and they have a special going for $100/month, unlimited talk text and data for 4 lines. That is something concrete which will buy you breathing room.

Cable/internet/landline. If you have an unlimited talk/text you might not need a landline. Scary, but it’s not so bad once you take the plunge. $260 is really high, IMO. Even with all three, you likely could trim that back to a $100 a month plan (basic cable, decent internet, landline.) Check competitors.

The rest of what I’m going to say will likely not sit well with the group. My comments come from a place of Been There, Done That, and sometimes Still Doing It. Apologies in advance.

1. You CAN get out of debt on your own. Sure it would be nice to have your partner along for the ride, but in the real world sometimes that doesn’t happen. And waiting for it to happen isn’t going to get you out of debt. Continue taking back your power.

2. You are doing a great job keeping your emotional head above water. I GET why your Cable/Internet/Landline is so high: it’s ONE LESS THING your family can bitch to you about. I get it, I understand it, and I even support the “old you” in doing it.

But I am going to suggest that the things you did to mollify and keep the peace aren’t working for you anymore.

3. You cannot change your husband. But you CAN influence your children. Get them involved in a budget meeting. Give them power in having a say in how (your) money is spent. It creates buy in, cooperation and most importantly, creates a new family tree for them.

4. IF YOU HAVE A JOINT ACCOUNT, CLOSE IT NOW and put ALL YOUR MONEY into a separate, solely owned and accessed by YOU account. Hopefully you have already done this as part of taking back your power. You cannot control what he contributes, but you CAN control what he TAKES.

5. You have likely already decided that the emotional and hassle cost of getting a divorce is higher than the cost of letting things go on. I’m not going to tell you that is right or wrong, but I will suggest that you start looking in to Co-Dependents Anonymous (CODA) meetings.

When I led coping skills workshops for battered women, I would always make someone come up to the front of the group and ask them to (gently) push me in the shoulder and keep doing it no matter what. They’d push for a little while, then I’d say things like “stop, don’t do that, yada yada.” They’d stop and I’d direct them to keep going, they were supposed to keep pushing no matter what.

So they’d resume.

Then I would step to the side. They’d stop. I said, NO, keep pushing in the same spot just like you’ve been doing. They would look confused because now I was out of range. I’d say, go on, keep pushing, same spot.

It only took a few more seconds for them to realize the important life lesson: IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON TO CHANGE THE DYNAMIC. When you change YOU, by default you force the other person to change too.

(at least as it pertains to your relationship with them.)