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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I are considering a separation. We just can't get along...the main issue is his lack of income. He works in Construction and gets laid off at least once a year for a couple of months. During those months we struggle to make ends meet and it has taken a toll on our marraige. I work full time and make a decent salary. Together we make even a better salary (when he's working). I'm trying my best to provide my children with the best possible environment as possible - we live in a well to do, middle class neighborhood with a great public school system. While we can rearrange some things financially, we don't live beyond our means.

My main issue is that he doensn't feel the need to pick up a temporary job to bring in extra money when he's laid off. He allows me to juggle to finances, borrow from 401K, use my bonuses from work, etc. to supplement HIS income. I feel like I'm always picking up the pieces...trying to find a way. He even suggested during a therapy session that I get a second job!! I'm disgusted that he would allow me to work two jobs while he works ZERO job. I refuse to ever work two jobs and not be there for my children. He won't assume responsibility for his part....he thinks that I'm all about money. But it's all about the BILLS. I'm responsible for the rent and he's supposed to pay the rest of the bills, including nursery school fees for our 3 year old child. We also have a 9 year old child. I end up juggling it all when he's laid off - for the exception of his unemployment.

We've been together for 16 years (he is 12 years older than me - we met when I was 19), married for 8 years. Initially he was the breadwinner...the trouble started about 5 years ago. We lost our home due to foreclosure and now rent. He's an excellent father and responsible partner.

Am I wrong to expect him to seek other ways of employment to supplement his income while he's laid off? I've become so unattracted to him because of his lack of pride in taking care of us. He just doesn't get it at all. He'd rather we separate than to deal with this issue head on to make things better....he wants the easy way out.
 

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Here is a question. Did you know going into marriage that a career in construction was cyclical and dependent on the economy?

Or did you think that it was a stable career and he would just be moving up and up and up?

You married the man, not his career. I bet if you flipped around and you were the one in construction and he was the one with the desk job that he would support you 100% no matter what.
 

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Do you have a budget that you follow?

I would suggest a financial makeover to start with.

With 2 people working full time there should be no reason you can't make it for 2 months out the year on 1 income.

Do you think you can try to get your husband to do an experiment?

No arguing or anything like that.


For a period of 2 weeks, you both write down what you spend each day. At the end compare and see where the areas of waste are. That $5 cup of coffee everyday ads up, as does smoking, drinking, fast food, etc.

People tend to waste a lot more money than they realize.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When we met he was a business owner....without going into details his business failed and he decided to go into Construction. This isn't about me not wanting to support him. I support him 100% however how fair is it for him to not want to supplement his lack of income knowing that it puts us in a huge financial strain?

Yes - we should definitely seek financial help. It would most certainly help the situation. But I still feel he should take some ownership....

It's more like 3-4 months...we manage for the first couple of months but then it gets out of hand. He's been out since Thanksgiving...he's worked maybe 2 weeks here or there since. I took care of Christmas, all the bills, etc. during this time...and it's like this almost every year.
 

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What is he doing when he's not working? If he's catching up on projects around the house, stocking the freeze with some frozen dinners for when he's back to work, starting up a garden to provide food in the summer, etc, then I'd say the extra money a temp job could bring in might be offset by the money he could save your family while he's home. Because there are a lot of ways in which a spouse dedicated to scrimping and saving can cut expenses enough to make the time home worth while. Gosh, he could be putting in the time to make phone calls to your insurance policies and make sure you're getting the best rates, looking into health insurance options, doing taxes... the list of jobs for a SAH spouse is extensive! I know, these are the things I do.

But, if he's not building you a new deck, repairing the roof (even though you rent, maybe he can barter services with the landlord in exchange for rent?), etc, then I'm with you. I understand construction is physically demanding and he might want to do something more relaxing, but then he should at least be trying to find some kind of temp job that's office-based.

What does he say about the work situation?
 

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If he's asking you to take a 2nd job while he stays home then no, you're not unreasonable.

He's just a lazy POS who's gotten used to having a couple months out of the year as a vacation. He's got kids, he should get off of his lazy @ss and make some money during the downtime if he can.

If he's looking for a job and really trying (no matter what they say, the economy is still in the craps) then i don't fault him. But if he's happy to sit at home drinking a beer and watching TV and doing almost nothing, then you have a big problem.
 

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If you know this is coming every year......why not save for it with the income he is making the other 8 or 9 mos. Take the income he makes during that time and divide it by 12 mos; use that figure to do your budget.

IMO, if he's not working and has no intention of getting a job those months he's off - you should have NO day care bills during that time; he should be caring for HIS kids.- that should save you several hundreds of dollars.
 

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So how would separation benefit you in this situation? If you can't afford one household, how would you afford two? Who would move out? You can't force him out of the home without a court order so if he has no money, then who would move out? If you leave the home, he just files for spousal support and you end up forking over a lot of your pay to support him anyway. The separation path is not the right answer here, it will only cause you MAJOR headaches and cause your children undue heartache.

So, what to do?

Start with taking control of the finances yourself. Since you make it, you decide how it is spent. Cut him off completely, no extras. No beer money, no junk food money, no nothing until he gets a job. Separate your finances. This will show him consequences for his not working. He won't change unless consequences are shown.

Give him a firm time frame to find employment or be seriously looking. Let him know that if he is not seriously looking for a job (at least 20 applications per week), then you will consider leaving the relationship. With your finances already separate, this will be easy.

Be gentle but firm, assertive but not aggressive and with your KIND words you just may nudge him back into the work force. Good luck.
 

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So how would separation benefit you in this situation? If you can't afford one household, how would you afford two? Who would move out? You can't force him out of the home without a court order so if he has no money, then who would move out? If you leave the home, he just files for spousal support and you end up forking over a lot of your pay to support him anyway. The separation path is not the right answer here, it will only cause you MAJOR headaches and cause your children undue heartache.

So, what to do?

Start with taking control of the finances yourself. Since you make it, you decide how it is spent. Cut him off completely, no extras. No beer money, no junk food money, no nothing until he gets a job. Separate your finances. This will show him consequences for his not working. He won't change unless consequences are shown.

Give him a firm time frame to find employment or be seriously looking. Let him know that if he is not seriously looking for a job (at least 20 applications per week), then you will consider leaving the relationship. With your finances already separate, this will be easy.

Be gentle but firm, assertive but not aggressive and with your KIND words you just may nudge him back into the work force. Good luck.
Hmm... and if he starts to sell off her stuff, what then?

I'm inclined to be more... cunning. Wait until he gets a job, then move out. File for legal separation.
 

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I'm APPALLED that he would have the audacity to ask that you take a second job while he does nothing. That is absolutely insane. oh my goodness I can't even believe it. REGARDLESS whether you knew he's get laid off once a year or not. wow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
While laid off he pretty much keeps the house clean, tend to the kids after school, etc. He has never taken on a "house project". He sometimes becomes depressed. He doesn't spend any money on himself whatsoever...whether he's working or not. The money always goes into the household and the children. Overall he's a good man in that way.

I am not the one who wants to separate. It's him!! When times get tough he'd rather say let's break up versus doing what he has to do to make things better. I told him that he would be financially responsible for these kids either way! There's no easy way out. He thinks I have an attitude, I'm bitter, I'm hard on him, etc. And this is all true! Because what man in his right mind would think that it's okay to simply be laid off for months at a time??? Why wouldn't he think he needs to go job hunting or plan for these times?? I would respect him more if I knew he was trying to get another job while laid off...but he doesn't. He has alot of issues...growing up without a Dad, his Mom never really took care of him, etc.....my last ditch effort was to try counseling. I started solo and then brought him in. It lasted a few weeks...he was livid when he found out that I told our therapist all about our financial situation. He'd continue to go to therapy but claims it's for me...he doesn't see the benefit. He's not used to communicating.

Ultimately I had so many dreams for us but it takes two. I can't alone try to work on these very serious issues. As a family, I am happy because we're good with the kids, etc. As a woman I'm unhappy, bored and lonely. Life is to be enjoyed! Not sitting around depressed...I feel like my best years are passing me by. I feel so torn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree with everyone saying that we need to budget and plan accordingly in anticipation of him being laid off...I've taken out 401k loans, he's taken out money from his annuity, vacation funds, etc to supplement his income. It's okay for 2-3 months but then it gets TOUGH. I'm sure we can rearrange somethings to make it work but I really need for him to stand up and take charge in these trying times.
 

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He could advertise in the services part of Craigslist. Does he have a truck? He could haul stuff, do handyman work, paint houses, etc.

I know people who do this and stay busy pretty much all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Of course! Craigslist has been suggested to him...he can do day labor jobs getting paid cash here and there. NOTHING. No motivation at all.
 
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