Hubby treats her like a maid

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Opinion -

I HAVE a good job and earn good money, while my boyfriend is strug­gling to make ends meet. We have been living to­gether for two years, and I end up foot­ing the bills. I have also sup­ported him in his busi­ness by lend­ing him money.

I re­mind him oc­ca­sion­ally that he needs to re­turn my money.

Lately, I in­curred some huge ex­penses, so some spare cash would be good. So far, he has not re­turned any of the money he owes me.

When he has ex­tra cash, he would buy things to make him­self happy. He also bought me a birthday present but I ended up pay­ing for it.

He does not help out at home ei­ther. I work from 9am to 6pm, while he stays home and plays games on his lap­top. I of­ten find dirty dishes pil­ing up in the sink or scraps of food on the ta­ble. He asked me to list down chores that needed his at­ten­tion. Ini­tially, he co-op­er­ated but later he got lazy and gave ex­cuses for not do­ing those chores.

Well, if he can­not con­trib­ute fi­nan­cially, at least he could help around the house so that I can come home and re­lax too. As it is, I end up do­ing all the house chores, in­clud­ing clean­ing up af­ter him. I think he is tak­ing me for granted.

I also re­sent the fact that he is not spend­ing time with me. We have not gone on a date for months now be­cause he is ei­ther tired or has no money to spend on me.

He goes out late at night to meet up with friends and comes back in the wee hours of the morn­ing. He has time for his friends but he has no time for me. He makes empty prom­ises of spend­ing time with me on my day off, but when the day comes, he would say he is busy or he would be out with friends, and I am left all alone in the house.

He has many plans and shares them with me. Some of his plans seem fea­si­ble but when I want to dis­cuss them with him, he would give all kinds of ex­cuses to avoid a dis­cus­sion. I re­ally want to help him but he is eva­sive.

He has promised to marry me but I doubt he would do so. I have never met his friends or his mother de­spite many prom­ises that he would in­tro­duce me to them. My par­ents also have a poor im­pres­sion of him.

I do not want to leave him as I think he is just go­ing through a bad stretch. Be­sides, he has nowhere to go if I ask him to leave. I am con­fused as to what I am re­ally up­set about – his tak­ing me for granted, or the fact that he is not mak­ing enough money to re­pay me.

What should I do? Should I ig­nore him and let him be, force him to talk to me, or leave him?

Let’s itemise: you pay rent, gro­ceries, util­i­ties, do the clean­ing, and you give him money. He spends this on go­ing out with his friends and yet he has no time for you.

Look, when de­cent peo­ple are go­ing through a tough spot, they are still there for their part­ners. Sure, they can’t go out for dates, but they can ar­range movie marathons at home, cook you some­thing (eggs are cheap!) and they are thought­ful. And most of all, they are su­per proud to have a part­ner who loves them for who they are.

As for the busi­ness ven­tures he says he has, you are get­ting a lot of talk but you have al­most no in­for­ma­tion about what he’s do­ing. If a bank of­fered you this type of in­vest­ment, would you go for it? I don’t think so!

You should ask your­self some­thing: what ex­actly are you get­ting out of this re­la­tion­ship?

You are there, lov­ing and giv­ing, but I don’t see him con­tribut­ing any­thing ex­cept for sales talk to get more money out of you. In fact, this man has so lit­tle re­spect for you that he doesn’t even tell his mum and dad you ex­ist.

For over two years this man has never both­ered to tell his fam­ily about you. All those fam­ily gath­er­ings, all those fes­tive sea­sons, and some­how he didn’t tell them about this amaz­ing girl he is living with? The won­der­ful woman who is help­ing him in ev­ery way from wash­ing his socks to giv­ing him money so he can be home and play com­puter games?

Let’s be blunt: this man isn’t into you. He’s us­ing you.

Re­la­tion­ships go up and down, but it wor­ries me that you moved in with a man when you had not met his fam­ily or his friends.

Abuse doesn’t just mean slaps and nasty com­ments: it can come in the form of not be­ing treated with re­spect and of be­ing emo­tion­ally abused. I think your re­la­tion­ship may fall into that cat­e­gory.

You have been in this re­la­tion­ship for two years which sug­gests the po­ten­tial for long-term dam­age. The way you men­tion that he has promised to marry you – as if be­ing an ATM com­bined with maid func­tion is a good life goal if it comes with a ring – sets off alarm bells.

I think you should talk to a fem­i­nist ther­a­pist who spe­cialises in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships. Ask around, or con­sult with All Women’s Ac­tion So­ci­ety (AWAM) or Women’s Aid Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WAO).

You should have sev­eral ther­apy goals. Firstly, gather a sup­port net­work. With your work and hav­ing all this stress, you need to con­nect with good peo­ple – friends, fam­ily and those who are pos­i­tive in your life.

Sec­ondly, sever this re­la­tion­ship. This won’t be easy be­cause you have a soft heart. Also, peo­ple who see a soft life be­ing taken away from them, may not go eas­ily. So please, plan with the ther­a­pist and have your dad or a brother or cousin sup­port you. Change the locks im­me­di­ately. If you have se­cu­rity, tell them he is no longer al­lowed ac­cess.

Thirdly, ex­am­ine your re­la­tion­ship, find out where it went wrong and make a list of points where you had a gut feel­ing it wasn’t right. Use that in­for­ma­tion to pro­tect your­self in the fu­ture. Peo­ple tend to re­peat pat­terns in their love life, so be sen­si­ble and know your­self so that this is a one-off er­ror.

Fourthly, I think you should look into self-es­teem train­ing and you might want as­sertive­ness train­ing too. This can be wo­ven into your ses­sions or you can look for work­shops. Ask HR at work to hold some! Be­lieve me, there will be lots of peo­ple who will ben­e­fit.

Fi­nally, give your­self time to re­cover and for­give your­self. Peo­ple get into pickles all the time, so don’t beat your­self up over it. Learn and move on. Make lots of nice friends and be happy. Don’t rush into a new af­fair through lone­li­ness or want­ing to for­get. Take a year or more be­fore you start dat­ing again. And when you do, take it slow.

Above all, don’t de­spair over your fu­ture. There are lots of won­der­ful men out there who are kind, gen­tle, gen­er­ous, and warm-hearted. Thank­fully we’re also get­ting to the point where they’re do­ing their share of the laun­dry, dust­ing and other house­keep­ing. Sounds good, right?

So in the dif­fi­cult days ahead, re­mem­ber that you are tak­ing steps to­wards a hap­pier fu­ture by putting your life on a bet­ter, health­ier foot­ing.


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