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Rearview's picture

My DH and I have been going to couples counseling for months.  We are married as a religious marriage but not legal marriage.   I know confusing.  So he wants seperate money accounts  His money, which he "says"  is non if my business.  Our house acct, and my acct.  So we discussed in counseling that he overspends , he gives money away then uses credit cards.  Counselor suggested generosity budget. Use envelopes put money in it.  If no money, you cant give it away. He agreed. So when I ask him how much he was going  to out in it he would not even discuss it.  Counselor said use envelopes  for house acct, entertainment acct, generosity acct.  He again agreed said he understood.  He said in counseling that I had explained it in such a way he understood    he again agreed.   Two days before he got paid I ask him what his dollar number was for each envelope.   He became short, grouchy , and an argument began.  I said after he said mean and hurtful things  to me this ( Your just not going to do it and I give).   I gave up the idea he would ever budget.   I had told him in counseling that I could not live financially by the seat if my pants. My credit is over 800.  I own my own home and have investments.   I'm struggling really badly.   This is going to kill our relationship and he just cant see it.  We are going to fight every time we need to do something.   Marriage isn't supposed to be like this. As an equal partner I should not have to ask him for money and neither should he have to ask me.  We are one relationship with one financial goal.  Supposedly.   How can I get him to understand.   In his first marriage his wife didn't work for the first 10 years. They had one bank account.   Why is he doing this to me?  I feel like a companion with benefits  not an equal partner "wife".  What on earth do I do  know?

thinker's picture

If he's an overspender (even if he has and makes more money than you, doesn't matter), then the best thing you can do (i) don't get legally married; (ii) don't own anything with him or share credit cards with him; and (iii) don't ever file a joint tax return.  If you have a great credit score, own your home and have investments, then why do you want to get legally married to an overspender who has already shown you that your wellbeing is not more important to him than his compulsive spending (included giving money away)? The frustration you're feeling now is NOTHING compared to the frustration of being legally married to an overspender. He'll spend all his money and all your money, and your only option is to get a divorce (which will be expensive for you) or let him bankrupt you.   Your ideal marriage is never ever going to play out with this guy.  You can't change him.  So once you accept that, aren't you better off just being "religiously married"?  If he's living in your house you should probably make him sign a lease (and charge him for "rent" and for utilities and food if you pay for that, too) as you might have to evict him someday to get him out.  The alternative is marry him, let him mooch off of you and spend all his money and all your money, undo all your hard work, drain your accounts, rack up a bunch of debt, and possibly even bankrupt you. If I sound bitter it is because I am.

Iamwoman's picture

Hey thinker! Do we share the same exH?

My exH drained both his account and mine too as soon as we got married. We were only married for 5 months. He also got very defensive and grumpy about being able to continue his fiscal irresponsibility.

When I separated our bank accounts, he threw a full on fit.

When I told him that rent (to his parents) his truck payment, and the overpriced internet bill he set up are all now his sole responsibility, he raged.

I am so glad I divorced him. He never did pay rent to his own parents (maybe they All were using me?), he lost his truck for non payment a few months after our divorce, and I'm 100% positive he is still and always will be a fool when it comes to money.

If your DH wants separate bank accounts, then agree! A fair thing do here though would be to each pay your own personal bills and any other personal expenses.

Then, split the mortgage and any other shared bills on a percentage scale according to income. For instance, if DH makes $100,000 a year, and you make only $50,000 a year, he pays 2/3 mortgage while you pay 1/3. Some may think this isn't fair, but you are a married couple. Not roommates. Each spouse should be looking out for the best interest of the other.

Personally though, I could never marry a man who just gives money away Willy nilly. That is downright foolish.

Merry's picture

He agreed with the counselor to shut both of you up, and he intends to do what he wants to do. What's the point of seeing a counselor? Sounds like he doesn't intend to change his financial habits, and I think it's safe to guess that he's just not willing to change anything, period dot, to accommodate his supposed life partner.

I agree with the others -- do not make this a legal marriage. He sounds selfish and unbending. Is that really what you want in a spouse?

Petronella's picture

What's happening with the prenup, wasn't he demanding that as well? You might want to speak  with a lawyer of your own.

notarelative's picture

Is he paying his part of the house expenses? He should be giving you a set amount every payday to cover electricity, gas, water, heat, food, etc After that he can spend his money however he wants

If the house is in your name it may not be a good idea to ever include the mortgage in the calculation. In some places, if you do, he could claim part of the increase in value as his.

Prenup. If you decide to legally marry, be sure you have your own lawyer for the prenup. Do not do a joint lawyer. You want your lawyer to look out for you not him.

There are lots of red flags in your posts. You are attending couples counseling, but you should consider individual counseling for yourself. 

sandye21's picture

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but almost 29 years ago I married DH.  He lied about how much he made and his potential earnings.  He was secretive about his finances.   I owned my home and it was paid off.

For the first couple of years I supported him because he was paying for SD's college.  Eventually I told him he was going to have to pay 1/2 the living expenses.  He became very angry but it was either this or leave.  He agreed. I later found out he withheld information about his finances or implied something that wasn't quite true.

I always treated him as if it was his home, became a maid for SD when she visited, practiced being the dutiful wife.  We kept finances separate and placed a certain amount each into a joint living expense account.  For years he would place hundreds of dollars into SD's checking account every month instead of saving up for his retirement.  Also there was a time I wanted to quit a very abusive job.  He became angry and said some really nasty things, adamantly refusing to even temporarily support me.

Today he receives minimal social security.  There was an inheritance a few years ago.  Somehow that's diminished so if he had an emergency, he may not be able to afford to take care of it.  When I did a budget at the beginning of the year I found out he would be spending almost all of his monthly earnings.  No buffer for extras.  I suggested he get a part-time job but he doesn't seem too enthusiastic about it.  After all of these years I've finally had it.   I am giving him until the end of March to get a part-time job or he will have to leave.

I am telling you my story because it was so similar to yours when we first got married, and I don't want you to make the same mistake I did.  I cannot express to you enough how important it is to have equitable values.  If you don't the problem magnifies with every year that goes by.  It also gets harder to make the break from the marriage.

Rags's picture

This guy is a leech.  Be wary, be very very careful, and be ready to pull the plug on this guy at a moments notice.

I would not give him any leaway on finances at all.  He should have to account to you for ever penny of income and expenditures.  His sneeky crap has all kinds of red flags flapping in the breeze.

The good news is that there will likely be no need to divorce him when he goes bankrupt. Just down let him suck you down the financial toilet with him.

ChzyBob20's picture

You are being used and abused. You should break up with him and find a good man. Life is too short.

StepUltimate's picture

... unfortch. I am devastated, incredulous, and frozen in fear because my DH is a Spend-a-holic spiraling into debt & unreality. I am horrified, mortified, angry, and sad because it's unsustainable, irresponsible, and selfish (not to mention INSANE).


StepUltimate's picture

Really hoped that separating finances over a year ago would wake DH up to the reality of his financial situation. But no - as of the past few months he's continually "broke until payday", mentioning his credit card interest rate is "killing" him, heck even applied for one of the many credit card offers he now gets all the time, thinking he could transfer his balance to a new zero-interest rate card... but he got declined. Probably because mostly-financing his Midlife Crisis Sportscar at $50k+ in mid-2019 maxed him out. Now one of his parents has been diagnosed terminal, and DH wants to fly there with me... and bring SSstb20! I had no words but A) do not want to travel anywhere with SS to present as if we are a happy, cohesive "family" and B.), I will not be financing any part of the trip. 

Trying to figure out how to say to DH that I agreed to go with to support HIM, not to be there for his adult kid who does not respect authority. I am no longer the Open-Wallet Empath who just wants to help - I have become the jaded 3rd wife who is done handing out money, plane tickets, restaurants, & the whole nine yards for my husband's adult child. And frankly, it's a turn-off that my DH operates the way he does, financially.

Lastly, to really answer your question, I am waiting until I have enough money (in my personal checking account) to make a move. Also letting DH continue to prove he really truely has zero intention of spending within his means (which he is) and validating my assumption that he will continue to refuse to right himself & start some actual Retirement planning/saving (instead of assuming he can continue to overextend himself financially while responsible StepUltimate keeps paying bills...). I just paid my vehicle off last month so it's like I got a raise, but hard to celebrate because my husband is not being an equity partner! I am truely bummed & fighting depression over this. Cannot even bring myself to blog about it on ST right now because I know it's a RUNNN! situation but I am still stupidly blinking in the headlights, knowing I need to get away before I get hit while incredulous that it's even happening. 

sandye21's picture

I can really feel for you as I am in pretty much the same situation.  The only difference is my DH is retired. Like you, I'm also blinking in the headligths, wondering if I can hold on until the end of March deadline for him to get a part-time job or leave, and he's not got a lot of motivation.  He smirks as if he KNOWS I will cave - but this time I'm not.  It so depressing knowing that I HAVE to be the one to pull the plug.  In the end, I know the split is going to be good for me.

StepUltimate's picture

Thank you, Sandye. My DH is 55, just made a 6-year car payment commitment claiming "we" could afford it, kept his regular spending habits AND  blew them up (= a bunch of car accessories, plus guilt-gifts for me including excercise machine & a few other high-end specialty-sport items I didn't want or need), raged out at me... but also love-bombs me & says he "would do anything" for me... but he WON'T because I need him to restore some fiscal sanity to his lifestyle.

I love my DH and am so depressed he has chosen this route! I grew up very poor & on welfare, WIC, etc., because my alcoholic hippy dad didn't work or support our family, so I learned to depend on myself & that nobody owes me anything. I ran with it, and tried to "help" my DH when times were hard for his trade, had him move in when we 1st got together, helped him get custody of SS, helped him raise a teenage boy, helped him win CS from nightmare narc BM, etc. YES I wish I had Lieutenant_Dad's FIRESIDE CHAT wisdom she posted in a blog earlier today (Thanks LD for your public service!), because I should have stepped way back and had more boundaries.

Nonetheless, here we are, post-holidays... and I am anonymously typing I'm aware my marriage is on a course to splitsville, but I can't say a word about it. My husband financially cheated on me, even after I'd begged him not to buy the car, and I feel like a chump because I'm still here hoping it somehow magically changes. Even after he rejected his prior commitment to "our" financial goals, even after he lied about making big financial decisions without me, and even after he told me, "Eff you, get a divorce, I'm getting the car." Something in me DIED that day, and I don't know how to fix that or be able/willing to trust my DH again. It has profoundly affected me, totally turned me off, and forced me to quietly save, and inspires me to keep my mouth and wallet shut - not my problem. 

ndc's picture

Your counseling is a waste of time if your SO isn't willing to change, and that definitely seems to be the case. Living with financial stress is awful - I'd move on from the spend-a-holic before I continued with that stress. He obviously knows it is stressful for you and doesn't care enough to change. He loves spending more than he loves you.

1wonder woman's picture

When two people make a commitment to each other may they be living together or married the couple becomes ONE they become a WE...You give up the words MY or MINE... it is OUR money now... it is OUR bill's.. it is OUR debt now.... all of the bill's are put into one pile together and all of the money is put together and you see to it those bill's get paid.  I was happily married for 32 years before my husband passed away and every month my husband would sit down and he saw to it that all of our bill's were paid on time along with both his income and mine combined together in one checking account.  Once he became ill it was me that took over making a monthly budget and making sure the bill's were paid on time. Right now I have been living with my boyfriend for 4 years and he prefers me to pay all of the bill's. Our money goes into one account and I see to it all of our bill's get paid on time. Some months I will make my boyfriend sit down behind our computer and I make him pay the bill's so if some day something ever happens to me he will know how to pay the bill's. In the past I have done the envelope budget plan before and that too works.  But honestly I pay every bill online and it is so much easier paying the bills online instead of with cash.  In our relationship there is none of this stuff being said this is my money or this is my bonus check... this is my house... no he and I agree we are a WE now! When you marry some one you become one.... his money becomes yours and your money becomes his... same goes for the debt... her debt becomes his debt and his debt becomes her debt.  Sounds like your husband is not ready to settle down and make a commitment and combine your income and debt.... he wants to remain a I not a WE.... he does not want to become a WE... no relationship will ever work if there is no trust and it sound like your husband does not trust you with his money..Plus no relationship will never work if you do not learn how to compromise... he can't have everything his way he can't have all of the eggs in his basket.  My boyfriend has never said to me... this is my money and how I spend it is non of my business... thank God... if he would ever say this to me he would be out the front door so fast... Those words tell me one thing he wants to remain single he does not want a open honest relationship untied as ONE! 

tog redux's picture

DH and I are happily married, and we keep his/hers and ours accounts. We trust each other, and we both have similar ways of managing finances - we just like having some independence with money.  My sister has been married for 33 years and they keep separate finances entirely.

There is more than one way to handle finances in a marriage - your way works for you, but it's not the end all and be all of marital finances.

This OP's problem is that her SO has a compulsive spending problem.

Rearview's picture

He has dug in his heals.  How do you confront a bully?  Simply refuses to budget. His way or the highway.  I've considered separate bedrooms.  Until I'm treated like a wife.  But then that just prolongs the inevitable.