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Ask Lori Gephart Your Own Question

Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Psychologist, Hypnotherapist & Divorce Coach providing marital therapy for over 20 years.
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Hello,I will try my best to describe this problem.Although

Customer Question

Hello, I will try my best to describe this problem. Although my "husband" and I are not officially married, we have lived together for 14 years. However, it has never been a really "shared" relationship. At first, I moved in to "his" house. I chipped in by buying all the groceries and paying him $200/month toward expenses. Later, I bought the next house, because I had the better-paying job. Since then, when it comes to house expenses, he has always thrown the burden on me, because it is "my" house. This has not stopped him from using "my" house as if it was his own - which is fine, because I thought we were a couple. He has a den of his own, a full workshop, and a work-out room. I really have no room to call "mine." For a long time, I had a very good job, so I paid the mortgage and all the utilities and the house repairs. This was okay, but perhaps a mistake. (I tried to set up a joint banking account, but he refused.) Fast forward to today. I have been unemployed for 2 years, and have now even exhausted my unemployment benefits. He now has a job that pays MORE than the job I had before. But the distribution of the bill paying has not really changed. I still pay the mortgage (because it is "my" house.") I also still pay the gas, telephone, trash, taxes, and house insurance. He pays the cable bill. He buys most of the food, just because I stopped shopping. Six months ago I begged him to take over the electric bill, which he did. When I mention that I helped out financially with "his" house, he throws in my face that all that money was put in an investment that went belly-up, so it "doesn't count." The only thing that has changed is that it is apparently assumed that since I have no paying job, I am now responsible for ALL the household chores. Cleaning the house, mowing the yard, shovelling the snow, taking out trash, cooking dinner every night, wash the dishes and put them away, etc. etc. I get very irritated when I work(unpaid) all day, then still have to work more while he sits and relaxes. Or while I break my back shovelling while he sips on his mug of tea. Sure, he has a paying job, but that income is not helping me! He spends it all on stuff for himself, while I dip yet again into savings to pay the bills. I try to get him to help out with the chores by not doing them myself, but then they just don't get done. I can't ask him, or he will get angry. First he points out how filthy the house is (i.e., I'm not doing anything) and says "his" house was always spotless. Then he yells that I need to get a (expletive deleted) job. We've had that arguement several times when I finally get so fed up I try to do something about it. Obviously my methods are bad. I am frustrated and angry, but I don't know how to do anything about it. When I think about what to say, it sounds stupid and trivial (to complain about the trash cans overflowing, or the dirty dishes that have been in the sink for a week.) Like I said, about every 4-6 months, I reach my limit, and try to talk with him, and it ALWAYS degenerates into a shouting match, and somehow everything is my fault (*I* bought this house, *I* don't have a job, etc. etc.) I have, in these fights, told him to leave if it is so bad, and he doesn't. Who would? He has lived rent-free with paid utilities for 10 years! I know I am being a doormat. I just don't know how to get out of this well-established, and very bad situation. Sorry for the long rambling. -S
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for contacting Just Answer.


I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing. It is extremely difficult to be in an abusive relationship and this definitely sounds like abuse; verbal and emotional. You are correct that it seems that this man has little incentive to leave the relationship since he has such a good deal there. You do not deserve to be treated this way. Since it does not seem that couples therapy has been helpful and I doubt that it would be since he appears to accept no responsibility for any of the problems in the relationship, you may want to consider individual therapy in order to get some support for yourself, build up your self esteem, help you to set boundaries and stop enabling this man to have a relatively free ride. Most areas have counseling centers that offer treatment on a sliding scale so that this may be more affordable for you. Remember that no one deserves to be abused and that includes you. You may find the following website helpful:


In the meantime, be sure to take care of yourself through healthy eating, exercise, rest and reaching out to supportive people in your life. You may wish to contact legal aid to explore what options you have for evicting him from your home whenever you decide that you are ready to take this step. I hope this is helpful.


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