Join Date: Feb 2011
| | Husband Won't Work
My mom and I are putting our story on here because we want a third party's view. My father has not worked in almost ten years. He took a severance package in the summer of 2002. He always made less money than my mother, so he stayed at home and took care of the house and brought me home from school when I was in middle school.
My father staying at home was fine when I was younger, but I am now 19 and have not needed him to stay at home since I was in high school. He sits at home all day and does almost nothing but watch TV and smoke cigars all day. He occasionally does yard work, but he seems to save all of this for the weekend when my mother is home so it seems like he is actually doing something worthwhile in front of her.
My mother used to make $120,000-150,000 dollars a year, and my parents bought a $300,000 house in 2001 that was one and a half times their combined income. She has paid for their house, cars, and every other single bill on her own since 2002. She has since had a 20,000 dollar pay cut, making it more difficult to pay the mortgage and all of the other bills on her own. It never even occurred to him that he NEEDS to get a job after she received a pay cut that large.
In my mind, he is lazy and selfish. My mother will have to work longer than she should because she is not able to put as much money into retirement as she would be able to if he were working. They could easily save all of his income. My parent's house is 30 years old and has a long list of repairs that need to be done, and there is no extra money for it. The pool needs to be redone, parts of the house need to be repainted, the foundation is messed up, it will eventually need a new fence, it needs new gutters, new French doors that are being eaten by termites, etc. That's only the outside.
This is also my mom's dream home and she would love to live here into retirement. He has different views, and thinks paying off a house is abnormal. If he would work, they would have no problem paying it off, and could use the money that would be going to the mortgage for maintenance on the house.
He is also extremely mentally abusive. He does not care about how the people closest to him feel. If you criticize him, he will refuse to believe that anything could possibly be wrong with him, and will instead turn the blame on the person doing the criticizing. He is nasty to our neighbors, and when my mother confronted him about it, he literally said he did not care how she felt. He constantly causes problems in our family, often for no reason. My mother is very caring, and puts up with his crap when almost anyone else would have left by now. Instead of fixing the problems or leaving him, she just lets it go. By talking to her recently, I've hopefully made her see that something absolutely has to change, or one of them needs to leave.
The reason he says he won't work is that he feels "he is going to die soon". He has never been overweight, has never had any major health issues, and smokes but is otherwise healthy. He is 60, and my mother is 49. it is a privilege to retire at age 50, not a right. He says he feels he cannot physically work, and yet he can climb a ladder and trim the 30 foot trees for an hour, cleans out the pool every few hours, mows the front and back lawn, puts TONS of Christmas lights on the house every year, plays golf, and goes on 4 mile hikes with me when we go to national parks. Why can he not sit at a desk? I think he will use any excuse to not have to work, even if it means making things up.
I have had enough, and I hope my mother is close to having enough. She wants to go to counseling, but he does not want to go because he honestly feels there is nothing wrong with him. He treats both of us horribly; if something doesn't go his way, he blows up. Even if he were working, my mother needs to realize this is not a healthy marriage. They don't have any communication in their marriage; she has no idea why he doesn't get that it's a problem that my mother is completely taking care of him financially like a child. They have been married for 26 years, but I believe this is only because she lets him get away with whatever he wants.
I believe she should get a divorce, but she does not want to split up half of her money, and does not want to sell the house. I also believe that she would rather be miserable with him than leave him and be lonely. What should she do? How can she make him see that it is a problem that he will not work?