Financial Problems in MarriageWhen financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.
My question is a very common one, probably a clichéd one. But I've got to do something or I'm going to go crazy! I’m going to begin this the way I see a lot of women begin these types of letters. My fiance is great, amazing, respectful, and a really good match for me. But.
But I’ve always thought of relationships as having two parts: one part is the love, and the other is the reality. The love part between us, the personal relationship, the sex, trust, emotional stability and security, the things we have in common, is great. The reality part is not so much.
What I mean by that is we have been together for over a year now. I place a very high value on practical stability and security in my life, and it is one of my top priorities not just in my personal life but in any relationship that I cultivate. Things like financial responsibility and protecting my future (in terms of practical things) are essential to my own mental well-being. This relationship that I’m in only fulfills half of what I need to be happy in a long-term relationship. He has not held down a job for more than a few months for the entire time that I’ve known him. He isn’t terrible with money, but he tends to be a lot of talk and no action. He’s going to stop smoking cigarettes to cut down on expenses – tomorrow. He’s going to do this or that to make things better – tomorrow. There is no sense of security or stability in the practical sense with him. I am not willing to join our households, finances, and futures unless I am (reasonably) sure that they will be safe and protected, and the fact of the matter is that I am not at all sure that this is the case with him. He tends to displace responsibility for the state of matters – it’s always someone else’s fault that things are the way they are. I can’t be happy supporting him; maybe this is a result of outdated gender roles, but it would not take many months of me paying the bills while he hung around at home to get resentful and angry. I hesitate to say he’s lazy or uncommitted, but if I was out of work and promising someone marriage and a home, I would be busting my ass to find anything and everything. I am ambitious and driven, and I just can't imagine spending all day at a demanding job to come home to someone who hasn't done anything.
This places our relationship at a stagnant point. I’m not willing to move forward (move in together, get married, etc) until that other half of what I need is fulfilled. But I don’t know how long I am willing to wait, either. I’m at an age where I want to be moving forward in a long-term relationship toward marriage. I hate being in purgatory, and I’m tired of hearing promises that it will all work out… someday. I’m tired of putting energy and time and love into this relationship and feeling like I’m running in place. Or worse, moving even farther away from those long-term goals.
Well, you say. Easy enough. The relationship is over, he won’t change, and it’s time to break up. It seems simple. But of course, if it were, I wouldn’t be this torn. The other day, I found myself saying: “If it weren’t for money, we’d have the perfect relationship!” So, I ask myself – am I seriously contemplating throwing away what would be the perfect relationship because of money? Am I that materialistic? And isn’t getting half of what you need better than getting nothing at all? And I can make a list a mile long of his good qualities, and the genuine effort he puts in to making me happy. He has changed for me. He has made radical differences to his life in order to make me happy and help give me what he knows I want. And it feels – well, churlish and ungrateful and greedy to say that it’s not enough. That I expect more, that he ought to try harder and work harder. But.
But, well – I do expect more. I do feel that he ought to try harder. Work harder. (I want to add in here that I hold myself to the same exacting standards.) And this completes the cycle. I fluctuate between hopefulness and grim resignation. Between love and anxiety. One day everything will be okay and the next, we’re worse off than before. This emotional back-and-forth is killing me. If it were all bad, I wouldn’t hesitate to end it. But, well – I love him. He’s a really genuinely good guy. And yet… where is our future? When will it come?
Any advice, thoughts, comments, stories, or anything at all would be very welcome and appreciated.
You are right about having the first and very important portion of your relationship there...the love, trust, etc. But if you think he will change..he will not. People generally do not change in a fundamental way. How old are you guys? Maybe he is just not ready to be a full adult yet? Is that possible? Does he have any other reason to become more responsible other than your request for him to do so?
No matter who you are with, there will always be problems in one way or another. You just have to decide if it is too big of a problem or if it is something worth overlooking. Only you can decide that. But if you are thinking he will change for you....he will only change for himself. And do keep in mind that financial stress breaks relationships apart just as much as romantic stress.
Hopefully you two are just young and he has not decided to grow all the way up yet. If that is the case, he might change...but for himself only Good luck!
We've talked about it quite a bit, actually - to the point where I don't even bring it up anymore because everything that can be said has been said. The only thing that will help is if he finds a job, but he's overwhelmed with negativity. He won't even look in this location, because it's too hard to go to. He won't apply online because he doesn't use e-mail. He doesn't know how to write a proper resume - so instead of Googling it and figuring it out, he just gets frustrated, throws his hands in the air, and gives up.
I won't let him move in with me because honestly, I don't make enough money to support us both. But I know he's behind on his rent, and what happens if the eviction notice comes? Am I supposed to leave him on the street? But I simply can't afford to move him in with me - my budget is so tight that another person would soon put me in the same situation.
Speaking from personal experience, I would suggest that you postpone marrying your fiance for a very long time, if not calling off the engagement altogether. My husband fits the description of your fiance. He's a great guy, very sweet, kind, respectful, and I love him. I had so many feelings of uncertainty during our engagement that I managed to ignore all the way up until we got married. I knew that I would be the breadwinner in my marriage and I knew that I was more financially stable than my future husband, but I was okay with that...or so I thought. It's been 7 years and for the majority of my marriage, I have basically been the one to support us and it has worn me out emotionally, mentally, and financially. My husband is still a great guy, but I've concluded that he is incapable of supporting us or contributing in any significant way. I'm now considering separating from him because I need to get back on my feet financially and I just really need a break from the stress of caring for a grown man who is financially dependent on me! I hope that your marriage won't end up this way, but more than likely it will. You have to make the decision if you're willing to accept a future that is the same as the present. I sincerely wish you the best.
It sounds like you will be getting a child to support not a man. You need to think long and hard before getting legally connected . This is a big red flag . You should slow down before getting married to him. Can you be happy with a man who does not care if he has a job. You need a partner who is willing to work for the family. You will have a hard life with this man.
Every thing changes with time so it is a natural phenomenon that people changes with time and you can't expect that someone remain same whole life. Ups and downs comes in everyone's life, so you have to face it bravely!
I'm in a similar situation - mine was out of work for 4 years, did nothing in the house, never cooked a meal, took a car for maintenance, but had plenty of time to watch hockey and write his hockey blog.
The warning signs were there early on. He's only been laid off one job and fired from 4 others. He has a master's degree, so he's not unintelligent. Just has no motivation... at all. It doesn't get better.
It has to come from within them. After a year of wondering, the answer is right there for you.
After 4 years of supporting pretty much everything, and planning and cooking et all, my personal finances are in dire straights. He's nearly 40 (his brother never even held a job til he was 39 - should have been my first big clue)... and he just got an entry level job working along side 21-year olds at the same pay rate. this is both a positive and negative. He's lost 10 years of potential advancement or at least accruing vacation. Soooo many things are tied into simply earning a living.
He is not becoming a nicer person either. Eventually you will lose all respect for them if they can not care at a base level for themselves.