Husband Won't Give Up Failing Business
I have been married for 20 years. It is the second marriage for both of us. I am 60 and he is 54. We have 2 children in college.
When we married we were both working and already had established careers. We work in the same type of business.
Seven years into the marriage he came home one day and said he was going into business for himself. He had already given his 2 weeks notice and had done the legal work to form an LLC. I was shocked and upset that he didn't talk this over with me first. He said I knew he always intended to do this. My father had just died that WEEK and I was emotionally exhausted so I said OK, give it a go. At the time I was working as a freelancer so I could stay home with our two young children most of the time, and not making much money.
He promised he would bring home as much money per month as he had before, when he was working for a company. That didn't last long. He brought home several hundred dollars less but kept insisting it took awhile for a business to get going. So we struggled for 5 years. Then 10 years. He wanted me to help him with his business but I was resentful about the lack of money. He also refused to give me details about how much he was making with the business.
One year he redecorated his offices, at a time when we could hardly pay our bills. He never gave himself a raise, ever. To this day his once a month paycheck is the same. He said it was a business expense he had to make the investment and it didn't affect our family finances.
Then he moved to a bigger office, bought more equipment, all the while flatly refusing to let me see the books of his business. He said he didn't trust me because I was unsupportive and would only criticize him.
Since the first year of his business he has treated himself to an expensive trip to a large sporting event once a year. He says he pays for it out of his business, but I became very angry that he could spend money on that while we struggled so much. I had to borrow money from my parents to pay bills. He said the vacations (which I did not go on, but our son did when he got older) were not my concern because he wasn't spending "our" money.
He has never been able to afford ANY employees, he hires a few people to come in and work by the hour as free lancers. After 8 years of minimal health insurance and struggling to pay bills, and deep debt, I took on a full time job, mainly for the health insurance.
Things got a little better, but the day I started my new job I found out he was having an affair. I eventually found out he'd had multiple affairs, mostly with clients. Having his own office, not having to account for his whereabouts all day, and working late into the night made it all so easy. I considered divorce, but I really do love him and I didn't want our kids, who were 13 and 15 at the time, to suffer from a divorce. He wanted to save the marriage so we did, although it took 2 years for him to stop seeing the other women completely. He lied a lot.
I managed to get into his office when he wasn't there and look through his files. He is deeply in debt and his mother is giving him thousands of dollars a month to prop up this failing business. He has no idea that I know. He continues to say he doesn't trust me enough to tell me about his business finances. He says he is making money, just not much. Says he is doing his best. But he continues to splurge on things for himself, saying it is his right to spend his business money as he sees fit and I have nothing to complain about so long as he brings home the same paycheck every month. Only he often misses a month. He has not paid himself so far this year at all.
A little over a year ago I inherited a large sum of money. The account is in my name only. I told him that I was afraid he was going to go bankrupt and creditors would come after my inheritance if his name was on the account. He insists bc it is an LLC, they can't. BUT I have also learned that the protection of an LLC disappears if you mix personal and business finances, which he does all the time.
Today he was leaving on a trip and asked me if I would make a deposit for him...a thousand dollars out of my inheritance account into his business. This is a first. He left in a hurry so I emailed him and asked what it was for and said I didn't want to start paying bills for his company. He didn't respond.
I don't know what to do. I can't force him to shut his business down. He says he will never do it, that he doesn't want to go back to working for someone else.
My kids have had to grow up without so many things, including a father who was home very much, and I am resentful that we never could afford any family vacations, or a new house. I am putting my kids through college with my inheritance and it will have to pay for our retirement too. Of course we never saved any money, we had so little. I figured one time that he made the equivalent of minimum wage each year. I paid off all our personal debts (not his business debt), including our mortgage with my inheritance money and now it feels like he thinks its just a money tree. I offered to give him $20,000 to pay off some of his business debt but in exchange he would have to open his books to me. He refused.
I feel so defeated and angry, but I'm 60 and have to think about retirement, not divorce and starting over. I dont' see how he can EVER get out of the debt he is in with his business.
Should I give him an ultimatum?
Last edited by Twinky; 03-13-2011 at 11:29 PM.