SAHMs, how do you feel about being financially dependent on a man? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 112 Old 05-29-2005, 12:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I apologize if the post offends anyone who is financially dependent on a woman (I could start a spin off on that I guess!), but my question is about being a woman who is financially dependent on a man, as a SAHM, whether it is in a marriage or other partnership.

I do not ask this question for debate, I just would like to hear about your feelings on this issue. What is it like for you? Does it make you feel like you are doing something wrong, do you feel nervous about it? Do you worry about what would happen if you partner left you or became very sick, or died?

I often feel very nervous about the whole "set up," and I do worry about what would happen to me if he left (whether through death or divorce). Not even because he earns the money, but because he manages it. I have not seen a check or a bill in 10 years. I have no idea how all the money stuff gets taken care of. I know this is not a good way to be, and I've asked him to "let" me be more aware of what's going on, and then we get into this weird power-dynamic cycle, where he keeps the information close and does not want me involved.

There are so many implications and ramifications from this for our relationship. I find myself asking for "permission" to do things or go places that I know I probably wouldn't ask if I were financially independent (even non-money related things). And then I feel so weird and ashamed because here I am asking him for "permission."

Please share your feelings about this issue. Am I alone in my nervousness/ weird relationship dynamic/ embarrassment?

(If this post is rejected for the SAHM forum please don't post it elsewhere-- thanks!!)
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#2 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:30 PM
 
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I would love the idea of being financially dependent...if we had more money and it wasn't such a huge issue if I wanted to buy myself a CD or something! :LOL

That's the situation right now...I am dependent on dh for money. I don't even pay the bills; the checks go into his acct and I don't have access to the acct. When he is a full-time teacher (right now he's just a sub) I will request an allowance, 10% of his check, each month but right now I have to ask every time I need another $20 for gas.

I will also insist that he get life insurance when he works full-time.

I'm thinking I may want to SAH long-term, even if the kids go to school. I think being a SAHW is a very respectable, enviable position, and I want that to happen for me.

For now, I'd feel better about it if I just didn't have to ask for money every time.
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#3 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:33 PM
 
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I dream of being a trust-a-farian. Oh well, for now I'm dependent on my man. BUT- when my baby goes to school it's off to work or school I go too!
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#4 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:36 PM
 
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: i don't see why this question is man specific??? why exclude sahms that are partnered with women?
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#5 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:38 PM
 
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meowee, I am dependent on my husband as far as him earning the money. It would make me very uncomfortable if I didn't know what was going on with our money (although sometimes I wish I didn't :LOL ). We both know our finances so I don't really have to ask to spend money unless it's a big expense. We have an agreement that we talk about the big ones.
Yes, I do get scared sometimes at the possibility of him leaving, or becoming disabled. I do not have the earning power that he does. If I suddenly found myself a single mom or the main bread-winner, it would change so much in my life and my future plans. So, for that reason, I do worry from time to time, not that my DH has given me reason to. We homeschool, and I don't see how I'd be able to continue if DH was gone. We have life insurance on both of us so his death wouldn't affect us as much financially. It's not easy being financially dependent, but I think certain people can make it harder than others. I'm sure your DH values what you do, and YOU value what you do. That mindset can make a big difference.

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#6 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:41 PM
 
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I would much rather be dependent on a man than on a job. At least with marriage, you can get life insurance/social security/child support, etc. if it doesn't work. With a job there is often no protection.

In case of divorce, I would want to get married again ASAP to a financially secure man. I don't care if that basically makes me a prostitute - my kids need me to be home with them and I will do anything to make that happen.
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#7 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:50 PM
 
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Sometimes I feel guilty, worthless, bitter, frustrated, and helpless. Mostly when it's the end of the month and we are down to our last dollar. It has more to do with being dependent on anyone for me, not just a man. Being dependent on him makes me feel like I did when I was a child and dependent on my parents.

If he leaves me he'll owe so much child support I'll be rich! :LOL

If he dies we have decent life insurance but I'd be screwed, essentially.

I pay the bills and such so I see the money going out faster than it's coming in. It really stresses me out.

I know *this* is where I'm meant to be, though, so I have to overcome my feelings of frustration.

I did "ask" if we could pay for my homebirth. I think that's the only thing I've ever really asked to "buy". He said "yes"

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#8 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:51 PM
 
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I worry about my dependency. I don't worry about my marriage, but growing up with my mom as a single mother, I am aware of the difficulties of being a mother on her own.
My two goals right now are:
get life insurance for both of us. (Once our cc debt is gone)
put retirement savings into my own name. My goal is after we put money in DH's "more than matches" university account, we put money in an IRA under my name. BUt when do we have extra money?

THose two things would make me feel a little more secure. Of course, not have cc debt would make me feel very secure also.

I am in control fo the finances. Actually, DH has to check in with me when he spends money just so I can reconcile that with our budget. If I didn't have full participation in our finances it would make me feel powerless, or at least less powerful.

Children deserve the respect of puzzling it out.
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#9 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfmama
: i don't see why this question is man specific??? why exclude sahms that are partnered with women?
I think some people have issues w/ male-female dynamic as well as the idea of a "traditional" (in this case meaning man works, woman does child/home care) family, esp those raised post-feminist era that would not seem as prevalent in a female-female relationship.

That said, the issues brought up so far seem to apply pretty evenly to ANY relationship where one partner has vastly more "power" than the other.

 

 

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#10 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 10:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meowee
What is it like for you? Does it make you feel like you are doing something wrong, do you feel nervous about it? Do you worry about what would happen if you partner left you or became very sick, or died?
I grew up swearing I would NEVER be a SAHM and NEVER be dependent (financially) on my future partner. I am completely financially dependent on DP at this point, and probably will be for many years if not the rest of my life.

I trust DP enough, though, that he would help me get on my feet after a divorce and fully support our children (financially and emotionally).

If he became very sick--- that is why we have Disability Insurance. It provides 60% of his current income which would be fine for us if we moved out of the area (which we would do--- we are here for his job and we could live cheaper if we moved closer to family, who would also help us).

If he died--- that is why we have Live Insurance.

I, though, have complete access and control of our money (DP has the same). I take care of our bills, I pick our investments (we talk about them, but I actually get them set up), I generally decide how much we can spend on an item, etc... DP considers us to be at least equally "valuable" to our family and treats me like it. He is also willing to sign any "Post-Nuptual" agreement I get drawn up-- I just have to get it done. I would have major issues though, if any of the previous things were untrue.

 

 

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#11 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:01 PM
 
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It's a little wierd but I don't worry too much about it.

Here's our history - when DH and I met, I made more than he did. We bought a house together, merged our finances completely (which I highly recommend), and got married. First few years, I continued to make more. Then he made the same. Then he made more (it helped that he worked 2 full time jobs!).

I left my job to take a break, start something new, and try to get pg. Two months later I was pg with Ethan, and rather than get a job for a few months, stayed home full time while pregnant (woo hoo!). I did collect unemployment which definately helped. In an odd twist of fate I made more on unemployment than I could have working a part-time job at Borders or what have you.

We are such a partnership. But I see my job as not only raising our son and managing our home, but also trying to efficiently manage our expenses. I think it helps that I don't splurge on much, and that we both discuss major purchases. It is hard, because money is tight, and I naturally am a little bit of a tightwad, but I'm learning.
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#12 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:01 PM
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My dh and I are totally dependent on each other. He may earn the money but he hardly spends any of it and he does not pay bills. I used to work full time, before dd, and I always did the bookkeeping and still do. If it ever, and it rarely does, come up that he is the one earning the money I tell him I would gladly go back to work and we can put dd in daycare and he can do 50% of all parenting since I will be working too. That quiets him up right away. He loves that I stay home and do the "domestic diva" stuff. It is good for all of us. But, we are truly partners. If I was in your situation, I would be very concerned about the money and very paranoid about why he was not treating me as an equal. What about marriage counseling?
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#13 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfmama
: i don't see why this question is man specific??? why exclude sahms that are partnered with women?
I think the op addressed this. Seems like she is asking for situations similar to her own, a sahm with a working h who manages all the money.
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#14 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:13 PM
 
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I don't have a problem with it at all. When I first went from a WOHM to a SAHM, it was a bit challenging, as I had been working and supporting myself financially since I turned 16. It was the norm and what I was used to. I felt that I wasn't contributing, but by not paying daycare, I was saving that money. We're a partnership. Period. If he lost his job and couldn't get another, I could, and would, go back to work. I have (mostly) supported us when he was laid off and only getting unemployment.

So, yes, dh is supporting us financially now, but I still am not really dependent, because if I wanted to go out and get a job tomorrow, I could.

One big difference is that I'm very involved in our finances. His check is deposited into the bank account and I pay the bills.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#15 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:14 PM
 
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my dh works hard in the money economy

I work hard in the non-money sphere

my way of life is made possible by his financial contribution

his way of life is made possible by my sahm contribution - no way could he work fulltime and have 3 kids without me!

we both have life insurance - it would cover me to remain sah till the kids are older should he die, and it would cover him to hire help to do the currently unpaid stuff should I die (he has said he would not be sahd in those circumstances)

I used to feel really weird about using money "he" earned(I got over it a long time ago), but he would find it weird if I "asked", we always discuss big purchases etc together

I deal with all the bills, the tax stuff etc and the house deeds are in my name (in case his business falls over and creditors try to take our home) - many of dh's peers think he is nuts to "trust" me in this way, I can't imagine not trusting my life partner absolutely
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#16 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:15 PM
 
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I hate it. One reason why I want to WOH.

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#17 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:16 PM
 
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I definitely have some issues with this topic. In fact I brought it up last night. There is some history to this, which I will BRIEFLY explain...

My dh is an alcoholic. Not a falling down drunk every day type, but he definitely drinks at least a little every day, I think. At least once a week he comes home and I know he has had at least 4 or 5 drinks by the way he talks, etc. However, he will LIE and say he had one or maybe two.

So, while I love him and have no other issues with him and our marriage, this is a problem that I have had to deal with for years, and one that I have very little tolerance for now that we have kids. Yet, what can I do? I have no money of my own anymore. We used up my savings when I quit work to SAH, then we opened a restaurant and also accidentally got pg again . I can barely keep our household going as it is (my one year old is VERY clingy so I have little time to myself). I couldn't imagine trying to WAH. I just know that it would not work right now. Perhaps in another year, but not now. My kids are too little. So, when he comes home tipsy and lies to me, I have no choices. I can't leave to prove a point (though I have stayed at my MIL's twice... apparently FIL used to do this too and she totally understands).

So we had a talk (again) last night and I told him that I am completely stuck with no choices right now when he does this to us. But I said, "I do not want the kids to continue growing up with this issue... I don't want you to be surprised if I leave you in a year if you continue to lie and drink."

He cried and hopefully this time I got through to him. I feel completely powerless and part of that is my financial dependence on him.

Sorry to ramble so long... but like I said, this has been an issue with me lately!
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#18 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:17 PM
 
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DH may make the money, but I control it.
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#19 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:24 PM
 
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I'm not really bothered by being financially dependent on dh. I think there are a number of reasons for that. First, we have a good relationship and I really feel like he values what I do for our family. In fact, I think he's a bit relieved that HE'S not the one staying home. Second, I pay all the bills and know a bit more about our finances than he does. Neither of us have to ask permission to spend money unless it's a large purchase and then we discuss it. Third, I have an education and a career that I will going back to at some point. So, if something happened to dh, I could support dd and myself. We also have life insurance so if something happened to dh we would be ok financially.

I definitely think if there was an inbalance of power in our relationship I might feel uneasy about not earning money right now. I couldn't stand not knowing about the family finances or having to ask permission to spend money. But, I feel like we really have a partnership so not having an income doesn't really bother me.
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#20 of 112 Old 05-30-2005, 11:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2
I think some people have issues w/ male-female dynamic as well as the idea of a "traditional" (in this case meaning man works, woman does child/home care) family, esp those raised post-feminist era that would not seem as prevalent in a female-female relationship.

That said, the issues brought up so far seem to apply pretty evenly to ANY relationship where one partner has vastly more "power" than the other.
ITA with this, I think it sums it up nicely.

Mostly, I have feelings of guilt, like I am not pulling my weight financially. I do worry about what would happen to us if DH suddenly was out of the picture. That would be pretty bad. But I don't feel like being financially dependent on him creates a power imbalance in our relationship. We have a joint account, we don't have to submit purchases for each other's approval, except major ones but we both are pretty frugal and have a realistic idea of what we need/can afford and so we don't propose outrageous, unnecessary purchases, yk? I am the one who actually pays the bills but that's just because I pay attention to things like that, if it were up to DH our electricity would get shut off every month because he'd always forget.

When our kids are older I certainly plan on going back to work, probably part time. This is mainly because we do not have much money and we need the income. If we could live comfortably on DH's income alone and he was happy being the breadwinner, I'd probably just continue to SAH. As it is he works his butt off to provide for us and I know he would welcome some relief. I do actually work from home some, I catalog books for a bookstore after DS is in bed at night, but it isn't much $$ and for some reason I feel like it doesn't really count. But it might help my attitude, and his towards me, in that I do contribute *something* to our bank account.
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#21 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 12:06 AM
 
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I will try to be diplomatic in my post, but this question makes me "feel" like throwing up.

I have an education and credentials in my professional life. I made money before we had dd and contributed. We are both insured and we have several thousand dollars put away for retirement. If God forbid something happened to DH or to his job, I can contribute just as well as he can.

But now I contribute in ways that would never be possible if I was contributing money so I could "feel" better. This was a partnership decision that I would stay home with our family. Maybe since both DH & I both saw our parents do this, we never thought anything about it. I pay the bills every month and we both mutually decide how its spent. We each get about $100 cash monthly and that goes to whatever the person wants. All our other expenses goes on our credit cards that are paid off monthly and earn us cash back.

Of course before we were parents we always thought of everything as "ours". Our marriage, our house, our furniture, our cars, our $$$, you get the idea?
I remember getting a bonus credit card from the last company I worked at. Every point you earned was a dollar on this card that you could use. It was about $3000 at one time. I remember some of my co-workers giving me a hard time and teasing me because I let my spouse "in on it"- they thought it was theirs and their's only. Do I need to mention 3 of these people were divorced and the other was in couselling? I never thought twice about DH using this reward for something he wanted just like he never thinks twice about when he gets a dividend check from his business.

We are in a partnership. We both contribute 100% to this relationship. We want to give our family the best choices for our family. So yes I am $$$ dependent on this man. But since he acts like a man and puts his family first and does what is best for his family, whats it to me? He is also dependent on me to do my job as well. Does that bother him? Not one bit.

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#22 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 12:09 AM
 
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I'm a SAHM, and I'm not dependent on *a* man, I'm dependent on *the* man, that is, the dole (welfare).

I like it that way. No more babydaddies for me. It's a bad scene all around IMO. At least with the government, you know what you're getting.
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#23 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 12:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama
I'm a SAHM, and I'm not dependent on *a* man, I'm dependent on *the* man, that is, the dole (welfare).

I like it that way. No more babydaddies for me. It's a bad scene all around IMO. At least with the government, you know what you're getting.
I was dependant on That Guy too until recently. Glad to have cut ties now, though, I'm not sure if we can even be friends, we've drifted so far apart and just don't see eye to eye at all anymore.
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#24 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 12:55 AM
 
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Not seeing bills or checks is not a dynamic that is inherent when one partner stays home. My dh does most of the actual bill paying, but has no more control over the money than I do. Theoretically he could move his direct deposit to another bank and I wouldn't have access to it, but that would be a whole other problem, no? I don't consider myself financially dependent on him. The day we got married we went to the bank and had his accounts changed to joint accounts. My name was put on everything, and ever since we've had equal access to our finances.

I guess I just have a different way of thinking about it. We each do different things to make our family work. He goes off to work and I stay here and take care of the kids while he's gone. We're dependent on each other for different things. I've never once felt like he felt superior to me because his work earns money and mine doesn't. I do work from home sometimes, but not consistently. (When I do, I make about twice what he does.) I've heard this question a hundred times, yet I've never heard anyone ask my husband if he is uncomfortable depending on me to care for his house and children.

Money is just one of the things a family needs to stay afloat. If you have kids, someone must care for the children. Sure, if I were to drop dead tomorrow he'd have to find childcare. If he were to drop dead, I'd find a way to bring in money. It isn't like I'm incapable of providing an income for my family. Someone has to take out the trash, wash the dishes, and mow the lawn, too. I guess I can see how in the money-worshipping society we live in people get fixated on this issue, but it isn't one for us and never has been.

I don't worry about what would happen if we were to divorce. We almost did back in 2001, and I did a pretty good job of looking out for myself. I'm not worried in the slightest about being able to provide for myself and I know that he would continue to provide for his kids. As he is in the military, he would be forced to in the unlikely event that he were to lose his mind and decide he didn't want to.

No, it doesn't bother me that my husband is my primary source of income. I don't feel guilty, I don't worry about how my spending makes him feel in the context of "he's the one earning it", and I don't worry about how my life would be if he were to disappear.
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#25 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 01:01 AM
 
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No kids yet, but SAHW.

I am fully aware of our financial situations and have 50% say (sometimes 100% lol) in all financial decisions.

I am educated and have experience in a field that is very easy to jump in and out of (executive assistant).

We have life insurance that would elimate our debt almost fully should (God forbid) anything happen to DH.

I don't "feel" dependent on him. I feel like we're in an equal partnership- this is the life we both want.

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#26 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 01:05 AM
 
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I guess I don't feel like my dh is depending on me to SAH because he'd prefer that I WOH. Of course, if I walked out right now he'd have a hard time finding daycare for the one-year-old, but it could be done.
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#27 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 02:53 AM
 
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How do I feel about being financially dependent on my husband?

Right now it SUCKS. BIG TIME.

For the first 13 years of our marriage, I brought in more money than he did, sometimes way more. I never, not once, played the "money card" - "Well, I earn more than you do, so what I say goes." Or any variations on that theme. Not Once.

And now that I'm a (mostly) SAHM, earning way less than he does, he plays the "money card". It makes me so angry and hurt that he would do that.

But is it worth it to be able to parent my child the way I know she deserves, and to be able to homeschool her? Usually, I'd say yes it's worth it. This week, I'm not so sure.

(I think I need to go post in Parents as Partners - I so need to vent.)

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#28 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 03:51 AM
 
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There seems to be a theme on this thread that those who have a true partnership with their spouse don't have as many issues with money or feeling powerless over their financial situation.

I guess I fall in the, "no, it doesn't bother me a bit" category. DH and I have a partnership. He WOH and earns the money. I SAH, care for our children and have control of the money (I'm the one who pays the bills, etc.). Both of us contribute to the running of the household. Although we have different jobs/roles in the relationship, we both contribute toward the happiness and sustainability of our family as a whole.

I do occasionally wonder how I'd get by if DH died. Although he has life insurance, I'm not sure if I'd still be able to SAH. But I'm sure that it would work out somehow. I'm not at all worried about divorce, that's just something that I don't ever imagine happening. Perhaps I'm over-confident in myself, but I have no doubt that I'd be able to scrape by and be okay if DH were to suddenly disappear. Maybe that's one reason that I don't feel worried about being financially dependent?

New signature, same old me: Ann- mama of 2 boys and 2 girls, partnered to a fabulous man.
I'm an unintentional weasel feeder and I suck at proofreading.
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#29 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 03:57 AM
 
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He signs his checks over to me. I know the checks are in his name and I depend on him going to work to bring in the paycheck, but I still don't feel dependent. Maybe it's because I have mutual funds and we have drawn on them when in a pinch. I also know that if he couldn't work, I could earn a livable wage if I had to.
We both discuss purchases beyond our regular budget.

Off to read the thread now.
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#30 of 112 Old 05-31-2005, 04:07 AM
 
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You know until I saw this thread I never even thought about the fact that I was dependent on my dh for money.

Maybe, for me, it's because I was making more than dh when I left my job outside of the home. It was a clear and conscious choice.

I was a full charge bookkeeper with many years experience so I still believe that I could get a decent job if I needed to. I have always handled all the finances from day one of our marriage so I do all the spending regardless.

I guess for us it's always been our money. There is no his or mine, it's ours. He knows that if I went back to work he would be the one staying home because his income is less than what daycare would cost. That would not make him happy, though, because for him he wants to feel like he is providing for me(his wife) and his children. That's what makes him feel good.

Divorce- I know he would never do it, trust me on this. Death- we have insurance and believe me I would be much better off financially than I am now with social security and the insurance but definitely wouldn't wish that.

I pretty much agree with Mothra's post above. I can't worry about what-ifs and I know that nothing in life is guaranteed. Money is just one of many things and certainly is no guarantee of anything. I can, and would rise to any situation as most people do.
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