I financially support my partner due to his chronic illness

Thinking purely about the money aspect, I feel mixed emotions. Lucky that I earn enough to support us, pressure that I need to keep my job and try to earn as much as possible, and guilty that I perhaps do not give enough financially to my partner.

Alice Tapper

Tell me about yourself

I’m a 29 year old woman working in the Finance industry in London. I earn a good wage and enjoy my job, particularly because of the great team I work with. I own a flat together with my partner which we bought 3 years ago.

Tell me a little bit about you and your relationship

My partner has a chronic illness and has been in and out of work for our entire relationship of almost 6 years. Most recently he has been unable to work for the last 2 and a half years. He applied for a personal independence payment (PIP, formerly known as disability allowance)- after an arduous and distressing process of applying he was rejected as his condition was deemed not severe enough, despite having often debilitating symptoms. As a result of this I support us both on my salary. As I mentioned previously I am lucky to be earning a reasonably good wage and this is viable to support us both at this time.

How do you feel about the dynamic?

Thinking purely about the money aspect, I feel mixed emotions. Lucky that I earn enough to support us, pressure that I need to keep my job and try to earn as much as possible, and guilty that I perhaps do not give enough financially to my partner. For example he has no pension and is not accruing NI contributions, so ideally we should be putting something in a SIIP for him, but that spare cash is not there more often than not. I really hope he does not feel trapped financially in our relationship; he has never expressed this, and I think it helps that he knows his parents would be able to support him if our relationship ever ended.

What about your own financial security/independence?

I am and always have been fiercely independent, particularly when it comes to money. I sacrifice a good portion of my salary every month into my pension as I never want to worry about money when I am older and potentially unable to earn for myself, I am pedantic about tracking all spend in a frankly OTT spreadsheet, and I rarely let anyone buy anything for me. My desire to be financially independent became extremely apparent when my partner and I were buying our flat. His parents had kindly offered to gift us some money towards a deposit, at the time I rejected this offer and argued with my partner about it. He convinced me otherwise with the argument that the flat was his home too and he wanted to contribute in some way, even if that came via his parents.

What do you feel about the future?

My emotions often fluctuate about the future. I go from the positive attitude of 'we can make anything work out for us' to 'oh my gosh I'm going to feel pressure to keep our lives going financially for the rest of my life'. I don't feel a pressure to stay together due to finances. Like any long term relationship, if we separated it would be hard to disentangle, particularly due to our flat, but I really do think he would have the support of his family to live. From a personal angle I worry about our relationship as I don't know if we would be able to cope with having children (financially and physically) and having children is something I'm feeling more drawn towards.

What do you feel about your job?

I enjoy my job due to the great team I work with and the work life balance is great. I know my job inside out and sometimes think I should stretch myself more within my career, but at the moment I struggle to have the mental capacity to do this as my home life does sometimes take over my brain.

What do your family feel about it?

I worry when discussing my situation with my family and friends that they think I have a bad relationship with my partner because of it. Although I do feel pressure to financially and practically support us, I am in my relationship for a reason. I love him and we have fun! He brings out the good in me and encourages me in every aspect of my life.

Financial Confessions