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Is it worth leaving for this?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

I’ve been with my husband now for 17 years (married for 7) and we have two children ages 4.5 and 2.5. I have gone back and forth about leaving for so long and just can’t seem to get up the nerve to do it. I know I’m not happy and can’t really believe that he is either. We hardly have anything in common anymore.

My main issue is that he refuses to help financially with anything regarding the children. He pays the house note and a few house bills (cable, his phone, electricity, gas, etc) while I pay for everything else (OT and speech therapy for our son with SPD, daycare, pre-school, groceries, health insurance, car insurance, clothing, medical visits, etc). He makes twice what I make and I end up paying more in bills than I make every month. Up until last month I was paying $250 a month for car insurance for 5 cars and only one is mine. I have approached him about it several times and every time he says he will help but never does. I had put myself in such a hole that only my mother dying and leaving me some money and the sale of her house helped me get back even. I was just about to finally leave when he asked me for $45,000 to settle the estate dispute with his step-mother that he had been dealing with for nearly 5 years. I thought that maybe by giving him this money he would finally see how a family partnership works and that he would be so grateful that he would offer to step up and “pay me back” so to speak with his actions. Umm…I bet you can guess how that went. He said thanks maybe once then went about his same routine. After bringing it up again last month we did finally split the car insurance up but that was it. Nothing else was ever mentioned. Now I’m still stuck paying nearly $400 a month more than I make on just bills (not including gas for my car, incidentals for the kids, etc).

He belittles my job and proclaims that I just need to make more money. I love my job and am working in my field making a differnece in people's lives. I also started my own business but it was such a hassle to get him to watch the kids when I had to leave to see clients that I stopped for a while. If I leave I plan to start back up and hopefully work it into the custody agreement. We live in a small college town and I don’t plan to ever leave here. He’s a good dad when he wants to be but all the responsibility for their care is mine. I get them up, dressed, fed and to school each morning then pick them up, get them fed, bathed and in bed each night. All on top of working full time. Then he wants to fuss about not having sex enough. I’ve told him a thousand times that foreplay begins in the kitchen…not at 10:00pm. He’s a trained chef with an industrial kitchen and refuses to cook dinner (except on the weekends when his friend’s are over). I work from home but I’m not always here and can’t really get a lot done around the house all the time. He thinks that since I work from home that I can also do all the things I could when I was a SAHM.

My mother kept telling me before she died, “If you’re going to do it all by yourself…you might as well do it on your own.” I still hear her in my head telling me this. I feel completely unappreciated and taken advantage of and I’m tired of trying to make it work. I’ve asked him to come with me to counseling but he claims he’s too busy and that we can’t afford it. He has an excuse for everything. I don’t want my children growing up in a home where their mom and dad barely speak. I don’t want them to think that’s normal. I want my son to grow up respecting women and their role as mothers and for my daughter to not become a doormat like I have. I know there is a better life out there for me and my children. It just seems so overwhelming to even initiate the process. The biggest issue will be finding a place to live. We live in the house he grew up in so I would be the one to leave. There isn’t much rental property until school lets out for the summer and I’d hate to spend twice as much in rent than I could just buying a house. All of our finances are separate (always have been) so there wouldn’t be much issue there.

I’ve already researched collaborative divorce and think that would be the route I would take. That way we could work a parenting plan along with financial support and hopefully keep everything pretty civil. He knows I’ve considered divorce in the recent past but he always make promises to change and help out more but it’s always just words. All I want for me, my children, and my husband is to be happy. I also don’t want to keep putting off the inevitable until my children are older and more affected by the separation. I secretly hope that my leaving will help him change for the better but know going in that it could be permanent. I honestly hope that this will help him become a better and more involved father to his children. He would be forced to care for them and maybe finally appreciate what it is to be an “all-in” parent.

I know this is excruciatingly long and I appreciate anyone who has made it this far. I guess I just need to know if I’m doing the right thing by even considering leaving or am I being selfish for wanting a better life.
 

TIA
 

post #2 of 36

It sure does sound like he isn't meeting you half way. But as I always say to friends who are having rough patches in their marriage divorce is no picnic either. Sometimes I feel like I only traded in one set of problems for another. Still it sure sounds like he is not contributing much to the family. I hemmed and hawed for a long time (years) as well and sometimes I do feel like I should have divorced him when the kids were littler and it would have been an easier transition for them. Anyway, bottom line is no one can tell you what to do.

 

So you've tried to talk to him about finances and counseling, etc., but have you brought up the "D" word? If I were you I might have a frank discussion with him about this and see how he reacts. You may both be in agreement that the best thing for all of you is to try to work together toward divorce.

 

Before that however you may want to make an appt with a lawyer. Divorce laws are very different in different states and you may want to have a good idea of your position before you lay your cards on the table.

 

Best of luck to you. This is a very tough position to be in.

post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much.  I have mentioned divorce before and that's when he makes all these promises and says he will help out more but then about a week passes and it's back to the same old routine.  This cycle has been going on since before we even had kids.  He's an only child and his mother and grandmother did (and still does) everything for him.  I know I have been just as bad of an enabler and can't do it any more.  I am so emotionally spent dealing with this and trying to parent my children the way I think is best all to be undermined by him at every turn.  "Give them what they want so they will be quiet" is his parenting style and I see it becoming a major problem already.  Our son has a neurological disorder and we are having him assessed for Asperger's.  My husband has no patience and thinks a good spanking is what he needs.  I get stressed trying to calm him quickly so my husband won't start fussing instead of using the techniques I've learned through therapy to help him in the long run.  My husband doesn't really understand my son's condition and refuses to really get on board with parenting him (or my daughter) correctly.  It's already a power struggle and I'm always "Mean Mommy".  I just want better for my children.

post #4 of 36

I think that a starting point here would be couple's counseling, individual counseling, and a meeting of minds about the finances.  I know that in some situations keeping each partner's 'pot of money' separate works, but it doesn't sound like it is working in your marriage.  Maybe it's time to set everything up in a joint account and draw up an equitable budget.

 

I would not be in a marriage where I did not have equal access to all financial accounts.  I don't have a problem with each of us having our own 'spending' accounts, but all money brought in needs to go into one big pot we can both access, after the bills are paid, we can look at what is left and divide that between saving, investments, and spending money.   None of that money is his, and none of it is mine, it belongs to the family as a whole. 

 

post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by insidevoice View Post

I would not be in a marriage where I did not have equal access to all financial accounts.  I don't have a problem with each of us having our own 'spending' accounts, but all money brought in needs to go into one big pot we can both access, after the bills are paid, we can look at what is left and divide that between saving, investments, and spending money.   None of that money is his, and none of it is mine, it belongs to the family as a whole. 

 

 

Totally agree. We had similar issues in the marriage with money. We had various arrangements over the years and no matter what X felt he was not getting "his share." I argued until I was blue in the face that when you're a family it doesn't work like that. On hindsight that really should have been a deal breaker. Now he gets child support from me so perhaps he feels he's had the last laugh on that one.

 

WRT to the parenting issues you mention I have to say that kind of thing is often more difficult after a divorce. If you aren't on the same page with parenting before the divorce chances a slim you'll be able to do it after a divorce. On the other hand I do feel like my mental health is SO much better being divorced and I really am able to be a better mother to my kids. At least I can give them that,


 

 

post #6 of 36

it sounds like you do not have a partnership and that he isn't interested in having one. I would do some research and see a lawyer to get an idea of what you can expect for your state. Find out what is common for custody and child/spousal support. If he makes twice as much as you do, then there's a good chance he will be court ordered to contribute a lot more than he currently is, of course, that won't go as far when you have 2 rents/mortgages between you, but it might still work out better for you.

 

You are the only one who can decide what you can live with. I can say that, on the other side of it (and I was not the one who chose to end my marriage), there are a LOT of drawbacks to go through divorce and being a single parent and I probably wouldn't have ever chosen it on my own, but I'd never choose to go back to living with my ex after experiencing the peace that I have now.

post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 

I just got the car insurance statement in the mail and yes, he did get the cars put on separate policies but left them all under one payment through my account. His = $174/month Mine= $48/month. Luckily the statement doesn't go through till the 25th so he has time to get down there and fix it. Typical! 

post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 

We tried that (joint accounts) about 4 years ago and it lasted exactly 2 months.  He pitched fits about me spending money on groceries and bills so we went back to separate accounts.  He doesn't understand the concept of sharing and has never grasped that a family is a partnership not a dictatorship.  I'm over it and tired of spending more than I have just to keep him happy.  I'm out thousands of dollars that could have been put to better use (ie, savings, college fund, etc). 

post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by StellaBleu View Post

I just got the car insurance statement in the mail and yes, he did get the cars put on separate policies but left them all under one payment through my account. His = $174/month Mine= $48/month. Luckily the statement doesn't go through till the 25th so he has time to get down there and fix it. Typical! 

 

Do you have access to 'his' account?  What would happen if you said, "this isn't working, I made an appointment for us to go to the bank on xday to set up a joint account so the money is pooled and can work better for us."  Something feels very off here, but my first inclination is to try to figure out why he wants things so divided before throwing the marriage away.  Obviously, if he is totally unwilling to talk about things or work on them, I would have papers filed asap because the position you are in is not safe for you financially. 

post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by StellaBleu View Post

We tried that (joint accounts) about 4 years ago and it lasted exactly 2 months.  He pitched fits about me spending money on groceries and bills so we went back to separate accounts.  He doesn't understand the concept of sharing and has never grasped that a family is a partnership not a dictatorship.  I'm over it and tired of spending more than I have just to keep him happy.  I'm out thousands of dollars that could have been put to better use (ie, savings, college fund, etc). 


In that case, I would be saying marriage counseling or papers.  But that is within the context of my life... you have to do hat fits for you. 

 

post #11 of 36

Well, from my reading of your post, it sounds like you've already made up your mind. And it all sounds very well thought out and realistic. I agree, divorce is very, very messy and stressful. But it does not sound like you are happy and you cannot ever make him change. I just wanted to offer you my support, whatever you choose. Usually, if the only reason you haven't left him is because you haven't been able to get up the courage, then leaving is the right thing to do. That is just my opinion though. Feel free to take it or leave it. I wish you all the best.

post #12 of 36

I just wanted to add to, that legal divorce while staying together is an option too. This way he would not be able to affect your finances legally anymore. Just a thought...

post #13 of 36

I'm going to second PP's that it sounds like you already have your mind made up to leave. Next step is figuring out the logistics. The first thing to do there is to consult a lawyer or two, most will do this for free and you only pay if you decide to retain them. If you are in need of his financial support, also immediately file for an emergency child and/or spousal support order. Even in the most seemingly amicable of divorces, things can get very ugly very quickly. Having some kind of support network to fall back on is so very important. A therapist is also a good idea to help with the emotional fallout.

 

And just because your finances have always been split doesn't mean that you aren't still legally entitled to a portion of his assets, especially if he makes substantially more than you. 

post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the input.  I'm planning on stopping by the office where my therapist works to get some info on Collaborative Divorce.  I think that's the best option.  I need to find out what my living arrangements can be during this process since I will be the one leaving the home.  I know there will be tons of houses for rent after school lets out but that's not until June.  Ideally I would rather buy a house but I'm not sure how that even works.  I have lots to get in line before I approach him with this.  I'm getting as many financial documents I can get my hands on including my accounts that show I have paid for all of the daycare, pre-school, therapy, medical, etc.  I'm going through and changing all my passwords b/c he has been known to hack into my computer to find things out.  I'm in no rush right now because I want to make sure I have everything in order.  I know he is going to fight me at first but I hope over time he will see that we are not happy together and that maybe there is a better life for both of us down the road.  I want what is best for my kids and right now living in this toxic, stressful environment is not working.  Best case scenario, we split for a while and realize that we do want to work it out and we can use the house as a rental property (or sell it) or we can begin starting our new lives now instead of when the kids are older and more in tune to what is going on.  I really hope they will know I'm doing this for them as much as for me. 

 

I spent a good part of yesterday taking notes from the Custody Agreement thread and got a lot of great information.  Hugs to all you wonderful mamas who have gone before me.  I know I am strong enough to do this.  I know in my heart I need to do this.  He's not a bad man...just a crappy husband.  I've been with him since I was 20 so I have time on my side to prove that he never really is going to change.  All I can do is work on myself and change the things I have control over and not worry about anything else. 

 

Thanks again.

 

post #15 of 36

I would hand him a new budget and simply tell him you are not paying HIS bills anymore. period..done. Split the kids costs down the middle...

post #16 of 36

oops hit submit by mistake.....I would do as I said above and when he loses his mind, then sit down and talk frankly that you are preparing for a divorce and that he better get used to this as it is what you will be asking for in the custody agreement.

post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rani View Post

oops hit submit by mistake.....I would do as I said above and when he loses his mind, then sit down and talk frankly that you are preparing for a divorce and that he better get used to this as it is what you will be asking for in the custody agreement.



On the other hand, if you give him warning, he will have time to hide his assets before he is served w/papers, and he may do other things you wouldn't expect.

post #18 of 36
Thread Starter 

That's what happened last month and he said he would take over some of the bills including paying for daycare but that's the last I heard of it. I broke down every expense we have (that I know of) and showed him how much I was paying out each month compared to him.  I brought it up again the other day while he was bitching about not having sex after I got home at midnight from a conference I had been at for 5 days.  I was exhausted and all he could care about was getting his.  I kind of went off on him about everything and how he said he was going to help out more and here I am still paying out more than I make. I told him there was no way I was having sex with someone who didn't deserve it.  (Harsh, I know... but I was pissed!)   

 

Since then we have just kept to ourselves.  I go about taking care of the kids and he sits on his phone or computer every night and watches me.  After yesterday he wrote me a check for his part of the car insurance.  He's moping around playing the victim but I'm over it.  I asked him if he wanted to go to an event downtown with the kids tonight and he said..."No, I'll let you do that".   The other night we were discussing going to my niece's' college graduation and he said "Great!  Weekend to myself!"  No mention of even wanting to go.  Ends up he has a training for work that weekend but still....he has no sense of family and important events.  

 

I know it's going to be tough for a while but I do have some money in the bank (I would have $45,000 more if I hadn't been so dumb and gave it to him  thinking it would magically make him change) and a job and a business I need to get back to.  I just need to find a place suitable for me and the kids and go from there.  I've already started packing up little things and stashing them.  I may get a storage unit for a while so I have a place to take everything that's not in the house.  UGH!  I know I can do this.  I just have to believe that I'm doing the right thing for me and my kids. 

 

Thanks again for all the suggestions and support.  I can't really talk to my friends about this so it's nice to get an outsiders opinion on things.  I know I'm not perfect in the relationship either and I think there is just too much resentment on my part to continue to try to make it work.

post #19 of 36

He seriously squaks about spending "his" money on the FAMILY's groceries???   OMG honey.  You need out.  That is ridiculous.   You are married!!  You have children together!!  How is it you are the only one responsible for the children's needs?  If nothing else, file for child support immediately.  Some states you do not have to be separated to do this. 

 

I'm honestly stunned that others are suggesting counseling and what not.  Men like this don't change... I don't even understand how you have lasted as many years as you have in your situation.  He is NOT being a partner at all!  :-( 

post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoenix~Mama View Post

He seriously squaks about spending "his" money on the FAMILY's groceries???   OMG honey.  You need out.  That is ridiculous.   You are married!!  You have children together!!  How is it you are the only one responsible for the children's needs?  If nothing else, file for child support immediately.  Some states you do not have to be separated to do this. 

 

I'm honestly stunned that others are suggesting counseling and what not.  Men like this don't change... I don't even understand how you have lasted as many years as you have in your situation.  He is NOT being a partner at all!  :-( 


I agree. My ex took away my "allowance" and he'd just gotten $1000/month raise, AND he didn't help w//our new baby. Never bought her anything. Bought himself a HUGE truck, bright shiny red.

 

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