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Discussion Starter #1
I have never considered divorce until now. The issue of laziness is at a breaking point. My husband and I have been married 12 years and we have two children 11 and 5.

I was the primary breadwinner and quit my job and am starting two related new businesses that I can do from our home. My husband works in a construction field and gets the winters off; he is very handy and does our home and car maintenance. We bought a home four years ago that needed some interior work. My husband said he could do the repairs needed. We like being self-reliant, and I have always been there to help him if he lets me know ahead of time and often even if he doesn’t. This winter, not having a job outside of the home, I can help him whenever he requests it. Three years ago he began a major project in the home that he expected at the start to have been completed that winter. He worked on it with a nice pace in the beginning, but slowed the pace. Three years later it still not done and he is always going to “work on it today” but rarely does. My house is tore apart and I do not have the skills to fix it myself. My first week after I quit, I did not do anything business related and made myself wholely available to being his partner in finishing the house project (we have worked fine together on other projects); instead he chose to watch television and never took me up on my offer.

He has the skills, the tools, and the time and doesn’t do it. I am sick of living in a tore apart home. I never know what to respond to the curious inquires of my neighbors, friends, and family as to what is holding the project up. Our children are following suit with this lay-about attitude. It’s obvious we have different expectations of what our family responsibilities are (what we expect of ourselves and from our partner); he has rejected my requests for counseling. So going DIY family counseling I realize that while I can not make him or our children not be layabouts, I could be a better wife/mother. I have been a more attentive wife/mother over the last year, hoping in part that this would help improve his motivation to finish this project. No change.

Maybe the project really is too much? Be the change you wish to see in the world. So I called a contractor to provide an estimate two weeks ago, he said it could be done in 5 half-days with two guys. My husband is beyond upset at me for having a contractor look at it, and is it adamant that I do NOT hire a contractor, that he will “take care of this” and yet there is no progress two weeks later he has spent maybe 4 hours on fixing it up.

It's even hard for me to work on my new business when I know he is just napping instead of working on fixing our broken house.
 

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Hmmm... You could tell him that the contractor is booked for February 15th, so he's got until then to get it done. But if you use a contractor as a weapon, you'll just be pissing off someone who doesn't deserve it.

At some point, though... You need to deal with the root causes. And that may involve a boundary about the counselling. Why does he refuse that?

C
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He is a staunch "do it yourselfer"... He doesn't need any help from anyone else. While I agree he is a strong person and can do many things, he is delusional to think that at times he does not need help.

He does not need help quitting smoking... he has tried numerous times without any aids and still smokes.
He does not need help changing his diet, he can fix his health on his own... he buys soda, chips, cookies, and other treats weekly.
He does not need help budgeting... he carries a growing credit card balance.
He does not need help finishing our home... our home has been tore apart for 3 years.
He does not need help being a father... our oldest child shows daily signs of disrespect and disreguard for the family.
He does not need help with his marriage.. his wife is contemplating divorce.

I am not pointing this out to belittle him, I am illustrating his resistance to change. I have never asked him to be perfect, but when I hear talk that things will change and years go by and there is none... I don't have much hope.

Three days before the contractor came, I told him I was going to have a contractor come over and give us an estimate he was very angry and told me to cancel it. I said I would not. He forgot about it. I reminded him that the contractor was coming 15 minutes before the contractor arrived (as he was still undressed at 1:00pm). I have never seen him so angry nor have I ever fear for my life until those moments. When the contractor rang the doorbell we were both by the door. He told me to tell the contractor to leave. I said I would not. He bellored out a bear-like "F#K U", and went to our bedroom. I opened the door. Nothing happened to the contractor. After he left, our 5-year and I could feel the tension even though my husband stayed in our bedroom. No words were spoken. "I'm scared for you mom." He said.

My husband said that he has never felt so betrayed in his life.

I am rather resolute that we should not have to live in a tore up home. If he wants to continue to live that way and keep saying he'll finish it and I want to live in a finished home and one where people do what they say they will do, then we have irreconcilable differences.
 

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Oh Dear...project block.

This is a ***** and it doesnt help to be nagged for it.
Whats worse is the longer it goes, the worse the block gets.
Pretty soon the project isnt about the project any more, it's a reflection of your self worth.

I hate project block.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have not talked to a lawyer yet. We are not a rich family. Our house is our only asset worth anything monetarily.

I have formulated an exit strategy, where I will go, I have straighten out my finances and created a post two-income budget, set up things so business assets are excluded from table, what I willing to give (custody-wise, sale of our house).

I have set April as my ultimatatuim deadline (the project must be done before he goes back to work).

I understand the nagging thing. I have never ever wanted to be a nag and I think my lack of 'nagging' over the first two years contributes to the problem because it has given the appearance that this dragging the feet behavior is acceptable.

The tore apart home is very unsettling to live it. I don't care that we don't have a kitchen table or furniture in our living room (partly because we are waiting for the project to be done). It that it looks so disruptive that you can't be comfortable in those spaces + hallways. Tears me up when he says at the beginning of the week that X will get done (and I let him alone or say when I am available to help (no nagging)).. and then Saturday rolls around and there has been no progress. It is not unknown to him that I do not want to live like this.
 

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If communicating does not work, what realistic options do you really have? If you did direct, open, communication, then it is on him that he does not listen. If you told him how the relationship and the lack of a relationship is causing your love to fade, then actions are your only recourse. At this moment in his life, he is not marriage material. It is good that your starting to separate your life from him. Just keep taking care of things on your end, and start detaching. Arguments and conflict will get you nowhere, and it will only cause more resentment. Just take care of what you need to do to get your life in order.
 

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"Never felt so betrayed." - Projecting much?

He betrays you with every promise broken.

In the 'traditional' violent/abusive relationship one controls the other with fists and threats. Regardless of the means and whatever inner demons, it's all about the perpetrators having their needs met.

Sadistic needs clearly aren't at the forefront of your hubby's needs. His need is to sit on his arse doing fùck all while you do everything.

His promises have you meeting his needs the same way a smack in the eye gets needs met in those other relationships.


While his methods and needs may be different to the 'traditional' abuser (for now) he shares one thing with the majority of them - a HUGE narcississtic streak (ego).

Your list of the things he can and will do, if or when he feels like it - the man is a legend in his own mind.

While you tolerate him, buy his promises, hold off on the 'nagging', finance the home and do the day-to-day work around it you're about perfect for him.

You don't mention what arse-bound hobbies he has that run up his debts. Is he buying expensive DIY stuff - buying into his own legend?

No matter. Mostly, I just want you to recognise the narcissism, the 'legendary' self-image, and what happened the ONE time you actually did something (beyond an empty threat) that shattered the illusion.

The contractor provoked him into behaviour that frightened you and your kid. Why? Cuz he threatens the illusion of the legend.

Here's a guy who can and will fix your home in no time at all. He's a legend-buster - a huge dose of reality your hubby has been distancing himself from.

It may not be sex but, for your hubby, a 'fixer' that'll please his wife is a psychological threat akin to him catching you in a compromising position on the kitchen table. The legendary God of DIY, usurped by a pretender to his throne. Hence, the ferocity of his hissy fit.

You need to be on your toes here. The contractor is no threat at all to somebody who isn't delusional. Plenty of hubbies would be glad to see one for a major project.

You need to watch out for this quick leap to rage. His marital status will be a part of his legend and you're also enabling his laziness and the fiction that he is a co-provider. You leave and you shatter his delusion.

Can't repeat it often enough - past violence, or lack of it, is not an accurate predictor of future behaviour. His reaction to the contractor is a big red flag to how he'll upscale to meet a genuine threat to his 'image'.

Seems you're half way out the door already. My advice is to keep on going and be vigilant regarding his potential to be very dangerous when you threaten his ego.

Just out of curiosity - and it may help you see another similarity with the 'traditionally' abused,, isolation - have you (because you're embarassed) and him (because he can't be bothered) effectively banned outsiders/friends and family from the home? I doubt he'll want others remarking on his lack of progress.

Anyways, good luck with your own progress.
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Discussion Starter #9
A month has past with virtually no progress... maybe 3 hours of work on the project each week. The rest of the time cooking (which is good), surfing the internet, napping, smoking, or watching television.

He has been coughing a lot lately. He had quit smoking from 1/1 till about 1/20. In that time he said how much better he could breathe, but went back to smoking. His breathing has gotten even worse than before. This weekend he got up from a chair, starting cough, and couldn't catch his breath between coughs. He passed out, crashing to the ground. He was unresponsive initially. He fell on something on the way down, and his eye was covered in blood (it hit his temple). "It was no big deal!" he says. He has never passed out before. He will not go see a doctor (his blood oxygen is about 90% on average), and will not stop smoking.

I had set a family budget to help us through these tight times (I am starting a business, and he is off work for the winter), I kept our food, utility, and fuel budget the same as it has always been. He chose not to participate in developing the budget. He agreed to the budget. Come the end of January, we have no money and its my fault! He ignored the budget and overspend hundreds.

Yesterday I told him I reminded him I love him and that I need him to make healthy choices to help keep our family together.

The only response was the shock as I was suggesting that our family was falling apart. He napped for several hours after that.
 

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Sounds like there is more going on here than simple block.
He needs to go see his Doc.
 

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He needs a wake up call. He doesn't feel that the marriage is in dire straight, he doesn't feel that smoking is that bad for him (or for the finances), he doesn't feel that his health is in that bad a shape, he doesn't feel that the house being torn up is that big of a deal, etc. It sounds like you've tried to relay to him that these issues ARE major problems, but the point is that he just hasn't gotten it. He doesn't agree that they are big problems that have to be addressed.

The bigger problem however is the mere fact that he believes that he can simply disagree with you on all of these issues, or debate/argue them with you at all. Here is the reality, if the wife is saying, "I'm unhappy in this marriage, I think we have a problem" THEN THERE IS A PROBLEM. His natural reaction might be to try to explain it away ("But I am a great husband! I put food on the table, I've never abused drugs/alcohol, gambled away our money, never gotten physical with you or the kids, I do nice things from you pretty often, I'm always kind to you, etc.") because he probably disagree's with you, but the mere fact that you believe there is a problem, means there is a problem, and that can't be argued away. IT CAN'T be argued with.

I think it's natural in many ways for men to feel that they can and should fix anything. That a situation either is or is not a problem, and you can always make a case either for or against. This isn't the type of problem that a case can be made against. Even if he is literally the most perfect husband on the planet, if his wife is unhappy and feels that the marriage is in trouble, then there really is a problem!


I got all of that from the reaction you described him having as a result of your alluding to the possibility that the family could be falling apart. That means he disagrees with your position, and thus doesn't feel it merits much of a response. After all, if the marriage really isn't in trouble at all, then there really is no need for a response right? That's the key right there, I'm telling you. Ultimately this is what he needs to understand...

...Unfortunately, often times the only way for someone like this to "get it" is to deliver a painful "wake-up call." Perhaps in the form of asking him to move out for a while, filing for divorce, requesting a separation, packing up and leaving, etc. Why? Because the message that delivers is that he can disagree all day long if he wants to, but now he'll see that doing so is absolutely going to cost him his family. He might get angry at first, feel betrayed, but after a short time if he cares he will see what his choices really are.

I would suggest, before it gets to that point, that you try to sit him down one of these days and really be as DIRECT as possible with him about your concerns. Be specific and honest about how bad the situation has become. Don't shy away from painful words or try to go easy on him. I mean something like, "We need to discuss some very serious issues that have been adding up for a while and are now putting our marriage and family in jeopardy. If our family is going to survive intact, which I certainly hope it can, I am going to need some pretty big changes to take place here." Then go into each issue, using "I feel" statements as much as possible. Discuss the ongoing home remodel situation first. You acknowledge that your bringing in the contractor hurt his feelings because you know it made him feel enormously disrespected, but that the goal wasn't to disrespect him but rather to send the message that you are desperate for the project to get done and wanted him to understand that. You might point out how you do not respect him any less for struggling with smoking and healthy eating, because most people experience similar struggles, but also acknowledging that all of his efforts thus far have failed, so it is time for him to reach out for some help in achieving those important goals. See, it's ok to soften the blow a bit by affirming the things that are important to him (that being your respect for him), but you still have to deliver the painful part clearly as well. At the end, you want to acknowledge that all of these choices are his to make, but if he can't start making the right choices soon, then because of your ongoing feelings of dissatisfaction in the marriage, you'll have to start making decisions on your own as well.

In some ways that might sort of feel like a veiled threat, but really it's just being honest and forthright with him about where you stand. If he can't make these changes, you really genuinely are prepared to file for divorce and move on, and he needs to know that. He has to understand the consequences of his choices for him to be able to make them effectively.

I hope this helps some...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
cdbaker, thank you for your words. I feel I have already done everything you have spelled out, with no acceptable progress. This afternoon, after working all day and finding that he had done no work on the house (he woke up at 10AM, had a nap at from 1-3pm), I told him very clearly that this issue of no progress on the remolding is a breaking point issue. That he will lose his wife by spring if its not done. He angrily started working on it.

I don't care that he was angry. While I wish it hadn't come to, that he started working shows me he maybe wants to keep the family together.
 

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Stick to it though, if you back down he will do it over and over.

Also spending the money that is needed to feed his children is up fathomable to me. It's very selfish.
 

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cdbaker, thank you for your words. I feel I have already done everything you have spelled out, with no acceptable progress. This afternoon, after working all day and finding that he had done no work on the house (he woke up at 10AM, had a nap at from 1-3pm), I told him very clearly that this issue of no progress on the remolding is a breaking point issue. That he will lose his wife by spring if its not done. He angrily started working on it.

I don't care that he was angry. While I wish it hadn't come to, that he started working shows me he maybe wants to keep the family together.
Yep, stick to it. He needs motivation. I guess you gave him some.
 

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Update on everything. It is now almost 2017 and my house is still torn-up. My husband still gets the winters off. He still refuses to allow contractor to do any work. Refuses to let me or our oldest son work on the house.

He has been laid off for the season for four weeks now and all he has to show for it is one coat of mudding and sanding on a hallway wall (maybe 2.5 hours of work calculating in clean-up). He only performed this after I he lied to me about sanding two days before. I knew that had not been done because the insect caught in a spider web was still over a spot that needed mudding.

He and the children took a week long trip to go ice-fishing (I am fine with that). We actually want to move near our favorite ice-fishing spot, but we (he) needs to finish the house first so we can sell it.

When they got back, it was Christmas over the weekend. My husband was not feeling well, cough, plugged nose over the holiday weekend and was still not 100% on Monday. By then, I was sick, but I went to work. When I came home nothing was done. Same thing Tuesday. On Wednesday morning I left him a note before I went to work... spelling out all the projects that need to be done by Spring and reminded him that by refusing any help he is by default agreeing to do all these projects. He called me around noon to tell me that he appreciated the true note, and the he and our oldest son were prepping the living room for work. When I got home, all they had done was through our youngest son's play-fort into a bedroom. No further work was done. He informed me that he always thought of the week after Christmas as "slough week"- take it easy. I told him that we have been married for nearly 14 years and this is the 1st time I ever heard that sentiment and that he did not "request" the time off and I was not on-board with "slough week". Thursday absolutely NOTHING was done!

Last spring I did speak with a lawyer and I got some of my basic questions answered. One of my big ones was do I have to pay my husband spousal maintenance so that he can maintain the "standard of living established during the marriage" (MN 518.552). I doesn't sound like I will but I don't have the money for her retainer fee ($3,000) and I didn't like her style she seemed to pushy for my tastes (she actually laughed at my spousal maintenance question several times, basically because we are too poor for it to apply. But I said the statute makes statement that it only applies to rich people or religious homes where the woman stays home).

Anyway I am ready "emancipate" my husband via divorce from all those broken home projects. (PS He did quit smoking for 1 year, but started up again while ice-fishing).
 

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You would do well to talk to a 2 or 3 more lawyers. Ask them the same questions and see what they say.

If there is not a lot of property to split, you might be able to do the divorce yourself. The hardest part would be child support and custody. You might be able to pay a lawyer for only that part.

Is your husband aware that you are seriously considering divorce?
 

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Yes, my husband knows I am seriously considering divorce.

Since last winter, we took out the equity in our torn-up home and bought a home near where we like to ice-fishing for a few $10,000. This house is completely finished and we own it outright (no mortgage). While it sounds stupid that if I were considering divorce that I would buy additional property with my husband. However, best case we have a home were we like and live happily ever after, worst case he (or I) have a place to go to if I end the marriage. We able to refinance because of the large pay increase I received from changing jobs. We still have a nice about pf equity in the home. So it wasn't a completely stupid move.

Anyway, around the first week he went back to work last spring, he had a major meltdown because I had run several loads of laundry, one was in the wash, one was in the dryer. When he came down in the morning, he was pissed I don't know, 1) His clothes weren't all washed, or 2) he had to "advance" laundry himself to get dry clothes from the items in the wash. During his winter laid of period, he rarely did laundry and he was just witnessing a continuation of my laundry program (I work year-round). He has a belief that the person doing the laundry needs to see every step through to completion (wash, dry, fold, distribute). I don't have time for that because I work full-time, I have a side business, I help the kids with homework or play. If he does laundry, he does this but that is about 10 loads a laundry a year. I never signed up for that program. For him to roar about this again sent me over the edge. I tossed my wedding ring. I was 35 years old and I didn't need to be getting yelled at for household chores when I was doing the best I can given the circumstances. I saw a divorce lawyer the next week.

Things always get better when he goes back to work, because he better pulls his weigh around the house (financially and household chore wise).

This summer we were up at our second home. I went alone to an event at the local state park. There I met a Catholic Benedictine monk who lived in the area. He had invited the host of the event to his house to see his collection. I overheard this and was very interested in the collection personally and professionally, so I invited myself over and was accepted. The man's collection was amazing and his private lab, studio, and library were beyond my imagination. They were just what I had imagined for a business I want to start and I was astounded that someone, especially in the middle of nowhere would have this. When I came home, I was gushing over the monk's collection. My husband is not interested in this stuff and as he left to go out to the garage he called back to our oldest son "Is she still wearing her wedding ring?" Recall I has tossed my ring months before over laundry. I had not worn it for months and no one noticed. My son, said "She's NOT!" He was crushed.

For the first time in years, he really HEARD what I have been saying. I said nothing new about the relationship not feeling like a partnership but more like a parasite relationship. He finally got it. I told him that I preferred that we were partners and that if he could not do that then I was prepared to divorce. He protested about the children; wanting me to wait under they were out. I said "No. We are modeling poor behaviors for our children about how to treat one another and I will not continue without a partner for the "sake of the children"." He agreed. He has been less angry and more of a partner since this conversation up until getting off work for the winter.

He is now back to parasite mode.

I told him yesterday that I could free him from this house project. He could live up North and I could finish this house on my own. He doesn't think I am serious.
 

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Yea, a lot of people stay together for the sake of the kids, I guess in part thinking that kids living separately from both parents will be a bad thing. But, the truth is, studies have shown anyway, that many kids do better after their parents divorce and thrive better in school, because they no longer see two unhappy parents, fighting and drama. If both parents put their kids first after the divorce, I can see kids being just fine...but your kids are learning that this is what a marriage looks like...a passive aggressive husband, and a wife who does everything. Maybe file and then he'll have to take you seriously. I don't believe in threatening divorce, I only believe in discussing it and then following through.

Hope 2017 is a better year for you. :eek:
 
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You're going to divorce him because he doesn't finish the projects he started and he's a lazy ass?

I get your frustration but I'm thinking that's taking a sledgehammer to a nail.

Tell him he's got whatever date you pick to finish the work or you both agree to hire a contractor to finish it.

If he refuses, then pull the funds from wherever and do it anyway. You're the breadwinner, so you control the finances, right? If not that needs to change, immediately.

If he agrees, and then the date comes and goes and he's still fighting you on it, well then you've got your back to the wall.

From where he sits, you're going along with all of it so why should he get up off his a$$ when there's football to watch or whatever his favorite lazy a$$ past time happens to be. You've done a fine job enabling him and he's done a fine job taking advantage of you.

Is his behavior a dealbreaker? If you've tried everything and he still won't come to the table then yes, but it sounds to me like you've just let it go for too long.

Who knows maybe filing for divorce will shake him back to reality but based on what you've written I'm thinking divorce might not be your first best option at this particular time.
 
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