Confused

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2008
Confused
22
Mon, 01-11-2010 - 12:49pm

I have never posted on this board before & I just want to thank those who respond in advance. Thank you!


Some history on my husband and I. We will be together for 6 years on Feb 14 of this year and we will have been married a year on May 31 of this year. He is a police officer and a great guy, but like all of us has some personality flaws, that I knew about and accepted before we were married.


Well, it seems now that we are married he has become increasingly paranoid about his money. We still have our own seperate accounts and one joint account that was started from our wedding gifts.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
In reply to: at6214
Mon, 01-11-2010 - 11:06pm
I never ask him for money unless I am just all out.



Can I ask why? it seems he has no sense of the magnitude of the problem, and this could be why. What about asking him for 1/2 of everything you buy "for the family"? Or if he out earns you, maybe 60% or 70% or whatever portion of income he earns compared to yours? I don't think you are going to get around this without having a heart-to-heart about money, and come up with a shared plan for how to handle family purchases. If you don't think the household expenses should mostly fall to you, then don't accept that as the default. Not asking him to pitch in until you are "all out," or whittling it away out of his drawer while ignoring the giant elephant in the room, isn't going to serve you well.



The next morning, still fuming mad, I told him I was sorry for not telling him when I took it, trying to be the bigger person.



This struck me as odd. You are fuming, but you present something completely different to him under the guise that it makes you the bigger person. Did you do it to avoid a fight? Did you do it because he would not handle you fuming very well? Because he's totally clueless about the magnitude of the problem and the amount of resentment you are accumulating? All three?



The consistent thing I see throughout your post is you both being less than honest with each other about your opinions and feelings, which I am sure is contributing to the negative undercurrent you are both feeling. If you are feeling one way and speaking as though you feel another, the person you are speaking to is going to sense something is not right but be completely unable to pinpoint it, or do anything about it. It really sets the tone for a big blow up, because you can't push those kinds of feelings down and expect them to stay there. He may sense a blow up is coming, and either antagonize to push it along, or be walking on eggshells not knowing when to expect it. It's hard to know from your post but it looks like there is a ripple effect to hiding your true feelings.



His comments about not getting married again when you are newlyweds is concerning, as his sarcasm and his refusal to try counseling, but I think you have to start at square one. Let him know there is a big, major problem and that is that you are taking on the brunt of household expenses while earning a very small portion of the household income. You don't have to blame, accuse, show anger, etc., but you do need to be honest about the situation and how you feel about it. Use "I" statements as much as possible and avoid "you" statements. Enlist his help to problem solve and be an equal contributor to "the plan" of how finances should be handled. Tell him honestly, if you are or are not okay with his ideas and tell him what you think is fair. Ask him, honestly, to share what he thinks is fair.



If his response to all that is that you really should be paying all the bills, that he doesn't care how you feel, and that he doesn't see any of this as a problem, then your fears about the future are completely founded and I'd be worried too. If he has a more reasonable response, even if he needs to take a few days to think about it and comes back with a more reasonable response, then there is more hope. I'd put something together for say the last 30 days, and show him very simply you earned XX% of the income while paying XX% of the household bills, while his percentages are exactly flipped. Just a few numbers to pain the picture for him so he'll see it's a problem (eta: this in no way suggests you have to corner or lecture him, that's not an approach anyone would recommend, but sometimes seeing it in black and white makes it easier to digest, and could allow you to be less accusatory and more matter-of-fact about the problem). See how that goes, then figure out next steps from there. Maybe if you can get to the point where he sees there's a problem too, he'll be more willing to at least discuss the option of counseling.

"The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances." - Viktor Frankl.



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Edited 1/12/2010 8:53 am ET by harmony08
"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 2:14am
Welcome to the board, At6214 ~

A couple quick questions: * Did you live together before you got married? If so, is this how it went - with you taking care of everything and paying half despite the fact that you make much less than half?
*Were you able to talk about and resolve problems together before you got married?
* How old are each of you?

Obviously, the way your household is being run is incredibly unfair. I think part of the problem may be that there's nothing going on that commands respect for you. Everything you illustrated that happens sends him the message that you aren't worthy of respect; you're not a partner or an equal, you're the one who does all the work. Everything sends the message that he's superior and entitled. In other words, by accepting this unfair and unequal situation, you're reinforcing your lower position. Right now, he's got you paying the bills, leaving him plenty of money for toys, you're doing all the housework and shopping AND you're taking care of (and footing the bill for) his son. This relationship has him able to act like a single guy, no responsibility, "mom" taking care of home and him able to run off and do whatever he wants.

Sure, he works odd hours; and probably gets called in unexpectedly too; a lot of people do. That doesn't mean he's not able to do his fair share around the house, it just means some of the things that are on his chore list may have to wait until he's home to do them. No biggie. Why haven't you discussed the separate accounts and the smaller of the two scrambling to make ends meet? It seems like you're afraid to seem like you're afraid to appear to be trying to get at his money? If so, you need to stop thinking like a single girl trying to show a guy you're not trying to get into his pocket and start thinking like half of a partnership who's trying to run the household in a way that makes sense and is fair to all. Honestly, it seems like you're a little afraid to talk to him. Are you? If so, why? If this set up and his behavior are complete opposite of how things have gone in th past, you absolutely need to be asking him some hard questions - now. What's going on? Why are you acting like this? What's happening with you? Drastic changes can't be dealt with by soft pedaling. They demand attention and answers or they get worse.

He may say no to a therapist, but that doesn't mean you can't go on your own -- and you should. There's plenty you can learn that will have a positive effect on your relationship, how to talk to him in a way that will help get positive results, will help you figure out what you'll accept for your life and what you won't and more. A few links that may help you get started in finding a good therapist for yourself:

Find a Therapist




Marriage and Family Therapist Locator

I understand that not everybody has the same approach to dealing with problems. I'm like you, I want to solve them now, but there are others who need time to process the situation and their needs need to be respected too. However, your guy isn't taking time to process, he's using his need for time as an excuse to avoid talking about it at all. That's not the same thing and shouldn't be tolerated. I wouldn't recommend cornering him at the end of the month with your receipts and lists and expecting him to sit down and discuss things with you; he will absolutely feel cornered, be defensive and nothing positive will come out of the "talk" (lecture). A much better way to go about it is to wait until a time when things are good between you, when nobody's angry about anything and there are smiles and good times all around. Then tell him you're really concerned about the problems that aren't being addressed and are building, tell him you're concerned about the effect they'll have on your relationship long term. Wait for his reply. If he suggests talking about it "later", agree, but ask him to set a time within the next 24 hours. That allows him to pick a time that's convenient for him, he knows it's coming so he's not being blind sided; you'll each go into this talk knowing it's coming and what the topics are. You need to also have a plan for his son to be elsewhere; you need to have uninterrupted time to talk. When you talk, you can have your receipts somewhere (a drawer, for instance), but if you come to the meeting with them in hand, it's going to look like you're there for the kill. You may not need them, he may agree to a fair resolution without them. If he insists the current way of handling things is fair, you already know he's not looking for partnership or equality, he's looking to keep playing. You're his wife, not someone looking for a sugardaddy to pay her way; you shouldn't have to justify any of this with receipts, and if he questions you, solve it by suggesting he pay for everything with his account; after all, if he has more money than you it should be easy and he should still have money left over, right? Honestly, a little dose of reality with paying the bills and going to the grocery store and finding out just what it totals up to there would be the very best thing for him. He'd learn reality but fast.

Some therapist-recommended articles on constructive arguing to help you with your talk:

Ten Rules For Fair Fighting
Verbal Fencing With Someone You Love

Dos and Don'ts For Fair Fighting
Conflicts - Points to Remember
Managing Anger, Conflict & Tension

I would really urge you to find a therapist to work with on your own as well though.










"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown


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"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2008
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 9:26am

This is to harmony08 and cl-2ndlife.


I am 32 & he is 37. We have been living together for more than 5 of those 6 years we have been together. We have always had bills I pd and bills he pd, him paying the brunt.


The advice I just received from you and cl-2nd life have been extremely eye opening and more helpful than any advice I have received in a long time.


I never thought of the asking him for money thing until I'm gone like you did. Your right, I am footing alot of bills and not asking for anything til it's too late. I feel like I'm being a burden by asking him. Since he pays all of the big bills, oil, taxes our car insurance's, phone bill, interntet, electric and any big things that come up, I didn't want to sound like a money hungry woman, there is also some guilt about me not making alot money. I hate that I have a low paying job right now, I can work my way up but it will take time. I want him to

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 9:38am

That sounds awesome! Good for you, both of you! So here's the lesson: even if you've lived with someone for 5 years, sometimes things are different when you get married. We pick the people we marry for a reason, and part of that reason *often* is that we need to work through our own stuff and we pick someone who is a good candidate for playing off our own stuff (sometimes it plays out in healthy ways, sometimes unhealthy ways). Sometimes that process doesn't start until we've tied the knot, or a year after, for whatever reason I am not sure.

So that stuff about feeling bad you earn less, not wanting to be a burden asking for money, how you feel about him already paying certain big bills so you should pick up the slack - those are your insecurities and "your stuff." It always seems to work out, for whatever reason, that our long-term partners have their own "stuff" that plays really well off our stuff. So you work your way into feeling bad and that leads to certain behavior that leads to resentment, he knows something is coming so he pushes buttons which causes more anger, he shuts down, you feel bad, and so on and so forth. Part of that is his stuff, part of it is your stuff, the bulk is how your stuff interacts. If you were to write down the "steps" or stages you went through with this issue, you'd probably be able to find other disagreements that followed a very similar pattern. Then you add poor communication onto that and problems became hard to resolve. What you demonstrated last night, was a way of letting down YOUR guard, being open and honest, and no surprise he let down his guard, and was more open and honest. It's good to know that works. It's a good sign for your marriage.

The difficulty can sometimes be that the pattern you most often experience is comfortable, even if unhealthy, and easy to slip back into. When you recognize the pattern you can find better ways to respond to the pattern. Keep in mind what worked last night, in terms of communication, and that may be the key to a healthier, happier relationship.

That and counseling. A good marriage therapist can really help you identify patterns and come up with better ways of coping, relating, and communicating so that your "stuff" gets resolved in healthy ways rather than unhealthy ways.

"The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances." - Viktor Frankl.



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Ten Rules for Being Human
"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2008
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 12:40pm

As I sit here reading what you've wrote, it's kind of like, How did I not realize that? Or why didn't I do that?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 3:17pm

It's not always obvious unless you really think about it. That's one of the reason therapy can be so helpful, the therapist can often see things you can't see, but once pointed out to you will make perfect sense and be really helpful. Plus they are trained to see things and know how to deal with things in relationships a little more than the average person on the street :)

Your example about your dh's feelings about money is a *perfect* example of our "stuff" getting in our way. His fears have nothing to do with you, but from his perspective they are perfectly rational fears, accurately based on his experience. But now he's married to you, you don't share those same exact experience or fears, so his reaction to his fears can cause a problem in your relationship. They might even become irrational fears in the context of a relationship with you. Talking about them can help a lot. You get to understand where he's coming from, what he's afraid of, and why. He gets support and encouragement, and a big 'ol reminder that you aren't his parents, plus possibly a plan that gives him some assurance his fears won't come true.

I totally get what you mean about him not wanting to talk right away. My dh is like that, he needs time to process. We don't fight much, but I can think of one time we had a big fight out of nowhere, a really big miscommunication and we both "reacted" to the situation badly. I wanted/needed to talk right away, he needed to go do something else. I felt completely abandoned - no surprise since feeling abandoned is one of my biggest issues. Later when we talked I felt better, but I told him that his need to create space is going to trigger my fear of being abandoned and we needed some sort of middle ground. What we came up with is that when he needs space, he needs to remind me that it's about a little bit of time to collect himself and think, and lay that out there and assure me he'll be back to talk about it soon. Then I can deal with the "waiting" because I know what it's about, and it's not triggering my stuff. One of his big triggers is the phrase, "we need to talk." For him, bad things usually follow that phrase, and it's like nails on a chalkboard to him. So because that can be a barrier to us communicating, I avoid that phrase. Those are just two ways we try not to trigger each others stuff, so it doesn't get in the way. We only know to do that because we know ourselves, and tell the other person what we know about ourselves.

One thing you can do if the coming months are going to be stressful is not only have a plan in place and both regularly check in on how expenses are matching up with the budget, but also up the communication. Agree there will be times you set aside to share whether you are feeling worried, stressed, scared, freaked, angry, fearful, or whatever about the additional money being spent or how the addition is turning out. If you have it in you to be supportive of each other, laying the real feelings out on the table now and then will help you connect and make your marriage stronger, rather than become the ripple effect that increases and possibly leads you to realize your worst fears.

"The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances." - Viktor Frankl.



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Ten Rules for Being Human
"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 3:59pm

I have a suggestion that might help resolve the money issue, although you may have already considered and discounted it.

Is there a reason why you can't have both salaries paid into the joint account, pay all your bills and then share the money that's left over?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2008
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 6:36pm

I feel exactly the same way you do when your husband doesn't want to talk right away, I was just never able to explain it. I do feel abandoned, like he's dumping me out on the curb, makes me feel like I don't matter because he is a little upset.


I get mad because he needs time to process what

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2008
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 6:42pm

Hi enlishrose1979,


I wish it were that simple with my husband. I think when he realizes that I am not going to spend his money and make him broke, he may come around to that idea. This is all new to him and me, we never shared an account until we had one from our wedding gifts.


I think he just needs to realize that marriage doesn't mean he will go broke and that he will lose his individuality just because his wife needs help with money. I think if we can get on the same page and he can understand that I am his partner, he will relax. Right now he acts like I am someone he just arrested and is trying to live with. Stupid I know, but if you knew him you would totally get it. Thanks for your input though, all of this feedback is great. Gives me a look into others people's lives.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
In reply to: at6214
Tue, 01-12-2010 - 10:27pm

Do you know where your abandonment feelings come from? What past experience? For me it's anxiety too, and just an overall panic, worthless, crappy feeling. The good news is that you can work on it, find ways to reassure yourself and ASK for what you need from him. That is the hard part when you have self worth issues, you don't feel deserving of whatever you need, so you have a hard time asking for it. That's me anyway. I've had to work very hard to get good at asking for what I want clearly, in a way that can be heard, and before I get mad/resentful. If you can learn to do that, and you have a partner who is capable of being loving and supportive, you'll be in great shape relationship-wise.

When you say he worries about the future and you worry about the present - I think that sounds like a relationship strength. Your strength is one thing, his is the other, and BOTH are important. You just need to balance them - as a team - while not letting your "stuff" get in the way. It seems daunting but like anything you practice and you get better. Riding the bike after you learn is never as hard as it was before you learned.

It's also good to remember we all have rational fears, and we all have irrational fears. Our irrational fears make sense given our histories. So for me, being afraid of abandonment makes perfect sense because as a child that is how I felt, and it was hard and scary, and so it's how I'm built. It makes sense, though in my adult life it is irrational. I can't get rid of it, but I can stop myself, recognize that oh yeah that's my irrational childhood fear taking over, let me think before I react - or - let me think about it after the fact how that could have gone differently, and take a minute to explain it to my dh because my irrational fears won't make any sense to him (he doesn't have my past experiences, so him what "makes sense" to me probably looks very confusing to him).

I haven't been married long, just over three years. It's my second marriage. I've had lots of therapy though, and learned a lot from my mistakes. It's funny though because the more I learn about this stuff the more I can see how the "stuff" can be so insidious. For example, my dh has a very critical mother, and that is one of his issues. In our relationship, I have found myself being more critical than I feel I have been in the past. It's in my nature but something about his way of being brings that out in me. I think it's so he can face a critical person and re-experience it in a more healthy way. I have a mother who is fairly judgmental (though loving and caring and a wonderful mother overall). My dh is very judgmental of certain things. My therapist helped me see long ago that I'm really drawn to judgmental people. My best friend for example, is judgmental. It's my issue, and so I subconsciously go around picking to get close to people who reflect back to me something I'm seeking to work on. It's kind of funny when you think about it, how we can be so driven by something so fundamental to our being and not even really know it about ourselves. And even weirder, how we can be picked and how that can impact our own behavior in a way that works with their "stuff."

Here is a link you might find interesting: http://www.psychotherapy.net/interview/John_Gottman

It's an interview with a psychologist who is a couples therapist, researcher and a professor. Read what he has to say about couples solving problems and the soccer ball analogy, and the parts about his own marriage. Some of it is talking about research and therapist approaches, but near the end there is a second on what happy marriages are made of, that is also interesting.

"The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances." - Viktor Frankl.



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Ten Rules for Being Human
"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

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