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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2012
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    14

    Unhappy DH won't work and I think I want a divorce

    Using an alter because part of me feels nuts asking complete strangers for relationship adivce...

    Been with DH for 11 years, married for the past 6. No kids. We've been together since we were both in college. He's a musician and gigs as well as teaching lessons privately. Although I have a "traditional" career and full-time job, I understand and appreciate that his (considerable) talents lie elsewhere, and I fully support his work gigging and teaching.

    HOWEVER. You knew there was going to be a "however," right?

    He hasn't kept a consistent "other" job - whether part-time or full-time - aside from music. In the entire time we've been together. He works somewhere for a while, from several months up to a year or so, and then something causes him to quit/move/leave/get laid off, etc. Most recently, he was managing a business, the owner went bankrupt and laid him off - that happened MONTHS ago, and he hasn't worked (aside from gigging and giving lessons) since then. He has been to exactly one interview, which was for an opportunity he wasn't excited about and didn't pursue further.

    I work full-time: I provide us with most of our income and all our benefits, and I don't work in a high-income field. My salary alone can't support 2 people. And yet, increasingly, that's what has been happening.

    We can't afford to even think about buying a home, although that is what both of us want. We can't afford much at all, and yet we live on a shoestring. Very frugal lifestyle.

    And yet....it's almost as if he doesn't "get" the connection between "we can't afford ____" and the fact that he's only contributing about 1/4 to 1/5 of our total net income right now. When we talk about the lack of $$$, he A) bashes my job/boss for not paying me enough...which is true, but somewhat beside the point; or B) gets defensive about the work he *does* do and get paid for.

    He's a good guy, and he isn't a lay-around either: he cooks, cleans the house, etc. But the fact is, we can't afford for either of us to be a stay-at-home spouse!

    I just don't know what to do anymore. I love him dearly, but I don't want to do this daily struggle for survival for the rest of my life, especially when it's not of my own doing. Other than this (admittedly very large) problem, we get along well. I just....I don't know what to do.

    I have a feeling I need to hear some hard truths about my situation, and I know I'll get it from you guys. I know I can't change him, but is there something I *can* do before just leaving?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 11, 2011
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    1,101

    Default

    Is he depressed? I ask because I know guys who have severe depression and job issues are a huge flag. And guys who are unemployed also get depressed very easily and become angry...

    Don't have any good words of wisdom but you said these are not new issues so just don't up and leave one day. Give him a chance. I know he is defensive and a bit snippy but thats not unusual.

    If everything else is really good I'd personally hang in there a bit and see if you can start fresh and help him in a constructive way. I'm sure some will say to give him an ultamatum but that is not how I do things personally.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    10,925

    Default

    In a word: counseling.

    In more words...when you have the money talks, do you suggest or even insist that he pick up more work? If so, how is that received? If he wants "things" he could take ANY job...just to contribute something.

    My husband got laid off 2 years ago. We struggled along on my income for awhile and though he was out of work through no fault of his own and was looking and taking what he could, it was stressful. For awhile, he was working but not getting paid. Then working, but out of state all week. Now, he has a good new job, but I'm not working because we had to move. The money stuff and balance of power is a HUGE thing for any relationship. The resentment can build up fast.

    I don't have answers for you. But I do understand not wanting to have to struggle forever. I did that all by myself, thanks. It sucks to be doing it when you're part of a couple. I honestly feel like I'd be better off financially alone. I wouldn't have two kids and an ex wife to worry about. My money would be mine. But there's a trade off. I'd be alone. And I really love my husband. So it's a work in progress. I hope you can find a good answer.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2010
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    664

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    Pack up and leave. It does wonders for encouraging a former sponge to get up and get a j-o-b. As long as you keep supporting him, he's going to keep doing what he's doing, why not? No ultimatums, no threats. Just say, I've had it, and go. Like magic, he'll be a CEO within a week. (ok, maybe not a CEO, but he'll have a real job.) Then you can decide what to do from there.

    Think of it as the 'tough love' parenting thing. You know parents that enable their kids, they just never get up and leave the nest. Same thing here. Let him figure it out and grow up.


    7 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2012
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    14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    In a word: counseling.
    I agree, but he's very, very resistant. He's incredibly private and I suspect he secretly thinks it doesn't work (he's said as much to my about my own counseling).

    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    In more words...when you have the money talks, do you suggest or even insist that he pick up more work? If so, how is that received?
    Yes - I try not to harp about it. But if I say anything too pointed, he gets defensive. "I had 2 gigs last weekend!" or "I give 3 lessons every week." He seems to think it's about worth, when it's not - it's just about CASH IN THE BANK.

    Or he blames my job, says I don't get paid enough.

    I do think there's probably a much larger psychological issue(s) behind this. Possibilities include:
    Realizing that he isn't going to be discovered and get famous as a musician. Realizing that he's going to be one of those dudes who has a "real" job and plays music on weekends.
    Thinking that anything other than music is "wasting" his time.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    Ask yourself if you're better off with him or without him. And think about 10 years from now, and if you looked back on your life would you be happy you're still with him, or sad that you didn't leave?

    You might consult an attorney, and find out the implications if you divorce him. How much property will he get? Does he have a claim to your pension? I know the pension one seems silly, but years from now, if you were married a certain amount of time, and he gets a huge chunk of your pension you won't be happy.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


    8 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Well, just because he doesn't want to do counseling doesn't mean you can't. And you might find some tools or insights that really help. I have to wonder as another poster mentioned if he doesn't have some depression issues. It's not an excuse, but could be a reason. As you said, he's realizing his dream isn't coming true...that has to be sad.

    I am not real hip on divorce just because there's an issue (when it's not abuse, adultery). I've only been married a short time, waited a long time to do it and while we have some significant challenges, I am not ready to give up.

    If you are, you are. No judgment here. Get a good attorney.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2012
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    14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pal-o-mino View Post
    Pack up and leave. It does wonders for encouraging a former sponge to get up and get a j-o-b. As long as you keep supporting him, he's going to keep doing what he's doing, why not? No ultimatums, no threats. Just say, I've had it, and go. Like magic, he'll be a CEO within a week. (ok, maybe not a CEO, but he'll have a real job.) Then you can decide what to do from there.

    Think of it as the 'tough love' parenting thing. You know parents that enable their kids, they just never get up and leave the nest. Same thing here. Let him figure it out and grow up.

    This is what has been at the back of my mind for....well, if I'm honest, over a year.

    What I want is for him to snap out of it and just get a job - and keep it! And maybe even treat it with a positive attitude, rather than "what I have to do until I become famous." How does one broach that subject without it sounding like "You're a loser, and I'm leaving you." ?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
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    Colorado- Yee Haw!
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    2,551

    Default

    I would push for counseling. Despite me having no idea how it happened or what was said it really helped us.

    Worst case if you go for the divorce you do it knowing you gave it all. I would think that would really help with lingering doubts.

    Does he have any idea you are this frustrated?


    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Dutchess County, New York
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    Second BuddyRoo -- counselling!!

    If you love him, it is worth fighting for your marriage. You two need to at a minimum be able to talk about this issue (and hopefully solve it).


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2003
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    578

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    My husband of 13 years (together for 19) hasn't worked for the last 3 years. He had a decent job, with benefits and got let go. He claims the company was downsizing, his boss says otherwise...

    Since then he has gotten two drunk drivings, in fights (physical) with friends, treated me like dirt and pretty much drained the inheritance I received from my parents.

    I stopped loving him a long time ago....the divorce will be final in a week or two.

    But, if you still really love him and think you can motivate him to see the reality of the financial situation, stick it out and something will work out.
    Things Take Time


    6 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Dec. 28, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanM View Post
    Ask yourself if you're better off with him or without him. And think about 10 years from now, and if you looked back on your life would you be happy you're still with him, or sad that you didn't leave?
    I think about this all. the. time. And I'm honestly not sure how I feel. As I get older, I find myself thinking about how I should have looked for a guy who was a "provider" type rather than *just* falling in love.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    Dec. 28, 2012
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    14

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Martini View Post
    Does he have any idea you are this frustrated?
    I have no idea.

    This thread has already made me see that we have some major communication issues, if nothing else.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    A good marriage counselor can take things down to a level where when you leave, you are both apologizing to each other for feeling like the other got thrown under the bus. And yet, no one did. And the counselor just managed to get down to nuts and bolts. I felt closer to my DH after difficult counseling sessions. I felt like I needed to DEFEND him! And him ME! And there we were, talking about the very issues we were at odds about!

    Having an independent third party really can help.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    2 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 24, 2002
    Location
    Northern KY
    Posts
    4,410

    Default I'll play

    Your response when he says "your boss doesn't pay you enough"

    "Yes dear, I know, neither does yours".

    I've trained horses, which I loved, I've also sung for my supper, which I also loved.

    But I'm not Steffen Peters nor Diana Ross, so..... neither one of these little pursuits got me the lifestyle to which I wanted to become accustomed. Working in a completely unrelated field paid the bills, paid for the horse, and I suppose, as long in the tooth as I am now, I could still find a band to sing with if that's how I wanted to spend my Friday and Saturday nights.


    You either have to love him enough to do without, or want enough to do without him.

    Pick one.


    17 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    Apr. 15, 2010
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    664

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alterbecause View Post
    This is what has been at the back of my mind for....well, if I'm honest, over a year.

    What I want is for him to snap out of it and just get a job - and keep it! And maybe even treat it with a positive attitude, rather than "what I have to do until I become famous." How does one broach that subject without it sounding like "You're a loser, and I'm leaving you." ?
    Don't have to make it sound like that. Just state the facts. You can't afford to support two people. He doesn't want to get a job, he wants to work on his music all day. You've talked about this before and he doesn't seem to understand it's a serious issue. Of course he's going to be mad and pitch a fit and blame it on you. Tell him you love him and you really look forward to the time when you're back together. In the meantime, you'll be at your mothers. Stick to it. Don't get sucked into an argument either. Just keep repeating the above nicely. I call that 'roundpenning the DH'. Let him spin around all he wants, you stand your ground in the middle.


    17 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
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    Dec. 28, 2012
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    14

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    I've been mulling over the "pack up and leave" idea for a long time now. I don't know if an ultimatum would work, but I'd really try that than just give up completely. Do I need to consult an attorney if all we're doing is temporarily separating?

    When you're young, it's maybe a little too easy to think you'll fight it out *together*, side by side, take on the world, etc. A decade later and I'm thinking "ya know, I totally make enough money to support ME, MY dog, and MY horse....why am I having to cut corners, clip coupons, and do without?"


    6 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
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    Dec. 28, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by pal-o-mino View Post
    I call that 'roundpenning the DH'. Let him spin around all he wants, you stand your ground in the middle.
    THAT is priceless.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Maybe I'm totally naive...but I just think that once you're married, there are going to be challenges and that until you kind of throw away the key and decide that you're in it for the long haul, it's kind of easy to want an out when the going gets tough. (not that the OP hasn't tried, just saying in general)

    I've had a pretty hard time and I've only been married for a year and a half.

    I think that we get so hung up on "happy" that we forget that even if we were alone, things aren't going to be rockstar all the time. It's work. Life is work. Now I'm not saying the OP or anyone else should stay miserable. Oh no. But we have so many tools now! I am a fan of tools.

    I'm the type that unless I feel like I've done everything I can, I can't give up. And most of the issues that I've encountered in my young marriage have to do with communication skills, boundaries, and more communication issues.

    I love my husband. He loves me. Neither of us are perfect. I'm just glad to know that I have someone in my corner who keeps trying. I hope the OP can find some peace and allegiance and they can try together. A marriage to me is kind of akin to the whole "raise an egg" project in HS. Two people who have to be on the same team to get the grade. It's work.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    6 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
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    Dec. 31, 2000
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    El Paso, TX
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    Any chance he is using recreational drugs, and knows he won't pass a drug test, that many companies will require for employment?


    3 members found this post helpful.

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