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Problems: Marriage & Work: Equality?

 
 
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 08:58 am
Hi everyone, I'm hoping to get some input about my marriage of 8 years. So complicated! I'll try to be quick. Basically, my husband feels he only wants to be married to me if I work as much as he does. He works 32 hrs/week fixing lawnmowers. BTW, I'm 43 and he's 46 (old enough to know better!)

My whole problem with this is his attitude that threatens me with divorce if I don't pay half our bills. I don't like that. We're working right now on a written contract between us, which says I'll work & pay half the bills if he tries harder with sex & affection. We're on the brink of divorce, and I'm certain if this doesn't work, divorce will soon follow.

I find it all really depressing. The times (years) I've worked and paid half the bills, things weren't all that much better betwen us, which is why I guess I'm asking him to work on sex/affection in return. That's often been a problem with us (mainly, I seem to like sex more than he does).

One more point, I still feel sort of angry and sad about an abortion I had about 4-5 years ago. We were married, and up to about 6 months before I got pregnant, we had planned to have children. He decided he didn't want to have children with me because he'd be "stuck supporting 2 of you" (I wasn't working at the time). I got the abortion because I thought he'd make a bad father, and while I don't really regret it now, I recall too easily what he said to our marital therapist right after the abortion. He said he would have left me if I'd refused to get the abortion (it was his child).

I worked full-time for 17 years before I married him, in computers. Now my skills are really outdated. I'm working on becoming a bookkeeper, with a home-study course, since it seems everyone needs a bookkeeper (we're in a rural area) but nobody needs an outdated database analyst. This is a first marriage for both of us.

I feel I'm missing something about the whole situation. Do you all think so? Is he really just into controlling me, making me do things his way? Am I just disappointed because, deep down, I really expected him to support me without complaining? I'm confused, and change my mind minute-to-minute: Do I still love him? Do I just need to get out? It seems the more I think about it, the less clear things are.

Thank you for "listening!"

P.S. - Boris Kitten is my cat's name. He's a Russian Blue.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 09:05 am
Quote:
Is he really just into controlling me, making me do things his way?


You hit the nail on the head. This does not sound like a very loving marriage. It is more like a contract between two business owners, who don't particularly care for each other.

I think that you need to really think about whether this marriage is worth saving.

BTW, welcome to A2K! Very Happy
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 09:34 am
Sigh...you're so sharp...and he's such a caveman.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 09:35 am
He really does sound like he'd rather be alone. And you really sound like you might be a whole lot happier if you let him.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 09:48 am
My heart goes out to you. I think there have always been men like this but people talk about such attitudes more now than they once did. The irony is that the only freeloader in this picture is him. He refuses to realize that earnings ebb and flow and that there are times of inequality between the most ambitious pair of wage earners.

His attitude isn't competitive: it really is that he wants someone else to provide half of his support and he is mentally abusive to you in his quest.
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 12:11 pm
Thank you SO MUCH everyone. I really needed to hear what other people think. As long as you all keep talking, I'll keep coming back for more. Crying or Very sad
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 12:47 pm
BorisKitten--

Welcome to A2K.

Your husband sounds like a very self-centered, controlling, materialistic man.

Aren't you tired of bargaining with him?

You say "half the bills"--then what happens to the rest of the money?
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 04:13 pm
Noddy24 wrote:
BorisKitten--

Welcome to A2K.

Your husband sounds like a very self-centered, controlling, materialistic man.

Aren't you tired of bargaining with him?

You say "half the bills"--then what happens to the rest of the money?


YOU BET I'm tired of bargaining with him! Dang!

The last time we split the bills, I paid a percentage of my salary, and he paid the remainder. This didn't seem really fair to me, because my percentage of salary was higher than his. So it states in our "contract" that we pay an equal percentage based on hours worked per week. (I don't know how to do this math, but I guess I/we will figure it out!)

Anyway, we individually keep the remainder of our salaries to spend as we like. We have 3 bank accounts: his, mine, and ours. I actually don't have a problem with that arrangement, except for I think the salary percentages should be equal.

I guess everyone can see I'm really discouraged at this point, eh? I have good moments and bad moments. This is a bad one.

I'm still angry because he didn't get me anything for Christmas, not even a card! And I got him 2 (not really big) presents. He claimed we "agreed" to not give one another gifts this year. This agreement went like this: ME: "I could just as well skip Christmas this year." HIM: "OK" This was about 3 weeks before Christmas, and no more was said about it until I gave him his 2 gifts on Christmas morning. I did not (obviously) consider this an agreement! I think I'm still mad about it because, since then, he hasn't given me a card, or flowers, or even a darned cup of coffee to make it up to me.

A stranger asked me in a store today, "Did you have a good Christmas?" I said, "No, it was sh***y!" (Can I say that here?) Then he said, "Nobody loves you?" And I said, "No!"

Anyway, you all only have my side of the story (which is all I can give). Who knows, maybe if you heard his side, you'd say he should get rid of me Exclamation
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 04:37 pm
Who does the housework? Is this labor compensated in any way?
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 05:02 pm
Noddy24 wrote:
Who does the housework? Is this labor compensated in any way?


This is actually split (IMHO) fairly evenly. I do the housework, except for his laundry, which he does. Frankly I'm not very interested in housework, and lots of women are neater than me, but the place is pretty clean considering 2 large dogs live indoors with us. BTW, we have a 1980 double-wide trailer, not a giant or fancy place. I cover the sofa, where the dogs sleep, in sheets, and wash them weekly. I vacuum everything about every 1-1.5 weeks.

He fixes things: the 2 vehicles (both Very old) parts of the house, the washer/dryer, electrical problems, etc., which I have NO ability with. He's also an auto mechanic, and at one time worked in the Air Force on repairs of military planes. He's very good at it.

We share the yard-work, but usually I mow our 2.8 acres since I'm not working right now, and I don't mind it. We just finished cleaning up from the summer hurricanes: he worked the chain saw, and I hauled stuff and watched the burn pile. No problem for me. I wouldn't even dare to pick up a chain saw, I'm that uncoordinated.

So, he fixes, generally, and I clean. This is OK with me, but neither of us gets compensation, really, just the other half of the duties.

I fix dinner for us both about 1/2 the time, or a little more, because I like it better and I'm better at it, but he never asks me "What's for dinner?," and will just feed himself if I'm not in the mood.

This labor might be divided more evenly if I were working, and in fact I've suggested we put that division in the contract, like who takes out the trash, who does the dishes, etc. depending on whether I'm working or not.

He says I'm not up to par on housework, as I leave the dishes overnight if I feel like it, and don't like to dust, but he also says it's not really important to him. I think I'm a bit tidier than he is, but I've gotten slack in the last 6 months out of, well, sheer anger & depression.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 05:13 pm
In my experience, housework is negative therapy.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jan, 2005 05:48 pm
BorisKitten, it sounds like you two have a great arrangement for roommates, but maybe you don't particularly care for each other. Maybe it's time to do something for you, something that will give you some self-confidence. You said you were planning to do some training for bookeeping-- go for it. Or maybe even just take some classes to update your database admin skills. There is still a great deal of demand in that field.

Good luck. I really wish you the best.
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Tue 4 Jan, 2005 12:33 pm
Great advice, FreeDuck! I've started to work harder on the Bookkeeping course, since I can hardly lose by doing so. And I sure agree, this contract sounds like a roommate or business contract, which I do find rather depressing. It may not work, but I've agreed to do my best, so I will. I'll keep you all up-to-date on what happens in the future.

P.S. - My husband calls this photo (just added to my posts) "Kitty Porn". This is the "real" Boris Kitten. There are SOME things I really like about my husband!
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winterwolf1965
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jan, 2005 06:02 pm
Boriskitten:

Been there. Done that. Got the scars to prove it.

IT DOESN"T WORK!

I was depositing about 90% of my paycheck into a joint account for purposes of paying the bills. After many months I was confronted by my husband and told that I was not paying my way. If this was so, then where did the at least $18,000 I deposited into the account last year go, if not to pay bills?

Now, I have my own checking account and I pay specific bills, mostly utilities, satalite service, car payment and my credit card. He pays the mortgage, his credit cards, car payment and stuff to do with rental property that he owns. We split the groceries.

Then, here's the kicker! He confronted me last night and told me he wanted a divorce, because "I wasn't living up to my end of the agreement." My take on it is that he has been gearing for this for a long time and pocketing my money.

I've been told that I can nail his sorry ass to the wall. I have thought seriously about it. I own half of everything he owns. Heh, heh, heh.

REMEMBER: No agreements. He will break them and find a way to blame it on you or find a way to make you pay more than your fair share and then pocket what he no longer has to spend.

Good advice from one who's been there.
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 05:38 am
Geez, so sorry to hear about your situation! Hubby sounds really nasty.

In our case, I control the joint account and pay the bills out of it. So I know that in 11 yrs nothing has gone missing (so far!)

I say, take your half, if anyone can still find it, and run! It's not gonna be a good day today, what with hearing about divorce last night, but hey, pls try to remember you did your best. It sounds to me like he doesn't deserve someone as good as you. This is probably the first day of a Way Better Life for you.

Geez, why are people so mean????

BTW for anyone interested, DH & me are still working on the contract and have had several big screaming fights about it, something very unusual for us. But I think screaming fights are better than dead silence (for us, at this point)....
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 05:43 am
Sorry I can't shut up.....but I've been wondering, if money is supposed to be one of the biggest reasons for divorce, why I haven't heard more about it on this forum? Do folks just not talk about it with others?
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x0re0x
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 07:05 am
Quote:
Sorry I can't shut up.....but I've been wondering, if money is supposed to be one of the biggest reasons for divorce, why I haven't heard more about it on this forum? Do folks just not talk about it with others?

Dont worry, i can never shut up either! Im just chiming in on your situation, im trying to think of advice but honestly, ive never really had money issues with my husband, hes the type that doesnt want me to work, just keep the house decent, take care of the ferret and dog and be there when he gets home. Heck half the time he wants to cook because he likes to, hes an odd one. But were young, maybe later in life ill deal with the money issue.
What does sound really odd is that theres a contract, you two arent business partners afterall. There should be no need to have a CONTRACT, just a verbal agreement or dissagreement. Leaving you with no options isnt fair, "Do this, or there will be a big D in our future" I mean if he loves you, why is having a contract you HAVE to agree with more important then having you around.
What exaclty is he looking to get out of this agreement, more money for him, satisfaction of making the woman he loves FORCED into an agreement with the threat of not having him anymore?
Seriously, if my husband said that, id tell him to shove his money somewhere since it was so much more important then we were. Thats heartless of him.
I hope it all works out with you, i hate to hear money is an issue, money is just money, its hard to find someone you can get along with enough to live with and share yourself with. Money cant buy love or true happiness, i still dont understand why people are so anal about it, as long as i have a roof, and food, im happy, anything else is something i dont need, its just something i want and would live without for my husband.
Your cat is adorable BTW, i want one but my dog would try to eat it Razz
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BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 07:37 am
I guess I never really made it clear that the contract thing was My Idea. He'd been saying "get a job." I finally said, hey, I'll do what you want ONLY if you do what I want, too. So writing it down is just to make everything clear to both of us.

Here's a little secret: I got the contract idea from a dream. In the dream, I offered some guy, a known prostitute, $2,000 if he would have sex with me (teehee!) The bad part of the dream was it ended right there....no yes/no answer, no free dream sex...darn it! But I realized after that that sex was probably as important to me as money was to hubby.

It's funny, but neither DH nor I really wants a lot of money, we live cheap, in a trailer, drive old crappy cars, etc. It seems to me he's obsessed with equal labor from both of us. Wish I knew why.

I've been telling him for the last 6 months to Just Leave Then if he was willing to leave over money. I agree money isn't all that important; happiness means so much more! I'm not sure why he hasn't left.

I have this sneaking feeling that this isn't about money at all (for him), but something else, who knows what....maybe he's trying to get me to prove my love or something?

About kitties, I have 3 cats & 2 dogs. One of the dogs is a Pit Bull mix and very nasty when she meets other dogs. I actually muzzle her every time we go to the vet. But since we raised her with cats, she's very tender with them. She adores kittens and takes great care of them. She trims then gently with her teeth. All my cats purr when they see her. Just the other night, Boris Kitten bit her on the ear. She yelped, and ran to me. I really love my pets! Never had a ferret though. Like your ferret?

Wish my husband was more like yours! (Well, in terms of money, anyway)
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xtragicx
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jan, 2005 08:22 am
its me, i made a new name shhhh, you can read about it in other post, anyways, Yes i love my ferret, hes adorable, i will have to show you a picture, id post it here, but its offtopic. My dog is a mini dauchund (or weener dog) And he dispises anything smaller then him. Him and the ferret get playtime daily though.
Im not sure why men do what they do sometimes in relationships, youd be amazed at my odd past and the men involved in my parent life, none of them make a bit of sense. From the guys i know, they dont KNOW why they do what they do half the time..
AWW NO DREAM SEX! LOL! i dont think ive ever really had dream sex, well not normal dream sex, i always end up being a girl with a weener for some odd reason and wake up freaked out!
Laughing
But i do hope you all can somehow come to an agreement without the threat of divorce hanging over your head.
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Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jan, 2005 10:19 pm
BK - Let's say you woke up tomorrow and discovered you won enough money to be independent for life- would you still keep the husband and share the money or throw him out and chose to live by yourself with just the critters as housemates? The answer to this question will determine if we are dealing with a money/marriage issue or if you are just afraid of striking out on your own.
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