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Question about spending money

JD's picture

Sorry if this is a little long, but I would really like some perspective to see if I am over-analyzing this situation...

As I've said in my other threads, I have been "Mr. Mom" for the past few months, with my girlfriend Angie getting a full-time job. This has all coincided with Angie's ex, Tom, getting scheduled weekly visiting rights implemented by the court for their son Jason—so he won't be just coming around once or twice a month like he has been in the past eight months. Now with my unemployment pay, Angie's salary and Tom's child support payments, we are making ends meet and I am perfectly content. However, Angie was always accustomed to a lifestyle of lavish spending when she was with Tom, and I feel like no matter what I say about "appreciating and enjoying what we have," I feel like she still is always going to constantly wish for more. I have no problem with having goals and yearning for better things, but at the same time how we approach those goals and achieve them—and also how we live each day in the meantime, is what’s key. Angie makes comments from time to time that make me feel bad. Like for example, we had filet mignons for dinner the other night and I made Jason a couple of hot dogs. She said to me, "my son is not good enough for filet mignon?" On another day I installed an air conditioner in mine and Angie's bedroom and she said to me that it "wasn't fair that we had one and that Jason doesn't." Then there was the issue of back-to-school clothes shopping, and Angie said she intends on doing whatever she can to buy Jason a collection of $40 Ed Hardy t-shirts to wear to kindergarten. I totally understand the concept of doing without certain things as a parent, so your child can enjoy something. Angie tells me on payday she prefers to use her extra money to buy Jason a toy, as opposed to treating herself to a manicure. I'm fine with that (I'm not sure if she is because when she was with Tom she was able to do both). I don't want to make it sound like she's purely materialistic here, but like me and her would go shopping at Target for example and spend $50...I leave the store happy and content with all the new things we just got, but I get the sense from her that she's more disappointed in the fact that we didn't spend $100 and get more. I instead use the mentality that next time around we will be able to get the other items and in the meantime, I channel my excitement into the fact that we just got $50 worth of various items. But it's more so with Jason, I mean it just seems to me that Angie sometimes takes things to the extreme as to what he "must have" as a five and a half year old boy and again, I often feel guilty about the fact that right now I cannot meet some of those expectations...

When I was five, I never "expected" (or even thought about) designer t-shirts or even knew what a filet mignon was. And as a child, you don't "deserve" to have certain luxuries like an air conditioner just because your parents have one. I made do just fine with a fan until my parents could afford to get me an A.C. of my own. And I had a small 11 inch TV in my room (which I got when I was about 9) and no cable. Jason has had a huge TV with cable and video games since he was 3. I'm all for trying to give your child a better life than you had, but I don't believe in spoiling kids or making them become accustomed to automatically getting something based on the fact that mommy or daddy have it—especially at such a young age. I'm sure this subject has been talked about over the generations...I mean we all know how parents years ago would tell their kids ("you don't know how good you got it being driven to school! I had to walk five miles in the rain with tin cans as shoes!") That's probably an age-old exaggeration, but I think you all see my point in how as long as there is some level of improvement with regards to enjoying some "finer things" in the home, that's all that matters. To me, it should not be taken to such a degree that it is in this day and age that we should think we are "entitled" to it. Angie knew I wasn't a millionaire when we got together, and this was never an issue until we recently moved into a home together and got more bills. Is she going to adjust or should I just accept the fact that in 2009 to be happy, you simply must have a significant amount of spending money on hand for all these extras and go back to work? Mind you, that would take me away from running the house and having quality time with Jason. I can be happy living in a cardboard box, as long as it's with those I love. I don’t think it should be about having an abundance of material things to "enhance" your lifestyle. Angie's ex would work all the time and not be around as much as he could because to him, he was looking towards treating Angie and Jason to an expensive vacation at the end of the year as being more important than simply being there and doing something that costs no money like having a picnic in the park. I'd rather be home with everyone and treat ourselves to going down the shore for the weekend...I don't need any exotic location. I believe in utilizing what you have and enjoying quality time within those surroundings...Not having so much quantity of "stuff" that the stuff (and not the company) becomes the primary focus.

Am I making any sense at all? :?

JD's picture

Crayon, my real concern in all this is that when the holidays come around for example, I want us all to enjoy it because it's the holiday season, not because of how much the presents cost. What's important to me and what I'm so looking forward to is sitting there on Christmas with the snow falling outside, enjoying the decorations, the tree, the music, the fireplace, the food cooking, the company of all our relatives...I think you know what I'm talking about, just the overall joy of the season all together. Obviously Jason is still a young boy and opening presents is a major part of it too, and I can't wait to see his excitement when he comes down and unwraps them. I just hope and pray that when he goes over his father's house and is then given a $500 bike or something like that which will surely eclipse whatever it is I can afford, that that does not then overshadow everything else. That's really my main worry because if and when that happens I know how awful I will feel.

I love Angie and Jason with all my heart, and I intend to make things work no matter what. The way I see all of us working out is that we all need to have compromises, and we all need to communicate about things. Perhaps if we have too many unresolved issues once the eventual wedding date approaches, we could look into pre-marital counseling. This is something that I suggested to my ex-wife and she never wanted anything to do with it. Me and her just never communicated on anything at all though. I'm just looking to the present and future from now on, and trying to be as positive as I can.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."

stuknaz's picture

sounds as if you need to get a job. I know being Mr. Mom is a job, but I'm talking about bringing in a paycheck. Angie is not content with how you guys are living.

Love is all god but it doesn't pay the rent and according to you she is accustomed to a LAVISH lifestyle??
You asked in your first post is Angie ever going to adjust? The answer is NO!

"And this too shall pass..."

JD's picture

Stuknaz, Angie is a very independent woman and always worked, even when she was with her ex who was bringing home a very nice salary too. She was just accustomed to getting her nails and hair done all the time, and going out tanning and dropping hundreds of dollars out to eat or at the mall...all that stuff. But her and her ex were ultimately not happy, and she admitted that a lot of what seemed from the outside to be "the perfect family," really was not. I was in the same shoes with my ex. I always held down a job even though she worked as an R.N., and we always had plenty of money for things like lavish vacations and her designer Coach bags and whatever else. But me and her were not happy either.

When we divorced, I came to realize that throwing money at problems solves nothing. Instead of me and my ex sitting down and talking about our problems, we'd go off to Cancun to forget them and then when we got home they'd all be right there. I could have stayed with my ex just for the financial security and so could have Angie, but we both realized that you have to have happiness from within. When two people are truly happy within themselves and with each other, the vacations and nice things should be delightful bonuses and treats...because those who are truly happy can be equally happy down the shore or far away on a tropical island. I thought Angie and I were on the same page with all of this, but I guess with Tom back in Jason's life now she might feel somewhat of that need to "compete." I guess it's only natural.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."