so haywire. dh thought he had insomnia caused by depression. Within a couple of weeks of working during the day and getting a better daytime routine, his sleeplessness at night disappeared.

eejaykay Sun 21-Sep-08 19:14:10

Sorry about radio silence and than you for the fantastic support.

Tigermoth - you're right that I do tend to jump in and take responsibility an solve problems. I've tried to step back from that which is why I've 'demanded' he pay his share of mortgage and bills, but now he's out of cash, I will find the money somewhere - I have to, the mortgage and bills are in my name. I do think I could help him more with job-hunting, and will do what I can here.

Also, Alfreda, what do you mean by depression inventories? Sounds intriguing!

Things aren't any further on than a couple of weeks back as he has been laid up with a nasty cold which I'm just coming down with (oh joy). I think we have a long way to go on this, I just ope I can keep up the energy and patience to see it through. Thanks so much.

tigermoth Sun 21-Sep-08 21:53:38

eejaykay, I hear you! Sorry about the cold. I know you will probabaly be working on ways to find the money to pay the mortgage and bills but (and I speak from experience) make sure your partner does not assume you can somehow work it all out (even if you know you can). Don't give your partner more reason to be in denial about the necessity of him helping out financially.

tigermoth Mon 22-Sep-08 06:59:14

Just read your OP again. Do you think your dh might be confusing 'being depressed' with 'being in a depressing and challenging situation'

How was he, emotionally, when you went on those holidays last year,and had spare cash for treats? Did he enjoy life or seem depressed then? I know you say he was getting over the death of his mother, that is totally understandable, but I am talking about the 'can't get out of bed and motivate myself to do anything or see anyone' type of depression.

Because if he was out and about, socialising, making plans (did he do much of the wedding organising for instance?, did he enjoy being part everything?) then he can do the same now - get out and about and make plans to get back to work. He may be confusing lack of confidence with depression - I know you sort of say this in your OP. Plenty of people work or look for work while they are grieving for a deceased love one.

Right now, if you suddenly won the lottery and had no money worries, do you think your dh's depression would go away? Ask yourself, ask him - gently.

If you feel not even a lottery win would lift dh's depression, then he needs help for this.

But if you feel his depression is dependent on your circumstances then he needs to be shown that it is the situation that is depressing - and causing him to feel low - and you will stand by him in finding a way out of that depressing situation. But if he chooses to ignore the situation, and not find a way out of it, then you can't be there for him for ever.

Lemontart Mon 22-Sep-08 07:32:32

superb post, tigermoth and exactly what I was wondering although you have expressed it far more perfectly than I could hope to do. Depression can vary though at times and sometimes a great event can help lift you up - like a planned holiday - and then you feel back to square one again or worse immediately after. I know my gran suffered from fluctuating depression for several decades.

eejaykay,you have my sympathy. You sound like you are in a tricky place right now and I am pleased to see you are seeing a counsellor. You also sound like a strong person to have carried your relationship so far and through so many heartbreaking episodes in your lives. Your DH is one lucky guy and such a shame he cannot see that right now.
In your shoes I would have given a few ultimatums by now and would have argued strongly that CV and job form filling in for the perfect job could be done in the evening after a day earning family money in a job that might not be ideal but does pay the bills! He sounds like a lodger on the dole - only he is not on the dole and he is not paying rent like a lodger. Not good.

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