My husband blindly accepts handouts from his family and it's ruining our marriage

Can you tell me a bit about you, your life and your relationship?

I am a stay at home mum (SAHM) with 3 young kids, and have been married for 11 years. I’m currently seeking secure employment. After almost two decades being with my husband, I am seriously doubting our future because of his chronic lack of financial motivation that is supplemented by support from his family.

What’s the story you’d like to share?

My husband is a serial entrepreneur with great ideas - but they have never been really profitable. Last year I took a break from being a SAHM and worked 3 jobs to earn a half decent income for our household. The year before, my part time job was also the sole income for our household. I don’t mind doing this and enjoy bringing money in, but I am now tired of the total reliance my husband has on his family for handouts.

What was the turning point in this situation?

I think the turning point was me feeling like our lifestyle and house was so undeserved when I compare it to how hard my parents worked. I never saw my Dad much growing up during the week as he was always working. I also look at how hard my neighbours work (or have grafted) to live in their houses and personally feel like a fraud.

How do you feel?

I feel so angry and alone in our relationship - wanting to change things but not being able to until I can bring in a better income. I also feel ongoing shame and guilt. I worry about my time out of work and if I’ll ever get back to earning what I did in my twenties. I just wish my husband could face up to the reality of our situation that, whilst we are asset rich, his family are not our endless bank account for our income and should not be constantly relied upon. I know people will think that we should perhaps just feel lucky for being supported and are incredibly privileged to do so, but I was brought up to work hard and be independent; values which I’m not sure my husband shares.

Have you talked to your husband about it?

Yes - I had a bit of a breakdown and told my husband that I didn’t want to accept the constant handouts and that I wanted us to be more financially independent. It was as if he’d never questioned this status quo before and he became resentful towards me for bringing it up. He still doesn’t like talking about money, but I can never go a day without worrying about our situation.

What does the future hold, any plans, worries or hopes?

I am now trying to return to the profession I left 10 years ago and which I regret ever giving up. I constantly reflect on where my career could have been and - while I would never change having kids - just wish I had carried on working part time so I could better support my family now and be able to buy things for myself. The only things we can afford are food, bills and a few activities for the kids.

I hope to secure a job that will provide for my family as I have almost given up waiting for my husband’s businesses to work out financially, despite thousands of pounds being invested. I worry about the future of my relationship and how it will impact our children, and so I will do everything I can to make it work. I am not a quitter, but it’s not looking so great at the moment.

Do you have any advice for those where you were?

Never give up your own career, and always marry someone who has a similar work ethic and the same financial goals.