Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

I will make this as brief as possible, but some of this backround info is necessary.
This is my second marriage. I am 3 months into it. I have two children from a previous marriage that I am more than capable of taking care of by myself (this is important to note). Prior to being married, I had lived with my current wife for about a year and a half, had a big breakup, she moved away, we 'patched' things and ended up getting married a few months later. I'm not sure that was the best move, especially because none of the issues that caused problems originally were fully addressed. I know, I am very much equally to blame for rushing into things. I just didn't see it that way at the time. Hindsight, right?

Anyway, I have been working, professionally, since I was 16. I am 30 now and have a nice income, although nothing over the top. I worked VERY hard for it and I value and am grateful for every cent I make. Still paying a little bit of CS, but I'm pulling my weight with what I have left. When my wife (before we were married) first came to live with me, it originally was supposed to be just a friendship thing because she was coming out of a bad relationship. Kind of a "You can stay with me for awhile to get back on your feet" thing. (I also should mention her home town is 1000 miles away) Things progressed into a relationship quickly, but I couldn't get her to work. I ended up filing for bankruptcy due to fallbacks from my previous divorce, but still could not get her to work. I don't want to say it's her fault, but I'm not 100% positive I would have had to file for bankruptcy if she brought in enough money to help out. I keep the place clean and never ask her to watch my kids, so it's not like she is stuck with my responsibilities or stuck cleaning up after me. She pretty much has a clean slate. She has no kids, no responsibilities. She doesn't flat out say "I won't work" but it is one of those subjects that I cannot bring up, no matter how nicely. It was my job to look for jobs for her, my job to send out her resumes after my work or during my lunch hour. Anyway, we ended up breaking things off, lots of it due to her not working and demanding (expecting maybe is a better word) expensive things. She has expensive food taste, NEEDS cable tv movie channels, constanstly expects me to buy her things, things like that. What really sealed the coffin is when I asked her not to buy me a birthday present with my own money because I'd feel better with nothing. I didn't say it mean or even spiteful. She became very angry. Lots of yelling at me, constantly. (to this day, she has a very short fuse and ends up yelling at me at least 4 times a week, sometimes screaming) I'm pretty passive so I didn't really yell back, and I still don't. I just speak calmly and try to reason as best I can. Fast forward to today… We've been married for 3 months. She finally got a job last week, but it is an "on call" position and she only works maybe 5-10 hours per week at min wage. She even said things like "great, this way I can look for another job while I'm doing this!" Which now I think she only said that to appease me. It is also important to note that I applied for this job FOR her online during my lunch hour. Before we were married, I made it clear that I wasn't looking to support someone. While I realize she may not end up making what I make, I do expect her to contribute. I also don't expect her to do what I did, but when I lost my job a few years ago, my job 9-5 was to send out resumes and interviews. 100s even. She hasn't sent out 2 in the last 2 months. If I bring it up, I am positive she will start yelling. However, here I am again sending them out for her and trying to find her something. Am I being taken advantage of? She expects me to pay for her flights to visit her family, pay for trips, EXPENSIVE food, and everything else, constantly wants more, and constantly complains about things we don't have because I cant afford it. (better cell phones, cable, better car…yes, she even has a car to use during the day) I am pretty sure Im being walked on(wouldn’t be the first time and its sometimes hard for me to tell…and put my foot down) and I've confronted her about it many times, calmly. Immediately she gets defensive and starts yelling/putting me down. I am now on depression medication because of my fear of coming home and my loss of interest in things I used to enjoy. I almost hate walking in the door because I know what I am in for that evening. I hate to consider the "D" word again, but I don't know what else to do and I don't see her changing. I know…I probably shouldn't have gone through with it, but she promised to help. God… if I asked her to pay half or even 1/3 of expenses (utilities, rent, etc…) not only would she flip out, she wouldn't be able to anyway (or willing to find the means to be able to). I know she is upset about not being able to get the manicures and pedicures and wants more money and makes me feel bad because I have no more to give her. Yes, she does keep the house clean, but so do I so it's not like there is much to do. I was just hoping to not be a "dad" to her and totally support someone in this. Yes, there are other ways to support someone other than financially, but there really isn't much to do. I take care of kids, house is almost always clean, etc... Thoughts?

One other thing to add. I really can't get her to make friends here. She views our time in this area as temporary, even though we both know it isn't. I do have friends here and I try at every opprotunity to help her make new ones. Sometimes she flat out refuses. I know it's not easy for someone to live in an area without friends, and I simpathize and try to help as much as possible. But it's different when you flat out refuse. I should note, she has lived here with me for a good solid 2 years. (including pre-marriage time). It will probably be another two before we can get out. I know this sounds biased, but it's really not. I am really trying to to my best in helping her get a job, make friends. I talk to her calmly, never yell… but man, there is only so much I can take. If I bring up her working, I usually get "Do I look like im comfortable like this? I cant get manicures, I cant afford to buy expensive clothing, I cant afford anything, im miserable". And to be honest, she doesn't spend a whole lot on herself. But $100 restaruant bills KILL me, but she needs it. If we were both working, I can see stuff like that.

I tried to be as unbiased as possible explaining the situation because I value answers based on truth rather than my perception

Last edited by jsmith2; 07-29-2010 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

Another thought... she keeps saying it's so hard to find work, times are bad (which I do agree), and things along those lines.

And you know what? I would TOTALLY support her on that if she were out there looking, sending resumes, networking, etc.. But she isn't even looking. It's just an excuse

Okay, maybe she IS looking if you define looking as "sending out a resume once a month and if a job fell into her lap, she would probably take it."
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

I want to give you five words that will help you immensely:

"No. We can't afford it."

Try using these words when appropriate.

"Can you pick up some milk?"
"Sure."

"Can you put gas in the car?"
"Sure"

"Can you pay for me to visit my family again?"
"No. We can't afford it."

"Can we go to that expensive restaurant tonight?"
"No. We can't afford it."

"Why isn't cable working?"
"We can't afford it." (fewer words, same meaning.)

Seriously, if it means she's going to get pissed at you, get into it now instead of waiting until your ready for bankruptcy again. make her understand that the money fountain is not unlimited.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Taylor View Post
I want to give you five words that will help you immensely:

"No. We can't afford it."

Try using these words when appropriate.

"Can you pick up some milk?"
"Sure."

"Can you put gas in the car?"
"Sure"

"Can you pay for me to visit my family again?"
"No. We can't afford it."

"Can we go to that expensive restaurant tonight?"
"No. We can't afford it."

"Why isn't cable working?"
"We can't afford it." (fewer words, same meaning.)

Seriously, if it means she's going to get pissed at you, get into it now instead of waiting until your ready for bankruptcy again. make her understand that the money fountain is not unlimited.
I am non-confrontational, but I am not that non-confrontational. I handle things almost EXACTLY as you describe. But for example, if I throw in the "we can't afford it" card about her family, she absolutely explodes. We are going on a trip in 2 weeks that is going to absolutely drain my savings to zero. I have told her we can't afford it, we shouldn't do it, but she pushes anyway. If i put my foot down and followed through with it, she would...wow... she might even walk out. It's not that I don't want her to have nice things, but I can't support her anymore. It's not my job. If we had children together, for the first few years, I MIGHT be okay with her doing this. But not now. If she would stop smoking (again Im paying) and stop drinking every 2 nights, we MIGHT be able to afford it. (blames drinking on me). But even then...

Okay, now to keep myself honest here, I have to throw in something. I don't drink much at all and if she weren't here, I would drink at all. I get in BIG trouble if she wants to go to the bar and I order a ginger ale or something. Like she wont even speak to me because I am ruining her fun night at the bar by not drinking. Anyway, I digress... I don't spend much money on anything. I quit my car hobby, I don't collect anything. EXCEPT... My only hobby left is jetskiing. I own a $500 ski and occasionally put a few dollars here and there into it, and I mean a few dollars. A weekend on the lake cost me about $7 in gas and maybe $10 in car gas. Throw in lunch at subway or something, maybe $25 total. She usually goes to the beach with me, so im not leaving her alone. but I do spend a little on myself in that respect. When I mention not being able to afford to see her family (its only been 3 months since shes been there) she throws the fact that I can spend money on "my jetski" but not her right in my face. While it's true, its hard to weigh $25 on $1000.

Now... What if i CAN afford cable? (I can). but I dont watch it. Ever. I would rather save the money for a rainy day fund, put it away for a trip to the waterpark for my kids... or a savings account for emergencies? something like that?
I mean, if I keep no savings, I can probably get away with it. But the only reason I am surviving right now, financially, is because I am saying no to things. So just because I can afford it out of my paycheck, does that mean I should give it to her? Yes, I do make decent money. I want to move to a cheaper apartment to save some money. She says she likes the one we are in and refuses to move.

Yet still, she isn't looking for a job/better job. And I'm sorry... but working 6-10 hours per week MAX isn't really contributing much. Plus she keeps telling me how she cant wait to bring in money so she can buy all these new clothes for herself, beauty products, etc... but I can't get her to look for a 'real' job that can help us out, as a family.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

Maybe I should say "The next trip you take down there, you are going to have to fully pay for yourself" Or "The next time you want to eat out, you are going to have to fully pay for yourself"

Wow... I mean I'm strong enough to say that, but holy backlash.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmith2 View Post
But for example, if I throw in the "we can't afford it" card about her family, she absolutely explodes. We are going on a trip in 2 weeks that is going to absolutely drain my savings to zero. I have told her we can't afford it, we shouldn't do it, but she pushes anyway. If i put my foot down and followed through with it, she would...wow... she might even walk out.
So?

Honestly, all this crap you are going through...it's just to keep her from leaving you?

JUST.STOP.PAYING.FOR.STUFF.

And get therapy to figure out why you are so co-dependent. What you describe is NOT healthy.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

She thinks she married a sugar daddy, a slang term for a rich man who offers money or gifts to a less rich younger person, usually female, in return for companionship or sexual favours.

In a way you sound like you're behaving like one. You need firm financial boundaries. For example. Tell her exactly what her share of the home expenses is per month, electric, food etc. At the end of each month keep a running total and give it to her so she can see the debt she's accruing. Tell her that you are not buying her one more thing unless it's her birthday or Christmas.

I will guarantee you one thing. Keep on doing what you are doing and you will get absolutely no appreciation for it. I paid all household bills for more decades than I care to admit but not once did I get a thank you. My wife was not at all like yours, had her own job she used to pay for her car's running expenses from, bought most of her own clothes and used the money for presents. But even then I still felt massively under appreciated.

If you do financial boundaries it will be interesting for you to just observe her behaviour. Do not react for a few days. I'm wondering just how long she will stay with you.

Bob
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmith2 View Post
I am pretty sure Im being walked on


Sorry, not trying to be rude, but good grief, man!

What value exactly DOES she bring to the marriage?
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

I will respond more later, but it kind of boils down to one question. (financially speaking)

Being a married man, am I expected to provide, unconditionally, for my spouse?

Or...

Am I responsible for myself and my children, but emotionally, I am responsible for my spouse.

Maybe I was getting some bad advice, but I was told that I should be providing for her, no matter what... and my money is our money. Thats mainly I haven't really put my foot down. My dream relationship (financially) is one where we both contribute and help each other out when the spouse needs help.

I think I am going to act on some of this advice, and soon. I think I am going to write down what I feel she is responsible for and show it to her. Don't worry, I'll post back my results

This all should have been worked out BEFORE we got married. I know... I've already beat myself up for it, trust me.

I don't think she consciously thinks of me as a 'sugar daddy' although, god, thats what I feel like and I hate it. Yeah, the buying presents for me with my own money thing really got to me. I just can't understand why she won't work harder to find a job. I'm sure depression is involved, but she won't get help. But I'm going to start with a list, be firm, but loving, and see where things go.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

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Originally Posted by turnera View Post


Sorry, not trying to be rude, but good grief, man!

What value exactly DOES she bring to the marriage?
She helps out once in awhile if I ask her to keep an eye on my kids (im not underestimating the time she spends helping, its usually maybe one afternoon every 2 weeks). She will do laundry about 1/2 the time. Um.... she cooks a lot, but so do I so it's not like I NEED her to cook for me. Plus she always goes over the top with spending for food. I don't understand why she keeps buying smoked salmon and expensive stuff like that when I can't even build a savings.
But see... if she were bringing in her share, hell, I would help pay for the 'special' food! So in the back of my mind, I keep thinking... why is she spending all of my money on stuff I don't even necessarily like. And alcohol and cigarettes... wow, this thread has really been an eye opener. I think writing down all of this stuff kind of allows me to see whats been happening. I have to do something about this, and fast. If she doesn't like it or if she chooses to end the relationship, it's her doing, not mine. I agree to contribute 50% to the marriage, not 99.9%.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

Forget the my money is our money bit. I made that mistake.

My wife's money was her money. Not once when I struggled to pay a bill did she offer to chip in. She had a life of financial luxury and she doesn't even know it let alone appreciate it.


It sounds like you haven't got a budget. Do a budget and if necessary just leave money on the table for that days shopping.


Bob
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

How exactly do you see this improving? Particularly given that you actually split over these circumstances previously?

I still vividly remember ending up in the ER twice with chest pain because I was busting my ass, but we were still financially tanking. I worried about everything ... and if I asked her for help, she didn't scream - she just shut down. She didn't want to hear it.

You are being taken advantage of in more ways than one. You are enabling this dynamic on multiple levels.

You indicate being passive and non-confrontational - so she throws a fit because she knows it will work.

You sound more like a 'mark' or a meal-ticket than a husband. I hope at least the sex is rockin', otherwise, as Turnera indicated I just don't see how this chick makes your life better in any way, shape, or form.

My mother actually asked me the very same question that Turnera asked you - and I started thinking about it.

My spouse and I were a perfect match, just like you and yours. I was a giver, she was a taker. So ... if you keep giving, your wife will happily keep taking - and get bullsh!t if the giving stops.

Why do you want to remain married? Everything that you have indicated points to you wanting out of the marriage - understandably so. Do it sooner rather than later, as you will likely end up continuing to buy smoked salmon for your ex-wife.

If your passivity borders on being unable to take control of your marriage either by changing the dynamic with your wife into something more healthy, or by dissolving the marriage, then you need to be aware of, and decide how to deal with that.

Last edited by Deejo; 07-29-2010 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

This isn't a matter of right or wrong. Whatever previous advice for financially supporting your wife was precise. Not wanting to financially support your wife is also precise since you don't want to do that. This is simply a matter of different expectations and not bothering to get an understanding beforehand. She expects to be supported. A lot of women feel that way. You don't want to support her. A lot of men feel that way. The question is: How do you expect the situation to change when you know what happens when you speak up, and yet you are afraid she might leave? You can't even talk to her about it. You can't sit her down and set a budget. You are entitled to set your boundaries in the marriage. The terrible thing is you guys did not get an understanding beforehand and while it is too late for that, you don't have to tolerate her screaming and rudeness in order to get your point across. Grow a pair and stop being afraid of your wife. She is not your mother. She's a big girl and has to learn to take no for an answer. Leaving is up to her because she also has the right to set her boundaries. If she expect to be taken care of, she may choose to leave and find someone to take care of her.

You cannot have it all three ways - not financially support her, be too afraid to say anything, and not want her to leave. You have to decide what you are willing to tolerate. You know what that is, so then stop being too afraid to face the consequences of your decision. Simply stop financing her overspending and change your attitude to let her walk out the door if she wants.

You don't have the right to control her or to reduce her to be being beneath you. Therefore, limiting the amount of money you leave for her each day is an awful idea. Very simply, she has to be onboard with a weekly/monthly budget, or you have to stop being too afraid to speak up and too afraid she will leave. Speak up and tell her to stop terrorizing you into getting her way. Taking her to a financial counselor is a good idea. She will have someone else help her to understand budgeting.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

I agree. But I would also add this. Tell her that you are diverting 20% of your income to a savings account, AUTOMATICALLY. From this day forward (whichever day you get it set up), you guys now have 20% less to spend - no matter what.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife won't work. Wants more. Confused.

I know a couple like you. There child just got into a great college but isn't going because they can't afford to help her. They have always made good/very good money and he has always been a spender. They have no savings but lots and lots of toys.

If you stay with her - do you think you will ever be able to save for your children's college? Do you really think that your value system (saving, paying for education) and her value system - expensive dinners, gifts, etc. can ever be reconciled?

There are PLENTY of women - good women - who are very responsible with money. Those women won't screw your life up and harm your ability to help your children enter the world as prepared, educated adults.

And for what it is worth - this is not "theory". Wife and I are both 47, married 20 years, zero debt including no mortgage on our house.

I don't think you are confused. I think you know what to do and simply don't want to do it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmith2 View Post
I will make this as brief as possible, but some of this backround info is necessary.
This is my second marriage. I am 3 months into it. I have two children from a previous marriage that I am more than capable of taking care of by myself (this is important to note). Prior to being married, I had lived with my current wife for about a year and a half, had a big breakup, she moved away, we 'patched' things and ended up getting married a few months later. I'm not sure that was the best move, especially because none of the issues that caused problems originally were fully addressed. I know, I am very much equally to blame for rushing into things. I just didn't see it that way at the time. Hindsight, right?

Anyway, I have been working, professionally, since I was 16. I am 30 now and have a nice income, although nothing over the top. I worked VERY hard for it and I value and am grateful for every cent I make. Still paying a little bit of CS, but I'm pulling my weight with what I have left. When my wife (before we were married) first came to live with me, it originally was supposed to be just a friendship thing because she was coming out of a bad relationship. Kind of a "You can stay with me for awhile to get back on your feet" thing. (I also should mention her home town is 1000 miles away) Things progressed into a relationship quickly, but I couldn't get her to work. I ended up filing for bankruptcy due to fallbacks from my previous divorce, but still could not get her to work. I don't want to say it's her fault, but I'm not 100% positive I would have had to file for bankruptcy if she brought in enough money to help out. I keep the place clean and never ask her to watch my kids, so it's not like she is stuck with my responsibilities or stuck cleaning up after me. She pretty much has a clean slate. She has no kids, no responsibilities. She doesn't flat out say "I won't work" but it is one of those subjects that I cannot bring up, no matter how nicely. It was my job to look for jobs for her, my job to send out her resumes after my work or during my lunch hour. Anyway, we ended up breaking things off, lots of it due to her not working and demanding (expecting maybe is a better word) expensive things. She has expensive food taste, NEEDS cable tv movie channels, constanstly expects me to buy her things, things like that. What really sealed the coffin is when I asked her not to buy me a birthday present with my own money because I'd feel better with nothing. I didn't say it mean or even spiteful. She became very angry. Lots of yelling at me, constantly. (to this day, she has a very short fuse and ends up yelling at me at least 4 times a week, sometimes screaming) I'm pretty passive so I didn't really yell back, and I still don't. I just speak calmly and try to reason as best I can. Fast forward to today… We've been married for 3 months. She finally got a job last week, but it is an "on call" position and she only works maybe 5-10 hours per week at min wage. She even said things like "great, this way I can look for another job while I'm doing this!" Which now I think she only said that to appease me. It is also important to note that I applied for this job FOR her online during my lunch hour. Before we were married, I made it clear that I wasn't looking to support someone. While I realize she may not end up making what I make, I do expect her to contribute. I also don't expect her to do what I did, but when I lost my job a few years ago, my job 9-5 was to send out resumes and interviews. 100s even. She hasn't sent out 2 in the last 2 months. If I bring it up, I am positive she will start yelling. However, here I am again sending them out for her and trying to find her something. Am I being taken advantage of? She expects me to pay for her flights to visit her family, pay for trips, EXPENSIVE food, and everything else, constantly wants more, and constantly complains about things we don't have because I cant afford it. (better cell phones, cable, better car…yes, she even has a car to use during the day) I am pretty sure Im being walked on(wouldn’t be the first time and its sometimes hard for me to tell…and put my foot down) and I've confronted her about it many times, calmly. Immediately she gets defensive and starts yelling/putting me down. I am now on depression medication because of my fear of coming home and my loss of interest in things I used to enjoy. I almost hate walking in the door because I know what I am in for that evening. I hate to consider the "D" word again, but I don't know what else to do and I don't see her changing. I know…I probably shouldn't have gone through with it, but she promised to help. God… if I asked her to pay half or even 1/3 of expenses (utilities, rent, etc…) not only would she flip out, she wouldn't be able to anyway (or willing to find the means to be able to). I know she is upset about not being able to get the manicures and pedicures and wants more money and makes me feel bad because I have no more to give her. Yes, she does keep the house clean, but so do I so it's not like there is much to do. I was just hoping to not be a "dad" to her and totally support someone in this. Yes, there are other ways to support someone other than financially, but there really isn't much to do. I take care of kids, house is almost always clean, etc... Thoughts?

One other thing to add. I really can't get her to make friends here. She views our time in this area as temporary, even though we both know it isn't. I do have friends here and I try at every opprotunity to help her make new ones. Sometimes she flat out refuses. I know it's not easy for someone to live in an area without friends, and I simpathize and try to help as much as possible. But it's different when you flat out refuse. I should note, she has lived here with me for a good solid 2 years. (including pre-marriage time). It will probably be another two before we can get out. I know this sounds biased, but it's really not. I am really trying to to my best in helping her get a job, make friends. I talk to her calmly, never yell… but man, there is only so much I can take. If I bring up her working, I usually get "Do I look like im comfortable like this? I cant get manicures, I cant afford to buy expensive clothing, I cant afford anything, im miserable". And to be honest, she doesn't spend a whole lot on herself. But $100 restaruant bills KILL me, but she needs it. If we were both working, I can see stuff like that.

I tried to be as unbiased as possible explaining the situation because I value answers based on truth rather than my perception
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