Q: I married later, in my late 30s. I offered to support my husband with my trust fund to give him time to focus on his art. He was very good early in life, and having a typical job dulled his creativity and motivation.
Instead of my generous offer helping him, it made him lazy, and he produced next to nothing. He always had excuses for why he couldn't get into it. I was working full time while he lived a leisurely life. He has not yet been creative or produced anything. I don't want to be selfish or pushy, but if I can work, he can work. He was talented, but I can't motivate him now that I see him as lazy. I never thought a kind and thoughtful offer would make me feel used. I never thought I would need a prenuptial agreement.
A: You were very thoughtful to offer to support him so he could channel his talent into becoming a successful artist. But what has happened to you and your husband is the reason prenuptial agreements exist. Everyone likes to think the excitement of love and marriage will never change, but the opposite is true. Situations and relationships are prone to change.
The emotion couples experience in any relationship changes, either for the better, as love grows and deepens, or for the worse, as the two people grow apart, realizing they have nothing in common. Sometimes, couples realize they do not love, or even like, each other. You may not have foreseen his lazy, unproductive side, but the situation will only worsen as you continue to work while he lives off your trust fund. You might even wonder if he had planned it from the start, knowing you did not require a prenuptial agreement.
Don't beat yourself up for not seeing this in advance. Unbalanced relationships have existed since the beginning of time. The biggest moneymaker in the couple often supports the other. It made sense when women stayed home to take care of their children, based on the thought that no one loves a child as much as the parents do. Today, couples often still choose to have the mom stay home to develop a deep bond with the child while the dad takes over caring for the baby when he returns home from work. Reverse roles also come into play now, as more men choose to take care of the baby full time while the mom works.
Your situation, though, where your husband lies around the house living on your trust fund while you are at work, seems enough to justify anyone's anger. Since it's your trust fund, you are the only one who can decide how to resolve it.
You have important decisions to make: Do you still love and respect your husband? Are you happy in your job? Can you see yourself developing it into a career? If you love your job and your husband, consult an attorney on how you can cut off his use or perhaps all use of your trust fund. No access to the funds means he will have no choice but to get a job. If you love the job but have lost all respect and love for your husband, consult a divorce attorney to see what avenues are available before you discuss anything with him. If you love him and don't consider your work to be career-worthy, you might want to quit the job to stay home to inspire your husband to start creating. Since you remember him as a talented artist, perhaps all he needs is confidence to feel inspired once again. Once he returns to his artistic endeavors, you may want to search for a more meaningful job and invest your trust fund for the future.
Email career and life coach: [email protected] with your workplace problems and issues. Ms. Novak responds to all emails. For more information, visit www.lindseynovak.com, and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak.
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