I read your previous post about someone who’s spouse had a shopping problem and I wanted to see if your advice applies to me here too. To me, my wife has it easy. She doesn’t have student loans and we split our bills right down the middle, but her shopping habits are beginning to make it so she can’t come up with enough money to pay those bills any longer. Needless to say, it’s thrown a wrench in our three year old marriage. What does she spend her money on? Stuff, and I have no idea where it all goes, but most of it from what I can see is spent on purses and these little Japanese toy things. She spent so much on them in November that we actually missed our December mortgage. Luckily, I got some money from Christmas bonuses and could make up the difference, but now this month she’s back to buying and is becoming defensive on why she can’t come up with the money. When I asked if she’d sell a few, she said she’d sooner leave me than do that. When I asked her where her money went, she got defensive about it. I even offered to show her my finances and work with her on things, but she’s just so into these toys that she can’t stop buying them.
What do I do? I’d hate to end a marriage over something as little as finances, but it seems that she’s not willing to work with me here.
According to this article about financial infidelity, 96% of people in the survey felt it was essentially both partners’ responsibility to be honest and open about finances, but some still hid things or lied about things to their partner. Whether it’s finances, friends, or other issues, lies can kill a relationship because they drive a wedge of mistrust into parts of the relationship link. Think of a relationship like a rope of sorts..a lifeline between two people. It should move back and forth at times based upon who needs more support, but when we lie, we nail that lifeline to the ground and it becomes lopsided and weak. Too many lies (nails) and the rope breaks.
In a relationship, communication is ESSENTIAL. You can’t be secretive, you MUST be open, and you have to be willing to share, no matter how hard that may be. If you’re constantly dividing things up into “yours” and “mine”, you’re not fully grasping the concept of what a relationship should mean. In your case, Brokea$$, finances should be the first focus and THEN the extra stuff like toys for her collection. Make this a practice: children (if any) and bills always come first, then come things like pets, fun events, and material goods. She really does need to see that a marriage is much more than two people hanging out together. It’s a union of two lives..and everything included. Personal buying habits should become joint buying habits and if you can’t afford things, it’s time to trim back. Work with each other and buy what you two NEED and not what you WANT, and make sure those bills are paid first. Once financial issues are conquered and you two can figure out a way to work as a team, then you’ll be able to have some fun.
Also keep in mind that you may be spending as wildly as she does. Do you need a huge entertainment center or a state of the art laptop? It’s the same thing as her toys..it’s unnecessary. Just make sure the bills and children come first, then worry about the other things. Open yourself up and ask her to be open too, then find out where the money is going and hopefully come together on a solution.