Working hard not to divorce! Please help.

One of my main purposes in life is to be able to decide what is important to me, and follow my own priorities. Freedom and abundance are mostly a matter of being able to spend my time on what matters most. So early on I decided I would save and invest, so that I would not live as my parents selling my time for money in a rat race towards achieving social status, leaving a broken family behind, enslaved by debt. So as I became an adult, having a wide and ample margin of savings and investments has been a permanent goal, which I have achieved up to a certain point by working hard to get money, then working hard not to spend it and working hard to invest it well. That is why I believe I dont need a budget. IDNNAB.

 

My wife on the other hand also came from a broken family where her mom was a stingy saver, who had all the time in the world for the family. She grew seeing how she never let her have all the cool things her friends could do and have, such as nice clothes, vacations, toys, etc. 

 

Now that I am a father spending time with my Kids is priority. Not making money. My wife on the other hand is focused mostly on achieving status and wants to have a high level of spending. She is a partner at a very prestigious law firm. The problem is she is spending much more than her income, and is never taking into account her "true expenses". And wants to have a bigger car, nicer furniture, etc. So MWNAB, my wife needs a budget. But she wont do it. In fact if I try to do it for her, she will routinely hide her finances from me. 

 

So this ends up in me taking money I had saved for our retirement savings and paying for "true expenses", paying for her loans or credit card, and making our capital decrease. This has reached a worrying limit. 

 

I feel horribly because her goals are things like buying a bigger car, and buying a country house, and buying furniture, hiring more service to take care of the kids and our apartment. And my goals are to quit my current job as a business owner (hire a manager), spend more time with the kids and family and start another company. So I feel her goals are opposite to mine. I feel (and she has said this) she wants me to have a bigger salary so we can spend more. She wants to buy expensive clothes for the kids, take them on expensive vacations, and pay for expensive sports equipment for them. Also give expensive gifts to everybody, she is very generous, which I love about her. 

 

She resents me not bringing a higher monthly revenue for home spending. 

 

So what I am doing is to calculate our "to be budgeted" amount of money, and talk her into telling me where she wants to spend it (the macro things, so as not to make her feel managed or audited on small things) and hope this will help us start to have a common ground to plan for joint goals. This has not been the case though. So I am quite frustrated.  

 

I would really appreciate your comments and suggestions. 

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  • Honest advice: you both should see a relationship counselor. You trying to just take control away from your wife because you don't agree with her goals is not a long term solution. You've already seen the result of that, she will just start hiding finances if she feels like you are trying to take her agency away, and probably start to become even more resentful and defensive about money. You have different goals, and the only way forward is through compromise.

    I suggest a counselor because for both of you this is going to be a touchy subject. From what you describe your wife may need to rethink some priorities (especially since it is leading to overspending), but the same can probably be said for you too. Compromise is a two-way street, and my first impression is that you aren't too keen on shifting your goals any more than she is. A neutral third party can really help you both shed some of the ego and remind you that you are both supposed to be in this together.

    Other than that, honest and open communication is really key, and the delivery of a message is sometimes more important than the message itself. Sit down and talk, and just listen. Set a specific time to have this conversation without distractions. Do not try to fix anything at first. Listen and understand where she is coming from, and speak honestly about what you want too so she can listen to you. Do not try to rocket forward with solutions and fixes until you can both decide on a path together.

    Reply Like 5
    • Tobias Hi, thanks! Thats good, we have tried relationship counceling in the past with no success. We are starting a new process that seems to be having better results. The therapist has his agenda super full, so I hope we can see him again soon. I feel we are having a tough power struggle, where she wont move an inch, and I am going well beyond my stress point in terms of our financial margin of safety.

      Reply Like
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Tan Yearling That is so hard. I really wish you all the best. Relationships are hard, and money definitely makes them harder sometimes.

      Reply Like 2
  • It sounds like you've got a challenge on your hands! I feel for you and sympathies in some regards as I am a complete YNAB geek and my wife to be couldn't care less. luckily, if she has £100, she will only spend £100.

    One of the things I have found works for us is that we get paid monthly, so ALL the bills come out at the start of the month, whats left after this is money that can be spent elsewhere. but obviously we take into account rolling costs e.g. Fuel, Groceries.

    I feel your wife wants her kids to have a better upbringing than she had. She may feel insecure on some level that she may have resemblances to her own mothers ways and is trying to steer clear of that.  Where as you, likewise are trying to do similar yourself and spend more time with family.

    Try and focus on the positive influences your parents left on you rather than the negative ones.  But like already mentioned I'd see a relationship councilor to see if you can reconcile your ways :)  

    "You only get one life" "can't take money with you when you die" etc etc. you've both got to find a balance.

    Reply Like 1
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view
      Grievesy said:
      I feel your wife wants her kids to have a better upbringing than she had. She may feel insecure on some level that she may have resemblances to her own mothers ways and is trying to steer clear of that.  Where as you, likewise are trying to do similar yourself and spend more time with family.

       Tan Yearling This is what I was trying to say but couldn't really articulate well. It's like you're both coming from the same place, but opposite, which will definitely make things more complicated without help untangling the mess of emotions bound to be involved in it.

      Reply Like
    • Grievesy Hi. Thanks a lot for your message. I will try to look at all the positive influences both our parents have left us, that is great. I pride myself nevertheless in always learning vicariously from other people´s mistakes, that is a big gift too if you think about it. Leaving apart all resentment, and all emotional garbage, I love to learn from other people´s mistakes. Forgive and learn. Great tip on paying at the beginning of the month, and try to keep whats left for saving and paying debt. Regarding "not taking money with you when you die", I in fact do think the way I manage money is in fact a measure of how well I am living, and how much I am "accumulating" good deeds. I believe in the spiritual law where you reap what you sow. So using money responsibly is in fact something I do believe I will be accountable for eternally. Of course the economic part is not the most important one, but using money responsibly can do a lot of good, and spending it mindlessly can have very bad effects for me and for others. I do not think money is made for spending it, and I believe in investing responsibly.

      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 4 mths ago
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      Tan Yearling What else is money made for if not for spending it? You can't eat it, you can't use it to keep your family dry in the rain. It's only good for what it can get you. I am very much in favor of saving money, but saving is just delayed spending.  You have to be saving for something. Otherwise, you're just a miser sitting on their dragon hoard.

      Reply Like 1
    • bevocat 

      Reply Like
    • bevocat for me money is like a  really tasty seed I can eat, or I can plant. If I plant it and take care of it, it becomes a beautiful tree that brings benefits to many human beings. On the other hand, I see money as energy, that is not created or destroyed but only flows around. The way individuals make it Flow around makes all the difference for a society. Technically, 

      Key Functions of Money

      1. Medium of exchange: money allows goods and services to be traded without the need for a barter system. Barter systems rely on there being a double coincidence of wants between the two people involved in an exchange
      2. Store of value: this can refer to any asset whose “value” can be used now or used in the future i.e. its value can be retrieved at a later date. This means that people can save now to fund spending at a later date.
      3. Unit of account: this refers to anything that allows the value of something to be expressed in an understandable way, and in a way that allows the value of items to be compared.
      4. Standard of deferred payment: this refers to the expressing of the value of a debt i.e. if people borrow today, then they can pay back their loan in the future in a way that is acceptable to the person who made the loan.
      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tan Yearling Okay, so you don't want to save just for the sake of saving. Like I said, the money needs a purpose.

      Reply Like
  • Tan Yearling said:
    That is why I believe I dont need a budget. IDNNAB.

     Budgets aren't only for people who are in debt or are extreme spenders. A YNAB budget isn't a budget in a traditional sense. It's more of a spending plan. It is a visual representation of your values and priorities. I don't carry consumer debt, I save aggressively for retirement, and I live well below my means. YNAB helps me be mindful and think through my purchases. I rarely, if ever, go without, but I am better able to assess how much I want A relative to B (where A could be anything from dinner out because I don't feel like cooking to a new laptop and B could be a nice summer vacation to a bit more to my taxable investing). Everyone is constantly making decisions about their funds regardless of whether the funds are plentiful or scarce.

    Reply Like 5
    • jenmas Thanks! But why doing the double trouble of writing out exactly how I will spend, and then spending. Isnt it much more efficient to just spend responsibly and not overspend, and save all that time and effort it takes to budget?

      Reply Like
      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
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      Tan Yearling "what is spending responsibly?", "how do I have fun & save for the future", "how to balance both spouse's priorities" are all questions that a YNAB budget can answer!

      It sounds like financially you are in a position being able to have pretty much anything you want, but not everything all at once, and you & your wife want different things. I would think that working out your priorities together would be important for both of you for your relationship, & this is the best tool I know for financial priorities.

      Good luck! I hope you are able to communicate why this is important to you & the relationship & (hopefully) wind up stronger.

      Reply Like 3
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 4 mths ago
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      Tan Yearling  That is an overly reductionist way of looking at things. For that matter, why bother going to the doctor for an annual check up when I can just do what I think is healthy? If I look good, I must be in good health.

      Having a spending plan to guide you is an explicit example of responsibility. As bevocat stated, money is for spending. Now and in the future. I'm not going to put off enjoying my life today for a mythical future when I could could get hit by a bus on my way home from my retirement party. So I plan in order to ensure that I'm not cheating today to fund a tomorrow that I am not promised. If you're a straight up billionaire, yeah, maybe you don't need a budget, but other than that. . .

      Reply Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 mths ago
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      Tan Yearling  One word: Optimize. By planning your spending you can optimize your savings and get absolute control of every penny you earn.

      Reply Like 3
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 4 mths ago
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      Superbone Exactly! Tan Yearling , you want to be a good steward and make the most of your money; if you're not budgeting, you're not doing that. I kind of think the fact that you say you don't need one but your wife does implies your underlying assumption that a budget is about deprivation and control. It's actually about prioritizing and freedom.

      Reply Like 3
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
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      Tan Yearling 

      If you can get your wife to sit down with you, writing it out could be one way that you can maybe come to some compromises.  But I think you'll probably need to do a heck of a lot of therapy to get to that point.

      I would suggest, in YNAB or on paper, making categories for all the things that your household is spending money on.  Not what you think you should be spending on but the reality.  if you started YNAB, you could track exactly the expenses and exactly how much debt you are accruing.  With YNAB, if your wife and you are willing to sit down and discuss like adults, not bullies or beggars, you could both set some priorities and compromises using the reality of your joint income as a baseline.  She needs to be willing to stop spending like money grows on trees and accept the reality of your actual income and your actual debts and your actual expenses.  You need to stop thinking that everything she wants and does is frivolous.  You both will need to stop being defensive of your wants.  

      I'd suggest that if she's willing to listen to track actual expenses for 3-4 months along with actual income.  Without expressing judgement on the numbers, just fact.  Or if you have the receipts and the data, go back and actually list them out say from the start of the year.  

      I'd suggest that you need to both go over the expenses and both of you decide independently which are needs and which are wants.  On the things you both feel are needs, you can both put down numbers of what each thinks that need should cost.  Maybe day care/summer camps you both feel is a need.  Chichi sleepaway camps vs. YMCA day camp - there's a lot of room in between.  You could both prioritize how important the needs are to each of you, so you can come to a joint decision on which end of the scale you'll fall on for each need.  Maybe you both feel that landscaping is a need but not a want and that maybe hiring a handy person to mow every week and decrease the amount you pay for other services or set a limit on what you're both willing to pay.  If your budget is $4000 a year, you need to subtract the cost of the mowing then decide what is a priority with what is less.  Can you hire teenagers to spread mulch?  Is new drainage more important than new flagstones or adding lighting? 

      On the items that one of you disagrees on if it's a want or a need, perhaps you both agree that the person who says it's a need can prioritize them by importance to that person.  That will give you a list of each of your priorities.  You can start your budget knowing your joint needs and how much those are estimated to cost.  You need a roof, you need maintenance on your home and vehicles, you need health care, you need basic clothing.  For things like clothes, see if you can figure out how much maintaining a reasonable wardrobe for each of your professions is.  Not high end everything.  If she wants to spend twice that on clothes each year, where in her wants is she willing to cut?  If she feels the wardrobe is that important, that the expensive vacation is important, figure out at each of the priorities are going to cost.  If you want to hire a manager and pay down debt, you need to figure out how much you need to do that. 

      Everything want not achievable.  But she needs to be willing to be open with her finances, and you both need to be willing to compromise.  You don't think you need new furniture, she does.  The reality is that furniture does wear out so saying "NO" to any new furniture is probably not reasonable.  So maybe you budget $200 a month towards new furniture or whatever - a number that is probably more than you want to spend but less than she wants.  She can get some of new furniture she wants just not right now.  You could agree that if she sells the old furniture, she gets to add that to the furniture fund kitty.  She will then be able to prioritize on what she buys with the money you have both budgeted.  The idea that she doesn't get to spend any of your joint money on what she wants because you're paying down debt is not reasonable, but maybe she can agree that 10% of your joint income can go to paying down debt once you've both gotten to the point of not spending more than your means.

      I think however you have a lot of work to get to the point where you can sit down and talk about money.   To get to the point that you both treat one another like full partners in the marriage.  You'll need to talk about in therapy why finances are a stressor on your marriage and be willing to listen.  You both may need to learn how to listen to one another.  Perhaps you keep tracking the expenses while you're doing therapy.  But you both need to be willing to commit to therapy otherwise the wheels are going to come off your marriage.  A marriage is work, are you both willing to do the work?  To listen and to learn to disagree?  To learn to value one another and show that respect?  To understand where she comes from and she where you come from when it comes to feelings of security and success, love, partnership, etc?  Marriage isn't about one person coming out on top, if anyone has that view, that marriage is not stable and it's not healthy.  It's about finding common ground and supporting one another.  Bullying has no place in a relationship, not between spouses, not between friends or coworkers or classmates, not between parent and child, not between boss and employee, not in any relationship.

      Reply Like 3
    • Technicolor Cheetah Hi! I took me a while to fully read this awesome post. It is invaluable, thanks so much. You've really given me here a great roadmap to save my marriage. I love it.

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  • Hi Tan Yearling !

    I wanted to leave a link to our Join Forces Guide - there are a number of tips and suggestions on how to accommodate and consider each other when forming the budget. If a larger car is a priority for your wife, you can make a goal for it so that her wants are written into the financial plan.

    It can be hard to get a partner on board but well worth it! I wish you the best of luck! :) 

    Reply Like 1
    • Ben
    • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
    • furiousfalcon
    • 4 mths ago
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    This sounds like a priorities issue -- fixing your financial situation may not be possible unless you can both compromise on your goals to some extent. Obviously her constant spending won't work long-term, and neither will your trying to enforce a budget on her. I definitely second the counseling idea, especially discussions about how both of your upbringings have shaped how you spend and save money. 

    My wife doesn't really "get" YNAB (she grew up in a family that generally spent money based on account balances, and all the numbers make her eyes glaze over), and mostly trusts that I have our finances under control. I do like that when we make spending decisions, I don't have to play the bad guy and say "no" all the time. Instead, I can say "Sure, maybe we can do that. Our money is limited, so here are our current financial priorities and here is how we would have to change (cut savings, move money from other categories, etc.) in order to make this purchase." It immediately becomes a "what are our shared priorities and how would we we have to change" question rather than an immediate "no, we can't afford it" from me. Honestly, it sounds like you're already doing this and it hasn't really been helpful for you.

    I've found a small monthly allowance for both of us is helpful to help manage "fun", unnecessary spending... but we think similarly in how we spend money and she thankfully isn't a big spender. A monthly allowance might not be helpful in your situation if she just chooses to ignore the limits.

    Reply Like 1
    • Ben  thanks! this is awesome. Yes, we are living a very painful and harmful power struggle. I feel she does not want to yield any of her power. An allowance is not an option, she has a higher salary than me. In fact she is a partner at a high level law firm, so she acts as a bully at home and feels entitled to all the power at home. She does not listen to me, shuts me up all the time. 

      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
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      Tan Yearling Those aren't money problems; those are respect problems. A budget isn't going to fix that. Maybe it's time to tell her that she can pull together with you as part of the team or she can pay you child support so you can raise y'all's children responsibly and she can figure out how to keep up her lavish lifestyle on what's left of her high-powered lawyer money. I swear they must hand out god complexes with MD and JD diplomas. I personally have experience with a perfectly reasonable and lovely person becoming a lawyer and then becoming a lout.

      P.S. Why would an allowance not be an option just because she has a higher salary? My fiance is disabled and hardly gets any money at all and I work two jobs, yet we each get the same spending money allowance every month. That's what being a team means.

      Reply Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 4 mths ago
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      Tan Yearling 

      I currently do not work, I am the stay at home parent because our oldest is a high needs child.  I make no money.  I am however an equal partner in this relationship and my spouse and I have a lot of respect for each other.  Truth of the matter is that I am the more dominant person.  I could boss my spouse around a lot.  But that's not fair and that's not respect.  We make decisions on our money together and run stuff by each other all the time.  I perhaps get more of a say on day to day decisions because I am more in touch with our family's needs (and not wants).  We both get the same amount of fun money.  On top of that, I have budget categories for each of our hobbies.  His gets 25% more because he has more expensive hobbies, not because he makes more money.  You have bigger problems than your money problems. 

      My advice?  Make the relationship counseling a priority.  If she's not willing to budge, if she's not willing to go, and if she's not willing to compromise, you have to think about why you're staying.  Power struggles are not fun to watch as a child.  Children are sponges and they know and see more than we think.  Your kids are probably very aware of the bullying and lack of respect.  You are their first and primary relationship model.  What they see today they may end up emulating as adults.  Think about that.  

      Reply Like 1
    • Technicolor Cheetah This past saturday she really went out of control bullying the kids and me. She then regretted it and said she was sorry to the kids (not to me). We spend saturday afternoon together and talked and she committed to improve. Sunday went well. I do feel a bit like those women who get beaten by their husbands, but I am big and much stronger than her, so this is not a problem. I mostly feel psychologically affected, and for the kids this could bring them personality problems if we can't handle our differences. I do think we are on the right track, but each time we derail does a lot of damage. I also depend on her doing her part, which I really cant control or be responsible for.  Thanks a lot!

      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tan Yearling Why do you think this is not a problem? She is behaving according to the classic cycle of abuse. Do not let your children see this. They will grow up thinking this is an appropriate way to treat people, and what is worse, an acceptable way to be treated. And you have an absolute duty to your children to show them otherwise. And to protect them from abuse, which right now you are not doing. Do your job. Protect your children. Sorry to be so harsh, but I have my own reasons to be so blunt to you as the person who is not protecting your children from the abusive parent.

      No, you can't control or be responsible for her part. All you have the power to do is remove yourself and your children from the situation.

      I now advise against marriage counseling. When there is abuse, all it does is enable the abuser. Separate, and if it's important to her to save the marriage, she can do individual counseling to fix her problems and pay for you and your children to have individual counseling too. If she balks at that, she doesn't want to change. Right now the system is working for her, so change will upset that "equilibrium". But she no longer has the only say, and if her actions show you she doesn't want to change, she is telling you that you cannot save this marriage. Walk away with a full heart and children that will be reared to respect themselves and others.

      Reply Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Tan Yearling 

      What bevocat  and KnitPurlKnit  said.

      If this is a cycle of abuse, and not a one-off, Sunday was the lovebombing part.  It's the "Baby, I didn't mean to hit you but you made me so angry!  I love you so much, let's go to dinner, I'll buy you that thing you want" part.  It's the calm before the abuse starts up again.  Emotional and financial abuse are real and problematic.  You need to ignore the pretty words and the apology.  You need actions.  You need to see a pattern of recognition as it's happening and stopping of the behavior.  You need this behavior to stop.  

      If you can't get her to go to therapy, you and your children absolutely need to go to individual therapy.  You need to understand why you're staying and what the cost of staying is, both financially and emotionally.  And you need to perhaps get another outside viewpoint on what kind of damage this behavior, both yours and hers, are causing your kids.  If you're in an abusive relationship, what are your children understanding about relationships?  What they see becomes their normal meter.  Your relationship will become their norm if you don't stop the behavior or teach them why it's not acceptable.  If they don't understand why it's not ok, they'll be much more likely to stay in an abusive relationship, to excuse abusive behaviors (He doesn't hit me, he only screams at me when he's drunk, he's so nice when I say yes to sex whenever he demands it so I say yes even though I feel bad/am sick, etc. etc.).  They'll be more likely to be abusive themselves.  They will be less likely to have good coping skills to frustration and anger.  They'll be more accepting of crappy behavior or will seek friends and significant others who will allow their bullying to happen. 

      Break the cycle.   I said above that your behavior can cause damage to your children.  You are not standing up to the abuse, you are allowing it to happen.  You are not a port in the storm.  You are in effect enabling the abuse because you allow it to happen.  

       

      Read this post about rocking the boat.  https://www.reddit.com/r/JUSTNOMIL/comments/77pxpo/dont_rock_the_boat/

      Your wife is the mum/MIL in the post.  Your kids will be the born boat-steadiers.  With any luck, your kids will find somebody who will help them re-set their normal meter now or someday so they won't accept that kind of behavior from their significant others or from their parents.  You may lose your kids when they grow up if they someday realize that you could have stopped the behavior and you stood by and watched it happen.  You watched as your wife figuratively beat them bloody.  You patted them, wiped their tears, but didn't stop the behavior.  

      She needs to want to change.  She has to do the work.  She needs individual therapy.  You need joint therapy.  You and your kids absolutely need individual therapy regardless of any therapy she's in.  So much therapy.  If she's just talking the talk but not walking the walk, you need to walk.  There's nothing to save if you're both not willing to change - you to learn to stand up for your children and yourself that you will not accept or excuse bullying, she to recognize the problem, admit the problem, start catching herself in the problem, responding appropriately, and then stop doing it.  Is she giving a real apology?  https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/how-to-apologize.htm 

      Every step needs to be there.  "I hurt you.  I'm sorry, my calling you stupid was wrong.  (no excuses here - sometimes there can be an explanation but there's no excuses - I.e. "I was frustrated because I'm getting a lot of flak at work but there's no excuse for taking my frustration out on you guys."  There's never a good reason for damaging words and actions.).   I won't do it again, so I'm making an appointment next week to talk to a therapist about managing my anger and my frustration better."  And then she needs to do it.    You need to hold her to her promises.  

      Reply Like 2
    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Highly recommend reading One Page Financial Plan together or with a 3rd party as a sounding board. Alignment on priority is key. 

    Reply Like
    • Ben Khaki Storm I´ll take a look, thanks!

      Reply Like 1
  • bevocat said:
    Why do you think this is not a problem? She is behaving according to the classic cycle of abuse. Do not let your children see this. They will grow up thinking this is an appropriate way to treat people, and what is worse, an acceptable way to be treated. And you have an absolute duty to your children to show them otherwise. And to protect them from abuse, which right now you are not doing. Do your job. Protect your children. Sorry to be so harsh, but I have my own reasons to be so blunt to you as the person who is not protecting your children from the abusive parent.
    No, you can't control or be responsible for her part. All you have the power to do is remove yourself and your children from the situation.
    I now advise against marriage counseling. When there is abuse, all it does is enable the abuser. Separate, and if it's important to her to save the marriage, she can do individual counseling to fix her problems and pay for you and your children to have individual counseling too. If she balks at that, she doesn't want to change. Right now the system is working for her, so change will upset that "equilibrium". But she no longer has the only say, and if her actions show you she doesn't want to change, she is telling you that you cannot save this marriage. Walk away with a full heart and children that will be reared to respect themselves and others.

     TRUE TRUE TRUE. I am a mother who stayed in an emotionally abusive marriage for 25 years. At the time, I thought it would be more devastating to have the family break up. In retrospect (after many years of therapy), I now see what a terrible mistake I made and how I did a disservice not only to myself but to my children also. They have a warped view of marriage, of team work, and what a marriage can, and should be. Of how respect, or the lack thereof, factors into relationships. I can't change the past and I've (mostly) stopped beating myself up about it, as I know I did what I thought was best at the time. But now that I see what it did to them, I would never make the same decision again. And I would advise someone else in a similar position to get out, sooner rather than later. I do talk with my children about this fairly often, and all of us are in therapy, but it saddens me that I left them with the feelings that they have now. Just my $0.02.

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