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Struggling with relationship

Community Member

Hi everyone,

my partner and I have been together for 10 years and engaged for about 5-6 years. I am the only one working and we struggle on a single income and are unable to save any money. I find this so stressful, I always have. I am always researching better ways to budget and trying to cut down on spending, but the money in and out doesn’t really change. I try really hard to provide my partner what every he needs/wants. I manage the money so he can travel several times a year to go visit his family, and this means I cannot visit mine. I get to visit family for Christmas approx every 2-3 years. I try and talk to my partner about the budget and how I need help but I am always told that it is my money and my problem. I guess I have been living in fairy land because I really thought as an engaged couple we should be working towards similar goals, but we are not. I was diagnosed with depression a year ago. I told my partner, explained the side effects of my medication etc... About a month ago I was told I now have extremely severe depression and extremely severe anxiety. Not really coping to well. My partner forgot that I was depressed... I struggle to leave my house without a mental breakdown.
I have asked my partner to go to couples counseling with me because I am not happy and struggling.
He has agreed to go but he doesn’t think it will help with my depression and anxiety because I must have some cognitive issues. He flat out refused today to even consider getting a job, as he refuses to be subordinate to someone, and that I am really shallow for wanting more money. I think I am looking for security and support. I am now freaking out that I am shallow and greedy.
Also freaking out about the potential of us breaking up, I have never broken up with anyone before.
Am I being too unreasonable? Does anyone have experience with couples counseling? Will it help or make it worse?

16 Replies 16

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Kitty, thanks for your comment and you are not in any way greedy at all, as it's only fair that your finance wakes up to try to get a job, especially if you are suffering from depression.

I am sorry for the situation you are in and certainly believe that an engaged couple that both people should be wanting to look at their future because it's not reasonable that you try to work struggling with this illness, and his decision not to help and participate will only cause your illness to strengthen.

If he dictates what he believes in and has no consideration for you, then a future life together may be very hard for you to cope with and perhaps if you do separate, then there's the chance you could feel better, not having o carry somebody who only wants to stay at home.

I know this lockdown does prove to be a problem, but if he wanted to work then he would be able to get some job, it's the principle of this that counts.

You shouldn't have to carry another person and to be accused of having 'some cognitive issues' is putting the blame on you, someone who is doing their best to work and support a one person relationship.

I can't tell you what to do, but I can suggest that a couple needs both people to work with each other so you can achieve various goals you both have in life, if this doesn't happen, then it's time to move on.

Please get back to us when you can.


Community Champion
Community Champion


It's heartbreaking to hear that you're going through this. I agree with Geoff's response, and wish to expand on this with my own interpretation.

Your relationship should never feel like a burden, an obligation, or a struggle. Often we accept the love we think we deserve, and in times of vulnerability (such as struggling with a mental illness), it can be difficult to prioritise ourselves and remind ourselves what values we seek in somebody we plan to spend the rest of our lives with. Two or three years ago, I was talking to someone who would've become my partner, had I not ignored red flags that were obvious to people outside the relationship but not necessarily to me. These people asked me to look at the situation objectively, and realise the dangerous signs to which I was oblivious due to lust, and I am forever grateful.

You aren't being unreasonable, and I'm glad that you're recognising how this situation is making you feel. That's a fantastic achievement. You're also not shallow or greedy for wanting mutual financial contributions in your relationship, that's generally an expectation in most marriages, particularly if you share assets like houses and cars. It sounds to me like your partner often disregards your feelings and downplays your mental illnesses. He's also refusing to get a job, which already sounds to me like he may not be open to change, especially if you two began to attend therapy. Break-ups and separations can be terrifying, I know. In this case, it sounds like breaking up may be something you need to consider.

I wish you the very best in this scenario, and hope it all works out well for you. Please make sure you're prioritising yourself and what you want, not just what your partner wants. I know that you mentioned that you don't see your family very often, which is tough because they can be a valuable source of support and encouragement for you. I would also have a talk to them about this situation, and ask for their opinions, as they would both know you well I'm assuming.

I wish you happiness and health, and please let us know how you're feeling about it all/what your next plan of action is.

Take care and best wishes, SB

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Kitty1991,

I’m not surprised that you’re struggling with your relationship, I would be too in your situation! It sounds like you don’t really have a partner to be honest and are instead doing things on your own. But with all the added burden of having another human being to look after, feed, clothe etc. And then when you try and raise your issues, your feelings are minimized and you are basically gaslighted and accused of being shallow and money hungry for expecting a grown man to be able to contribute to the household! I also think it’s convenient that he refuses to acknowledge the effect that his behaviour has on your depression and anxiety. I don’t know, I think this is your body’s way of saying that it’s had enough and you cannot keep going with the current situation. Whether you decide to leave or stay something has to change. The fear of you leaving may spur him into action or it may not, I suppose you just have to come to your own decision regarding what you do if he doesn’t change. It’s good that he has agreed to go to see a psychologist with you, as hopefully they will provide him with a bit of a reality check.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Kitty1991,

I think both Geoff and sbella02 are on the money. I especially agree with sbella02's comment that relationships should not be a burden, obligation or a struggle. Relationships are about being a partnership and having each other's back. And it very much sounds like the is a lot of you having his back, and very little of him having yours.

Relationships can go through difficult times, but ultimately, the love and respect you have for one another should motivate a partner to wear a bit more weight when the other is struggling. And you've clearly told him that you are struggling with your mental health, as well as being the bread winner. And if he isn't responding to that, I think you have every right to question if this is the future you want for your life.

At the end of the day, partnerships are 50:50. And you are responsible for the 50% you bring to the relationship, and he is responsible for his. And if his 50% if more like a big fat 0%, then I you have every reason to question his love and respect for you. I myself have walked away from relationships when I realise that there is a fundamental difference in what you both want in a relationship. And that's ok - it just means he is not your person. Yes, it hurts, but it's better to go through the break up, rather than spending the rest of your life trying to make someone happy, who won't afford you the same thing. ESPECIALLY when you have made it abundantly clear that it is having an impact on your mental health.

A year into my relationship, my partner was made redundant, and was unemployed for 7 months. During that time, we sat down, did a budget, cut down on spending etc. Then earlier this year (after four years together), my mental health deteriorated so much that I ended up in hospital for a month. I ultimately had to leave my job, but it was a decision we made together, because it was in the best interest to my health. I'm still not working, but we have put a budget in place to get through this until I get better. I'm saying this so you have a demonstration of what I think should be expected in a relationship.

Please know your own worth. You need to take care of you and put you first. I think you know in your heart what the answer is, just even reading your post..."he forgot you had depression"?

We are all here if you want to talk more. Sending you big hugs.

G x

Community Member

Hi Kitty,

Reading your post and the comments of the lovely people on this thread, I have to agree with all of them. There are a lot of red flags here and I think your relationship could be a big contributor to your mental health. You are carrying so much of the weight in the relationship. What does he do while you're working?

A relationship should be 50:50. Not necessarily financially, but in contribution. It sounds like it's about 80:20 being generous.

You should not be feeling bad about how much money you bring in and you are not being selfish in wanting it to go further or have more to make ends meet. The travel balance is also out of proportion and for someone who is not contributing financially, it sounds like he's almost using the situation to his advantage.

If he doesn't want to join the workforce, can he work for himself? There are a lot of home based jobs around now.

But honestly, I think you have to leave. He doesn't respect you by the sounds of it or appreciate what you do. Sometimes people need to have their safety net taken away from them to see their wrongs. You're not his mum there to provide a house, dinner and laundry. You're a partnership and if that partnership isn't working, then something needs to change.

Please know though, this is not your fault and you did not cause this. No matter what he says to you, he is gaslighting to detract from his own shortcomings. xx

Hi everyone and thanks for your support. It is good to get another perspective. In answer to your question emotionallydrained he plays video games while I at work. He plays video games and watches YouTube all the time actually, we can’t even have a meal without him playing a game or watching YouTube in the background. We also recently both started uni so he is doing uni full time and I am doing uni part time and working full time. But he can’t keep track of his assignments so I make a study schedule for him and have to remind him constantly to do his uni. That is quite exhausting especially considering I am trying to do my own uni as well, and work, cook, clean, do the yard work, freak out about living on a single income etc...

I am organising couples counseling, don’t really know why I think I am over this now. Everyone who know me says I am being used, but I am really not use to standing up for myself 😕. I mentioned to my partner that couples counseling was going ahead and i needed it to decide if I wanted to continue the relationship. He says because I don’t socialise with many people I am blaming him for all my problems and it’s not really fair. And that he always helps around the house that I am blowing everything out of proportion and if sometimes I need to remind him to do chores that’s acceptable. Basically I am overreacting 🥺. Came home from work this morning solidly convinced the relationship is over. Now I am confused and I think I am being manipulated... He even said remember when I have paid for everything in the past (ahmmm I have always worked. Using my bank card is not paying for things himself), well think of this time (10years) as my share of the contribution. So I can work for 10years and he can use my card and that’s me paying him for my contribution?

Thanks for all your support

Hi Kitty1991,

I by no means want to tell you how to live your life, but I have some real concerns from what you have said in your last post. Your partner seems like he is undermining and gaslighting you - that's emotional abuse, not a relationship.

And you're not his mother either - it is not your responsibility to cook, clean, earn money AND remind him to do his uni work. He is not a child, but he sure sounds like he is acting like one. Acting all defensive when you try to have an adult conversation with him, just demonstrates his emotional immaturity.

You deserve so much more than that. Relationships are supposed to be a place of support and solace.

You sound like such a motivated person - working hard, studying part-time and furthering your education....you have so much to give this world. Don't waste that energy on someone who doesn't deserve or respect it.

You know that you are being mistreated. And the people around you who care about you clearly see that too. Please remember to back yourself. You are the only person who can make any decision about which path you tread.

Relationships end. That's life. Sometimes we grow together and sometimes we grow apart. Myself, I've been divorced previously, and it was a hard decision to make, and it hurt like hell at the time, but I am so glad I made the choice that was right for me, not the other person.

We are all here to support you whatever choice you make. As will be the people in your life that care for you.

Sending you hugs and love,

G x

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Kitty,

It's really heart breaking to hear what you're going through at the moment, as I feel you're a very capable and hard working person who really deserves better. You've done your best with keeping this relationship going, and it has affected you tremendously. But it seems your partner might have some problems of his own, that he's dismissing all the concerns that you have about the relationship, instead of trying to work together to resolve the problem. It is as sbella said, a relationship should never make you feel like a burden, an obligation, or a struggle. It requires both sides to be giving and taking at an equal and acceptable amount.

I'm glad to hear that you're starting to see value in yourself. By knowing your value, you can stand up for yourself, and know what you deserve in a relationship.

  • Do you feel it's fair for you to be a care taker for someone who seems to have a lot of issues and refuses to work on themselves?
  • Do you feel it's fair for you to have your hard earned money used by someone who isn't willing to share or contribute anything?
  • Do you feel it's fair for you if someone is dismissing and berating your feelings, concerns and worries in a relationship?

It shows how little your partner values you and the relationship, and I feel you deserve better. You deserve a partner who's willing to respect and value your differences, appreciate your qualities, contribute and receive healthily, and work together with you to make the relationship work.

Happy to listen to you more Kitty. Take care of yourself!


Hi everyone,

So my partner and I had another talk today. He believes that our love should be able to conquer anything, and he would be happy to live in a tent together, why can’t I? I told him obviously I am never living in a tent because there will be spiders outside. I wouldn’t be happy in that reality, I like ammenities. But now I feel like the a really crappy person, for putting my needs first. He also mentioned that when he use to work 10years ago he could never keep a steady job and that’s why he hasn’t applied for anymore jobs. He says there must be something wrong with him, because he has always been let go from employment. He wants to do the couples counseling when I can organise it and he said he might look at getting help to see if he has any issues. I offered to organise help for him through my work EAP, but he doesn’t want it he will organise his own. I don’t think he has every organised anything in the time I have known him. He said he will go to the doctors to organise a MH care plan, but I can’t afford the doctors this fortnight. So I suggested maybe he call beyond blue to talk to someone there for support, he thought that was a good idea. But since our chat he hasn’t done anything.

Emotionallydrained I saw you mentioned that he could be his own boss, that’s a good idea. But he doesn’t have any ambition to even think about that.

I saw your questions JT and the answer to them is no but it’s so hard to stand up for myself, I normally try to avoid conflict as much as possible. I feel like I am being really selfish by recognising that I want more out of a relationship. I feel this is all my fault by suddenly changing the requirements of our relationship.

Thanks for your support everyone