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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've been married nearly 9 years. He hasn't changed; just my priorities have, I guess.

For the past 5, it has been one job loss after another. It started with bankruptcy and hit total bottom a few months ago when we, for the first time, had to borrow money from family to keep going.

He went to work in another state but left it after 2 days to come home and do a temporary job. He went back over there two more times and came back both times for this seasonal job. I cried, I threatened, I gave him my wedding ring back. All I wanted was for him to get a steady job and support his children. I don't spend a lot, live very frugally and don't want to be rich, just have enough to get by and put a little in savings.

Two months later, he finally went back to work in the other state. In the middle of that, we used up what little we had left to keep going until the seasonal work paid, the same seasonal work he has blown off jobs for 3 times now over the past few years - he would have made more staying put and working.

I finally realize that life with him will mean poverty. We have three small kids (under 5) so I stay at home. We tried me working while he stayed at home, and the house erupted in chaos. It was always dirty, the kids fought and were miserable, and he hated life.

So, with hope in our hearts and little cash left, he went to a state known for big money. Three months later, he's making the equivalent of $10/hour to support his family of 5 and not willing to try to find another job.

The main problem, in life and in our marriage, is that he is a doormat. In the beginning, it seemed so nice to have someone willing to give his all, until I realized that he'd rather lose himself and become a martyr than look out for him and do anything that might improve *his* life. I want a partner, not a servant. I want my kids to learn mutual respect, yet I can't find any left for my husband.

He makes no decisions. When we met, his mother took care of his checking account and bills and told him if he had money to spend. Now, I budget, I apply for jobs for him, I plan meals, big purchases, what to do with kids - everything. I hate it. I resent him for not standing up and taking an interest in the life that includes him.

I've talked and talked, tried to tell him how I feel, tried to back off and let him make decisions. When he left for work, it was because I told him he needed to get a job or another place to live.

Turns out, I'm a much better person with him gone. I've lost nearly 30 pounds, the kids are happy, stable and growing and I'm building a life without him.

I'm not sure if there's anything left to try for. He won't say no to anyone for any reason. He won't stand up for his family. He'd sooner lose me (almost did over the seasonal job thing, but I relented because, after all, I can't support the kids while staying home to care for them too) than tell someone no.

So, now he's in another state and I'm trying to back out completely, trying to get him to have no choice but to make his own decisions.

I used to love him. The kids still do. What can I do to build him up and help him become a real man who takes care of his own and is willing to do what he promised, to support us? I don't think I could divorce him, although I want to. I don't want to put the kids through that, even though I suspect there's no hope and no way to make this thing work. What can I do?
 

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What can I do to build him up and help him become a real man who takes care of his own and is willing to do what he promised, to support us?
What a sad story. The answer is nothing. Either he has the drive and desire to support his family or he doesn't. There is little you can do to make anyone do anything. The only person you have control over is you.
 

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If you divorce him, how will you take care of your children?
 

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Can you go back to school? With his income you should quality for PEL grant and other financial support. Maybe you could get some training that would lead to a better paying job?

With seasonal work, he might even be able to go to school and get financial aid and get some skill that will earn a much better income.

How old are the two of you?
 

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You say he hasn't changed, you have been together for 9 years.

You cannot put the man back into a man that wasn't a step up sort of guy to start with.
 

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You say he hasn't changed, you have been together for 9 years.

You cannot put the man back into a man that wasn't a step up sort of guy to start with.
I agree. With 3 young children to take care of, time is not on your side waiting for him to change into a person that is responsible & a good family provider.

You will have to be that person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The only person you have control over is you.
I just feel so out of control. Financially, I can't put my kids in a worse position than they already are, and a few minutes of reading the effect of divorce on small kids was enough to make me want to cry.

If you divorce him, how will you take care of your children?
With that said, I have a small passive income from book royalties and can increase that with more writing, as soon as I can get my head settled and focus again. Not enough to live on yet, which is why I *can't* divorce him.

Can you go back to school? With his income you should quality for PEL grant and other financial support. Maybe you could get some training that would lead to a better paying job?

How old are the two of you?
I am thinking of going back to school. Right now, he comes home about a week every 2 months, so I'm here alone with the kids and still working out a routine. There's no money for a babysitter or any of that, so I'm still working out the details.

He is severely dyslexic and uses it as an excuse not to pursue any jobs that require reading/communicating. This is kind of an issue too - there is a huge disparity between our intellectual levels. I'm a writer married to someone who hates books and anything intellectual.

We're in our early 30's.

You cannot put the man back into a man that wasn't a step up sort of guy to start with.
But is that really the end of the story? I think most of his trouble is low self esteem. Living with me and my disappointment surely hasn't helped that, but I've gotten much better about keeping the peace and not voicing my disappointments. Can't I help him build up his self esteem and start feeling like he's worth caring for?

I agree. With 3 young children to take care of, time is not on your side waiting for him to change into a person that is responsible & a good family provider.

You will have to be that person.
That's what I'm afraid of. It just doesn't seem like there's any way to work this out without hurting the kids. At least staying this way, I am a stable presence in their lives. If I have to become the provider too, they're losing both their dad and their mom when they get stuck in daycare, something I swore I'd never do.

That's why I want to look at it from the angle of helping him help himself. It's really the only way I see that can keep my family stable and happy.

The flipside to that is that I must wait for my own life to begin, but I chose to take care of and nurture these kids no matter what, and I can't come up with any scenario where splitting up is better than sticking it out. Except for the part where I might lose the next 10 years of my life in an unhappy marriage.
 

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"How Do You Put the "Man" Back in Man?

Its is clear you knew what he was when you met him. You liked he was a servant until you wanted a partner. You knew his Mother did his check book for him and told him how to spend his money.

He was never the man you now want. Sounds like he didn't change, you did.

When we stand at the alter (or wherever) and make the maritial commitment which is usually for better or worse, some people will not stick around when their own standards change.

Good luck.
 

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You need to help with the leg work. Everyone has no problem with enjoying the spoils, but nobody wants to help with the work.There are alot of opportunities for guys in union backed trades. Find the union, call them, ask about the requirements, the qualifications, and how too's. Pick the most available or most suitable and enroll in an apprenticeship. I did this 15 years ago and I only make $120k/yr as a Journeyman Lineman. Don't be dormant, both of you get off your duffs and put in work!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
He was never the man you now want. Sounds like he didn't change, you did.

When we stand at the alter (or wherever) and make the maritial commitment which is usually for better or worse, some people will not stick around when their own standards change.
I feel like you didn't get what I was asking. I have acknowledged that the change was in me. What I posted here to ask is how I can help him so that we can make this work.

Yes, I would like to leave, but I'm not willing to put the kids through that, so I am looking for advice on ways to build up his self esteem and help him become a little more vested in his own life. If he doesn't care about himself, who will? I've tried, but do you know how hard it is to love someone who doesn't love himself?

You need to help with the leg work. Everyone has no problem with enjoying the spoils, but nobody wants to help with the work.There are alot of opportunities for guys in union backed trades. Find the union, call them, ask about the requirements, the qualifications, and how too's. Pick the most available or most suitable and enroll in an apprenticeship. I did this 15 years ago and I only make $120k/yr as a Journeyman Lineman. Don't be dormant, both of you get off your duffs and put in work!!
Here's what I had to say on that, sorry my post was so long in the beginning:

Now, I budget, I apply for jobs for him, I plan meals, big purchases, what to do with kids - everything.
I have spent countless hours job searching, tweaking his resume, filling out apps and trying to help him find something stable. Most recently, when I find opportunities, such as a great paying job right here at home, he has an excuse why he can't do it. I can't keep trying when he won't.

So, in an attempt to help him enjoy the satisfaction of doing things on his own, I have backed off to let him learn how to apply, how to seek jobs and how to do it himself. He will never grow if I keep doing it all for him.

I was willing to do these things for him but I realize now it's his excuse to not take responsibility or care for his own circumstances. If I don't do it, well, he counted on me and I failed, or whatever his thinking is.
 
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