Would you tell them

(30 Posts)
ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 02:04:40

DH has been unemployed for a year, MH issues prevailing mainly. We haven't told anyone and continued same maintenance for his 2 DSDs (£500/ month)but coming from my wage. We can continue to pay it, we just have to go without a fair bit (car, any luxuries, tight food budget etc)
I think we should continue paying but I am wondering if we should say something regardless. DSDs (17,12) are always complaining how we dont go out to eat and do cheap fun things when we are together, I'd love to treat them but we just cant. They ask why we cant as we are 2 income family and laugh at how tight we are with our wallets. I feel awful.

My DH doesn't want to tell them as he is embarrassed. I feel sad that the bare minimum CM from before is all we can afford and no one knows the full picture.

What do I do? DH unlikley to find job soon and wont be earning anything like he was previously for years so do I just continue to help him or ask him to speak to ex?


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Battleax Wed 13-Dec-17 02:20:45

We haven't told anyone and continued same maintenance for his 2 DSDs (£500/ month)but coming from my wage.

HIS stepdaughters?

Is there a legal agreement?

ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 03:10:25

Oops sorry no, his daughters, MY DSDs

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highinthesky Wed 13-Dec-17 03:16:03

DSDs are old enough to be acquainted with the reality of life. It’s your DH that needs to deliver the “news” to them.

Battleax Wed 13-Dec-17 03:17:33

He needs to reduce it, doesn't he?

And they need to know that you're belt tightening.

ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 03:27:10

I have always heard that kids should never be exposed to the money troubles of the family so I'm unsure of this...

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pallisers Wed 13-Dec-17 03:32:34

of course you should tell them their dad lost his job. You can't hide stuff like that from older children. He should tell them he lost his job, is looking for another one and hopes to get one soon. That in the meantime he/you will continue of course to pay maintenance but you won't have much left for treats etc. Still lots of people in that situation and you'll all manage.


Battleax Wed 13-Dec-17 03:38:11

They need to know broad realities and budget standards not exact figures and adults weeping hopelessly.

ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 03:43:03

Ok, I will tell my DH to tell them...it will just be another self esteem blow to him and I guess we have been trying to avoid that..

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DarthMaiden Wed 13-Dec-17 03:55:21


So you have been paying your DH's maintenance for over a year to "save" his embarrassment.

Firstly MH issues should be nothing to be ashamed of.

I don't think hiding this from his children is helping and they are not small children- they are both of an age where the circumstances could be articulated appropriately and understood.

I can't imagine how you've kept this a secret and I'd be cross if my father had done this to me.

The issue is far less about money and more about family communication and trust.

I think the children should be told what's happening.

You can't blame them for making assumptions based on lies - which is exactly what's happening now.

ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 04:01:31

You're right. It is not good we are in this situation and we have let it become like this. I will tell my husband to talk to his eldest at least first...

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NavyGold Wed 13-Dec-17 04:51:41

I have always heard that kids should never be exposed to the money troubles of the family so I'm unsure of this...

I'd say it's not really exposing them to money troubles in that sense though, it's more a case of letting them know what your circumstances are openly and honestly. Its a difficult situation for all of you and I can imagine how your husband must feel but it's better for his MH issues to be normalised within your family. That in itself may go some way to alleviating his embarrassment. I wish he didn't feel that way though, absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

As an aside, is it an MH issue that is known for being hereditory? If so, that is something that both girls should have an understanding of, the eldest one sooner rather than later.

ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 07:12:44

Thanks @NavyGold it is important to normalise it, it is nothing to be ashamed of in the slightest. Yes, it's bipolar so potential for dSDs to experience it too, hopefully mot though. I have suggested he talk to the older one and framed it as explaining our situation,his moods, stop carrying the burden of hiding it, telling her the warning signs and as deepening their relationship by sharing. I hope he comes around...

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lunar1 Wed 13-Dec-17 07:41:28

Dh and I talk finances with our children. They know if we have to be more careful at times, they know we are savers rather than splashing out all the time and they know that when we do splash out it's a treat rather than the norm.

I was very much shielded from finances and got myself into a lot of debt starting from uni till about 24 as I just had no concept of the value of money etc.

My 9&6 year old know about the mortgage, savings and what bills we have to pay. Not exact amounts but I think it's vital to teach them that money isn't an endless pot.

Your dh really must speak to his ex, she might be mortified you have struggled so much without her knowing. I guess that depends on the relationship though. One things for sure, the pressure your dh is putting on you is no good for your physical or mental health.

Tinselistacky Wed 13-Dec-17 07:44:33

Instead of it being a blow to his self esteem look at it as a chance for his dc to show some love and understanding for their df!!

ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 07:48:37

@lunar1 I think financial awareness is so important in kids too. I was brought up similarly to you but I also don't want my DSDs thinking we cant afford them. I also think DHs ex would be understanding but that would be even more mortifying for my DH to do. I think we start with telling his eldest and go from there...

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ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 07:50:23

@Tinselistacky I hope it will be like that. Maybe they will text him/reply to his messages now with this in context. They are lovely girls but very much in the teenager 'me me' mindest.

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UnbornMortificado Wed 13-Dec-17 08:01:51

I have always heard that kids should never be exposed to the money troubles of the family so I'm unsure of this...

I agree with this to an extent but they don't need details. I'm out of work due to baby DS having some medical problems, I have explained the basics to my older DD (she's 12) in relation to Christmas presents and she is old enough to understand and sympathise somewhat.

I'm sorry your DH has struggled, some MH conditions make you eligible for PIP (new disability living allowance) my DH gets it for schizophrenia.

swingofthings Wed 13-Dec-17 08:26:19

This is not so much about money or even step-parenting but about what each consider acceptable communication with children. I personally believe in being totally honest about kids. Kids are extremely perceptive and will know when something is wrong. They will however internalise things and having no control over it, will turn it into fear and anxieties.

What is important is how things are communicated with them so that the truth comes out less frighteningly than the hiding. The difficulty here is that it needs to come from your OH and for that, he needs to be prepared to accept his illness first.

Is he having any counselling sessions? If so, is this being discussed with the counsellor?

ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 09:53:06

@UnbornMortificado Thanks, I guess being more honest is long overdue... Unfortunately my DH cant claim any benefits due to him not being a citizen (we are in OZ and he iz NZ national- not entitled to anything)

@swingofthings your post makes so much sense. DH has to accept his illness and his plan for managing it, I will encourage that. He does have counselling... I guess it's a fine balance between being honest and open but also confident and reassuring to the girls so they aren't scared. So much to do I dont know where to start.

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NorthernSpirit Wed 13-Dec-17 09:57:38

Being made redundant is nothing to be embarrassed about, it’s a reality of life now and happens to many.

You need to tell the children and mother. It’s admirable that you have continued maintenance at the same level for so long but it’s not sustainable and the sooner to let people know the better.

MumOfTwoMasterOfNone Wed 13-Dec-17 09:58:56

Would you reducing maintenance affect their lifestyle at home? I don't think it's fair that you are paying them OP; however lovely it is when it is leaving you in the situation it is. If their DD lived at home, it would result in a change in their circumstance.
I'm just thinking if you reduced the maintenance being paid that you may have more money to enjoy things with them.

I agree that at their age, you need to be honest.

ladybug92 Wed 13-Dec-17 10:15:46

Thanks everyone, you've made me feel moreso that this isnt something to be ashamed of or hide... I want to show my husband these comments and the understanding...
Absolutely, if they lived fulltime with us things would have changed for them too like for us. It'll all come out in the open mid next year when ex and DH declare their incomes to calculate college loan allowance for eldest and she will see his income is infact negative/zero. I'm just tired of hiding and i wish there was someone to share the burden with.

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Biglettuce Wed 13-Dec-17 10:58:06

There’s piling on your troubles to your kids, putting the stress on them...

... and repressing big life events and not talking or being open so that as you say, kids aren’t stupid, they notice the changes but don’t know why.

Neither are good, has to be somewhere in the middle. We are teachers of our children, this is an opportunity for them to learn how to handle difficulties and change - you need to give them the good role model. They could learn a lot about tolerance, coping skills by learning about mental health problems and how to cope with financial insecurity.

If I were you I’d be open, but admit that carrying on as if nothing changed wasn’t the best strategy. Show them how you’d like them to cope - by doing.

swingofthings Wed 13-Dec-17 14:11:50

Kids need to learn that life is not a bed of roses and that most adults will face challenges at time. It's important to teach them not to take anything for granted.

Of course it will be hard for them to learn about their dad's predicament, but going through it, they will likely learn about empathy and it could bring them much closer. He might also be very surprise by their reaction and how supportive they are.

The issue might be that deep inside, he is not ready to accept his illness and therefore think there is no need to say anything because he will better soon and therefore back to normal. Him being 'embarrassed.' is definitely something he needs to tackle with his counsellor.

As for you, what an amazing supportive partner you are. You don't need to say anything, if his DDs are brought up with good values, one day they will realise themselves what you did to make sure their lives were not significantly affected. I think what makes things harder is the difference in age as the discussion to be have with the 12yo will need to be different to the one who is almost an adult now.

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