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    Questions About Spouses

    I've been reading for hours and all I find are copy/paste articles about big spending on things people never use. My problem is a little different, but still frustrating, keeping my family in debt. I can't figure out what to do. We'll be seeing a psychologist for couples therapy soon because the marriage councilor has helped with everything but this and one other issue.

    The problem is my husbands spending. He would "forget" to pay bills and our utilities and internet access would be cut off. We lost his car. We almost lost my car. We lost our apartment. We didn't have enough to buy a crib for our son in time. I scraped and saved and juggled our budget over and over for a year just to pay off $1,000.00 to be able to use the credit card since we had no furniture. As soon as it was available, he spent 75% of it on clothes, trinkets, games, and snacks in one month. If I put money in savings, he withdraws it or overdraws the checking account. We haven't celebrated holidays or birthdays ever, because we never have money put away.

    Today we were paid. I paid all the bills and hid all the cards. I don't know what else to do. He can spend $100.00 in one day on things he doesn't need, doesn't use, sometimes doesn't even want it. He buys food for me, knowing I don't eat processed food, so he eats it or lets it go to waste. If I mention a snack I'd like, he buys several versions of it in one week, knowing it won't be eaten. He will take recycling in, then spend all the money right then instead of holding on to it, even if he doesn't have any other money. He has stolen money from me, from work, from our son's piggy bank and from our savings account. He borrows money from people and never pays them back. He blames it on me when I'm not around.

    He doesn't spend on big items and he spends most of is money at places we need to go, like the grocery store or gas station. If I give him all the bills to take care of, he gets overwhelmed and doesn't pay them. If I give him an allotted amount to spend in one week, he becomes combative, picks fights about money, then takes more from savings or elsewhere; yet he was the one who asks me to create the budget so he knows what to spend. Sometimes he returns items, selling electronics or other expensive items that we used to have. Using cash only has no effect on his habits. If anything, it's made them worse. He will repeatedly withdraw cash from the bank accounts, not watching his spending even when it's the last $20.00.

    I'm not being controlling or uncompromising. We have sat down to discuss this many times, each time coming up with a plan that he can work with. Each time he follows it for a day or two, then it's right back to bad spending habits. I feel like there's nothing I can do to help him and it's putting tremendous strain on our relationship.

    Does anyone have any better suggestions that what I've found online? He's been spending like this since he was a teenager, long before I met him. He won't go to addiction groups. Is there something we should mention in particular to the marriage councilor or psychologist?

    If this isn't where I should be posting this, I apologize.

    #2
    Your husband has a spending addiction, as it seems you've figured out. There is absolutely nothing you can do to change it. He has to decide to change for himself. You say he has spent like this since he was young and he is not willing to attend addiction counseling. That means that he is not ready to change. Let me reiterate - HE WILL NOT CHANGE. Period. Its a tough pill to swallow, but its the truth. Now you have to decide whether you can continue living like this or not. If not, file for a divorce and get out.

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      #3
      He has stolen money from me, from work, from our son's piggy bank and from our savings account
      I recommend you cut your losses. He has stolen from you and your child. That alone is enough but he is stealing from work. It is a matter of time before he is behind bars. Then you might be on the hook for lawyer's fees, the inevitable fines and restitution, etc. Let him go. He stole from you and your child. You can't fix him. Move on.

      However, before you tell him you're leaving get a separate bank account and move what remaining money you have into it. Make sure he doesn't know about it. Make sure you remove your name from all joint accounts. Check your credit report to make sure you don't have debt in your name you don't know about. Protect yourself and your son. Good luck.

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        #4
        Your situation is extremely regretful. When I made the decision to properly manage our finances, I had to do so as an authoritarian. My wife was not acceptant to a joint sound plan. What she was willing to do was honor my lead.

        When you are not able to have two people sit down and work together, one has to lead and the other follow. When the other will not follow, I can see no other option than disolving the marriage.

        I would recommend that you strongly persue financial counceling before walking away. Honestly, if my wife were to act this way, we would not be together today.

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          #5
          Really sorry to hear your marriage has come to this. Is it possible to open a new account in your name ONLY and not allow him access to the family funds? Maybe give him a set cash amount each pay period and then make it impossible for him to access the family funds?

          I would defintiely NOT ask him to handle any bill payments -- that is clearly something that he is not able to handle.

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            #6
            You identify your husband as financially irresponsible since he was a teenage. He is a thief, stealing from you, his son and employer and this isn't going to change.

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              #7
              I hate to sound mean but I think your husband may need counseling. If that helps it would be money well spent.

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                #8
                If he's always been like this, why on Earth did you marry him? He steals money from everyone on top of spending his own money (irresponsibly). To me this seems like a situation you will never win. Get out and cut your losses before he ruins your entire life.

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                  #9
                  Your problems are larger than can be addressed by an internet forum. I would suggest counseling and some soul searching on your part. Good luck to you.
                  Brian

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                    #10
                    I wanted to make sure I was handling this the best I could. He isn't using the cards. We are starting with a new councilor next week. He never said "no therapy," he said "no groups." I did not have, nor did I want, access to his finances until we were married; I didn't think it was appropriate. His spending habit wasn't obvious because I didn't know what his income was.

                    Thank you for the suggestions, but I'm not walking away from someone who is generally good and kind because they have poor impulse control with money. If he was a horrible person overall, I'd be long gone.

                    Thank you, everyone, for your insight. It's assured me that I have done what I can and given me the strength to continue working with my husband.

                    I wish you all the best.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mlp09 View Post
                      I did not have, nor did I want, access to his finances until we were married; I didn't think it was appropriate. His spending habit wasn't obvious because I didn't know what his income was.
                      That points out a very common mistake. A big part of the reason that money issues are the number one cause of divorce is because couples don't discuss those things when they are dating. You married someone not knowing how much he earned, what debt he had, what savings he had or what his spending habits were like? I know 'love is blind' but going into a marriage blind isn't a good idea, as you've discovered.

                      Couples who are getting serious about their relationship need to sit down and review each other's finances. Pull your credit reports. Lay out your bank statements. List your debts. See where you each stand and talk about your habits, goals and priorities. See if you are financially compatible, not just physically compatible.
                      Steve

                      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                        Couples who are getting serious about their relationship need to sit down and review each other's finances. Pull your credit reports. Lay out your bank statements. List your debts. See where you each stand and talk about your habits, goals and priorities. See if you are financially compatible, not just physically compatible.
                        But don't mix your money! You can move in together, sure, but treat the agreement like roommates who share a bed. One of my friends is going through a horrible breakup because she mixed all of her money with her spend-addicted fiance. If you want to "play grown up" start a joint bank account that you each put an agreed upon sum into to pay for rent and utilities. If someone isn't paying their half of the rent, you deal with it like roommates would.

                        To OP, if he keeps blaming you and yelling at you, that is verbal abuse. If his spending were alcohol and got pissed at you every time you kept him from getting falling down drunk, you might feel differently. He is hurting you, your son, and himself. Good that you are going to therapy, but you need to know that he does have you in an addiction abuse cycle. His abuse just centers around money instead of alcohol or drugs.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by snshijuptr View Post
                          But don't mix your money! You can move in together, sure, but treat the agreement like roommates who share a bed. One of my friends is going through a horrible breakup because she mixed all of her money with her spend-addicted fiance. If you want to "play grown up" start a joint bank account that you each put an agreed upon sum into to pay for rent and utilities. If someone isn't paying their half of the rent, you deal with it like roommates would.
                          I agree. But once you are married, then you immediately shift to joint finances. No more his money and her money. It all becomes our money and you work together as one to decide how it gets spent and saved.

                          Before hand, you can do sample budgets together to see how you will handle things once you are married and combine your finances. A lot of issues can come up in that process that will help you work through the kinks before getting married. You may even identify issues that convince you not to proceed in the relationship when you learn how your potential spouse deals with money.
                          Steve

                          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by mlp09 View Post
                            Thank you for the suggestions, but I'm not walking away from someone who is generally good and kind because they have poor impulse control with money. If he was a horrible person overall, I'd be long gone.

                            Thank you, everyone, for your insight. It's assured me that I have done what I can and given me the strength to continue working with my husband.
                            You have not described someone that is "generally good and kind"; nor have you described someone that simply has "poor impulse control with money".

                            You have described someone who is manipulative and childish (blowing up, picking fights, etc.). You have described someone who is willing to go to counseling simply so they can use the excuse that "they have a problem" to continue their bad behavior. You have NOT described someone who would ever be a good role model for your child... nor have you described someone who would be able to take responsibility for your child if, God forbid, something happened to you.

                            At the very least... separate the money until he can get his behavior under control. If he doesn't like that, show him the door. You may love him, but that kind of love becomes toxic when it blinds you to things that are harming you or your child. And believe me... there are more damaging and lasting ways to harm someone than physically. If he truly wants to change, he'll accept an allowance. If he argues with that, then he has no desire to change and you are simply enabling him to continue to use you (which is, in fact, what he is doing).

                            I know of what I speak... my husband had much the same problem. I would not still be with him today if he had not changed his spending habits. Being in love with my husband and having him around was not as important to me as making sure that I was able to provide our son with a stable household environment and some sort of security, even if that meant his father was not there.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              So the big baby hasn't grown up yet. Whah whah! I would tell him to be a man or go to counseling and show improvement, if not, then move on...

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