Author Topic: Help with a unmustachian wife  (Read 39235 times)

swick

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #100 on: March 03, 2015, 11:19:36 AM »
OP - Read this link, and the original essay mentioned in the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/fashion/no-37-big-wedding-or-small.html?_r=2

You might very well be headed to divorce, you have some major, major issues. But I agree with another poster who mentioned you did the right thing in marrying the mother of your child, but only went 1/2 way. Attempting to have the conversations suggested in this study may at least open the lines of communication- and hey, they are free.

Infatuation at first sight happens all the time. It is what we commonly think of as "love" The chemical reaction that happens in our brains.

Love, on the other hand, is something that is cultivated it takes hard work and doesn't usually just happen by accident. When people say they "fall out of love" most often it is because that chemical reaction wares off and they haven't invested the time and energy to really know each other.

There is a reason that many divorces happen when a couple becomes parents - as it is a stressful time and couples don't have the bond, communication and mutual respect to cope. Many divorces also happen when kids grow up and leave the home and the parents realize that they spent so much time and energy on the shared goal of raising their children they lost who they are in the process and didn't invest in their own relationship.

I overheard a conversation about love that stuck with me. One older guy (I think he might have been a preacher) turned to this young man who was asking for relationship advice and said " Love is not two people looking at each other, it is two people choosing to look in the same direction, together"

Obviously, protect yourself and do what is best for your son - just some things to consider.

capitalguy

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #101 on: March 03, 2015, 12:14:50 PM »
And the MIL idea?  OMG.  If my husband ever suggested to me that his mother should lecture me about how I was Doing It All Wrong, I'd be handing him his butt on a platter.

Even if you were making really stupid decisions that were destroying your, your husbands and your child's future? How much pride do you have??

Lia-Aimee

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #102 on: March 03, 2015, 12:20:00 PM »
I also fail to see how this situation is anti-feminist / an unequal display of power, etc. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong and someone can clarify.

If OP and his wife had separate finances and he expected her to chip in 50%, that would be cruel and problematic. But it looks like he's paying for everything except her cell phone. She should be easily able to afford a cell phone, as well as other fun things, on a job that I imagine nets no less than $400 a month. I imagine that many of us have a smaller entertainment budget than this.  It also appears that OP would be encouraging of her getting a job with more hours or higher pay - if he were insisting she work less, while still refusing to share money, it would be another story.

While access to a joint bank account would be normal and most efficient in this scenario, can anu of us say we'd want to share a bank account with someone who racks up credit card bills?

mamagoose

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #103 on: March 03, 2015, 12:26:37 PM »
I think you could benefit from marriage counseling, it could open your eyes to some of your wife's inner problems with anxiety and how she's using spending as a coping mechanism, plus it opens the line of communication with her hiding stuff from you and not consulting with you before she quits her job. She might be ashamed of her irresponsible behavior which is why she didn't check with you first.

Above all, please leave your mom out of your marriage issues. There's no faster way to piss off your wife than to tell her that her MIL knows her personal problems & wants to "help".

neo von retorch

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #104 on: March 03, 2015, 12:41:16 PM »
We generally perceive and advice based on our own situations and experiences, and I will no doubt do the same...

I believe that most of us are looking at this as a "marriage" relationship, and trying to solve that. But I think it's relatively clear that we're talking about two individuals here. This is not a partnership. It would likely be better if it was, and if they can head in that direction, that would be great.

For now, she is an individual with a child and some problems to deal with. She can't find satisfaction. Spending money gives her a temporary relief, but it doesn't make the overall discomfort go away. What is her purpose? What does she want from life? Why is she with this man who wants different things from her? She probably had some dreams and goals at some point. Spending money on temporary relief wasn't it.

I don't know if the OP and his wife can find common ground beyond their child and make a mutually beneficial relationship evolve out of that.

OP - what do you like about her? What are her redeeming qualities (however latent they may now be)?

When the OP tries to "persuade his wife to join his quest for FIRE" she sees someone coming at her and saying "I want something from you. I want to take away your temporary relief. I want that because it will benefit me."

Pigeon

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #105 on: March 03, 2015, 02:18:50 PM »
And the MIL idea?  OMG.  If my husband ever suggested to me that his mother should lecture me about how I was Doing It All Wrong, I'd be handing him his butt on a platter.

Even if you were making really stupid decisions that were destroying your, your husbands and your child's future? How much pride do you have??

It's not a matter of pride.  I'm married to my husband.  Our finances are our finances.  Our marital issues or lack thereof are between the two of us.  If we jointly decide to take a class on financial planning that would be one thing.  Having his mother get up our business?  Yup, his ass on a platter.

Spondulix

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #106 on: March 03, 2015, 03:44:58 PM »
And the MIL idea?  OMG.  If my husband ever suggested to me that his mother should lecture me about how I was Doing It All Wrong, I'd be handing him his butt on a platter.

Even if you were making really stupid decisions that were destroying your, your husbands and your child's future? How much pride do you have??
There's a HUGE difference between a spouse approaching a problem as, "We need to talk about this. What can we do to help this?" vs, "You have a problem, and my mother has a solution."

I highly doubt the struggling spouse is looking at it as, "I'm destroying my life, making my husband miserable, and ruining my child's future. That sounds awesome, exactly what I want, and I'm going to keep doing it!" Sometimes life just sucks into a hole. A few years ago, my mom had a heart attack and months later it threw me into depression. Could my behavior and choices during that period been viewed as "destroying my life"? If the goal is to judge me, then yes, it's true. Was that really what was going on? Not at all.

Chuck

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #107 on: March 03, 2015, 04:07:44 PM »
And the MIL idea?  OMG.  If my husband ever suggested to me that his mother should lecture me about how I was Doing It All Wrong, I'd be handing him his butt on a platter.

Even if you were making really stupid decisions that were destroying your, your husbands and your child's future? How much pride do you have??
There's a HUGE difference between a spouse approaching a problem as, "We need to talk about this. What can we do to help this?" vs, "You have a problem, and my mother has a solution."

No, there isn't a huge difference. The second option communicates the same message as the first, just in a much more honest way.


Allie

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #108 on: March 03, 2015, 04:27:06 PM »
I am really sorry you are in this situation.  If you do decide that you and your wife are better off as co parents instead of partners, I wish you the best.  If your wife is a good, loving mother to your child, please don't follow the advice of some of these other posters and take your child and run.  It will be much better for everyone if you two are able to work out your differences and get her to a place where she is healthy.

I'll stand behind my statements that the mil idea was a bad one and completely undermines any head way you may have been making to get her to stop giving money to her family. 

Consider taking another approach and reframing everything as for your son.  Obviously, this will only work if she is motivated to sacrifice for your child, but presenting your goals in terms of ensuring that he has a stable home and opportunities may get you a lot further.  An IRA can double as an education saving account.  Maybe if she sees the money going in something like that she will be motivated to get you back to 20%.  Maybe if she realizes that funding her sisters hockey mom status will take that away from her and her child when he's older, she'll stop.  These discussions need to be done with finesse.  More along the lines of "we can give him the world if we stop trying to have it all for ourselves." And less "you are stealing from our child's future."

The whole "live like you are no one else so you can live like no one else" tag line seems to resonate with people who want a fancier life.  Put down the MMM and get on the Dave Ramsey train.  Especially, if you guys are down with JC.

Annamal

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #109 on: March 03, 2015, 04:31:33 PM »
And the MIL idea?  OMG.  If my husband ever suggested to me that his mother should lecture me about how I was Doing It All Wrong, I'd be handing him his butt on a platter.

Even if you were making really stupid decisions that were destroying your, your husbands and your child's future? How much pride do you have??
There's a HUGE difference between a spouse approaching a problem as, "We need to talk about this. What can we do to help this?" vs, "You have a problem, and my mother has a solution."

No, there isn't a huge difference. The second option communicates the same message as the first, just in a much more honest way.

The first approach sets both partners up as a team working towards a common goal, the second adds yet another division to an already fractured partnership and pits one partner against the other and his mother.


iampatriciag

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #110 on: March 03, 2015, 04:56:07 PM »
Firstly, the MIL lesson:

Rationally, the MIL bit seems like a great solution - eliminate my debt, figure out how to get my spending down (like I don't know in the first place).  Nevertheless, I'm not emotionally invested in this relationship, and yet I still think it was a terrible idea.  I think I would be livid.  Please don't invite outside family into (both of) your problems unless both of you agree you need outside help.

But you're halfway there - you know you need outside help.  Like others have mentioned, you're reaching for different goals and you've said you don't communicate, so how can you expect her to understand your goals, let alone follow along with them?  Especially since you don't seem to know what hers are either. 

You're looking for opinions - I think you should put divorce out of your mind.  You've got a 3-year-old!  And a wife who seems to be in some emotional/anxiety distress.  This is your family - you've provided very well financially, now consider how to provide the emotional stability to get to a happy home for all of you.  Professional therapy is a helpful resource.  Until your wife starts talking about divorce and saying she wants out, I'd say, work on your underlying issues: communicate, get on the same team, earn each other's trust, work to make each other happy. 

Step 1: communicate.

Chuck

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #111 on: March 03, 2015, 06:04:35 PM »

You're looking for opinions - I think you should put divorce out of your mind.  You've got a 3-year-old! 
It would be much worse for the child to grow up in a home where his parents clearly resent one another, rather than to simply have divorced parents.

Rezdent

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #112 on: March 03, 2015, 06:32:56 PM »

You're looking for opinions - I think you should put divorce out of your mind.  You've got a 3-year-old! 
It would be much worse for the child to grow up in a home where his parents clearly resent one another, rather than to simply have divorced parents.
Agree.
However divorce may not resolve the underlying issues.  I know quite a few folks who remarried into the same situation  (multiple times!).  What's the point of that if the OP finds himself in a similar relationship down the road?
Best to work on the existing  relationship.  Even if it eventually fails, the OP would have a better understanding of why.

Spondulix

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #113 on: March 03, 2015, 07:09:08 PM »
And the MIL idea?  OMG.  If my husband ever suggested to me that his mother should lecture me about how I was Doing It All Wrong, I'd be handing him his butt on a platter.

Even if you were making really stupid decisions that were destroying your, your husbands and your child's future? How much pride do you have??
There's a HUGE difference between a spouse approaching a problem as, "We need to talk about this. What can we do to help this?" vs, "You have a problem, and my mother has a solution."

No, there isn't a huge difference. The second option communicates the same message as the first, just in a much more honest way.
...are you married?

MrsCoolCat

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #114 on: March 03, 2015, 09:10:20 PM »
LMAO to the post above me! Good luck. It sounds tough. Ironically my DH and I have very similar Mustachian views even before finding this website. However, yesterday Macy's had a really huge sale and I bought... 3 pairs of shoes. I had the first nag about, "Do you really need all those shoes." It was kind of funny but they were $21, $23 and $34. I will only be this young once, as I'm balancing FI and living a little and I like shoes and to look nice.

Heather in Ottawa

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #115 on: March 03, 2015, 09:41:31 PM »
Marriage can be a wonderful thing. Sometimes, divorce can also be a wonderful thing, because it opens up a new future. Figure out what you need to live a happy life, and figure out how to get there. No matter what path you wind up taking, I think you should expect that there will be better times ahead. Look forward to those better times while you work on the present. Good luck.

Chuck

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #116 on: March 04, 2015, 07:18:48 AM »
And the MIL idea?  OMG.  If my husband ever suggested to me that his mother should lecture me about how I was Doing It All Wrong, I'd be handing him his butt on a platter.

Even if you were making really stupid decisions that were destroying your, your husbands and your child's future? How much pride do you have??
There's a HUGE difference between a spouse approaching a problem as, "We need to talk about this. What can we do to help this?" vs, "You have a problem, and my mother has a solution."

No, there isn't a huge difference. The second option communicates the same message as the first, just in a much more honest way.
...are you married?
I am, and we are both very honest with one another when one of us is fucked up.

This guy's wife is fucked up. One of the things that drew me to this site in the first place is the willingness to tell hard truths without the veneer of sensitivity.

Pigeon

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #117 on: March 04, 2015, 07:35:11 AM »
This site doles out facepunches for people who request them about their spending habits.

The OP's wife isn't into this stuff.  Most people actually aren't.  She didn't come here and request to have her spending critiqued and she sure as hell didn't ask the OP's mommy to chime in with her two cents.

It's pretty clear that the OP's wife has anxiety issues that should be treated. They also seem to have deeper issues in their marriage, and if the OP has an interest in preserving the marriage, those issues need to be addressed.

CommonCents

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #118 on: March 04, 2015, 08:11:56 AM »
OP why not sit down and take a really close look at the spending?  Figure out how much is for the kids, how much for true luxuries, and how much to relatives.  But then dig deeper - ok, it's to relatives, but was it for luxuries, or things you would have agreed with had you been asked (e.g. help with medical expenses, diapers for kids, maybe even money to fix a car to get to work).

Cpa Cat

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #119 on: March 04, 2015, 09:16:42 AM »
I am, and we are both very honest with one another when one of us is fucked up.

This guy's wife is fucked up. One of the things that drew me to this site in the first place is the willingness to tell hard truths without the veneer of sensitivity.

This is not a marital advice forum, though.

Criticizing someone because they spent too much on their phone plan is a lot different from advocating divorce in a situation that we really know very little about.

Cutting off a relationship is a lot more complicated than cutting off cable.

tlars699

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #120 on: March 04, 2015, 09:43:58 AM »
We generally perceive and advice based on our own situations and experiences, and I will no doubt do the same...

I believe that most of us are looking at this as a "marriage" relationship, and trying to solve that. But I think it's relatively clear that we're talking about two individuals here. This is not a partnership. It would likely be better if it was, and if they can head in that direction, that would be great.

For now, she is an individual with a child and some problems to deal with. She can't find satisfaction. Spending money gives her a temporary relief, but it doesn't make the overall discomfort go away. What is her purpose? What does she want from life? Why is she with this man who wants different things from her? She probably had some dreams and goals at some point. Spending money on temporary relief wasn't it.

I don't know if the OP and his wife can find common ground beyond their child and make a mutually beneficial relationship evolve out of that.

OP - what do you like about her? What are her redeeming qualities (however latent they may now be)?

When the OP tries to "persuade his wife to join his quest for FIRE" she sees someone coming at her and saying "I want something from you. I want to take away your temporary relief. I want that because it will benefit me."

+1-

She is also not listening, because she has no say whatsoever in how they're going to solve it.
Him taking over her credit card debt, and getting half payments from her was even more of the same- all the stress with the paternalistic guidance? Why not just give it to him to solve completely for her, then NO Stress.

I have a question in How Did He Find Out? Did she come to him and ask him for help, and have him blow up about it? Then no wonder she's all defensive.

Agreed with previous posters: You need a counselor.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #121 on: March 04, 2015, 10:43:03 AM »

It would be much worse for the child to grow up in a home where his parents clearly resent one another, rather than to simply have divorced parents.

+1 - One of the happiest days of my childhood was when my dad moved out. They were both fine parents living apart, but shitty together.

-- Vik

Spondulix

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #122 on: March 04, 2015, 07:11:07 PM »
I am, and we are both very honest with one another when one of us is fucked up.

This guy's wife is fucked up. One of the things that drew me to this site in the first place is the willingness to tell hard truths without the veneer of sensitivity.

This is not a marital advice forum, though.

Criticizing someone because they spent too much on their phone plan is a lot different from advocating divorce in a situation that we really know very little about.

Cutting off a relationship is a lot more complicated than cutting off cable.
+1! Thank you!

Spondulix

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #123 on: March 04, 2015, 07:15:33 PM »
This guy's wife is fucked up. One of the things that drew me to this site in the first place is the willingness to tell hard truths without the veneer of sensitivity.
There's a difference between telling the truth and judging other people. To quote something I read recently: "Judging someone does not define who they are; it defines who you are." So maybe it's worth thinking twice before calling someone else's wife that you don't know "fucked up"

The Beacon

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #124 on: March 04, 2015, 07:41:14 PM »
The OP's wife isn't into this stuff.  Most people actually aren't.  She didn't come here and request to have her spending critiqued and she sure as hell didn't ask the OP's mommy to chime in with her two cents.

It does not really matter if she requested or not.  On an open forum, people just critique whatever they want.  As for the MIL suggestion,  if you look at it without any emotions, there is nothing wrong with it. MIL is a family member.  Family members sit down together and solve problems as objectively as possible. This is as normal as 1+1=2. Of course, it did not work for OP's wife due to her low EQ.

For low EQ people, all they see is lecturing. It is very much like working in a team, some team members just do not want to admit they are wrong when faced with even constructive criticism. These people will perish when others with an open mind will prosper. 

 
Remember the rebelllious teenage phase most of us went through?  There is nothing wrong with being young and stupid. But there is everything wrong when you behave like that in your 30s, 40s, 50s...

G-dog

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #125 on: March 04, 2015, 07:41:39 PM »
I am, and we are both very honest with one another when one of us is fucked up.

This guy's wife is fucked up. One of the things that drew me to this site in the first place is the willingness to tell hard truths without the veneer of sensitivity.

This is not a marital advice forum, though.

Criticizing someone because they spent too much on their phone plan is a lot different from advocating divorce in a situation that we really know very little about.

Cutting off a relationship is a lot more complicated than cutting off cable.

Well said.

Annamal

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #126 on: March 04, 2015, 08:18:03 PM »
The OP's wife isn't into this stuff.  Most people actually aren't.  She didn't come here and request to have her spending critiqued and she sure as hell didn't ask the OP's mommy to chime in with her two cents.

It does not really matter if she requested or not.  On an open forum, people just critique whatever they want.  As for the MIL suggestion,  if you look at it without any emotions, there is nothing wrong with it. MIL is a family member.  Family members sit down together and solve problems as objectively as possible.

Family members of the kind you describe presumably have a close enough relationship that one member of a family does not feel that they have to bribe others in order to offer advice.

There is a great deal of skill involved in offering constructive criticism in a way that the recipient is able to take it on board without becoming defensive.
I haven't mastered it and I try to remember to ask permission before offering suggestions unless someone is actively seeking advice (or involved in an online discussion where most of the rules seem to go out the window).

The Beacon

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #127 on: March 04, 2015, 08:46:23 PM »
The OP's wife isn't into this stuff.  Most people actually aren't.  She didn't come here and request to have her spending critiqued and she sure as hell didn't ask the OP's mommy to chime in with her two cents.

It does not really matter if she requested or not.  On an open forum, people just critique whatever they want.  As for the MIL suggestion,  if you look at it without any emotions, there is nothing wrong with it. MIL is a family member.  Family members sit down together and solve problems as objectively as possible.

Family members of the kind you describe presumably have a close enough relationship that one member of a family does not feel that they have to bribe others in order to offer advice.

There is a great deal of skill involved in offering constructive criticism in a way that the recipient is able to take it on board without becoming defensive.
I haven't mastered it and I try to remember to ask permission before offering suggestions unless someone is actively seeking advice (or involved in an online discussion where most of the rules seem to go out the window).

People look at things from different angles.  If one looks at it as a bribe, he immediately builds a defensive wall to protect his pride in situation like this.  From my angle, it is help.  If you bribe me, you can critique me or scream at me all you want :)     There is nothing wrong to have pride.  But if it is too fragile, then it is problematic.

Of course, offering advice and having it accepted is an art, especially to ones not very close to you.  But for people very close to you, you should be point blank honest. If you can't be brutally honest to your wife or hubby, you have a problem there.

My wife and I check each others' stress level once every few days. There is absolutely no beating around the bush.  Everything is up for discussion.  On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most stressful, I am like 1 and she is like 3 due to taking care of 2 kids.  For my stress score of 1, it is mostly because I am only 2-3 years away from FI and have a frugal wife taking care of everything in my back yard....   Team work is gold. Without my wife, I 'd perhaps toil away until I am 65.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 08:53:35 PM by Sharpy »

Spondulix

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #128 on: March 04, 2015, 09:48:39 PM »
People look at things from different angles.  If one looks at it as a bribe, he immediately builds a defensive wall to protect his pride in situation like this.  From my angle, it is help.  If you bribe me, you can critique me or scream at me all you want :)     There is nothing wrong to have pride.  But if it is too fragile, then it is problematic.
If it's a good bribe I'd take it too. ;) I see this as a matter of family dynamics, though. Not everyone has a support network that includes their extended family. It may be a source of strain if one spouse has that kind of support network and the other's family isn't that way.

I think of it like a Thanksgiving meal. If you've ever had a hodgepodge of friends or family together, everyone tends to share how their family does things differently. Where you get into problems is when people start saying, "the way you're doing it isn't right, and we're going to do my family's recipe because it's better." That's what I hear in these conversations sometimes - it's judgement, and not constructive criticism.

capitalguy

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #129 on: March 05, 2015, 05:11:43 AM »
Amen to Sharpy!

Cinder

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #130 on: March 05, 2015, 06:32:42 AM »
And the MIL idea?  OMG.  If my husband ever suggested to me that his mother should lecture me about how I was Doing It All Wrong, I'd be handing him his butt on a platter.

Even if you were making really stupid decisions that were destroying your, your husbands and your child's future? How much pride do you have??
There's a HUGE difference between a spouse approaching a problem as, "We need to talk about this. What can we do to help this?" vs, "You have a problem, and my mother has a solution."

No, there isn't a huge difference. The second option communicates the same message as the first, just in a much more honest way.

The first approach sets both partners up as a team working towards a common goal, the second adds yet another division to an already fractured partnership and pits one partner against the other and his mother.

I've had similar issues with this kind of thinking in the past... I tend to look just at statements for what they say, not how they'll make people feel.  The meaning of the words both SAY the same thing, but when you put the words incontext with the way the person you are talking to will hear them, they tell another story... communication is a lot more then the words that pass between people, it's all the space in between.







We generally perceive and advice based on our own situations and experiences, and I will no doubt do the same...

I believe that most of us are looking at this as a "marriage" relationship, and trying to solve that. But I think it's relatively clear that we're talking about two individuals here. This is not a partnership. It would likely be better if it was, and if they can head in that direction, that would be great.

For now, she is an individual with a child and some problems to deal with. She can't find satisfaction. Spending money gives her a temporary relief, but it doesn't make the overall discomfort go away. What is her purpose? What does she want from life? Why is she with this man who wants different things from her? She probably had some dreams and goals at some point. Spending money on temporary relief wasn't it.

I don't know if the OP and his wife can find common ground beyond their child and make a mutually beneficial relationship evolve out of that.

OP - what do you like about her? What are her redeeming qualities (however latent they may now be)?

When the OP tries to "persuade his wife to join his quest for FIRE" she sees someone coming at her and saying "I want something from you. I want to take away your temporary relief. I want that because it will benefit me."

+1-

She is also not listening, because she has no say whatsoever in how they're going to solve it.
Him taking over her credit card debt, and getting half payments from her was even more of the same- all the stress with the paternalistic guidance? Why not just give it to him to solve completely for her, then NO Stress.

I have a question in How Did He Find Out? Did she come to him and ask him for help, and have him blow up about it? Then no wonder she's all defensive.

Agreed with previous posters: You need a counselor.


I listen to the YNAB podcasts that Jessie Mecham puts out, and there was one where he talked about him and his wife.  He was managing the finances and she felt disconnected....  Once he put her incharge of the budget (that they discussed together each week/month), she really got involved because she could 'own' the budget. 

I think he mentioned that it seemed like 'he could pay for the things he wanted' with respect to the budget/things he was doing with his business, but she didn't have any say, and that her taking up that part of the process was pretty big in getting them to  work together like a well oiled machine.   

I feel like the separate finances are part of the problem.  I'll second the opinion above that you should keep the accounts separate, but combine all of the accounts together in mint, (or YNAB if that would suit you, but MINT is a great first step) and start out initially doing a daily reconciliation to make sure everything is categorized correctly. DO THIS TOGETHER.... help her feel involved in the process.  Have her 'drive' while you look over the information.  Once you've gone though a couple weeks most things should be in order, and you can slow down to weekly checkins going over everything.   

You will still be able to log in and glance at what is going on.  This Doesn't solve the problem if she goes out and gets any additional credit cards or anything like that. 

Pigeon

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #131 on: March 05, 2015, 06:48:13 AM »
The OP's wife isn't into this stuff.  Most people actually aren't.  She didn't come here and request to have her spending critiqued and she sure as hell didn't ask the OP's mommy to chime in with her two cents.

It does not really matter if she requested or not.  On an open forum, people just critique whatever they want.  As for the MIL suggestion,  if you look at it without any emotions, there is nothing wrong with it. MIL is a family member.  Family members sit down together and solve problems as objectively as possible. This is as normal as 1+1=2. Of course, it did not work for OP's wife due to her low EQ.

For low EQ people, all they see is lecturing. It is very much like working in a team, some team members just do not want to admit they are wrong when faced with even constructive criticism. These people will perish when others with an open mind will prosper. 

 
Remember the rebelllious teenage phase most of us went through?  There is nothing wrong with being young and stupid. But there is everything wrong when you behave like that in your 30s, 40s, 50s...



Everyone's family dynamics are different.  I get along OK with my MIL, but she is not family in the sense that my husband and kids are family.  She's not part of my "team."  She's not a neutral party. 

OP's mother in law might have done a good job managing her own personal finances, but that doesn't mean that her opinion is useful to her DIL.  There are lots of emotions around money for just about everyone, and there are often tensions with inlaws.  My MIL did a decent job of managing her and FIL's finances, but her situation is not my situation and her values are not my values.  If I wanted financial advice, I would be the one to determine the source.  If I were doing it with my husband, we would determine the source together.

I don't think you'd find a marriage counselor on earth who would suggest that bringing inlaws in on something like this is a good idea.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #132 on: March 05, 2015, 05:06:17 PM »
Well, looking at it from the MILs point of view, if I was going to cover a spendthrift relative's $15k debt, I'd darn well want some commitment on their part to get educated on money management in return, so I could be sure we wouldn't be back in the same place again in a couple of years.

I'd suggest running a credit report to make sure $15k is the real total. It's also important to figure out if this is compulsive shopping (a real psychiatric disorder) or simply childish behavior. And yes, it would be good to encourage her to find a new job, just in case things go south (and also so she can help shovel out of this hole).

You might also try to find out what your legal responsibility for her debts would be in your state. I live in a community property state, so if my ex had run up credit cards, I would have been stuck for half in a divorce. I've heard horror stories of spouses running up 50 or 100k in hidden debt.

Cinder

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #133 on: March 05, 2015, 08:47:31 PM »
Well, looking at it from the MILs point of view, if I was going to cover a spendthrift relative's $15k debt, I'd darn well want some commitment on their part to get educated on money management in return, so I could be sure we wouldn't be back in the same place again in a couple of years.

I don't understand why everyone is talking about this like it's a terrible thing.  I know that this is usually one of the 'tactics' that Dave Ramsey always recommends, for people who feel like they 'have to help' but don't want to just enable people to go on burning money like it's going out style without a lasting fix.    The way it was brought up to the wife may not have been the best way in this situation, but the act from the MIL isn't something I'd consider to be negative...

Spondulix

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #134 on: March 05, 2015, 11:12:47 PM »
The way it was brought up to the wife may not have been the best way in this situation, but the act from the MIL isn't something I'd consider to be negative...
You nailed it on the head, assuming it's a traditional/healthy relationship. But, some parents give money just to have influence on their children's choices or behavior (think narcissist). Just recently, there was a thread where someone had in their budget something like "money sent to China for in-laws". If I remember correctly, the poster was tight on money, and the in-laws were literally gambling it away. It might have been a cultural thing, but the poster was financially indebted to his/her in-laws for life because they had paid for their daughter's college.

HazelStone

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #135 on: March 06, 2015, 11:40:13 AM »
I suffer from anxiety disorder/depression myself. I take high doses of meds and still go to therapy. I've been through two layoffs. It was Not Pretty. My dear husband was a rock and incredibly patient. He is a real mensch, and I feel lucky to have him. We are BOTH frugal though, so we've had very little disagreements on money and were able to structure our finances where we could withstand some punishment to our cash flow. I have also worked in a couple of toxic work environments, which played merry hell on my psyche and gave me a bad case of burnout, contributing to the anxiety disorder (one of these jobs involved an hour's commute on a very nasty stretch of highway).

In short, I sympathize with your wife. Mostly, not entirely.

The bitch about anxiety disorder is that the sufferer is not operating in anything resembling "normal" reality. The disorder can also sneak up on you where you don't always realize how far you've sunk. I still fight my issues regularly, and my main improvement from therapy has been learning to step back and TRY to be more objective about the situation at hand. This is far easier said than done. Anxiety disorder also keeps one ALWAYS on the defensive, sometimes assuming bad intentions that are not there. Keep this in mind. Her world is not your world at this time. If she gets panic attacks and the like, then she probably feels very much not in control of things already.

In the worst depths of my anxiety disorder, I was afraid my husband would leave me, find someone who wasn't so much "trouble." Maybe a younger woman, too, while he was at it (I'm five years older than he is). That was the pesky neurotransmitter imbalance talking. In truth, my Sweetie still makes goo-goo eyes at me five years in.

Let's look at the timeline here, and try to walk in her (perhaps overpriced) shoes. How long was your wife at the job she quit, before she married you? Did her commute from that old job improve or become worse upon moving in together? Do you know if she was helping out her family then?

So far:
3.5 years ago you had a shotgun wedding.
3 years ago your son was born.
2 years ago you turned over a new leaf, financially. Your wife did not buy in. (Where, exactly, have you saved up that 100K? Is it even in joint accounts?)
1 year ago she quit FT work, with your blessing, once her anxiety disorder got the better of her. Did you make job search expectations clear before you gave your blessing? Did you work on a budget then?
She spent some months unemployed, then got her part time gig a few months ago (but just quit it?).
 
From her point of view I imagine it's something like this: A few years back she had a decent job, her own place, bought whatever fun/shiny things she wanted, and was doing all right. Some job stress, sure, but who doesn't have it? A little bit of a credit card bill run up, but don't most people? (not my view, just sayin') Being in her early thirties at the time you met, she's used to having a lot of autonomy. Then she meets a guy, and has an unexpected pregnancy. From an anxiety perspective that's a huge OH SHIT right there. She moves in with her soon-to-be-spouse, is now accountable to another person, has the baby, has to juggle the baby with her stressful job, keeps buying unnecessary things for a quick mood fix, and has a little breakdown.

Perhaps she was dealing with a bit of post-partum depression at the time, too? How far/how close does her family live to you? What's her local support network like? There is a higher likelihood of PPD if a new mother lives far away from family and friends' support.

In any case, you are being seen as "the big meanie" who doesn't offer her a bit of your cash to subsidize her normal (and reasonable, to her) expenditures even when she is busting ass keeping everything together. I don't actually agree with this view, mind you!

She's probably feeling very insecure. In that mental state it is also hard to take a long term view. But she has to WANT to help herself as well.
 
Try framing her actions in terms of giving her security: "I am doing this to make sure OUR CHILD has a good, stable life and good education. I'm doing this so NEITHER of us have to work a crappy job that drives us insane, but buys us time to find a decent gig. I want to make sure that WE are not eating cat food in retirement, or losing the house in a layoff. I need YOUR HELP in this goal by doing/not doing x,y,z. If we continue on this rate of saving, we will reach FI in XX years, IF YOU HELP US get there. I know you are stressed out right now and I want to HELP YOU deal with it in a productive manner. We can get through this."

Does she like the field for which she was trained? Would some retraining help if she bought into it? Do you suspect any crisis of confidence on the career front?

Remember- this is the mother of your child. If you go for the escape hatch, you still have to deal with her for oh, 15 years yet. Consider the cost of divorce and child support vs. going a little slower on the savings rate. Hell, bribe her for reaching milestones if you must! Also remember that in 2-3 years the kiddo will be in school and she will have less pressure on her time and sanity. Is she afraid to put the kiddo in day care? Ask her to plan for the short term to intermediate future. Again, she is very much on the defensive already. Show her that you are really on HER side, not her adversary. Show her that she is actually in a safe place (which might not happen without therapy/meds/both). Don't smack her on the head with a rolled up newspaper like she's an errant puppy.

I agree with the sentiments that she needs professional help. I hope she is willing to find it. She also needs to work on boundary issues with her family. It sounds like maybe money=love in her mind. Given how your relationship started, there really wasn't time to establish family boundaries before the mega-stress hit; try to bear that in mind. That gets very complicated very quickly. But she is a big girl and her first responsibility is to her husband and child.

Good luck. I can only imagine the sort of stress you both must be under right now.

MissPeach

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #136 on: March 24, 2015, 02:40:50 PM »
No new advice here over what's already been mentioned but I do agree it's probably something internal that's causing the issue. When I was married I shopped and spent like crazy (but I was also the breadwinner). After the divorce I went very mustashian once I realized what the stuff was doing and how it was hurting other things I wanted like job freedom and FIRE.

I do agree with things like therapy if you think she has any desire to change and work with you as a team. She likely won't until she feels she has hit rock bottom. If someone won't take ANY help then it's perhaps better to walk away. I would be careful how you approach it though because she will probably perceive it as criticism, control, with distrust, etc. this far into the problems.

There is a blog I thought I would mention. It's called recovering shopaholic. I felt a little better reading about someone who was in a similar situation as me - using things in my life and about me as a crutch to spend money. Sometimes it's helpful to know you're not the only one out there with the problem.