thanks for all your help
Our wages go up and down in our marriage, and we both take turns earning. If he made nothing, it would be fine as long as he picked up the slack at home with the kids. The other carries the load when the other cannot.
Not all marriage are like this, and my first long term relationship was set up 50-50, but I had to work 2 jobs to pay my half.I learned wages do not equate worth.
I feel for you, France is a tough place to make a good living, and by the sounds of it, things are getting harder still.
Dear Emily, thanks for your reply, I really feel for you, I don't know you but words like "puts me to shame" and "failure, because they're partly right" would seem to suggest that you are not in a good place psychologically at the moment and so are putting yourself down unfairly. If you feel you are not putting your all in, thats one thing, but I think you are, if its just them judging you ignore it. Bringing up a family and sending well balanced kids into the world is the best job you can do even if it is unpaid. Do what you need to for yourself and your family and let the others think what they like xxx
You should make your point more clear, the reasons why. After all money can make things also worse. What do you want to do with a DINKS doubleincomenokids if you don't have the time to spend (or invest wisely) what you earn. Look at the 20 + years old kids in San Francisco working in Silicon Valley with 6 digit incomes, but paying for shabby places 5 time more of its value like in the times of the gold-rush etc pp. After all it not just the recession, also the difference and inflexibility here to the UK or US that makes it much harder to archive the right combination in fruitful activities.
Hi Emily, Haven't read the other responses so apologies if saying the same thing. thought I'd write all this then read the other comments.
We came to live here in 2009 after already living here in the 90's, working on boats, childless, earning a fortune and living the life of Riley. This time, older, poorer, 2 kids, old house to renovate etc. We expected that my husband would find some work on the noir!! and do up the house, and I would find a job as a nurse. I found immediately a job as a nurse and have resumed my career although not as well paid and with pretty rubbish conditions compared to GB but nevertheless at 47 years old I have a professional life etc. My husband has hardly been able to find any work at all but when he does he goes and does it without complaining, sleeping in his van (he's 56) to save petrol, hard graft. He is doing up the house on his own, has done all the electrics, plumbing, plastering, knocking down ,building up. He looks after the kids, gets the little one (who has difficulties and takes a lot of time and work)from school at lunchtime (no canteen for kids unless both the parents work), gets up at 7 at every morning to get the big one off to college, does all the washing and ironing, makes bread to save money, does what he can within the limited budget, has completely made our kitchen and bathroom including polished concrete work tops (James), looks after the kids when I work 12 hour days all day Saturday all day Sunday, nights etc. Oh and walks the dog! and had to give up smoking cos we cant afford it( I know thats a good thing but still...)
We came to this part of France to be close to my retired parents, who 2 days after we got here said "By the way we didn't come here to be unpaid babysitters" and so never babysat, we had to wait 3 years for the big one to be old enough before we could go out to dinner. The list of scathing insults, slights, rudeness, deliberate lack of help is endless, I could write a book.
We have been married for 25 years it is a partnership, at no time do I resent my husband who does his best under difficult circumstances. yes of course I wish we had more money but I cant tell you how fantastic it is to be able to go to work and know that all is well at home, that the kids are looked after and not pushed from pillar to post (no disrespect to people who have no choice), and not to have to pull sick days for sick kids etc.
I have had the same reaction from my family up to the point of saying that my husband has brain washed me into subservience to go out to work so he can sit at home and build motorbikes! (He had started to build a motorbike in the UK brought it with him, where it has sat in crates and he is now uncrating and selling it!)
This has reached the point where I have nothing to do with my family, I hoped to be supported and instead was judged and condemned. and frankly insulted.
Whilst I am saddened that i haven't seen my parents since Xmas, (incidentally they have made no effort to contact the kids, as they normally do we are 3 streets away) the joy of finally not giving a f... about their opinion is frankly uplifting. Give it a go Emily!
For better for worse!! I would add "with good grace" or else its worthless. I'm going to read the other comments now, thanks for listening, not sure it has been of any use, felt good to get it off my chest and at least you know your not alone Emily
Isn't it really a really bad, irresponsible attitude to depend on two incomes to provide the finances necessary to afford a certain lifestyle? If a wife is profitably employed, the salary ought to be used to say, build up a savings account, buy some badly needed items for the house and so on. Not for day to day living on a permanent basis! Anyone with half a gram of grey matter knows that in these uncertain times, the loss of one's job could happen very easily and very quickly. Illness could factor into the picture as well. So, if this were to happen - two words comes to mind --WHAT THEN??
Nice one, Dave.
The question one should always ask oneself is: better with or without?
Some guys have a very strange attitude to money, it has to be said.
In my opinion, anything like a hobby he did before he met you is his financial responsibility. It should not come into the 'half of all expenses' conversation.
Also, unless he is prepared to shoulder a pro rata division of cost, all money spent should be half of your income, not his or you are left with nothing.
I remember a boyfriend want us to move in together. He was earning over three times as much as me, but wanted us to go halves on all bills as I have 2 children (and he thought he was being generous), but at his level of salary. So I said that if we did that, I would have nothing left to spend on, for example, taking the boys to the UK. He wasn't bothered.
So I suggested that if he wanted me to pay half the rent, I would insist on paying half of what I could afford not him, tough if it meant a smaller, meaner house. He moaned, I wouldn't budge. In the end we decided not to share.
A while later he agreed that he'd been unfair and too demanding. Why should I pay for his idea of a lifestyle if it means I'm worse off than if I live by myself? I'll live by myself ta!
Finally, nothing stays the same. If your family is feeling the pinch, sacrifices have to be made by all, not just half the couple. If this means he has to cut back on his hobbies for the well-being of his couple, then that's just tough. If he's so selfish he is not prepared to give as well as take, you have a problem.
Excellent advice Sheila :-)
Here is my simplistic, typically male response to the OP's dilemma. Life's too short. Dump him and his lifestyle and find someone who loves you for your own indvidual qualities and not for your earning power. I have been in a similar position as yourself and tried desperately to fund the partner's ambition to keep up with her rich sister. One day I came to realise that there would never be enough cash coming in for her and when she started treating me like dirt because I was failing, I walked. Best thing I ever did. I have found someone new that doesn't judge me by the weight of my wallet.
As I said in my message to you, I'm in a similar boat. My French boyfriend moved in with me and we agreed to pay half of everything, at that time I had redundancy money behind me and he was paying a mortgage on his home he was trying to sell. When it finally sold and I had run out of redundancy money I brought up the topic of not being able to pay half of everything anymore and it caused some really unpleasant conversations.
I'm also an AE and the last few months have been really difficult, I have struggled to even scrape the rent together. My boyfriend is unemployed but works each day at the farm he's renovating for us to live in, so he works hard and also get the 70% of his last salary which is still double what I'm earning. He has said I should do more around the house, but I do it all anyway, he thinks that just because I am sat at home all day on my computer that I'm not working as hard as him. It's true, not physically, but mentally I'm bloody knackered! Being an AE is so up and down, and when you're not working you're looking for work... I sit most evenings working to find more work, but he doesn't consider this.
I think it's a cultural thing, his ex girlfriend was a teacher and they were earning the same, I do feel that he expects this of me also. I don't have kids, but I also stand up to him and tell him where to go if he starts going on about money and stuff.
I don't really have any suggestions, and as I said, when you're with a French partner there is often a lot of communication lost in translation.
I think he's being very unfair, and also your family, surely they should be on your side?!
I have never been able to work during our marriage as I was ill with undiagnosed food intolerance for many years and had very little energy. I finally found out when I was forty as our eldest daughter had the same problem.
I have looked upon myself as enabler, my husband has been able to go out and work as a management consultant and not have to worry whether there will be food on the table or his clothes are clean or all those ridiculous day to day problems that happen with "life" are being taken care of.
I would have loved to have been less financially dependent, but it has always been our money.
This is not your problem and deep down you know that, havng a luxury life-style with horses etc. is expensive, but you shouldn't have to make yourself feel bad because your husband chooses to live like that and wants you to help pay for it.
Times are hard everywhere and not understanding this and adjusting accordingly is totally unreasonable.
This is his problem, and of course, it is also yours because you are married to him, but what you are experiencing is mental cruelty.
I hope you can find a reasonable outcome to all this and am thinking of you.
Reading your post, I actually got quite angry at the people that lay pressure and blame on you. You are obviously doing your best, you ARE earning money although maybe not enough to have a comfortable living, but you're not being lazy, are you?
Is it your fault you’re not making as much money as hoped for? You have moved to a foreign country where it is very difficult to get a job: high unemployment, the difficulty to get a job as an étrangère, all the hassle and bills for a freelance worker,… Have THEY ever moved to another country and experience the difficulties you can encounter? I think moving to another country and try to make a living is already enough pressure!
Besides: not making as much money as you wish does not make you a bad person. Making money is something you DO not something you ARE!
Besides 2: you say that your income is going up. Maybe by putting less pressure on you, they would give you the space to develop your abilities, pressure just slows you down.
I hope you will keep your head up and especially keep the faith in yourself!
I think this man must be really insecure and suffer from one heck of an inferiority complex. He knows he is unable to amount to anything without his wife's financial input. Not only should the cost of a good housekeeper be shoved in front of his nose, but factor in the overtime - weekends - baby sitting - work in the garden. It adds up very quickly. :-)
Not sure exactly what the problem is here. Is it money? Did he want a housekeeper or a wife/partner. Or is his job so badly paid that he feels he must put pressure on you to bring in more money? Or has he some secret addiction he is funding and desperately needs more income? If not, then he is an asshole who does not deserve you.
Go to any employment agency and ask them to give you details of salary, tax, etc. for a full-time housekeeper (covering all the work you do in the home), and put that in front of him with his dinner tonight.
Where was it ever stipulated that in a marriage, a woman was supposed to go out and work and earn a living equal to or better than her husband's?? Are these men such losers and wimps that they are unable to cope with being the "Man of the House"? Wives seem to be expected to cook, clean, help with homework, take kids to after school activities, be a sounding board for all the woes the man has to live with, yet at the same time be sexy and affectionate at the drop of a hat. There should never be any recriminations for being a good WIFE & MOTHER.
Hi Emily -
Sorry to hear of your troubles.
I don't think its cultural, however. The typical cultural reaction would be more macho - Actually preferring that you didn't work, stayed home and were the "good wife".
Its ridiculous, I agree, but there are still a lot of French folks stuck in this mindset.
It might be cultural to assume that the man is always right, no matter what...
I'm actually in a similar - although inverted - situation. My wife is the consistent money maker with a good CDI, while I'm struggling with my own Auto-entrepreneur business.
My in-laws have taken a long time to accept this situation, and I've had to prove - over and over again - that I'm a good house-dad, while still trying to carry my own financially.
The French - IMHO - have a very difficult time "thinking out of the box" and its sometimes offensive how they tend to stick to "traditional values" ( Like getting roped into a lifetime of working for others to earn minimum wage but have "job security") ...This might support your argument of it being cultural.
Imagine if your situation was turned around to the point where you were both living in YOUR home country, and HE was the one being faced with all of your challenges... Do you think your family would reject him?
I don't have a solution for you, but I thought I'd try to shed a little light on the subject from my perspective.
This too will pass, with time.
Emily, you can't change other peoples thoughts but you can certainly change your own. All good marriages are equal marriages, that is correct BUT bringing the same amount of money into the household does not equate to equal. I have not been bringing in much money over the winter but I have certainly not been idle, I am working on finding more business for the summer although the results of this wont become clear till the summer (unfortunately).
However, I now do the school run every day, all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the shopping, all the running around, sending birthday cards (made a New Year resolution to try and do this now I am a grown up!!!!) even making appointments for my husband. The net result of this is that when he comes in life is calm - dinner is ready, kids homework is done, everyone always has clean pants (unironed of course) and once the kids are in bed respectably early we can sit and relax together. A complete contrast to the summer when we will be running around like loons trying to get everything done before midnight before we dash out of the house in the morning, taking full advantage of the garderie for the kids and being like passing ships in the night.
To be fair, I prefer the summer months, childcare and domesticity is not my thing but the point is that we are both contributing equal amounts to the family, money has nothing to do with it. You need to value yourself in terms of all the non-earning stuff you do. Crikey, surveys have been done that if you have no wife it costs an arm and a leg to pay for the equivalent services, accept that you are pulling your weight and if your family can't love you for that then they are the ones with the issues.
I can't believe there is even a discussion about who earns more in a marriage and why don't you earn enough, or not as much as before! All the self-employed of us (and I have the feeling we are quite a few) know the situation of ups and downs. And I totally agree with Valerie, cleaning the house, looking after the children (and I don't only think of wash and feed them, but all the extras), setting up a business to get some money in ... can put a oat of pressure on you without, most of the time, being appreciated.
Iron, what is an iron, I jest not my mother was horified to discover my kids did not know the word in French or English.