“I have been married 35 years. My husband was married once before and had a child, and insisted we keep our finances separate. He made a lot more money than I and has always seemed to live ‘high on the hog’ while I scrimped to get by…
We split household expenses. He cooked and shopped because I worked far from home and was going to college. All other household and family responsibilities and supplies were on me. He went to work early and got out early, spending many lunch hours at the bar and driving home drunk with our children. He worked every weekend and holiday.
He was forced into early retirement ten years ago. He yelled at me to sign a document giving up my right to his pension if he dies so that he can collect a little more each month. These past ten years I have come to realize that he’s been unfaithful, that he has quite a nasty disposition, and he’s very focused on himself.
I paid off my debts with my earnings and saved for retirement. I have pensions through two jobs. I have always provided health insurance for my husband and children through my job. My parents are gone now and when their house sold I used the money I received to buy a small cabin on a lake.
The day after we closed on the cabin he returned from a doctor’s appointment and announced he had cancer. We both quit smoking when he had open heart surgery shortly after I retired. My retirement has been all about his health care. He began smoking again shortly after his surgery.
He’s being tested for more cancers and I wonder if he has some dementia. I’m afraid he’s going to die and I will be responsible for his debts and a ton of needed home repairs. I’m feeling very resentful that I see things in this way.
Why have I allowed myself to live like this? I realize part of this is how my mother lived, keeping her mouth shut and putting up with my father and my brother because she was a housewife with no resources to herself. I grew up not knowing that my father was solely responsible for many of the decisions made and my mom just tried to not make waves. I also deferred to my husband for so long, no questions. Now I just want to make the best of what I have left, knowing that I may have to give it all up to pay for my husband’s debt and care.” –Anonymous