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No more freebies

Shieldmaiden's picture

So, ever since my mental breakdown, I've been thinking about some of things that DH said during our fight that were very telling of how he see things. These things also hurt me quite a bit.

He always references "his responsibility to pay the mortgage" not "our responsiblity." He also insinuated that he doesn't see all the little "freebies" (not his word, but I am sure that is how he thinks of them) that I contribute to the relationship as valuable. These freebies include paying the car payment, gas for the car, utilities, cable TV channels, furniture for the house, half the groceries cost, baby shower gifts for his sister, christmas gifts for his kids, etc, etc. Nevermind that he makes 4 times as much as I do, and when I offered to pay part of the mortgage, he declined, saying that he makes more and I "do enough already."

So, I have decided that I am going to pay my share of the mortgage, and document it. If this means I can't pay for all the "freebies" that he and the skids enjoy, then too bad, so sad. I am tired of feeling like I don't contribute, even when I am broke all the time. He really doesn't see me as an equal partner. I don't know why. When I press him on this, he says I contribute a lot, but when he is stressed and angry, out come these statements that make me seem like I am wholly dependent on him and somehow not aware of how hard the real world really s. ( I survived as a single woman on my own until I met him at age 38, so where he gets this idea I don't know.)

So I am going to make it very apparent what I do, by NOT doing some of  it anymore.  I cancelled Netflix and and some other cable channels that we don't watch much. Guess who called him yesterday whining about how they can't watch their shows? You guessed it, the skids - who are at their BM's house, no less. DH is whining about not having shelves to put his books on, so I informed him that the money I was going to use to buy the shelves, is now going towards the mortgage. Also, on the days when he needs to the car to ferry around the skid who won't get her driver's license - I make sure to leave the gas tank on empty.  Its funny how much he is noticing and commenting on things he used to take for granted. I don't watch that much TV, so giving up a lot of cable channels doesn't affect me. He and skids, however, are howling at the injustice of it all. It makes me laugh, and also helps me realize how much I did, that they just didn't ever appreciate. Now I feel like I am contributing, because I can whine about how hard it is to have to pay the mortgage. Hhehe.

So....things are looking up, friends!  My DH isn't all bad, but lately he is acting a bit spoiled, so while I can't discipline the skids, I CAN show him the consequences of his thoughtless words. 


caninelover's picture

If you're going to pay part of the mortgage please confirm that you are actually on title for the house.  Otherwise, reconsider.  You can pay a general amount towards housing and then spend that on the 'freebies' so DH can see where the money is going.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Hi Caninelover,

 Yes, I forgot to mention that I am on the title. We had agreed to pay all the bills this way before we moved, and now I feel like that decision makes him think he is the only one contributing. 

Cover1W's picture

Yeah, when DH complained one too many times about how expensive things are (both before and after this inflation situation) after going to the store to pick up maybe two bags of groceries of mostly food for only himself and YSD, I decided enough!  We split the standard bills fairly evenly.  He makes more than me, not a huge amount, but enough to be noticable. BUT guess who picks up all the incidentals and household guessed it, me!  Standard groceries, house repair things from the hardware store, cleaning supplies, towels, sheets, misc. things we need - ALL me.

So I stopped buying things for DH and YSD I can easily split out (like no more towels for them...and they are running out b/c DH destroys them by using them in the garage - I have my own stash at this point, no clothes for them, etc.) and the household supplies I make sure I tally up for DH and at the middle of each month he gets an itemized list of the things I've bought that benefit the house as a whole and his 50% cost (note this doesn't ever include things for YSD because I flat out won't buy things for her). This opened his eyes to what I was REALLY covering and he doesn't complain too much any longer.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Your DH sounds so much like my DH. He ruins sheets, towels, and washcloths so fast I can't even keep up. He will choose the brand new kitchen towel I bought and clean up grease in the garage, then leave it on the garage floor, even though I give him an old bag of rags from previous towels he has ruined. I don't understand how someone can be raised like that? He can be so generous in so many ways, but he doesn't understand the concept of "indoor towels" and "outdoor rags". Funny story - this morning I requested use of the car for work, even though he has the day off and normally drives me to and from, so he can have it for the day. Does he go out? Nope. He watches TV all day and mows the lawn maybe. The reason I requested the car is that I have had the flu, and I am so weak still, that I can't do the part of my job on foot that I normally would, so I am driving today instead of walking. He complains that he needed a ride before work to to get his energy drink, so I agreed to drive him to the minimart, then home - then I drive myself to work.  He griped the whole way there, and of course he never wears his seatbelt. I almost missed the turnoff so I stopped suddenly and he flew forward into the dash - and caught himself with his hands. He gives me this look of "WTF? Why did you do that?"   So, I said innocently "Sorry! You really should wear your seatbelt, though. "    I had to chuckle when I thought to myself "Natural consequences, babe." 

Cover1W's picture

Yeah, DH is kind of oblivious about household items. He goes through the towels, ALL towels like crazy - uses them for grease rags and sweat rags. I do move old or stained ones down there for him, but the ones in the linen closet should be a no brainer "this is for drying people's bodies off" not grease. He complained to one of our friends that I buy new towels for myself not anyone else..."That's because you ruin them by using them in the garage or sweat rags." I've also told him he's perfectly capable of buying new towels for himself. YSD never asks so I don't offer. I'd get her some IF she'd ask for them but I'm at the point with her that she's 16.5 and if she needs thing she needs to learn how to speak up for herself. It's been a long frustrating road with that one because DH and BM just cater to her all over the place.

DH also breaks dinnerwear and glasses quite frequently. I don't let him wash the crystal, he's actually careful with the good china because HE picked it out and likes it. All my really good stuff I have put away and use selectively because I know better. If we downsize once YSD is out of high school then I'll start using it more since it'll be easier for me to monitor - I used it when I was still in my apartment and DH only broke one small crystal bowl there - and acutally that one wasn't entirely his fault. I replace everything via the Thrift store.


Rags's picture

fail to comprehend that an equity life partnership is not a balance sheet or income statement.

I think testosterone can be an intellect blocking hormone for far to may men.  Particularly those who have brought an X and Kids to a blended marriage.

Equity life partnership is not necessarily about equal income contribution between the partners.  I have been the primary earner for much of our ~28yr marriage.  DW was a SAHM for the first 3 years of our marriage.  I am proud to have been able to provide that opportunity to DW and SS and to myself.  On two notable occassions during economic/industry down turns my DW was the sole income in our marriage. The first was in the early 00s for a year when the semiconductor bubble imploded and I was out of work for 365 days, the second was most of 19, all of 20, and nearly half of 21 when I was on the consulting circuit due to corporate acquisitions and executive restructuring in a series of my employers.  DW nailed it, kept us whole financially, and I am eternally appreciative of her.  I always have been and always intend to be.  Though her covering our life for those periods was a huge help to my career recoveries following those events.  She never once gave me crap for not earning during those events.  I made sure to keep an application, call, job search log daily during those times.  In equal parts due to the need to provide that information biweekly when i submitted for unemployement payments and also do to my internal need to match my DW's efforts when I was her dependent rather than her income contributing partner.

I was raised in a very traditional marriage/parental partnership/family.  Before retirement Dad was the breadwinner paid the bills and managed the finances, Mom was/is the core of the family and has always done it all for the whole family.  An ongoing battle my brother, Dad, and I have with mom is .... STOP!  RELAX! But... she is Mrs people care, craft, gardener lady and continually keeps herself worn out.  Those are the things she enjoys.  All of us, including our spouses and kids consider my parent's home to be .... home. DW and I and SS have lived internationally for many years, as has by brother and his family.  Mom and Dad and their home is the hub for all of us.

I do not recall any time growing up where there was the "I earn and you don't" conversation between my parents.  Interestingly when I was a pre-teen/in my early teens, my parents hit a patch where they were struggling within their marriage.  

Dad pulled me aside and made it clear that if they did divorce he would always provide for Mom.

Fortuneately they weathered that period and just had their 60th wedding anniversary 15 days ago.  I won the parent lottery. The marriage example lottery. The equity life partnership example lottery.

Other than my marital do over, DW and I are doing our damndest to live our own version of what Mom and Dad are living together. So is my brother and his bride.  Mom and Dad just hit 60, we will hit 28 next month, and 3mos later my brother and my SIL will hit 29.

Of course there are no guarantees but it is looking good for all of us so far.

IMHO when it is necessary to provide clarity to a partner, that clarity has to be delivered.

I hope this makes some sense.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Thank you, Rags. I honestly don't think DH realizes that when he stresses about money, it triggers these feelings in him. When I was laid off in 2008, and was on unemployment for a year - applying for 20 jobs a day and getting 1 interview a month that 100's of other qualified people were applying for - he was very supportive. He said I should'nt be so hard on myself because I contributed a lot in other ways. So, I know that some of this is unconscious on his part, but it still hurts. I was trying to make him see that. We all have deeply held beliefs that we get from our upbringing that we don't always realize we have. I know that paying my own way has always been very important to me, so maybe I am being sensitive about it. I think its a blend of both of us. I also think that restructuring how I contribute will help him see that he is not the sole breadwinner and he needs to communicate to me when he is feeling the financial pinch - because we are in this together. 


CLove's picture

However as someone else mentioned, it would be good to get your name on the house. 

What has been recommended is that you pay according to ability on mortgage. I dont know what your state laws are regarding ownership of things, but in my state all assets are marital assets. So say he makes twice what you do, you pay according to your earnings ability. Instead of 50/50 you should consider paying 25-30% because no matter what you pay portion wise it is still considered marital assets. Depending. I would nickel and dime things so he can appreciate what you contribute.

notarelative's picture

In my state, if he bought the house before your marriage, it is not a marital asset. If it's his separate asset, paying half of the mortgage is not to your advantage.

When we married, DH moved into my house. He did not pay for upkeep, taxes, maintenance, etc as it was my sole asset. We split joint bills on an income percentage. Each was responsible for individual bills and items for respective children.

A few years later we bought a together house. We split the mortgage and joint bills on an income percentage.

The income percentage was periodically updated. When we both retired, the percentage flipped as one of us had more retirement income.