The modern conundrum? My Mum can't stand it and doesn't think much of my BIL. I really don't know him that well but I must admit I don't have a very high opinion of him. Not because he's not earning, but because he spends my sister's money like there are no problems.
My sister got married a year ago. She is 29, a fairly senior hospital doctor and earning a very decent wage. He is also 29 and was an engineer and also earning a decent wage. They had been in a long distance relationship for 2 years (due to work commitments) and shortly before proposing to her he decided he wanted a career change and applied to medical school to be a doctor like her. She didn't know he was about to propose but did see a future with him and tried to advise him against it because she knew how hard it would be and how long it would take and that it would affect their family plans with him not earning and studying long hours and her working crazy shifts to support them. She also didn't want to be so much more senior to him and have the possibility he may do placements in her department and she'd have to be his boss.
He applied anyway and was accepted to a medical school near my sister so they would no longer be long distance. I don't have a problem with this if it's his vocation. What I do have a problem with is that he proposed shortly after, knowing that he had no job, and wouldn't have one for 5 years.
My sister accepted and they were engaged for a year. During this time he started medical school and lived in a student house near my sis because they do not believe in living together before marriage and he 'wanted to get to know his fellow students and experience student life'.
During the year they were engaged my sister was in the process of buying a house, which my parents were helping her with. He got very involved in the process, even emailing my parents directly with more expensive properties suggesting they help a bit more and go over their budget. Eventually a smaller house was settled on and my sister and my parents put down a large deposit. They then started to shop for furniture. My sis obviously wanted him to be involved as he would soon be moving in, but he pressed her to spend more and more money. She would have got everything from IKEA if she had a choice but he pushed for 'proper' furniture because it was their marital home and he wanted it to be nice. She paid for everything and to came to much much more than she wanted to pay. She would rather have built up their possessions but he wanted everything now.
The wedding - my parents paid for the majority, as the parents of the bride. His parents gave the couple £5000 towards it, but they used it for things on the house and their honeymoon, my parents didn't see a penny. He then asked my parents if they would pay for his and the groomsmen's suits, transport to the church and a nice car for him to hire to drive my sister away in. My parents put their foot down and I strongly agree. Maybe I'm old fashioned but he wasn't bringing anything to the marriage, the least he could do is get himself to the church and buy his own suit. If you can't afford 6 groomsmen then don't have them!
It's now been a year since the wedding. While he has enough money of his own to pay his tuition for medical school, my sister is supporting him for everything else. Essentially her salary has been halved. Now, I think in marriage you have agreed that you are a team and that 'what's mine is yours, what's your's is mine' kind of thing. But I still think he's taking it too far.
He wants them to live a lifestyle they just can't afford until he is working as well. He kept on about skiing holidays but my sis put her foot down. Then he wanted them to travel around the USA, again, she said no, they could holiday in europe much cheaper. He also pushes her to hang out with his student friends, but they are nearly 10 years younger than him and she finds it tiring and boring because they are all medical students and so far behind her in the job that she gets frustrated and has nothing in common with them.
They have just been in India for a wedding of his cousin who works out there and is marrying a local girl. My sister has paid for the flights and their accomodation at a 5 star hotel where all his family were staying. The family were all staying there for 10 days for a relaxing holiday, which is what my sis wanted to do as well, despite the cost (she dipped into savings), as she works such long hours she just wanted a break. however he wanted to see more of India and booked them onto a 5 day tour of the main cities and sights in the region. However he got the dates wrong, so they arrived in Delhi for the tour 24 hours early. My sister burst into tears because she was so tired and they'd left the lovely hotel and arrived at the budget tour one with no rooms! Luckily they found somewhere else to stay for the night and joined the tour the next day.
However, the other part of his arrangement was that she flew home alone yesterday as she could only get 2 weeks off work, while he stayed behind, flying to Nepal to do some trekking. Again at her expense. I, and my family, really think that if your wife has to return home for work after two weeks, then you return with her, you don't go off on a jolly by yourself and say 'see ya'.
My sister is very loyal and believes in marriage so she would never say anything to us. But I do know she is very frustrated sometimes and she's keen to have a family but can't until he has graduated and found a job.
She also drives a car that's a bit of an old banger but she loves it. However he is pushing her to get something new because he says it doesn't look good or fit her persona as a doctor! He has a little Golf that his parents helped him buy.
I feel like he just doesn't understand his role as a husband? He doesn't feel the need to provide or support her. He treats her like a housewife, not helping with any chores, while she also works long hours.
For 6 months of this first year of marriage she also had to work in a hospital 4 hours away, living in doctor's accommodation. She travelled home whenever she could, but it was often every 10 to 14 days. He only visited her once, preferring to spend time with his friends, saying she only had a single bed there and it wasn't comfortable. She would arrive home late in the evening for a 2 day visit and find no food in the fridge and him out with friends. The one time he did go and visit her, he said to my Mum - "I had forgotten how much fun Emily is" we had a really nice weekend. She is HIS WIFE!!!!!!
My Mum gets really angry an my Dad thinks he doesn't treat her right and sometimes I have to play the peacemaker when my Mum goes on a rant to me on the phone.
I couldn't be married to him, I wouldn't respect him enough, but my sister seems happy aside from the financial and spending time together issues. They do seem very in love. I just think he doesn't understand what it means to be a husband. He never makes her his priority. If she's coming home for the weekend she has to fit in with his plans - e.g. go to the pub with his friends, go to a bbq or the cinema with his friends, go to lunch. She's very social but it seems odd he never wants her to himself? Mind you, their relationship has always been like that.
Addition: I'm not married myself, but I feel very strongly that I would want to still be independent in my finances to an extent. I wouldn't feel comfortable relying completely on someone else or spending someone else's money. Most of my friends have joint bank accounts for household expensesnand then retain a portion in their own accounts for whatever they want to buy themselves.
I'd be interested in other people's opinions, especially anyone who's been in this position?