Finding it hard to create a real partnership in second marriage

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2013
Finding it hard to create a real partnership in second marriage
Mon, 06-24-2013 - 7:49am

I have been married for 10 years. This is a second marriage for both of us, and I'm having a very difficult time because it seems my husband does not want a partnership. He makes all decisions without discussion, and these run from trivial to huge decisions. He keeps important financial information to himself, and it is as though we are married but don't actually have a marriage. We have each two daughters from our previous marriages who are all grown and independent. We will have plans together, and one of his girls will call and he'll change our plans without giving me the courtesy of a conversation about it first. I feel disrespected as a result. I'm just looking for him to come to me and say, " hey, this is what's going on. I'd like to ------ . What do you think?" I'm not suggesting I make all the decisions, just that I'm considered in the situation and I have the opportunity to express my feelings or thoughts on the matter. My husband also makes 5 times what I do, and he keeps all of the money. I make a small salary as a teacher at a little private school, and 100% gets spent on food and bills. There is nothing left. He has thousands left after bills, and keeps it all. I have asked for a household budget so I can do normal womanly things like buy new sheets or a new candle, paint a room etc. Once, when I left my job to stay home and care for his (our) new grandson, I asked for a fifty dollar a week allowance. He said if he gave me an allowance, I'd definitely spend it, but if had to ask for it I might or I might not spend it. What?! He only gave me money for gas and groceries. He said I was being paid very well for what I was doing (referring to all the bills being paid). Our financial relationship is as though he is my father rather than my husband. I know he was very burned financially by his ex, but I do not spend a lot, nor did I ever burn my ex or him for that matter. I've done nothing to deserve this kind of attitude. If his daughters or our grandchildren need something, he is thrilled hot give it to them, but for some reason, he is very controlling with me. Nice to everyone else, but saves his worst for me. It's not like I'm asking for things all the time.  I think my requests are minimal. I am never able to do anything financially for kids adult children, because I have nothing. I'm working on some things with school so that I can make more money. I don't think the way he treats me is right. At first I thought it was because of his ex and he'd see I wasn't like her and ease up. Now I have no hope of that. Ther is no partnership, and I feel alone even when he's home. He won't go for counseling because he went with his first wife and says it costs too much, takes too long, and usually doesn't work. Basically, that means I can take what I have got or leave it. We dated for three years prior to marriage. Never fought and he was so sweet and generous with me the whole time. I fell in love with him because he always treated me like a lady and made me feel wanted and special. There is that side of him sometimes now too, but no matter what we do, it is always him who decided to do or buy orgo.I miss the days when he cared how I felt. I feel like I'm paying for his ex's sins. Having never argued before we were married, I had no idea how nasty he was when angry either. if I could go back, I know I would not marry this man. I take marriage very seriously, though, and now that this commitment has been made, I want to keep it. In spite of everything, it's not always bad and I am in love with my husband.  This means I change what I can for myself and we continue struggling until something changes. I can only change myself. If he's not interested in having a good relationship, I can't make him interested. Sorry for all the typos. This forum doesn't like my system. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

This sounds like an intolerable situation for me and I probably wouldn't stay, but if you are determined to stay in a marriage where you are treated like a child instead of a wife, all I can suggest is that you go to counseing alone.  Maybe the counselor can come up with ideas of how to get through to him.  Oh and unless he had you sign a prenup, if you got divorced, then you would get some of his money.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

This is not a marriage.  This is a lousy relationship with a mean, controlling person.  I could not for one moment imagine being in love with someone like that, even if I had been years before.  What are you getting out of this?  Marriage is supposed to be a union, aka "one-ness" between two people.  If he isn't giving you that, then there is no marriage.

I'm with musiclover.  Get counseling for yourself.  I take marriage seriously too, but there is a defect in this marriage, namely your H's unwillingness to *be* married.  In the Catholic church, that defect might even be grounds for an annulment.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

Welcome!  I see that you are not only new to MSMW, but also new to iVillage.  Yes, the boards are having some techinical difficulties, but I hope you stick around.  

Oh darlin', I feel for you.  I have a girlfriend experiencing a very similar situation.  I could go on and on with the similarities, but at the end of the day these men seem to make great boyfriends, but horrible husbands.  It is a similar cycle as used to describe abuse.  As you  mentioned, he has his kind and loving moments, then we think maybe things will change.  As I am sure you are well aware, he is still controlling these "kind" gestures, correct?

My GF and her DH did go to counseling, only after he filed for D, said he would spend every penny he had to keep her from getting any, and then one deciced "I will go to counseling" and stopped the D.   What the heck?  They just finished their 12 week commit to the counselor and she said she has talked to her attorney about filing.  She no more fight left in her.  Luckily they have only been married 2 years.  

I also agree that, as you said yourself, you probably should not have ever gotten married.  But, not to make light of the committment at hand, definately go to counseling on your own.  I always have hope that people can change, but they have to want to change.  And you are right, you can only change yourself.  

Remember, we can only be a doormat if we lay down.  I can only guess your age, and it does get hard to change our ways.  But it is never too late to stand up.  He may suprise you and pony up, or he may not, but either way you can hold your head high regardless of what happens with your marriage.  

Money can be senstive even in the best marriages.  Good luck and please stick around and let us know how things go.  Hugs....

p.s.  Ugh, I wish I could give you my GF's phone number.  You have so much in common in these men.  The controlling nature just breaks my heart.  Cry

Serenity CL Making a Second Marriage Work

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010

Oh my heart aches for you!  I agree with Music though.  This is not a marriage and not one I'd stay in and I KNOW that same feeling of committment you do, so know it's not really what you want.  Obviously, you've tried to get him to change and it's not happening. Your unhappiness comes out loudly in your post and you so deserve to be happy.  I wish Serenity, too, could let you talk to her friend.  I've always said noone understands your situaiton except for someone who's been there themselves.

Dh and I have fights about kids and money all the time (we have 7 adult children between us) and too many times we've almost ended it, but our sense of committment causes us to stay, so I know how you feel.  Can I say we'll last "forever"  I actually started packiing my bag one night, but, decided to work it out instead.  That doesn't mean there may not come a day...

The way he treats you regardng money is appalling and not something you should tolerate.  If you don't want to leave though...definiteley go to counseling.  I do.  My husband has mental/emotional problems and having created kids with a woman who eventually became mentall ill, all 3 of his sons suffer mental illness as well, but only the oldest is actually on federal disability.  The other 2 are doing ok, but definitely have defiticits. Our families are NOT blendable as my DDs are all normal and doing well and his kids are...well, different. The fact all your money goes to food and bills is NOT right.  If he TRULY loved you, he'd want you to be happy and, making as much as HE does, HE should pay!  Dh makes 3 times more than I do and, although we have a joint checking account, he basically pays.  This was our agreement as I paid for 98% of our condo we bought with the agreement that HE would pay the bills because it was right and I could never afford it on my measly income as an administrative assistant.  So, I do take liberties and go shopping when I want (which isn't often as I'm a homebody and don't really like to shop), and I travel when I NEED to .  These are things YOU should be allowed to do if your dh truly loved you.  How he treats you is NOT loving or kind and, if nothing changes, I'd leave, too.  I HAVE had to stand up for myself from time to time because my dh can also be somewhat controlling when it comes to money and I even told him as recently as Sunday when we were arguing about money I spend on my DDs that I WILL spend money of them as I see fit because I dont' HAVE bills, he said then we may end up divorced and i said, "So be it."  I doubt he'd ever actually do it though as then he'd not own a home outright as he does now.  Plus, I have a good retirement due to my divorce and he'd lose that, too.  But, I know, if we don't work out, I'll be ok...poor, but emotionally ok.  I survived a divorce after 25 years of marriage 6 years ago and after time, was ok again.  A divorce this time would not be a destruction of family because we aren't one. 


Please keep us update.  We care.  {{{HUGS}}}

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013

You committed to a different man than he is now. He changed from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. I'm assuming with adult children, at your age you have at least another 30 or 40 years left on the planet. You owe it to yourself to make it the best life possible. If you look to the future with dread instead of contentment, something has to change. Why not give him a taste of what life would be like without you? If you make dinner for him every night, start planning to be out 2 nights a week. Ask a girlfriend or your daughter if you can come over and watch a movie together. You can bring the popcorn. Join a book discussion club. Go to the library and read books about relationships. Make him  fix his own dinner a couple of nights a week and eat without you. He takes you for granted and this may be a wake up call to him. Maybe he'll start to think you're losing interest in him if you make yourself less accessible to him. 

If you purchase expensive foods like steak, stop doing it. Instead of expensive cereal, buy a big tub of oatmeal. If he asks you about the change, tell him you're saving money to pay for counseling for yourself, because you're unhappy with the situation. Tell him what you've written here. That you feel unimportant because he doesn't consult you on decisions. Since you've been with him ten years and have stayed, so far he probably doesn't think he needs to change, because you're not going anywhere. This change of you seeking counseling may jar him to action.

Know that in many states, the ten year mark in marriage is what makes a spouse eligible for half of their spouse's retirement fund, pension, alimony, and possibly half of the house. Also know that even if you divorce him, when you retire, you are entitled to claim his higher social security benefits without it affecting him in the least.

I would cut your grocery bill as well, and make whatever other cuts you can, to save for a divorce lawyer if needed. It's good that you're doing extra work at your own job. You probably haven't had the money to save for your own retirement. You need to start thinking of yourself. At work, if he hasn't designated anyone to receive his retirement benefits, or if he has designated you, you will get them. But if he has designated his children to receive them, you could wind up with nothing. Since he puts his daughters before you, expect that he may leave everything to them.

Start doing things that will fulfill you outside of the marriage and start squirreling some money away. See how he reacts. Be careful if you think he'll turn dangerous. (I've probably watched too many Dateline Mystery shows.) Good luck and let us know how it goes.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
HI Be-Better- I think you've gotten some good advice here......I dont have much to add except {{hugs!!}} and yes, PLEASE know we care, and keep us updated! PLease know that this board is MISERABLE to post on since they made an "upgrade"....when you sign in, and it say you arent allowed to...just ignore that, in a few moments it WILL allow you to post..... So please fill us on how how things are going........ BEST WISHES!