Husband's mental health problems led him to compulsively spend over £27,000 (about $44,000) while I supported both of us for three years. I know he'll work hard on therapy, but I don't know if I should divorce him. Should I try and forgive? [warning, long!]
posted by TriparteGoddess to human relations (62 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've been with my husband for ten years, married for 3.5 years. I'm 29f, he is 28m. We didn't live together before marriage (his choice, not mine).
My husband's always worked a low-paid job he loves. It pays less than one-third of my salary. He has Asperger Syndrome and while he is very socially aware compared to others with AS, he is rigid in his ways, verbose, very literal, and has some problems with everyday tasks (eg, not flooding the kitchen counter while making tea), among other things.
Like a damnable miracle, though, he inherited £27,000 (about $44,000) from an old family friend just after our wedding. We agreed that he'd use it to finish driving lessons and buy a car to get to more jobs, more easily, and save the rest.
I didn't keep tabs on this, because I trusted him. This was naive, but I knew him to be fairly reliable in other areas, and I thought that meant he'd be responsible with money, too.
I paid most of the bills, as he didn't earn much, and that his savings were, well, savings. I supposed that frugality now would leave him and me a nice bonus for a house, or retirement, or for starting a business.
For the next three years we lived in a small, rented studio flat. This was Hell for me: I hated the lack of privacy and the lack of space. It caused far more stress than if we'd had a proper bedroom and more space. I also scrimped a lot, and didn't go out much or pursue more expensive hobbies.
(I also gave up a Masters in my favourite field, that because of the stress it was causing to our marriage (studying in a studio flat was really tough, and my husband felt ignored while I worked). I am still frustrated about the whole business.)
We did move to a rented one-bed flat a few months ago, and I am far happier. I thought things were on the up.
A week ago he made a confession that he'd spent all of the £27,000. On stuff like gifts, books, magazines, meals out, collectibles, charity donations, petrol, etc etc etc and I blew up at him.
I was furious FURIOUS FURIOUS that I'd been living in a cramped studio flat that made me miserable for three years when just an extra £100 a month or so from him would have let us move to a flat with a bedroom, and that he'd let me pay most of the bills for years while he frittered his money away. There is no end to my resentment and anger right now.
He believes he has compulsive spending problems brought on by trying to escape memories of highly traumatic bullying as a child (I believe this could be the case, and the little he's told me about the bullying scared me witless.) He wants to see a counsellor and work on his problems. (He has successfully already done this over the past year with regards to OCD and Asperger Syndrome.)
But I feel used and hurt and taken advantage of. I know he will work flat out to fix things, but this has swallowed three years of my life when I supported him financially while he was spending freely.
I don't know if I should trust him at all or even try to forgive him. I need a more impartial viewpoint and would really welcome any thoughts.
Husband's mental health problems (childhood abuse, OCD, Asperger, compulsive spending) led him to compulsively spend over £27,000 while I supported both of us for three years, and sacrificed a great deal. I know he'll work hard on therapy, but I don't know if I should divorce him or not. I welcome any thoughts.