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I’ve been the primary breadwinner for most of our relationship!

Tagged as: Breaking up, Family, Health, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (13 January 2018) 8 Answers - (Newest, 14 January 2018)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

I have been dating my partner for 2 years now. Before getting together I expressed to him that as a single parent with big goals I need someone motivated who will pull their weight and he said that was easy.

At the time he was a manager at a local company making $20 an hour and his hours were erratic but he went to work every day. Things were going great, I had a few issues (alcoholism etc.) but I began actively working on them (I am now sober, have lost 50 pounds, have been promoted 3x, etc.).

However about 6 months or so into it he called me up one day to tell me that he had quit his job due to management issues. For the next 6 months I supported us (so, myself, him, and my small child) completely. He played video games all day, only cleaned occasionally and usually when I asked, claimed he was depressed, etc. I was very supportive.

During that time frame he half-assed tried for an insurance job but claimed it was too difficult. He also had an idea for a small business but did not pursue it and only worked a handful of jobs.

Eventually he moved away to live with his mother and we stayed together but when that became too much to bare I paid for him to move back. He had a job set up, things were okay, etc.

About a month or two into the new job he called me up and told me -- again -- he had quit due to management issues. I was having problems with my job and ended up having to take a step down and he basically told me to suck it up.

It has been months now and his work is still sporadic, he picks up a few odd jobs every now and then but not enough to support even himself. His friend is setting up a business and he is investing all his hope for success in it but it is a new business so they are not pulling much work and even then it is a labor field so slow during winter and might not succeed at all.

I have now been the head of household (by a long shot) for 3/4ths of our relationship and I'm at a breaking point. Yet every time I try to discuss it with him I end up feeling guilty because he says he is a veteran with PTSD, he's sorry he's such a disappointment, I'm all that he has, etc.

I don't know what to do, but I have a child to raise and I need some stability out of my partner, not someone with grand hopes but no drive. What do I do?

View related questions: a break, depressed, video games

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (14 January 2018):

CindyCares agony aunt You don't know what to do ??

No, I think you know what to do- since you also say " I have a child to raise and I need some stability out of my partner ".

Exactly . That's the point. Your first duty and obligation is to your child, not to your bf. When you are a single mother, you can date of course, but you can't afford to take on whomever you fancy- because you have obligations to your child which are bigger and more important than any other matter of fulfilling your sexual and emotional needs .

So, you can't have a partner who bleeds you dry financially, because the money you give his grown adult ass is money that you take from your child, who may need it right now, or in future when he is a young adult ( for education , starting a business , etc.etc. ) This guy is not even your husband legally, I don't see how you can justify plonking money on him- well, yes, of course you can,- you do it because you want to, and because you get to keep him around , and because you can do anything you want with your money- but still, this does not make it ethically correct.

Regardless of the money angle, you also cannot have a partner who brings instability in your life when you need stability, or which saddles you with a lot of worries, problems , complications. You just can't afford that- and of course it is very sad that he is a disabled veteran, so this situation is not all his fault , etc. BUT you cannot take charge of his depression or his disabilty, that's still his problem. You are the mom of one child , you don't need two children to take care of- you need someone who can stand on his own legs from every point of view, and, again, although it is lamentable , and probably not his fault, that your bf can't be this kind of man- there you have it, he is not, SO he cannot fit in your ( and your kid's ) life.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (14 January 2018):

I too have PTSD and sustaining a job can be tough. Regardless, with a child you need to address their issues first and foremost. If you cannot afford to carry his weight..don’t be hard on yourself. You can agree for him to go back to his mothers and get needed therapy...but reality is it costs money to live

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (14 January 2018):


" there are organizations and the Veteran's Administration which will help him to find therapy,"

"It gives them no incentive to do what it takes to save themselves."

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (14 January 2018):

If he is a veteran with PTSD, there are organization and the Veteran's Administration which will help him to find therapy, housing, and offer him job-assistance. You're doing this because you're trying to hold-on to a man. Feeling sorry for someone who doesn't make any effort to help themselves enables them to use and manipulate others. If gives them no incentive to do what it takes to save themselves.

You're not being a concerned partner or compassionate care-taker. You're bordering on being foolish. You're being an enabler to a slacker; and you're taking money away from the most important person in your life. Your child!

I'm a veteran also. If you need help, you don't take it from struggling women, or take advantage of others.

War-injuries are no excuse not to fulfill your personal-responsibilities to your loved-ones, and to yourself. That should make you even more determined and motivated to prove you haven't been defeated. I know, because I know veterans who sustained injury and have PTSD; and none of them have a story like this!

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (14 January 2018):

You don't know what to do? By the time someone has sat-down to write a post to vent their problem(s); they've already got some idea what to do. You need a little push, my dear?


You're a struggling single-mom; and you already have a kid to support! Nothing is more pathetic than a full-grown able-bodied man who would mooch off a hard-working woman with a child! What's almost as bad, is the fact you'd do this to yourself; and enable him to take advantage of you.

The usual response to our comments in regard to rotten boyfriends and husbands is... "but I love him." Hon, he's taking you for a sucker and his second-mom. Why you paid for him to move back in with you is beyond comprehension?!!

Well, read your post to yourself. Read it out-loud. It tends to have more impact and effect when you hear yourself saying the written-words aloud. Then pretend you're one of us, and think about what you'd advise another woman in your shoes to do!

Set aside a good time to talk. Then tell him exactly what you mentioned in your post; and explain why you have come to your final decision. Then ask him to move out. The relationship has to end at this point. If you don't, he will trigger your drinking; and might cause a relapse.

Deal with this NOW! What you spend on him is taken from the financial support and security of your child. You're venting because you feel pressured and used.

I hope you're also getting child-support from the child's biological-father. You're the one who needs help!

No more contact. Accept no pleas, no arguments, and no push-back. Enough is enough! He is not your partner. He's a dependent you can't even claim on your income-tax return!

If a year from now he's got his life together; maybe you can work something out. By then, it won't matter; and hopefully your life will have improved. and you will have long-since moved on.

If he needs help to move, let him ask his friend to help him. Keep your purse shut! Whatever problems he has, he's an adult; let him deal with them. You already have a child to take care of.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (13 January 2018):

Cut him loose. There are lots of vets, that's not why he doesn't work. He knows he doesn't need to as you will pick up the slack. I worked in a job I hated for years, never missed a day, because that's what adults do. He needs to man up. He can come back when he's sorted himself out (if you haven't fou do someone better)

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (13 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntYou ask him to move out.

If you still want to date him (knowing his history of NOT being able to keep a job long) then you KNOW what to expect.

If you want MORE from a partner than he can/wish to give then you end it, wish him well and move on.

HE is NOT going to change. My husband is a Veteran with PTSD and while he doesn't HAVE to work full time (not sure he would be able to physically, but he would STILL do it if need be). Why? I think for my husband it's a matter of pride and work ethics. While I do know there are days where he doesn't WANT to deal with the people he works with (don't blame him lol) he still does it. Because THAT is what YOU do.

Your CHILD should not "suffer" (I mean primarily financially but also if you are annoyed and miserable that spills over into the family dynamics) because you ALSO have to take care of a GROWN ass man - who is NOT your husband nor your responsibility. I get that we DO take care of our partners regardless of being married or not. But if he gives nothing back - like take care of the house/chores while you are at work - continue to look for work - then what? You are just supposed to take care of him like he is your kid?

So you can either give him X amount of months - like 6 or 2... (whatever YOU feel is reasonable) and tell him you have this much time to find something and pull your weight or we need to end it as I can not pull the weight for you as well.

Or you can call it quits now.

Or you can accept that THIS is who he is and how it's going to continue to be.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (13 January 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntYou leave. I'm sorry, OP, but this is a clear pattern. He's not going to change while he's being enabled. When things got tough while he was living with his mum, you probably should have left it there, not paid for him to move back.

You and your child come first. If he has PTSD and depression, he needs therapy. You can't raise and support him too.

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