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I’m ready. I’m ready to work on disengaging.

htd_sh's picture

Today I decided, I cannot allow myself to be affected by all of this drama with being in the SM role and dealing with BM and skids. I want to ENGAGE into our marriage and DISENGAGE from BM and skids. 

I suggested separate finances so I can COMPLETELY disengage. In the heat of the moment, DH agreed. I don’t know if we will follow through with this decision, but in the midst of our heated discussion today- we both agreed and worked out some quirks of it. (Taking name off account, splitting bills, which bills will be paid first, etc). I feel this is the only way I can completely disengage and remove myself from the situation (as much as possible). 

Who has moved to a solid level of disengagement? What helped you? What did you learn from it? What do you recommend or not recommend?

Does anyone maintain separate finances between DH and DW? How does it work for you? Did moving to separate finances affect your relationship with DH at all? Did it help you to disengage?

suggestions, opinions, thoughts, anything...please!

Kes's picture

I have always had separate finances with my DH - we never ever talked about combining them as he had the financial commitments to NPD BM and the Skids which I had no part in.  Even in my first marriage I always had a separate bank account to my exH - I just prefer it that way.  

When I disengaged - about a year after the start of our relationship - I didn't know there was a word for it and hadn't yet found ST.  I just knew I had to step back for my own preservation and what peace of mind I could find in the situation where NPD BM was ruining our lives for the best part of a decade. 

Everyone finds their own version of disengagement - based on their own circumstances - but as a generality I would say, don't discuss your disengagement from the step kids with your DH too much as they can get very defensive.  Just do it. 

dysfunctionally_blended's picture

I think I posted on your forum yesterday about my disengagement and how it works for me, right? (sorry I wish there was a follow button so I could keep track)

But to answer your other questions : Does anyone maintain separate finances between DH and DW?

In a sense, yes. However this is a non issue for us. We agree 100% on anything financial or it doesn't happen. What is separate is our fun money so to speak. But at the same time we both contribute to our savings before fun money happens. 

Did moving to separate finances affect your relationship with DH at all?

In the beginning I pushed to keep everything separate, and we did. At first I thought it was because I didn't want any part of the drama associated with CS or the repercussions of it. Then my excuse was that I needed to keep my financial independence just in case. But in the end I realized it was about neither, but rather about control. I felt that by circling outside the relationship financially I could step out at any time. And that was due to having all the stress of step life. Once that stress left (disengagement) I was able to think rationally and from then on we began to build our financial life together. 

Did it help you to disengage? Sharing our financial life actually helped me to disengage. BUT we discussed everything. From supporting adult skids (no) to giving HCBM extra (no) to the possibility of our relationship going south and how that split would be financially (and actually agreed on a plan).  This discussion was intense. Raging at times. But I can say we are better for it. 

At this point we are building for us. For our life together. Towards our goals. All our wants. Despite skids. Despite HCBM.

But, there is a solid CS order in place and the likelihood it would change is very low, it will actually continue to lessen. So we were in a very different spot then a lot of those who choose financial separation.

diamondbpi's picture

I have been down this road before when the heat is on.  I suggest not to disengage from your spouse but the situation yes.  Dividing things amongst the person you are supposed to love the most will not benefit you in the long run.  This is when you should be closer to him.  With me saying that though he needs to put you number one in his life!  If his kids are then it won't work either.  This is hard to do but if things are going to work out he must do it!  If he puts you number one and the kids can see that you are his everything then things will eventually smooth out.  My kids didn't like that at first but now they know my wife comes before them.  Its just the way it is.  You are a team and if you don't approach it that way then you are going to have some very rough waters ahead...


tog redux's picture

DH and I have one joint account to which we both contribute a set amount for our expenses. We also have a joint credit card that we use for joint expenses.  The rest of our money goes into our separate accounts to be used as we see fit.  This has always been our way.

Money was never an issue for us, though, in terms of BM. DH would not ever give her one red cent above the child support that is ordered and paid.

What I had to disengage from was thinking I could "fix" this problem. That I could help DH do and say the right things to BM and SS that would make the chaos and drama go away.  That I knew the right way to handle things. I didn't always agree with how DH handled BM.  Unlike most of you, I thought he was too harsh on BM and too strict on SS, given his circumstances (BM being very permissive).

I also had to disengage from thinking I knew how to prevent or stop or repair alienation. From giving DH advice on that. This was all done out of intense anxiety about the chaos that swirled around us all the time, and about the loss of SS.

Here's where I am today:  I try very hard not to even mention SS to DH. If he brings anything I up, I listen, give advice if asked, and then let it go.  I have helped him get organized and strategize for court, but have told him that if HE initiates the court battle, and it's not warranted, I will not help.  He knows I hate court and want peace in my life. 

I no longer care what happens in his relationship with SS. I no longer care about SS. My focus is on myself, my marriage and my life. I still feel stressed that all this crap is still hanging over our heads, but it's better.

Want2's picture

You could always try separating finances and then if it doesn’t work try something else. You will find a way that works for you.

htd_sh's picture

That’s what I thought. Try it and see if it helps. 

DH made a comment that he “doesn’t want a roommate”. I don’t really understand that comment and I think it has been miscommunicated because I don’t think he even understands it and I think it was said out of anger because he feels financial separation is a “threat” that we will one day separate as a team. He sees it as a precursor for divorce?????

htd_sh's picture

So that is how I would interpret that as well, but that has never been an issue at all. 

I don't see how he could interpret that separate finances means lack of a sexual relationship?

What are your thoughts? Can you elaborate more? I'm desperate for opinions

futurobrillante99's picture

I disagree with fairyo, I think his statement was manipulative. I think he likes the buffer of having combined finances. He doesn’t have to be as careful with his money if he can tap into yours. I think his statement about roommates is dramatic and manipulative.

Winterglow's picture

I agree with this. He doesn't want to lose control ... of anything. As long as he can access all of your combined resources he feels he has nothing to worry about and can continue financing bm's every demand. 

tog redux's picture

Lots of married couples have totally separate finances, or partially combined. My sister has been married for 32 years and they have completely separate finances.

There is no "right way" for people to do this, it's what works for you. And if he doesn't want to separate finances, then he needs to agree to a lump sum for CS and stick to it.

Want2's picture

If he could just understand that you aren’t trying to separate from him but from the situation he has created. I know you’ve tried six ways to Sunday to tell him! It sounds like he needs a lot of reassurance but hells bells you need some too!

CantComplain's picture

Separate finances is a great idea even if you're not at the end of your rope. People behave better with some stake in and control over their money. 

Cover1W's picture

When DH and I bought a home together (thanks to my credit and my down-payment), I insisted prior that we have separate finances.  He is paying off debt, is bad with paying bills on time, spends too much on himself and SDs, etc.  Never learned how to manage his finances and I refused to be his buffer.

We each pay a set amount into a joint account, a separate bank from either of our personal banks (credit unions if you will).  This makes it more difficult to access the funds and helps keep them truly separate.  One has to think about using them.  I am the one that monitors the account (checking/savings) and keeps the debit card (no credit card) in my wallet.  The checkbook he can use.  He is not to use this account as a slush fund as I keep the funds in checking tightly.  He has written checks before without my knowlege and I ALWAYS know about it because I monitor the account.  He has been made to refund that account immedately all times.  He doesn't do this much any longer, only once or twice in the past year which is better, and for small amounts.

The rest of our paychecks is up to us.  The joint account does not include groceries.  We mostly split these because it's only younger SD now and she doesn't have any "special expensive food requirements."  I make sure that if I go on a big shopping trip, DH gives me his card or pays me back half - the first year we were in our home I ended up buying almost all the groceries and when I added it up I was horrified and told DH never again.

Sometimes DH is between jobs due to the nature of his business. If he's out and needs money or I have to cover a bill because he doesn't have it I add it to an ongoing chart of what he owes me.  He knows it's there but he hates to look at it because he owes me a LOT.  I prefer him to pay off his debt so I don't hound in about this (he just paid of one of his cc's so it's working).  But he will need to pay me back eventually since it slows down my ability to pay off my personal debt (which is not high but it does effect me).

If he's on my insurance, I cover him, no questions, no payback.  When the SDs were on my insurance, I required he and BM pay me back for their costs and if she shirked a month, he had to pay her half. I refuse to ever have them on my insurance again due to issues with this.

I don't pay for SDs extracurriculars or general clothing.  I will buy things here and there if I feel like it but I'm not the parent - I made the mistake of doing this early on and it cost ME.  I got no thanks for it.  I don't pay for SDs going with us on vacation unless it's to visit my family.  I will help pay for food/touristy stuff - with exception for older SD if she deigns to talk with DH ever again. 

Basically, I will not be financially taken advantage of and I demand financial accounatbility.  There's no reason one cannot balance a checkbook weekly, or even once a month, know what their monthly expenses are and how to budget.  I don['t enable.  I have refused to pay for things outright.  I am firm and insistent on payback. 

I would be a huge PITA if we had a joint account.  And I cannot do that.  It's not hard to split expenses (I even did it somewhat with my ex husband) and still be married.

htd_sh's picture

I think the hardest part is that we already have joint finances and now we are separating them. I am SO afraid it is going to drive us further apart. I love my husband so much and he is now VERY ADAMANT about split finances. 

Winterglow's picture

Then tell him to get a CO like the vast majority of divorced parents and to stick to it. How can youi ever plan for anything if  you have no idea how much money you have at any given time because you don't know how much he's giving bm in backhanders?

He HAS to understand that he can't play everything by his rules and to heck with everything else. It's called compromise. A CO or split finances ...

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

I’m happier now that I’m disengaged from stepbrat and biohag drama. I focus on my husband and real kids.

sammigirl's picture

Go ahead with your separate bank accounts.  We have our own accounts.  We put the same amount into the cash household fund every month.  We then put any surplus at the end of the month from the household flush fund  in our pockets equally to do as we please.  It is used for groceries.  All receipts are dropped into the jar.  We don't tally,  it is a fun way to work together on a household budget.

It should not have any reflection on your sex life to separate your funds.  I do get what you are saying.  I would try to come to a mutual agreement. 

Disengagement for me was DH and SD57 's relationship; I don't have any part of it, I let them go without me.  I basically just made myself completely involved with my marriage and have developed my own life.  My DH didn't and still does not like my disengagement.   It is his problem, he is doing better every day after 5 years of serious  negotiations for us.

We still have our moments, but much improved.

It takes time and there are lots of fallbacks.

htd_sh's picture

So after a decent weekend, we revisited the idea of separate funds... his "roommate" comment was definitely made out of anger.. we talked about a "bill account" that will be contributed to half and half by each of us which is the absolute priority. He will have a "child support/his money fund" in a separate account. I will have my own bank account (personally, I will have a checking and a savings- i make more money than he does so that is possible for me). He will probably have to take up a second job in order to have "fun" money, but thats his responsibliity. 

I feel so ready to disengage and not necessarily from my skids, but from the situation entirely. My skids are cool (they're still little!). I wont engage in their care, cooking for them, running them around, etc., but i'm totally cool with hanging out, going for a walk with my dog and them, blah blah basic stuff. 

I am disengaging from BM. If he wants to help her, go ahead... what i DO know is that it will NOT interrupt my marriage. If DH tries to "fix her car" (hes not very good at it lol) when he picks up the kids... have at it! not my waste of time! Now if you leave our date night to tend to her... all hell will break loose. If you prioritize doing something for her over getting our own household together... GOOOODBYE.

But guess what, I love my husband, and I am done giving a flock about little things- life is too short for us to fight over studpid things.. as long as i am prioritzed and my needs are met, you go ahead to do what you feel necessary to help your kids.... I am trusting my husband to not cross basic boundaries (honestly I don't think he will cross them to help BM, somethings he does for his kids will also help her and if he wants to use his time and money on it.. have at it, what he feels he needs to do for his kids is his responsibility and if anything that shows that he is mature enough to care for his kids). but it WONT come between my marriage or my household. and if it does.... Guess i'll be looking for divorce attorneys hahaha