Am I a doormat? What would you do?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2003
Am I a doormat? What would you do?
1139
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 3:57pm
This is my first post here, but I need some help from strangers. Here is my problem. My husband and I have been married for 18 years and have 2 children who are 10 & 12. I have always worked part-time since the kids were born, and was making a good salary (30K), for 2 days work/week. I had a great job that allowed me to pay my car payment, groceries, clothes for me and the kids, and for little extras. My husband paid all the other bills.

Last fall I lost my great job, my field is saturated, so to keep busy and still make money, I started substitute teaching. As a result I now work 5 days a week, make only 10K a year, let my housecleaner go, so I'm working harder than ever and making less money. My husband is now making my car payment as I can't afford it, and he is doing this with a lot of resentment. I can barely afford groceries and clothes, but so far this system has been working.

Now the problem, summer is coming and I want to stay home. I won't be able to substitute, and I have no desire to pound the pavement. I want to stay home with the kids and work on the myriad of projects left undone over the years. Here's the kicker, I don't want to beg my husband for money, which I know I'll have to do. He earns a good salary (175K plus bonus, but no bonus this year due to bad economy). Our mortgage payment in total is $2600, we have 2 leased cars, no other debt, considerable savings (kids college is all saved for), yet my husband thinks I should find a job! Is he being unreasonable, or am I? I don't spend money, I'm pretty frugal, shop at TJ Maxx, etc. and am very low maintenance.

I am angry to the point of considering leaving him. I think it's incredibly selfish of him to "make" me work for the summer when we are quite capable of paying our bills and saving just on his salary. I have no qualms about returning to subbing in the fall and even going for my master's for a permanent teaching job - I really love it, but his attitude is frankly stunning. By the way, I am the ONLY one of our female friends, neighbors or aquaintances who works, most spend the summer (and all year round for that matter)playing tennis and shopping. What do you suppose his problem is? Or am I being unreasonable?

I welcome all opinions.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 4:15pm
Now mind you, I am a total stranger and I don't know you or your DH at all. But in my very humble opinion, your DH is a little crazy for making you work when your family income is 175K!!!! Congratulations on having so much in savings and not a lot of debt. I would try to see if he would like to go to a clergyperson or counsellor who could explain to him that marriage involves sharing, and he should be more than happy to help you achieve your goals.

175K and he wants you to work???????? Egads, I sure hope feminism isn't responsible for his attitude.....

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 4:24pm
Thanks. I think you hit the nail on the head, he seems to have a very difficult time sharing. I think he sees our finances as "his" money not ours, which is tough for me to take since we've been married for so long.

Here's some advice for newlyweds, don't have separate accounts, combine your earnings immediately so thereis no yours or mine, just ours. I'm feeling the effects of not doing this. Imagine going to your husband and asking him for money for groceries and having him say "I just gave you $100 yesterday". This man has obviously not done any family food shopping in the last century. He's generous with gifts, and not what I would consider cheap, I just don't understand his reluctance to "give" me money!!!!

Avatar for tickmich
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 4:25pm
It does seem like your husband is being a bit harsh regarding your working and paying for things especially when he makes 175k. Have you thought of working at a summer camp? I think a good number of teachers do that.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 4:27pm
Why do you pay for household expenses out of "your" money? Doesn't he eat? Are the two kids your children together? I'm a lawyer, not a family counselor, but I think he needs a reality check from an objective third party on the expenses that he calls "yours."

Good luck.....

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 4:31pm
Does your husband not understand that a marriage is a PARTNERSHIP? It doesn't sound like you have so many expenses that the 175K/year isn't enough. BUT that's besides the point.

Again, does your husband not understand that a marriage is a PARTNERSHIP?

It's not unreasonable for one member of the couple to want the other to contribute financially, but it's just for the summer! -- and it's your husband's ATTITUDE that is bothersome...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 4:33pm
It sounds like you and your husband treat each other more as roommates than as husband and wife, at least with regard to finances. I too have worked pt since the birth of our first child, and my dh, therefore, earns quite a bit more money than I do, but it's all OUR money. We don't view it in terms of he pays for this and I pay for that. And I think that might be part of your problem. Unless you are sitting around on your behind sipping margaritas by the pool all summer (which I would do if I could get away with it ; ), then you are presumably making a significant contribution to your family/household, even if you are not bringing home a paycheck.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 4:38pm
That is really bad. I can't believe that you have to *ask* him for grocery money. What does he say when you two talk about this? He may need counseling....
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 5:01pm
What about if you start looking for a teaching job for the fall now, or present him with a plan for getting one (like telling him your subbing could lead to a permanent postion, getting certified,etc?)That way he will rest easy knowing that you will have a job,and you can take the summer off.You can easily make over 30K as a teacher,which is what you were making before,so everyone should be happy.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 5:18pm
I hope I'm replying correctly, I'm new to this board, anyway, I agree with everyone's posts so far. I think we made a mistake when we first got married since we both had separate residences and savings/checking accounts, so we never combined them. We just decided that he would pay most bills and I would pay household expenses as well as my personal expenses. This worked wonderfully before kids when we both worked F/T and made adequate salaries. Even when I worked part-time I could cover all of my expenses, and there were never any issues. It isn't until now, when he literally makes nearly 20 times what I do, that there is a BIG problem.

I do think that unless he can truly understand that there is no yours and mine money, only ours, that we will need counseling. That's a good suggestion.

I can't live with someone who I feel subjugated to, and I feel more like an employee or child than a spouse.

And to the lawyer who replied, my BIL (husbands brother), is a very prominent family law attorney, who has told my husband on more than one occasion that his attitude is all wrong, and that he had better wise-up and realize that spouses, whether they work or not, do contribute to a marriage and are entitled significant assets and earnings. He thinks the same way you do.

Just as an aside, for those of you who don't have a paying job, how does your spouse feel about the fact that you don't contribute financially to the marriage? Is it even an issue? I wish he could be happy about it and even appreciate the fact that our quality of life could improve - as it is now that I'm working more the house is a mess, things get put aside, We run out of food, we miss appointments, etc. I do everything I used to do but now have less time, which reminds me, I have to get off here and make dinner!

Thanks everyone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 5:28pm
He is selfish. Whats he doing to himself. If he lets you stay home this summer, and doesn't divorce you, then its pretty clear who the doormat is, and it isn't YOU. He should go part time this summer, and let you go out to work so he can enjoy himself. Maybe get in a few extra golf games, you know, that sort of thing.

Adults don't *make* other adults work. Adults are willing to work to support themselves and their kids.

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