She's the Breadwinner, He's Not Happy

Dear Ms. Demeanor:

I make more money than my husband does, and I even recently received another raise. But I didn't tell him about my raise for two reasons (neither of which is so I can use the money selfishly): The first reason is that I want to save some money and he's more of a spender. Secondly, sometimes he acts insecure about making less money. Additionally, he's not happy with his career right now, and he's trying to change it; I don't want to add more pressure on that front.

I keep telling myself it's okay to withhold the information about my raise, but somehow I still feel like I'm being dishonest. Do other couples tell each other exactly how much each earns and when they get a raise? Please give me some advice.



Dear Nicole:

There's no cookie-cutter answer here. Every marriage is different. All I can tell you is that you certainly have nothing to be embarrassed about. It seems like you are totally committed to your marriage and are simply being prudent. The truth is, I think it strengthens a relationship when both parties have a bit of financial freedom. Of course, it would be different if some emergency arose and you denied having any funds to help. It doesn't sound like that's where your head or heart are, though.

If it will make you feel any better, I can tell you that my husband and I keep separate finances. There's no hiding anything. There isn't a driving need to report on every penny, though, either. For us, it's more a matter of one person (me) being self-employed and the other having a "real" job. One of us has consistency; the other lives a roller-coaster life. Still, neither of us ever makes a decision without asking ourselves, "Is this to the greater good of our marriage?"

Perhaps you could take a look at your husband's own dissatisfaction and play a more active role in helping him sort out solutions. That's a gift money can't buy.

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