Co-dependent Relationship help.
Hi lilykitten, welcome
No wonder you are on edge.
He does appear to lack empathy for you, taking you for granted. Ive been in such a position.
Counseling often doesnt work because they cant take sides. It really is your decision to stand your ground until he "gets it". If you dont then you'll end it one day anyway...its called "flogging a willing horse". He's had it good. Found ways to move from his chosen responsibility of homemaker to passions. Passions are usually hobbies and not specific income plans. Even Centrelink NEIS scheme has a business plan requirement. I had one when I started up my lawn mowing business in 1990.
Whatever his issues his biggest problem is not willing to act as a team. Income is a team effort. Financial responsibility is a team effort. He is being defensive because he knows you have every right to be fed up.
For your own mental well being tackle this issue calmly and decisively. No point arguing. No point yelling.
Set some boundaries.
I worked 3 jobs so my first wife could be the homemaker. We had two young girls. One job was in security-12 hour shift work. She reduced her responsibilities so much that I was also the cook and chief nappy changer. Eventually I insisted she get a job and I'd be the homemaker. She just refused.
It fell apart soon after. 11 years of hell.
Now I've remarried. Very happy with a lady that shares the load. She says "I'm not with you so you can make life easy for me"
I agree with all of Tony's advice, and I have a lot of respect for both of you, for providing for the people you love. You are both very capable people with a lot of generosity; its perfectly reasonable to have expected a fair contribution from loved ones. You both gave so much, and deserved to be appreciated, supported, and helped IMO.
Lily, I wanted to respond to your question, can you change the dynamic in your relationship without resorting to separation? I don't know the answer to that, but I can think of a few things to try at a least.
I would start with the day-to-day things that need to get done. Mowing the lawn, cooking, cleaning, caring for your children. For some reason your husband has given himself permission not to do those things, and this may have happened rather casually over time. Perhaps you are more capable and more pre-emptive? It could have happened that way do you think? If so, and he's not outright saying `no' to a fair division of labour, you have something to work with there. It may take a bit of time, with some sincere encouragement and gratitude on your part. He may not be quite as good as you at some things, but he will get better .
Regarding his business, which has technically amounted to only a hobby, that's very sad for him and both of you. I can understand your having patience with him, and hoping for the best. But I agree with you, after 14 years, its just not working out. It keeps him busy and preoccupied, but he needs to be encouraged to see this as secondary to earning a living, or honoring his agreement to be a home maker. It sounds like you've done your fair share of encouraging though. This might be the time to be a bit tougher, I think you've been more than reasonable.
In the end, you will need to work out whether your husband is either being selfish and unempathetic, or you've genuinely just slipped into habits that are not working, because you are so competent and gifted in so many areas,whereas he lacks confidence.
Each scenario would call for a different response from you, I believe. I really hope for the best for you, and hope you can somehow ease the burden. Your mental health is very important, you can burnout from this lifestyle, so please take care.