Debt

DH has business debts and very little retirement money saved.  We passed retirement age but both have our own small dwindling businesses.  We just had a personal visit to our home this morning by someone who he owes rent and utilities for his workshop.  This was a debt where I had specifically asked, "Do you owe them money?"  He said he was paid up.  A lie again.  After the person left, I waited to hear his response.  No words at all.  He was waiting for me to talk while he hung his head in silence.  In the past I would start with things like, "Let's do a budget", Let's look at this and find some solutions", etc. Or I might yell in exasperation with a "How Could You?" Ending with me taking care of things for the moment while he mumbled empty promises and did crossword puzzles.  This time I did not yell or try to help him figure this out.  HE started yelling at ME for not being compassionate saying "Its hard to cooperate in a relationship when YOU are not compassionate." And then some "made up" insinuations toward me about our entire family life.  This had worked for him for decades with me as I used to try to accept MY part of the relationship failures.  In the past, I would consider what he said to me and I would try harder or different.  He would walk away feeling like he WON the conversation and forget it.

What I have learned.  No words or support or trying to understand him has any effect on what he does or what he thinks or how he feels.  He soothes himself with pastimes and bad habits and then is able to forget.  That is all he can handle.  That is all I can expect from him.  I have been manipulated all those years to give HIM security and social acceptance and my reward is his blame. That is all I am USED for to him.  He has not loved me.  He impulsively fooled around at every opportunity.  I guess I thought he would love me for all I did for him, but he does not even accept that I did anything for him.  He can only soothe himself through the present moment. He can only work to create a reality and history in his mind to make himself feel good about himself. He likes to think of himself as a great and fun guy.

We need to rid ourselves of his business, but he has become a dirty pack rat in his rented workshop and I can't do this for him.  I don't know where to turn.  I need some help from a local source but don't know who to confide in.  I have talked to lawyers, financial planners and minister. I can't do this alone.  It is not mine to do alone...it is his business.  I wish I had a strong, intelligent brother to lean on and go through all the particulars of what I should do.  I don't have someone like that so I guess I need to let this house of cards fall down where it will and take my punishment for "letting" him make such a mess of us.  In the old days that was called staying together for the sake of religion/children/integrity and believing in prayer and love.  Today it is called being stupid, weak, codependent, enabling and closing my eyes to reality.  I need to make major changes rather than let it continue in a downward spiral.  I need to be the catalyst to make the changes about HIM and his business dept.  But I can only change ME.  Being married is different than being a business partner.  You can walk away from a business and still have your family in tact.  

Right now, I am being blamed by him for this recent visit by his creditor because as he says I didn't show HIM enough love. He denies to himself that his business is not making a living wage.  I think he wants me to take care of it.  Then, later he will blame me for closing his business when it was going so well. 

Running away seems so appealing

I am so so so so very sorry to hear about this.  Great book, Mistakes were Made.... But not by Me, exemplifies this very issue.  He wants to think he's great so he will change reality to blame someone else, in this case you.  This is not ADHD only issue, we all do it to one degree or another, but ADHD people do tend to have a lot of negative issues to reconcile incorrectly.  So much about ADHD treatment is owning the issue and recognizing the havoc and your husband is no where near ready to do that yet.

There is no one size fits all solution to these issues.  They are very complicated.  I guess I would start a list of issues that need to be resolved.  Identify which ones you can address and which ones you can't.  You will need to have a reality check discussion with your husband.  Schedule a time with him, for a time of day when he is usually most rational and not hungry.  Go over with him the reality of the situation with the business and tell him that you will not subsidize it any longer.  Give him a set amount of time to come up with a plan.  Schedule another meeting for that time to go over the results.  Of course he probably won't have a plan yet, so then you can ask why not, what is the stumbling block, how can he get through it, it's not acceptable, etc.

Figure out how you will support yourself.  Separate your money into an account he is not a signer on.  If he gets evicted from the workshop then he will lose all that stuff too, and maybe that's for the best.  I'm sure that's simplistic but it has its appeal from afar.  Take care of yourself.  He will take care of himself when he has to.  Do something you enjoy. 

you can do this

Jennalemon, 

I am sorry for your situation. I can only imagine that even after all this time it must feel awful to be hit with the fact that he lied (again). I can only suppose that his inability to deal with "failing" is stronger than his impulse to tell you the truth. I guess it postpones the moment of "pain?" I don't know what's up with that. 

At any rate, I am not in your shoes but I have been reading your posts on here for a long time. You seem like such a bright, compassionate, sensitive, loyal person and your self-awareness has become a great thing. I am sorry you are in pain, but I want to tell you from my perspective:

You can do this! Whatever happens. I know, it sucks. My choice to leave my STBX left me feeling like I let "us" get into a pretty big mess and now I do feel like I am paying for it. Maybe I should have left sooner. Maybe I should have separated our money sooner, or been more assertive, or done something differently. My STBX completely tore our entire house apart trying to rehab it, and then couldn't deal with finishing most of it, and we lived in complete physical chaos in a torn up house (at one point we had no floorboards and kitchen, and the back of the house had plastic over it and let cold air in all winter) for years. He spent all of our money, plus some our family loaned us, without a budget or plan and would not hear of listening to me or my opinion. He tried to work on everything at the same time and literally took a sledgehammer to parts of it. I had almost no control over any of it, and watched this disaster happen before my eyes. We had rip-roaring, screaming fights and I felt like he was going to take me down with him. I, too, tried to be loyal, and supportive, and then to bail us out with a plan, budget, list of priorities, and possible ways to minimize the damage. And just could not get him to listen or change or work on anything. He was SO good at making me feel disloyal and even the cause of his inability to do anything. It was always my fault. He also thought of himself as a great and fun guy. And then (mine was verbally and emotionally abusive as well and would do nothing about his ADHD or issues) one morning I realized that even if I only had a little time left on this earth (I am in my forties), I could not spend it without my dignity or integrity or let the life be sucked out of me one more minute. His ADHD and issues were leaving me a husk of a person. I knew it was time to save myself and my children and I left. 

And it sucks financially. It does. I don't know what in the world I am going to do about the mess over there--but I don't regret leaving for one second. Ever. I can finally breathe and I live in a tiny but clean, and bright, apartment with my beautiful children and we have peace. I may have to let the house of cards fall down or go into debt to get legal help to force him to let me finish the work somehow so we can sell it, but I can do it. I do know that separating has given me some energy back. 

Jenna, I am so sorry you are in pain. Take care of yourself. If you can take care of this, then do it. Let him blame you later for not being supportive enough. That is cr*p and we know it. 

Thanks lynnie and Shelly

Thank you both.  It is comforting to know that you are heard by someone.  It really does take a little of the burden off your shoulders to have someone respond and understand and support you.  I think that is why I write on this board.  It feels so lonely to keep so much inside.   Thanks.

courage and strength

Jennalemon,

I don't always know what to say when I read the posts, but just that I feel for you too.  We all have different situations, but can relate.

I came into my partnership with my own successful business, money saved, a home, car etc... I didn't know my spouse had so much debt and horrible money money management and spotty job record and no equity.  Currently, she still has no real savings, and lots of loans outstanding, while I (my mistake) started paying her debt from the beginning while also continuing to support most of our expenses.   Since then, I've learned to keep our finances completely separate.  If we ever do split, at least I won't get dragged down further and I won't be responsible for her financially.

Whatever you do, I hope you keep your autonomy.  And I think it's an important point that it's not all about co-dependency.  We marry for different reasons, and stay for different reasons.  I'm a very generous person.  I was generous in my previous relationships and am generous with my friends.  This is the first relationship I've been in where it's just not been reciprocated.  

I don't know what your lawyers have told you or what jurisdiction you reside in, but if there is a way you can sign off an agreement so you are not responsible for his business debts going forward, or any other debts in his name, you can at least have some protection against that in the future.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Money woes

Oh.... the money issue.  It is a tough one.  When I was dating my spouse in the early 80's, I had a full time job in an accounting office, benefits, retirement plan, my own apartment, and a brand new Trans Am.  He had nothing, and lived at home with his parents.

LOL!! His mother accused ME of dating HIM for his money.  What a hoot.

He was  starting his own business - and wanted to support his family with his earnings, not be like some of his friends who "played at business" and had a wife working full time to support them.

It never happened.  Each year we just sunk deeper into debt.  He keep strongly suggesting that I give up my stay-at-home Mom dream and get a job.  I did not.   Looking back, I wonder why I couldn't have been one of those women who said, "Look, this is not working.  You need to give up this self-employment game and get a job to support your family".   What I did was starting robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Transfer debt from one credit card to another.  Consolidating debt, and then it built up again - on top of the consolidation loan.  Several years ago, we received an inheritance - that we used to pay off all the debt except the mortgage.  Now the debt is rising again.  I am back in college - and just saw Suzi Orman telling her audience that going to school to get out of debt is the biggest mistake a person can make.

I think it must be as simple as I need to STOP cold turkey managing the money - and let it all fall apart.  I just cannot do that.  It seems so irresponsible.

I want to run away.

 

 

ADHD is Expensive

And so is enabling.  I was just doing my taxes and thinking that being married to ADHD is not good for my financial health.  I think that often.  I could have stemmed the tide long ago if I'd been willing to risk conflict, or wasn't trying so hard to assuage an insatiable ego.  Oh well, money under the bridge. 

The question of whether going back to school to get out of debt is a good one.  So many college degree jobs don't pay enough more than a high school degree to justify the tuition, related expenses, and lost income while in school.  Of course that ignores the value of being educated, which to me is quite high.  Also ignores the personal satisfaction value of a new career.  And it ignores the ceiling that is often there for promotions for less educated.  Hopefully you are able to be in school without materially increasing your financial stress and can start earning quickly, at a career that justifies the cost.

I am so tired of being broke...