Dear Miss Emily:

I am writing in regards to my fiance and me. We have been living together for the last 8 years. We have a 3 year old son together.  Everything was great until after the birth of our son and I returned to work. I am the primary caretaker for our son, meaning, I work around his day schedule.  My fiance works any time he wants, and he is a hard worker and gets a descent wage. He pays the rent, utilities and day care, because my job is not always dependable.  However, he does not include me in any financial decisions.  I feel left out of everything.  He has never voluntarily discussed financial affairs without us arguing or me bringing it up.  We hardly ever have any discussion with out me initiating it. When I ask him "Why can’t we discuss things" he tells me he is not a talkative person, and he thinks I just want to argue.  Each day it’s like another side to him comes out. I cannot say I know this person after 8 years.  He is so conceited, oppressive, deceitful and selfish. Our son does not really get in the way, apart from the fact I am unable to put in more hours at work.  I would love to have more children but, being with him, I am thinking it’s not a great Idea.  He is a good person, but I think he hides a lot from me as well. I have express my feeling to him about our relationship, but he has made no improvements or changes.   It's Christmas and he mention to me if I can go get him some gift cards for his 3 family members, and I said yes. He said, "Do you have my check book?  Let me sign a check and you go buy the gift cards." My name is not on any of his accounts (we do not have an account together), which I have asked him several times for us to do.  I mentioned I can't use your check to buy things, and why not give me your debit card. He laughed like it was funny and said nothing else. I said to him "I don’t want card anyway.  You keep it." I am still feeling sick to my stomach even now, when I have to think about it!  I give him the opportunity to go out and work to provide for us, because that is what I think family is about.  And when it comes to money, it’s like this is what you deserve " the middle finger!"  I could go out and get a job that benefits me more if it was not for our son, which I have no regrets.  He asked what our son wants for Christmas, and I told him what I thought was best.  He then asked me “Do you want anything?"  I smiled and shook my head.  I did not grow up to ask men for things. That’s one thing my parents discouraged.  I don’t know if it is me that has the problem, and I am just too sensitive. He is a good father, but not a family person.  A friend once told me he is controlling, and it is growing on me now.  I just want to be apart of everything that takes place around me.  How can I break it to this man without blowing things up?  I feel like the "other woman in the relationship."    
Deserving A Life

---------------------- Miss Emily’s advice-------------------

Dear Deserving:

The kind of position you are in is difficult because patterns with this man have been set and, yes, he is in control.  I’m not sure why he is still your fiancé, and not your husband after eight years together, but it seems like that could be part of the problem.  Without boring you to tears about why (most) women want and need equality in a relationship, I think the only way you are going to achieve it is to formulate a plan and take some action.  Do not entertain the idea of having any more children with this man, and start thinking about seeking more financial independence.  If that means getting a better job, then do it because, right now, he has dominance over you financially, and that is another major aspect to your troubled relationship.  He may be a good dad, but he’s a lousy partner and husband material.  I know you are concerned about things blowing up if you take more control of your life, but what choice do you have?  You can stay in this oppressive situation and end up hating him, or you can follow through with finding a calm, rational way to take charge of your life. You may be afraid he will threaten you with, “I pay the bills. Try doing this on your own,” and “He’s my kid, and you are not taking him anywhere,” but if he did say things like that, he would be attempting to keep you in your place and only you can allow it.  Hopefully, when he sees a more powerful, take-charge woman (that being YOU),  he will be open to sharing his life with you rather than continue to treat you like a second-class citizen.  If  that's not in the cards, see an attorney and find out your rights.  Stay calm, and never tip your hand.  Respect is what is lacking in this relationship, and in order to get it, you have to show you have it for yourself.