My husband Will Not job hunt....

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
My husband Will Not job hunt....
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 12:37am


Please give me your upfront advice.

I have been married 5 years to "Jim"  I am the breadwinner (I make just $28,000 by the way).  My husband lately only has a part-time job, has run out of money --  I am paying 97% of all the bills, and he is being **slow**  in a Job Search -

Quick background:  We both worked full time for years while we dated.  Jim did "ok" financiallly if he worked overtime hours some, which he did (that company is now out of biz., was an industry hurt by the recession) ......  Since we've married, he's had money issues.  In fact, we'd been married less than a year when he called my mother (without asking me) and borrowed $600 from her for his share of our household bills.  We went to a marriage counselor over that and a few other related things.  

His job situation:  He hurt his ankle badly at work, had surgery (I felt badly for him), recovered -- he got a cash $12,000 settlement but had to resign the job as part of settlement.

He has only been able to find a 16 hour per week job since his settlement, and has eaten through his settlement. Normally, he gives me a certain amount for part of rent, water bills, groceries.  His last 2 checks to me bounced and he said he has $60 to his name.   I am now faced with paying about $600/month additional - for his share of bills - until he can find a 2nd job or different job with more hours.  I have been charging groceries on my credit card to be able to cover all the bills myself

Here's my dilemma (1) He's had the 16 hour per week job 10 weeks and only job-hunts "some" -- he will apply online for posted jobs, but will not go out in person and will not make a different version of his resume or attach cover letters.  My dad said yesterday "maybe Jim should go knock on some doors if he has no money and is facing car payments, child support payments to his ex, having me (the wife) pay all the bills"  Jim says to me that he DID job hunt in person a bit in July, but "all companies make you apply online now"  I'll find a job online and he'll say "I'll never get that one, it pays $17/hour, why should I bother to apply"  The last time Jim ran out of money, he build up at $2,000 debt with me as I paid all the bills, plus he borrowed from 2 of his brothers. He paid us all back.  What would u do if your dh would job hunt just 1 hour a day, not attach a cover letter, and expect u to pay all the bills?  My daughter loves him and I love him, but I expect more effort in a job search - in about a month he'll probably lose his car due to non payment.  FYI he does apply to WalMart, seasonal jobs online but rarely gets an interview - advice?



iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 2:05am

I certainly hope that you come home to a spotless house, clean and ironed washing and a cooked dinner with him only working 16hpw.  

If I were in your shoes, I'd insist he partake in job couselling.   Also, have him look at community college for any skills which may enhance his marketability.    And I'd expect he does a good job as a househusband.   If depression is an issue, then you should have expectations of him addressing that too.  But most importantly, I'd make the future of the marriage contingent on him doing these things.   No ifs and no buts.   Good housekeeping starts immediately.   Give him two weeks to get started with a job counsellor and until the next term to start community college.

Also, get legal advice.  And don't be afraid to let him know you're doing it.   He really should know that you're serious about this.    You need advice on how to ask him to leave.  And you need to know how to protect yourself financially.   Do you know if you'd have to pay him alimony if the marriage ended?

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 4:57am


Two things your husband needs to do first thing Monday morning. First thing.

1)Get down to the local state department of employment. Look in the blue pages under you state name. EVERY state has a department of employment. There he can get help with a resume, job leads, and more. It's available to all tax payers. 

2)Make a second apointment at the local Department of Human Services. Also in the blue pages. This agency can help you get assistance for food stamps, rent, medical care, utilities. Again, it's available to most taxpayers. You may qualify with your income - you may not, but you need to find out.

STOP BUYING GROCERIES WITH A CREDIT CARD! That's a sure path to more grief and deeper debt.

Your husband is only part of the problem here: if he figures he can just lay back and not bother trying to find full-time work and you'll pay the bills. And, you need to talk to your mother about NOT loaning him money behind your back. That's definetly a no-no when it comes to interferring in your marriage. It's NOT your mother's job to support your husband!

Your husband may or may not succeed in getting social security disability. It's a lot harder to get these days with budget cuts but that's also something to look into. No guarantees though and it can take YEARS to get. So the job hunt is No. 1.

Time for him to grow up and take responsibility for his share of the income. As long as you pay he'll let you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 3:17pm

I agree with him getting the job training & resume advice from the unemployment dept.  Yes most companies do require online apps--I find that even with professional jobs, but you can't stop there because there are probably 100s of people sending in their resume.  My then 16 yr old son got his first job at a store by applying online but then he went into the store & spoke to the manager & told her that he applied online--she went right then & looked at his resume and he got a job interview because he showed initiative.  He can't expect to get a job if he only spends an hour or 2 a week looking.  I wonder if his exW is happy if he is not paying the child support--what will he do if she brings him to court for contempt.  If you feel that he's just being really lazy, you have to tell him that either he at least has to try to get a job or you're not content continuing to support him.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 5:43pm

  It is interesting that you yourself are not looking for a better paying job.  Your underpaid job is not cutting it.  It is in everybodies best interest if you had better paying position.  Your H is underemployed.  Yet because of his settlement may have a much more difficult job search.  Yet it is possible that there are services that will help getting him new employment.  Yes look into any help you can get and how to get legal help with the child support. 

    It is also important that you revise you emotional/economic, supposed to be's.  The idea that H earns the lion's share of the income is no longer viable.  The reality is that H cannot.  It is You that must rise to the occasion.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 10:20pm

Hello!  I have an update with some good news

First, Thank you SO very much for the good suggestions and wise advice :-)  I promise, if the economy was better, hopefully things wouldn't be so bad (i.e. when Jim and I were dating, he always could find a job, of course he was 10 yrs younger and unemployment in our county was tiny)

Good news (a) due to DH's co worker was out sick, DH got **double** the usual work hours at his(part time) job lately.

(b) I made a big deal Saturday about him working harder on job hunt - he has since gone out 2 hours IN PERSON, dressed up w/resumes..........and he's now job-hunting about 2+ hours a day online after work (he's looking 7 days a week and before, maybe 1 hour a day a few days a week).....also, his younger brother said DH can work for him a little each week, but usually it conflicts w/ the schedule of DH's permanent part time job.  Still, nice of his brother to offer!

QUESTION: By this Friday, I will be temporarily "out" $800 of money DH usually give me for bills (again, he is out of money - his boss lent him $30 for gas money) I'm charging groceries and gas to have enough $ to pay power bill and mortgage.  My dad said "if things get low I'll give you your Christmas money early, but don't tell Jim" , that was nice..........Since I've helped Jim out financially in past, (i.e. once he owed me $2,000 when his hours got cut, he since paid me back) and since my MOM helped him once.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I told DH please ask one of your 2 brothers for money.   Six days ago he said he'd ask his older brother (note: he's going to need $ for not just our combined bills, but for his child support and blood pressure meds)

Now he says his older brother "changed his cell number" and he can't reach him (?) So I said "then pls ask your other brother, I cannot afford to pay all the bills and groceries"

Should I ask my dad in private for the advance Christmas money, or should I wait and bug DH daily to borrow money from his brothers?  I know that sounds tacky, but since me and my mom have helped dh (reluctantly) with $$, why won't he ask a family member?  I'm not a jerk....he owed me $2,700 right before his medical setttlement came, but this time around I have **much less** in savings to "help" --- I'd ask him to get a personal loan but I think he'd be turned down since his job is just 16 hours a week.

He is job-hunting more, but if it were the other way around I have equity in my house, and two 401k's I could tap into before I'd stick him with all the bills and bounce checks, to be honest.  What should I do?


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-22-2004
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 9:08am

IMO, you have been nice enough.  Please do not make the mistake I made with my ex husband of covering things all the time because at the end, I was the one with the bills and the drained 401K and of course he didnt care because it wasnt his to being with!!!  DO NOT take a loan based on the Equity in your home.  By doing all of this, you are enabling him!  I'm sorry but as a single parent myself, it is not your responsibility to make sure that his child support is paid.  That is his responsibility.  Although I was happy to read that things are looking up, I dont think you should be tapping into YOUR christmas money early.  I honestly dont think you should do anything except let him figure it out by talking to his own family.  Your family has help enough to the point where IMO, he is being enabled!  Did he ever explore getting food stamps, medical, etc?  Although you may not want to do that, it is there if and when you need those things.  You could also check out your local food pantry. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-28-2001
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 12:52pm
I personally don't understand why you split the bills between the two of you? My fiance and I split bills right now because we aren't married. After we get married we will get a joint account for bills. It should not matter what bills bills you pay or he pays other than his child support. My ex husband was the same way and went unemployed for 8 months even after he went to trade school. He had job after job that he could only keep for a few weeks at a time. I tried everything I could to keep use a float, we had food stamps, Medicaid and cash assistance and with two small children to take care of I said enough! I kicked him out, applied to a local community college, work as many hours as I could and did it on my own. Now almost 4yrs after our divorce, I can look back and say I made the right decision for me and my children.
Not long after our divorce, he met a girl 8yrs younger than him and he conned her into a relationship. They are now married and he is extremely underemployed and she works 60+ hours a week to pay the bills.
To make this long story short, kick him out, file for divorce and move on. Take some night classes and get a degree get a better paying job. The way your living is only digging you deeper in debt and more stress.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2012
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 1:07pm
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2002
Sat, 10-06-2012 - 10:56pm

True blue, thank you!

Yes, he does do a lot of housework, laundry, vacuums, that's good

Update: I told him I''m upset. He's now increased his job hunting -- now he will job hunt about 2 hours per day.....but I think his situation is SEVERE enough that he really should Job hunt MORE hours.  I am truly thinking of "kicking him out"

Here's an update, want your advice"

- good news, he's now job hunting  a bit more and landed an interview

- He did ask his brother for a loan (instead of asking my mom like he did once) brother could spare $60

- Dh's Ex called yesterday and fussed him out for owing her child support.  She is not a wimp and I think she threatened to take him to court -- that alone might "SPUR" him to job hunt harder.  His attitude, however, disappointed me.  He called me and said "I just don't care anymore.  If (Ex) is made, I'm doing all I can,.  I can't "Sh--T money"  I thought he was a little cocky

- Today is Saturday and he doesn't have to work.  He job hunted on line 1 hour  I said "why don't you go job hunt in person a bit? he said he "doesn't want to waste gasoline, it's expensive"  I went on line at 8pm and found 2 new jobs that looked fairly good,. He said "It's too late at night, I''ll apply tomorrow" and he went back to watching his 4th hour of sports on TV. 

- I have said point blank to him "I cannot afford to pay all the bills.....Why don't you look harder for a have responsibilities"  He'll say "I DID look today, check my computer history"  He thinks looking for an hour or so, and then wathcing a lot of TV, is sufficient.

I would think he would feel *repsonsible* for his son, that he owes his ex-wife child support, and that he'd job hunt harder.  He'll say "I went out in person and job-hunted (two days ago")  or "I looked for an hour this morning online"  I'll say "But dh, if you are out of money, and owe people money, don't you want to give it all you've got to get a 2nd job" He'll simply say he's doing all he can  URRGH!  My dad points out to me in private that DH should have made an effort to have some type of emergency savings............last year, my DH's car payment company would call MY DAD (our relative that lives closest) trying to track down DH about back car payments. My dad is elderly and it was so embarrasing.   I feel I may have to have DH move out.....I pray he will find a job, but I expect a little more effort.  I wonder what his EX will say next about child support she is owed.......

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Sun, 10-07-2012 - 3:40am

isally, I really feel for you.     It sounds awfully like his given up on himself and has lost a lot of self confidence.   However, wallowing in self pity and sports isn't the answer - as you well know!

In my first post, I mentioned job counselling.   I can only reiterate that he needs professional help to get back into the job market.   I'm not in the US, so I'm not familiar with what is available to you, but some of the other posters have mentioned particular agencies which he could use.    If I were you, I'd insist on him making use of these services if he's to continue living with you.

Is hye willing to upskill at Community College?