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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been married for a few years now. We were dating many years prior to getting married. Everything seemed fine when we were dating. She worked and supported herself. She wasn't overly tidy, but I hoped that would improve over time. It had been improving some as with her work ethic as we dated.

I will not go into detail about some of our misfortunes, but we have had our rough times. It is more than understandable that she would have periods of depression. The trouble is that I have carried the brunt of our obligations since we got married, which I had never intended.

When we first moved in together, I basically doubled my hours at work to 70-80 hours. I did not want to find that ends did not meet and it isn't cheap to live independent of roommates around here. She did her best to pay her own way. I started off trying to manage finances by simply keeping a record book and managing income and payouts directly, as I prefer to make sure all bills are paid. I let her continue to pay her own personal expenses separately.

I kept keeping track of money contributed and what our share should be toward joint rent, utilities, etc; however, that money was always an IOU that was going to be caught up as soon as this or that was paid. It wasn't long that we had lived together a year and I had paid all of our living expenses. I find that most people just expect that of the man and see nothing wrong when he has to pay all the bills.

I constantly work to improve my life. It took a lot of work researching, debating with people, making any plea that I could, but I got us financing for our own house after a year. Things were tough for us around then, so she took a break from work. She spent half a year between prior to moving and getting to the new house. I did not worry about her money, but I had no such luxury to take any time for feeling down with bills coming in.

She decided that she wanted to go back to school. I wasn't overly happy with the idea, but I supported it after there was no clear sign of any other work starting soon. She never bothered to get even a part time job while in school. She met friends and hung out once or twice a week. Suddenly, it is like I'm the parent of a teenager rather than husband. I never want to seem controlling or overstep my own boundaries on issues, so I was very cautious not to start a fight or put my foot down.

In fact, we do not fight much. I try to space out issues so that we can discuss them without her feeling like I'm always picking at her. We get along fine as friends. No real issues with the relationship as far as talking or spending time together. I just often have to overlook all the other stuff for the sake of staying civil and basically waiting it out.

That is what I did while she was in school. I waited. I hoped she might do some work, but there was always an excuse why she couldn't find a job. I just kept saying that it would be over once she finished and I could get back on track. In the mean time, I depleted a good chunk of my own savings. I kept having to sacrifice to make ends meet. Further, I was stuck with the choice of trying to let her suffer at the cost of myself... Like say shutting off cable, but then I also get punished and don't get to watch my sports after I just worked 80 hours.

She finally got done with school and got off to a really slow start finding work. I was extremely upset that all of my waiting and telling myself it would be over soon was turning into reality from the dream. After a few months, she got a job finally. It, however, was simply part time. I got a little relief as she was no longer asking me to pay her personal expenses, but still no money at all for actual bills.

I have had many discussions with her about needing money. I have asked, demanded, pleaded, anything I could try to make her understand that she needs to find a way to get money. I have explained how I don't have the luxury to do what she is doing. She whines that it is hard and she can't find more work or whatever. I made it clear that if I had that same attitude we would be on the street. Never in my life have I had a hard time finding work, be it that it might not always be ideal or high paying.

Year round since we have had the house, I try to inspire her by working hard. I get home and do all the yard work. I make repairs to always improve the house. I do any chores cleaning and sweeping when I come in. I used to get angry because I would have worked a full day, did a few hours of yard work, then I come in and have to sweep and dust... maybe dirty dishes too. I have learned to try to be patient.

She does try some. She keeps up a little better with chores around the house. It is getting to the point though that we are very different people in terms of work ethic. I like things clean and just do it myself when I feel it has been too long. I decide what we need and just find a way to pay for it. As anyone knows with a house, there are a lot of things you end up needing to fix that take a lot of extra money.

She has no real concept of respecting my hard work or taking pride in all that I have provided for her. She seems, at times, to be just as happy to let it run into ruin other than what her fickle desire to clean or fix inspires her to deal with. I worry what all my work would be worth if I died and she was in charge of things. I used to worry more about that with all my work and stress. I cut back my hours a little and started taking a day off. Now, I am stuck not knowing how to get her to start working harder. I'm not even sure how to discuss it with her as those talks usually go nowhere.

I know I could make her work at the cost of our relationship, but I can't find a way to deal with it and still be a nice guy. She loves to sit and read or waste time while I work. I'm the kind of person that just expects people to have respect and do something. I have told her that. It isn't like I just silently hold a grudge. Obviously, I'm not paying even more money for counseling. That would just make me start being angry at her as she didn't pitch in and I paid for it too. I'm open to any other suggestions on how to get through to her. I'm sure some day she might be on track, but I worry it might be at the point by then that I harbor resentment for the rest of the marriage. I hope that I have not yet reached that point.
 

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If making her work and contribute to the family upkeep ruins your relationship, it is not worth happening. That much I learned first hand.

I totally get what you mean about expecting people to pull their weight without being told. I was brought up with the mindset that no one lives for free and that family pulls together for the mutual benefit - no shirking or passing it off to someone else.

You must understand that there are lots of people who don't have that same moral / ethical foundation and seek to do the minimum and get their needs met in the easiest manner possible. It makes no sense and seems abhorent to you. Nonetheless, that is how people live and you must accept that reality to deal with the situation effectively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I always put off some of the fight saying something like, “well it is almost Christmas.” There is always some stupid holiday or event where I feel bad starting an argument. It is funny because if I start telling her how it is. Get up and do this, I don't care if you are relaxing... Give me your money too bad about your expenses... You can't buy that or you can't go out with your friend you are broke. Suddenly, I am the bad guy. She doesn't understand the broke part because she doesn't see bills owed. She only sees what is in her hand and taking it I think will be as if I'm robbing her.

I agree. Some people just do the minimum that they see fit. That is part of what I liked at first. Most girls held me to such an expectation and I didn't like that. I didn't want to feel like I had to meet their standards, which can also be equally bad in a relationship. I thought I was doing the right thing finding someone that was happy with me and had less expectations. It is definitely a double edged sword. I could just as equally be sitting here now complaining about the nagging wife who is apathetic and driven too much on how I present myself and what I achieve.

It is really hard because it is literally like having a teenager. I had to buy her car. I pay the insurance. It hurts me if she can't get to work or I stop fixing, buying, paying. Please note, I didn't want to have to buy or pay for this stuff. I wish she would have the desire to do it, but it is that or she has another excuse to not have to try to work. I think that I will try to be more assertive, but I am very awkward in finding the proper line. My father was very controlling and I always am paranoid of coming across that way.

I mean I give her credit that if I said, this month we have no utilities and we have to live in a tent, she would still be here with me. That is a nice stability to have in a relationship. I guess though that my dog would be here too, so humans should have a little bit higher standard than just follow you obediently and take what you give them. Maybe, that is part of my issue. I shouldn't have to train a human to do things or fight with them. You might be right about just accepting what is there and dealing with it as is rather than seeing it as something to try to correct myself.
 

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Can you see the irony that you say you don't want to be like your father, but you are actually acting like you are HER father?

I notice you mention about being worried about not being the nice guy. What you wrote reads like you are creating a nice life and she is like the weight on your shoulders you are carrying along.

The other interesting point is that you constantly refer to things as being "your" things and not "our". Have you always been like that?

My ex was a spending machine that sucked the life out of me. He did not appreciate me working. He went to university whilst I worked to support him and he thanked me by spending our grocery money on beer and skiving his part-time job to go and meet his friends at the pub. I realise I babied him unintentionally - I knew he was scandalously bad with money so I just took over it all, so he never had any idea of what we were paying out in bills. I left that relationship thousands of pounds in debt, in my name, from his spending. It has certainly affected my outlook on money and dynamics in relationships. So I appreciate a lot of what you have said. But I do firmly feel each party contributes to that dynamic and you have to work out what you are putting forth to enable her to behave like that.
 

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This is hard- I am in a similar situation (see my thread: http://talkaboutmarriage.com/genera...sband-told-me-he-does-not-want-work-ever.html)

It's the typical over/under functioning codependent syndrome.

The over functioner is supposed to stop doing things for the under, and just let them fall on their face so they learn to deal with things on their own. Of course, you can't just not pay the bills, and like you said, if you take away cable TV for example, you can't watch it either.

I think you need to start with doing less. The more one spouse does, the less the other will do. I don't think you should let this go on any longer, because it will likely just get worse or more ingrained.

I also relate to what you said about not wanting to pay for counseling- in our situation, shelling out $100 per session to try and get your spouse to take responsibility and earn money is kind of infuriating.

Is she younger than you? Is she looking for full time work at all?
 

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My experience with.people who do not take responsibilty and work has always been the sane. They have rarely changed. I dated men who were lazy like your wife. I had female friends like this. None of them changed. Most still barely get by.

I think you're fighting a losing battle. It's unfortunate, but I doubt your wife changes. If you can't live with it (I wouldn't be able to), it is time to cut your losses. She expects you to support her and apparently doesn't.care how hard or long you have to work to do that. That isn't likely to change.
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In a relationship, both sides needs to share responsibilities of sustaining a home. I must say that I really admire your stamina to endure some 80 hours of work weekly plus taking care of house stuffs... If your partner has the capacity to share the load (financial and house chores), then she should do it as well, instead of irresponsibly putting most of it on you.

Sometimes, our partners takes things for granted and they need to be told if we are not happy with something. Although I guess that you already told her about it. If she truly cares for you, she should help more. If she doesn't, then you have to decide if you are ok with it or walk away and choose someone who is capable of being mature and take care of a relationship in a more equal way.
 

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I always put off some of the fight saying something like, “well it is almost Christmas.” There is always some stupid holiday or event where I feel bad starting an argument. It is funny because if I start telling her how it is. Get up and do this, I don't care if you are relaxing... Give me your money too bad about your expenses... You can't buy that or you can't go out with your friend you are broke. Suddenly, I am the bad guy. She doesn't understand the broke part because she doesn't see bills owed. She only sees what is in her hand and taking it I think will be as if I'm robbing her.
I know this isn't a "nice guy" thing to do, but I assume you guys have a joint account? Why not put up a noticeboard or whiteboard in the kitchen, in a visible place, keeping a constant running total of your bank balance? Or print out bank statements and pin them up?

I don't mean doing it in a passive aggressive way. Say to your wife that this will help you both manage your money better (which it will), and it will make her aware of what your outgoings are at all times.
 

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You married her, knowing about all her flaws and expecting them to magically vaporize into thin air.

It doesn't work that way. People don't usually change. Especially when they have no impetus to change. For her, marriage was a security blanket, once the ring was on her finger she knew all she had to do was make a token effort to pitch in on the household expenses and it would be ok.

I'll tell you something else you don't want to hear.

When you divorce her, you'll be paying her support because she's unable to fend for herself. The longer you stay married the larger the tab is going to be.

Stop sitting around waiting for things to happen.
 

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How many years have you two been married?

You are resentful. She does not care. Why should she change? She has you working around the clock.

By the way. I doubt that she will stay with you if you lost everything because then she would have to work to take care of her own income.

You will most likely divorce her as you cannot change her. The sooner you divorce her the better so that you avoid having to pay her support for the rest of your life.
 
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