Pregnant and Husband is Nonsupportive

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Ever since my husband and I got married, I have been very unhappy in this relationship. I feel like I’m married to a teenage boy who is used to getting his way without giving anything back (he is an only child and was raised in a very permissive environment). I could go on about all the details of his controlling, manipulative, often times verbally abusive behavior, but I just want to give some background o f my current problem.

Although he has had a job throughout the majority of our marriage, In 6 years I have had to deal with him deciding to embark on a new career path 5 times; and in every instance,a great deal of money is required for things like the training or the equipment necessary. He basically becomes obsessed with his new endeavors, dedicating all his time and energy to them while neglecting any responsibilities and his current job. I have expressed how emotionally straining each new venture is on me, and he always promises that “this is the last time”. However, He always abandons these projects as quickly as he takes them on. A few months later, he will find something else to spark his interest and it starts all over again.

He has no shame in demanding more money and my undying support with absolutely no consideration of my feelings. I feel that he is not living up to his job as a husband, father and a supporter of his family by not providing us with stability and a steady source of income. He is constantly pointing the finger back at me when I protest to the unfairness of the situation, insinuating that I am a loser because he believes I’ve never worked or had a “real job” .

I have provided us with a great deal of financial support from the assets my mother left me when she died. I have sold almost all of the property, annuities and stock she left me (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars) to support us. Much of this money has gone to vacations and lots of “toys” that he wanted, such as a boat, expensive photography equipment, and a pickup truck, just to name a few. Although he never has had a problem spending this money, he continually points out that I did not actually work for it and am therefore still not contributing my share to the marriage by not always having a job.

I have worked on and off since we’ve been married, but the time I have spent not working has been at home taking care of our daughter. Even since she was born, I went back to work as a high school Spanish teacher. He was not at all supportive during this time, telling me that I was neglecting my family when I would stay after school school late or work on weekends to complete a teacher’s never ending tasks of lesson planning and grading papers.

I’m 35 weeks pregnant and am just about at my rope’s end as the arrival of our son nears. We moved to another city a few months ago after I sold a house I inherited from my mother; the sale enabled us to buy a new house and have a good chunk of cash left over. This money was meant to be a crutch while he looked for jobs and worked on the new travel business that he bought into in December. However, in 5 months, he has not spent a full hour searching for jobs, does nothing to help around the house, and has completely abandonded the travel business.- I have done the bulk of unpacking, most everything is still in boxes from the move. I have asked him repeatedly for help, especially because I am having a rough pregnancy with lots of back pain, so I am not physically capable of doing every bit of the housework. Yet he continues to ignore any housework and my requests for him to do specific tasks.

When he is not napping, which is quite often, he watches tv, reads, or plays on the internet. Any time not spent on these activities is spent on his newest endeavor – he wants to become a pilot! Of course, there is a costly training involved that will come out of the money from the sale of the house. It doesn’t seem to matter to him that we had agreed a good portion of this money would go toward the kids’ college funds. I became furious at his audacity to do this yet again, right before our son is to be born. I tried to compromise with him by agreeing to that he begin the training program after he gets a job and works for a while, just to make sure this is exactly what he wants to do. This is not acceptable to him, it has to be now. I finally broke down and agreed because he wouldn’t leave me alone about it, not even letting me sleep at night! So, the only time he does anything productive is when he goes to flying lessons at over $100 a pop.

The money is running quickly out and I just don’t know what to do now. Because my daughter was a csection birth, I will be having another when this baby comes. I know I am going to need to rely on him to help, as I am going to need to heal from the surgery. I won’t be able to do a lot of things, including picking up our 3 year old daughter! But at this rate, I feel like I can only count on him to contribute to the piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and trash he currently leaves me to deal with. Believe me, I know that we need serious help from a counselor if this marriage is going to work, but there’s only a few short weeks left before the baby comes. I need his help now! What do I do???

A: I’m so sorry you are in this situation – especially at a time when you are feeling particularly vulnerable. By your description, you are not married to a man. You are married to an overgrown teenager. You are expecting adult behavior from someone who sees no reason to be an adult. Why would he? He has been continually rewarded for his immature behavior with money, toys, and the freedom to do what he wants when he wants. It’s a nice life if you can get it. Well, not really. What he doesn’t understand is that he is missing out on the satisfactions of being a successful husband, father, and employee. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

It’s time for you to stop looking at him and to start looking at yourself. You can’t change him. He sees no reason to change. He avoids accountability by not staying with anything. He thinks it works for him. Sadly, you’ve gotten caught up in his game. You’ve always backed down from any limit you’ve set so he has no reason to think you’ll do differently now.

I don’t know what has kept you from being more assertive. If you haven’t been able to figure out how to draw a line and keep it, it’s time for you to get some help. Please find yourself a therapist to help you reclaim your self-esteem and self-respect. Your children need your mothering, not your husband. While you do your personal work, it might also be advisable to consult a lawyer about how to protect your remaining assets. If you do decide to separate, you don’t want to be penniless and dependent for child support on this overgrown child.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Jul 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Pregnant and Husband is Nonsupportive. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/07/21/pregnant-and-husband-is-nonsupportive/