Author Topic: Help with a unmustachian wife  (Read 39187 times)

Cpa Cat

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #50 on: March 01, 2015, 06:14:39 PM »
( I proposed after I found out she was pregnant). 

Supposing you could fix the financial issues - is this actually someone you want to be married to?

Counseling can probably help you find the answer to that question. But you should answer it. Because your course of action will be different if this is a marriage you want to exit from vs if this is a marriage you want to save.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2015, 06:37:07 PM by Cpa Cat »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #51 on: March 01, 2015, 06:29:13 PM »
( I proposed after I found out she was pregnant). 

Supposing you could fix the financial issues - is this actually someone you want to be married to?

Counseling can probably help you find the answer to that question. But you should answer it. Because your course of action will be different if this is a marriage you want to exit it from vs if this is a marriage you want to save.

Yeah, that line struck out at me as well. My wife and I got married while she was 5 months pregnant, but it wasn't a "shotgun" wedding at all. We'd been engaged for three years already.

In this situation, you probably need individual counseling for both of you, and couples counseling. Though of course that costs $$$.

Tough situation, mate. Best of luck finding the right path.

rothnroll

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #52 on: March 01, 2015, 06:30:04 PM »
Jeesh dude.
Seperate finances because you can't trust her?
Forget about it.
Eject-

Janie

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #53 on: March 01, 2015, 06:47:33 PM »
One thing to bear in mind is that you'll be co-parenting a child no matter the status of your marriage. I think getting an outside perspective from an experienced counselor might be very valuable even if (maybe even especially if) you're considering divorce. Even if you decide it's the best course, it's not likely to be a quick and easy solution, or even the end of a relationship. Best of luck to you all.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #54 on: March 01, 2015, 06:54:47 PM »
A few things jump out at me:

1) Do you love your wife?  It sounds like no from the way you speak about her.
2) Are both/either of you from dysfunctional families (or with alcoholism)?  It sounds like there is a ton of mental health issues, enabling, controlling, blaming and other things going on here from BOTH OF YOU.
3) Your finances should be combined.  It sounds like she perceives you as telling her what to do/telling her that she is lazy, bad with money, etc.  This is what I'm hearing from your posts.  No wonder she doesn't want to listen.
4) If she's too anxious to work, then that is a serious mental health issue that needs addressing.  You two should go to Al-anon or counseling if there are those types of issues here.
5) Your mother giving her financial advice is a really bad idea.  It's more lecturing from your side of the family. 

A better way might be to have her listen to Dave Ramsey podcasts (just have them on in the house not force her to listen), or leave some financial books around if she likes to read.  Bring up things in a more light-hearted way.

Cleaning up the credit card mess will take time and you shouldn't take drastic actions to do so yet. You need to find a way to communicate with your wife instead of "telling at her". 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #55 on: March 01, 2015, 07:07:07 PM »
It sounds like this whole situation is pretty far gone. At this point, I think professional assistance is well overdue. Yes, it is expensive, but divorce is even moreso. It sounds like both of you really need help here, individually and as a pair. That sort of unhappiness and lack of trust just erodes you.

Chuck

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #56 on: March 01, 2015, 10:56:13 PM »
Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.

Then divorce.

Everyone calling for counselling has their collective heart in the right place, but you need to get the fuck out now.

couponvan

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #57 on: March 01, 2015, 11:31:28 PM »
I haven't posted here yet. No offense, but I would never want to hear investment/budget advice from my MIL. My question for you is do you have any spending that you wouldn't want exposed? If you could save as much as you have in the past two years I think your income level must be very high. When your income level is high it's sometimes easy not to think about your own expenses.

As a married couple, you both have responsibilities and are equally responsible for most debts in the eyes of the law. You may make a bunch more than your wife, and feel like she could make more, but divorce is a last resort. I personally think you made a for richer or poorer/better or worse vow. She's poorer and worse right now, but that doesn't break any vows.

 Also your tagline has Illini, which means you might live in Illinois. Given all that higher income which has allowed you to save a good amount of money, you are likely looking at a pretty hefty child support bill. You are also likely looking at spousal support. I have heard many of my neighbors talking about the fact that it is "cheaper to keep her (or him)". Illinois is an "at fault" state, so check with legal counsel before you do anything or a) you may spend your net worth on legal battles and b) you may have to support her in the lifestyle the court thinks your income can afford, not the mustachian way you have been living.

My DH is the spender in the family, but he is also the higher earner.  Where we had trouble was when he questioned my $200 spending and called it the same as his $1,000 spending.  Not.....  Now we have one pot and Mint helps us accumulate annual personal spend - by person.  Makes the conversation more equal - we are a team and we each get to spend the same amount regardless of income.  (I do WAY MORE with the kids/house, and only work PT, but that doesn't mean his money is his money and my money is my money.  It is our money.)


Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #58 on: March 02, 2015, 06:15:05 AM »
Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.

Then divorce.

Everyone calling for counselling has their collective heart in the right place, but you need to get the fuck out now.

Wow, aren't you a judgmental little ray of sunshine. How's this: even if he proceeds with a divorce, seeking counseling shows a desire for remediation and is looked on favorably, so it's a strategic move as well. I think it serves the whole community a bit better if you make your point with an argument stronger than vulgarity. Thanks!

garion

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #59 on: March 02, 2015, 06:47:39 AM »
Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.

Then divorce.

Everyone calling for counselling has their collective heart in the right place, but you need to get the fuck out now.

I missed the part where she was shown as an unfit mother... The child is THREE years old and it seems like the mother has been the primary caregiver up to this point. If the mother and child have a good relationship, it would be harmful and traumatic to split the two of them. If the mother is negligent or abusive, this is obviously a different story, but I can't see evidence of that from the post.

I do think a divorce is necessary though, just from the tone of all of these posts. I don't feel any love or concern, just annoyance that the wife is getting in the way of OP's goals. Although, as others have mentioned, this isn't going to improve OP's financial situation. The state already views your money as belonging to the both of you, even if you don't.

Wife also could use some counseling and possibly a psychiatric evaluation if she hasn't had one yet.

bugbaby

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #60 on: March 02, 2015, 07:06:21 AM »
Hello, the MIL only offered advice as a condition for *paying off $15k of CC debt* ... It's actually a useful way of helping the irresponsible by addressing the core problem...

The wife has persistently shown no commitment or respect for the marriage unit.  I've seen a lot of this pattern (including the oops pregnancy to get the ring- not saying that's the case here necessarily) ... If she is not seeing a problem and suggesting counseling herself, dragging her there is futile..

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #61 on: March 02, 2015, 07:20:08 AM »
Good luck man. What a shitty situation.


DecD

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #62 on: March 02, 2015, 08:29:54 AM »
Is she in treatment for her anxiety issues?  Are you working on your marriage?

The #1 suggestion you got back in December was that she is in need of individual counseling (it sounds like she's in a bad place) and you're both in need of couples counseling (clearly communication has broken down.)

If you haven't pursued both of these routes, why would you expect to have made any progress over the past 2.5 months?  You need to treat the root of the problems, not the symptoms.

Louisville

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #63 on: March 02, 2015, 08:53:11 AM »
This is probably not a person you're ever going to be able to trust. Do your due diligence with marraige counseling, etc., but you can't help someone who won't be helped. Be prepared that end game may be divorce. It's not the worst possible outcome. Sorry - shitty situation for everybody, but you can get through it.

Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.

Then divorce.

Everyone calling for counselling has their collective heart in the right place, but you need to get the fuck out now.

Wow, aren't you a judgmental little ray of sunshine. How's this: even if he proceeds with a divorce, seeking counseling shows a desire for remediation and is looked on favorably, so it's a strategic move as well. I think it serves the whole community a bit better if you make your point with an argument stronger than vulgarity. Thanks!
Braken, you may be on the wrong forum....

jackiechiles2

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #64 on: March 02, 2015, 09:14:10 AM »
I'm sorry guys. I'm the one that suggested the allowance, and I'll say it again, we *all* have an allowance in our family.  I normally call it "My personal fund", but I figured everyone thought of it as an "allowance" so that's what I called it.

I also said in my post that both parties have to give up the credit card, not just her.  It's only fair.

Yeah, we have similar budget item, but I call it "wife's spending money."  She normally buys stuff for the kids, so it's more like clothes for kids fund, but she can use it however she wants.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #65 on: March 02, 2015, 09:24:32 AM »
That's a tough one.  I was honestly thinking "eject" until I read the part about having a 3 yr old son.

I was thinking the same.

Frankly I would give her an ultimatum in terms of debt/spending/savings. If she can't meet it divorce her.

I had a friend in the exact same scenario who waited too long so that when he had to divorce her he ended up with $200K of her debt since she made so little.

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sheepstache

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #66 on: March 02, 2015, 09:48:28 AM »
Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.

Then divorce.

Everyone calling for counselling has their collective heart in the right place, but you need to get the fuck out now.

Wow, aren't you a judgmental little ray of sunshine. How's this: even if he proceeds with a divorce, seeking counseling shows a desire for remediation and is looked on favorably, so it's a strategic move as well. I think it serves the whole community a bit better if you make your point with an argument stronger than vulgarity. Thanks!

I read that as Chuck saying "you [the OP] need to get the fuck out now," not "you [everyone calling for counselling] need to get the fuck out now." So I don't think he was telling anyone on the thread to get the fuck out which I agree would be a little too strongly worded.

edit for quoting
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 10:20:09 AM by sheepstache »

mm1970

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #67 on: March 02, 2015, 09:56:38 AM »
Quote
Also your tagline has Illini, which means you might live in Illinois. Given all that higher income which has allowed you to save a good amount of money, you are likely looking at a pretty hefty child support bill. You are also likely looking at spousal support. I have heard many of my neighbors talking about the fact that it is "cheaper to keep her (or him)". Illinois is an "at fault" state, so check with legal counsel before you do anything or a) you may spend your net worth on legal battles and b) you may have to support her in the lifestyle the court thinks your income can afford, not the mustachian way you have been living.
Some very good points here.

Do you want to be married to this person?  Do you love them?  Can you go to counseling?  Do you think you could get custody?

Divorce might be the answer.  But man, I've seen so much of it around.  Your wife doesn't have a job.  Divorce is expensive.  You will likely not get full custody, so it means you will need to pay child support.  You may also have to pay spousal support.  That is close to 2 households that you are supporting.  At that point, mustachianism will be a necessity.

Surely, long term, you may be happier.  You may find someone else, have more children.  But then you are dragging more people into the drama of how to support that other family.

Then the question becomes, how much money do you make?  Maybe I missed it, but if you are capable of spending a certain amount of money, and just not spending - it's just not going to look good for you. I mean I know your money is separate, and your wife keeps getting into debt.  But $15k of debt if you are making $30k is one thing, it's an entirely different thing (to the courts) if you are making $120k.

MayDay

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #68 on: March 02, 2015, 10:21:02 AM »
Mayday the internet therapist recommends:

- pay off her debt.
- get thee to a counselor, either together or just you, THIS WEEK NO MORE EXCUSES.
- try to convince her to freeze credit cards and/or cancel and make sure to include deleting from websites.  In exchange offer a generous cash personal "allowance" for each of you. Save yours for potential divorce, let her spend however she wants as long as it isn't on credit.
-hash out whether you want to stay or go, while being the best possible parent and spouse you can be in the meantime. 

Allie

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #69 on: March 02, 2015, 10:31:11 AM »
I had to go back and reread the responses to his first inquiry before commenting again.  None of the very good advice was addressed in the update. 

Have you sat down and discussed her goals?  Have you considered an allowance?  Have you ought any form of counseling?  Take a look at Dave Ramsey?

I would be interested in more clarification.  Did she go from a 10k credit card bill to a 15k credit card bill in 2 months.  If so, that's insane.  If you are just uncovering more spending she's done over the course of 3 years, I'll stick by my original comment, that it isn't too bad for a non mustachian spouse of a high earner.  It's something to work on.  Certainly not as it could be.

It still seems strange to me to have "separate finances" when one person is a non earning stay at home spouse primarily.  Very controlling.  For a married couple, separate finances only works when both parties are on board.  As she has demonstrated through her actions, she has as much access to your earnings as you do even if you try to hide them away in another account.  We are in the middle of a large bathroom remodel and I went out and secured multiple lines of credit based on my husband's income without a single hiccup.  He didn't need to sign off, agree, anything.  Because it's all our money, regardless of who makes it.  Just canceling the cards or cutting them up won't stop her from getting more whenever she wants.


Allie

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #70 on: March 02, 2015, 10:35:34 AM »
Am I the only one who is appalled by the hypocrisy of OP being on board with mom bailing him out to the tune of 15k on one hand but deriding wife and mother of OPs child for wanting to bail out her family when they make poor spending decisions?


nobody123

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #71 on: March 02, 2015, 10:59:07 AM »
Am I the only one who is appalled by the hypocrisy of OP being on board with mom bailing him out to the tune of 15k on one hand but deriding wife and mother of OPs child for wanting to bail out her family when they make poor spending decisions?

I'm more appalled that a grown married man hasn't figured out that his wife will react negatively to any offer of assistance from his mother if it comes with strings attached, no matter how good intentioned the offer may be.



neo von retorch

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #72 on: March 02, 2015, 10:59:30 AM »
I just wanted to share the latest update and again get everyone's input and advice. Since my last post my wife's final credit card debt has now reached $15,000. For the first two months of trying to pay this down I was having her give me half of her $10.50 hr paycheck which was not even covering the minimum payments. I was then chipping in what i could....around $300-$400 per month. I then reduced my 401k contribution from 20% to 7% which is the minimum I can do and still receive the max match.  Also after looking into further I am in the process of doing a cash out refinance where I should be receiving around $13,000 shortly.

I feel like I am taking a huge step backwards in my life both financially and mentally.  And this was all before she told me that she abruptly quit her part time job without first consulting me.  While she was only making $10.50 an hr while working 15-20 hrs per week that was money that I was counting on to help pay off her debt. When I asked her how she could do that at such a time in our lives she replied by saying they weren't paying her enough for the amount of work they were expecting from her.  She has been looking for another job for the past month however I dont really see her worrying too much about it.  She spends roughly 3-4 hrs a week looking online.

A couple of weeks ago my mom offered to pay off my wife's credit card bill with the only requirement that she sit down with her and teach her about budgeting and finances. My moms motivation behind this was to ensure that after helping my wife would not be back in the same place in a couple of years. I was reluctant at first but when I brought the idea up to my wife she responded by saying that she would rather get hit by a train than to listen to someone else about how to spend her money. She also said that if her parents were to ever give us money (which they will never be able to) that they would never tell us how to spend it.

I feel like I'm in a no win position. How do I help someone who doesn't want to help themselves? This whole ordeal has affected me in numerous ways. Lack of sleep,constantly worrying, lack of appetite etc. we really didn't have the best of marriage before this ( I proposed after I found out she was pregnant).  We aren't really even talking much at home and I only try to put on a happy face around my three year old.

Does anyone have advise for me or do I alrady know the answer to this question?

She is not feeling any consequences for her behavior / actions. She feels entitled to do as she pleases. She wants to control how money is being spent without bothering to think about how that affects anyone. (It doesn't affect her negatively. She spends - she gets the things she wants - she doesn't worry about the bills.) She is not concerned about how you are affected, so you need to protect yourself.

The short answer is "you can't" to the question of helping someone who doesn't want it. You will continue to sacrifice money and health and you cannot be as much of a parent as you want to be in your current situation, so "putting on a happy face" may not be the best for your child. (I hesitate, of course, before offering parenting advice, but you really need to take a big step back and compare your current situation and where you will all be five years from now on your current course and alternate courses.)

You cannot and should not have to control your wife and her spending. But her behavior is her own. You cannot control it. It is up to her to change. When the signs are obvious it will not, you have to make decisions for yourself and your child above and beyond anything else.

Mental illness is a real problem, but it's not a catch-all excuse for bad behavior. She has to contribute energy and effort to making things better, or it's clear she's choosing not to.

capitalguy

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #73 on: March 02, 2015, 12:40:08 PM »
Am I the only one who is appalled by the hypocrisy of OP being on board with mom bailing him out to the tune of 15k on one hand but deriding wife and mother of OPs child for wanting to bail out her family when they make poor spending decisions?

I'm more appalled that a grown married man hasn't figured out that his wife will react negatively to any offer of assistance from his mother if it comes with strings attached, no matter how good intentioned the offer may be.

And I'm appalled by the opinions of so many people in this thread regarding mothers' in law. Maybe I'm lucky to have a great relationship with mine? Someone offering to pay $15k of debt that you racked up and then teach you how to make sure you never get into that situation again sounds like a win to me.

If instead of his mother in law it was an accountant friend of his who offered to pay off the debt and teach her how to be responsible would you people be against that?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #74 on: March 02, 2015, 12:43:05 PM »
Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.

Then divorce.

Everyone calling for counselling has their collective heart in the right place, but you need to get the fuck out now.

Wow, aren't you a judgmental little ray of sunshine. How's this: even if he proceeds with a divorce, seeking counseling shows a desire for remediation and is looked on favorably, so it's a strategic move as well. I think it serves the whole community a bit better if you make your point with an argument stronger than vulgarity. Thanks!

I read that as Chuck saying "you [the OP] need to get the fuck out now," not "you [everyone calling for counselling] need to get the fuck out now." So I don't think he was telling anyone on the thread to get the fuck out which I agree would be a little too strongly worded.

edit for quoting

Ahhhh I read it is him telling everyone advising counseling to GTFO. If it's the other case, that's fine then. I just thought it was totally unhelpful if the feedback was "you're all wrong, so fuck off". Thanks for the clarification.

CommonCents

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #75 on: March 02, 2015, 01:08:02 PM »
Am I the only one who is appalled by the hypocrisy of OP being on board with mom bailing him out to the tune of 15k on one hand but deriding wife and mother of OPs child for wanting to bail out her family when they make poor spending decisions?

I'm more appalled that a grown married man hasn't figured out that his wife will react negatively to any offer of assistance from his mother if it comes with strings attached, no matter how good intentioned the offer may be.

And I'm appalled by the opinions of so many people in this thread regarding mothers' in law. Maybe I'm lucky to have a great relationship with mine? Someone offering to pay $15k of debt that you racked up and then teach you how to make sure you never get into that situation again sounds like a win to me.

If instead of his mother in law it was an accountant friend of his who offered to pay off the debt and teach her how to be responsible would you people be against that?

Yeah I'm not really sure the tarring and feathering is appropriate.

Allie, at first I thought you had something and then I realized the key (implied) difference:
1) the mom is spending money she has, not going into debt and
2) the mom is spending her own money or has her spouse's buy-in for this plan, if married

The problem with the OP's wife giving money to her relatives was that she was going into debt to do so and not discussing / gaining OP's acquiescence beforehand.  (Of course, as noted above, I'm assuming a few things about the mom, but they seem reasonable.)

Chuck

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #76 on: March 02, 2015, 02:09:32 PM »
Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.

Then divorce.

Everyone calling for counselling has their collective heart in the right place, but you need to get the fuck out now.

Wow, aren't you a judgmental little ray of sunshine. How's this: even if he proceeds with a divorce, seeking counseling shows a desire for remediation and is looked on favorably, so it's a strategic move as well. I think it serves the whole community a bit better if you make your point with an argument stronger than vulgarity. Thanks!

I read that as Chuck saying "you [the OP] need to get the fuck out now," not "you [everyone calling for counselling] need to get the fuck out now." So I don't think he was telling anyone on the thread to get the fuck out which I agree would be a little too strongly worded.

edit for quoting

Ahhhh I read it is him telling everyone advising counseling to GTFO. If it's the other case, that's fine then. I just thought it was totally unhelpful if the feedback was "you're all wrong, so fuck off". Thanks for the clarification.
Nonononono I meant what sheep said.

The entire post was addressed to the OP, and I wasn't leveling any judgment on others commenting (other than to say I think their motives are correct, but it's probably too late to even try).

dunhamjr

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #77 on: March 02, 2015, 02:22:37 PM »
very tough situation.
the relationship as is, is bringing you both down, and will affect the kid as well soon if not already.

you both will need counseling here.  marriage, and likely more for her.

if nothing helps and all fails, hopefully you are able to get full custody.

Allie

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #78 on: March 02, 2015, 02:46:30 PM »
Am I the only one who is appalled by the hypocrisy of OP being on board with mom bailing him out to the tune of 15k on one hand but deriding wife and mother of OPs child for wanting to bail out her family when they make poor spending decisions?

I'm more appalled that a grown married man hasn't figured out that his wife will react negatively to any offer of assistance from his mother if it comes with strings attached, no matter how good intentioned the offer may be.

And I'm appalled by the opinions of so many people in this thread regarding mothers' in law. Maybe I'm lucky to have a great relationship with mine? Someone offering to pay $15k of debt that you racked up and then teach you how to make sure you never get into that situation again sounds like a win to me.

If instead of his mother in law it was an accountant friend of his who offered to pay off the debt and teach her how to be responsible would you people be against that?

Yeah I'm not really sure the tarring and feathering is appropriate.

Allie, at first I thought you had something and then I realized the key (implied) difference:
1) the mom is spending money she has, not going into debt and
2) the mom is spending her own money or has her spouse's buy-in for this plan, if married

The problem with the OP's wife giving money to her relatives was that she was going into debt to do so and not discussing / gaining OP's acquiescence beforehand.  (Of course, as noted above, I'm assuming a few things about the mom, but they seem reasonable.)

I guess my issue with this whole thread is the idea of "his" and "her" money.  That the OP decided to put up artificial barriers to create "his" and "her" money doesn't actually make it so.  She is spending her money to help her family.  He can dump 20% into retirement all day long.  That doesn't mean it is actually all his to make those decisions with.  I'm not even writing from a legal point of view.  She is a full time stay at home mom with minimal income, he can't declare all the money his and think it's going to work out.  You don't have to be a raging feminist to see this creates an imbalance of power and control that could send any relationship into turmoil.

In reality, there is a single pot of money.  I have a hard time with the "she has been going into debt to do so" because, while funding a retirement account is far more reasonable a way to spend your income, he is siphoning 20% (at least) to his savings account and she is siphoning quite a bit off to her family and consumer crap.  They are both being dysfunctional and only considering their own goals and wants. 

He needs to get her into a Financial Peace class or something like that instead of the school of MIL. 

If he wouldn't have been willing to accept a 15,000 gift from his mother to fund his retirement while he paid for her stuff out of his salary over the past three years, he shouldn't be willing to use it to pay off the cards.

 

Avidconsumer

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #79 on: March 02, 2015, 02:58:42 PM »
Am I the only one who is appalled by the hypocrisy of OP being on board with mom bailing him out to the tune of 15k on one hand but deriding wife and mother of OPs child for wanting to bail out her family when they make poor spending decisions?

I'm more appalled that a grown married man hasn't figured out that his wife will react negatively to any offer of assistance from his mother if it comes with strings attached, no matter how good intentioned the offer may be.

And I'm appalled by the opinions of so many people in this thread regarding mothers' in law. Maybe I'm lucky to have a great relationship with mine? Someone offering to pay $15k of debt that you racked up and then teach you how to make sure you never get into that situation again sounds like a win to me.

If instead of his mother in law it was an accountant friend of his who offered to pay off the debt and teach her how to be responsible would you people be against that?

Sounds like someone likes handouts. To be honest, I think the OP knew that his wife would flip when she found out her mother in law wanted to pay her debt based on conditions and her response should give the OP clarification on where she stands. If all she cared about was money, she would have accepted the money off her mother in law.
I'm sorry to say this but the OP is seems cheap and loves handouts from parents. I don't see where the mother in law wins in this scenario. How is that a win win scenario?

I can't see a way out here. Divorce will be messy, but might be the right thing to do. I would start by stop being so cheap and allowing your wife to spend on family. Decide if you can be happy being like most of the world living fairly unmustachian. Stop believing that your money isn't hers. You already screwed that up by marrying her. Either way its both of yours from now on. She gets to spend. Work on her mental health and job prospects and good luck.

neo von retorch

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #80 on: March 02, 2015, 03:03:51 PM »
What does your wife want? We do lots of bad short term things when we don't know what we really value. There may be something she values long-term. Maybe not. But if there is but she's not thinking about it or working towards it, of course she'll turn to short-term distraction. This is natural. Start behaving like you want her to realize and reach what she wants and not just "convince" her to join you on your goals.

If you do all that, with a genuine, sustained, reasonable, respectful effort - but she turns away and shuts you out and continues doing her own thing separate from you, then you would know that it is not a team or a partnership any more.

nobody123

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #81 on: March 02, 2015, 03:50:55 PM »
Am I the only one who is appalled by the hypocrisy of OP being on board with mom bailing him out to the tune of 15k on one hand but deriding wife and mother of OPs child for wanting to bail out her family when they make poor spending decisions?

I'm more appalled that a grown married man hasn't figured out that his wife will react negatively to any offer of assistance from his mother if it comes with strings attached, no matter how good intentioned the offer may be.

And I'm appalled by the opinions of so many people in this thread regarding mothers' in law. Maybe I'm lucky to have a great relationship with mine? Someone offering to pay $15k of debt that you racked up and then teach you how to make sure you never get into that situation again sounds like a win to me.

If instead of his mother in law it was an accountant friend of his who offered to pay off the debt and teach her how to be responsible would you people be against that?

In my experience, the vast majority of my women friends I know publicly complain about their MIL's.  My wife was pretty cool with my mom until the kids arrived and the subtle parenting advice routinely makes it into the conversation.  I'm glad you have had a different experience.

I'm not against the MIL offering to clean up the mess.  HOWEVER, I can see why the wife would be offended, and I'm shocked that he didn't realize it was going to happen.  Or, more likely, he doesn't care.

I am guessing his wife's reaction included some combination of the following: "So you told your mom my family is a bunch of deadbeats!", "Why are you discussing our private finances with your mother behind my back?!", and "Oh, she'll only help us if she can control our lives!  What a b*!"

If I was OP, I would have mom keep the money for after the divorce to help get me back on my feet when I'm stuck with half of the debt the wife has run up.  If mom fixes the debt and they still end up divorced, that's going to cause issues.  Not to mention, taking $15K from your mom when you have the assets to cover the debt is a bit sad, especially when you know there's a pretty high chance that his wife's behavior won't change.

Illini1

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #82 on: March 02, 2015, 06:15:59 PM »
Thank you everyone for the advice.  I will definitely be looking into getting some form of counseling very soon. My wife has done it in the past and she claims that it was of no help.  I understand that the majority is having trouble with our split finances and that is something that we came up with together because of our different beliefs and it caused a lot less drama.  It worked out fairly well while she was working full time but obviously not so much after.  We were able to accumulate our 150k net worth mostly from me finding MMM about two years ago and by finding a great deal on a foreclosure and putting in a ton of sweat equity in a great neighborhood. No I do not have a huge salary ($57,000).

I guess the biggest issue of all that I'm struggling with is that after she became pregnant I thought I was doing the best thing for my son by getting married.  While I obviously care for my wife as she is the mother of my only child, I don't believe I have ever loved her ( neither one of us have ever told the other that we love them)We have always been more roommates/partners in raising our son than the typical husband and wife. I was able to sort of just keep my head down and soldier on up until the past few months.  With everything going on the past few months communication has been non existent and we don't even sleep in the same bed anymore.

While I think I could probably white knuckle it for another few years or even until my son leaves for college I dont think that would be best for anyone.  I understand that divorce is costly and messy but I'm beginning to believe that im only putting off the inevitable.

Does anyone have any other suggestions or words of encouragement?

Thanks again.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #83 on: March 02, 2015, 06:54:24 PM »
Thank you everyone for the advice.  I will definitely be looking into getting some form of counseling very soon. My wife has done it in the past and she claims that it was of no help.  I understand that the majority is having trouble with our split finances and that is something that we came up with together because of our different beliefs and it caused a lot less drama.  It worked out fairly well while she was working full time but obviously not so much after.  We were able to accumulate our 150k net worth mostly from me finding MMM about two years ago and by finding a great deal on a foreclosure and putting in a ton of sweat equity in a great neighborhood. No I do not have a huge salary ($57,000).

I guess the biggest issue of all that I'm struggling with is that after she became pregnant I thought I was doing the best thing for my son by getting married.  While I obviously care for my wife as she is the mother of my only child, I don't believe I have ever loved her ( neither one of us have ever told the other that we love them)We have always been more roommates/partners in raising our son than the typical husband and wife. I was able to sort of just keep my head down and soldier on up until the past few months.  With everything going on the past few months communication has been non existent and we don't even sleep in the same bed anymore.

While I think I could probably white knuckle it for another few years or even until my son leaves for college I dont think that would be best for anyone.  I understand that divorce is costly and messy but I'm beginning to believe that im only putting off the inevitable.

Does anyone have any other suggestions or words of encouragement?

Thanks again.

Get a lawyer, now not later. If you own your house, don't be the one to leave- that generally sets the precedence for who keeps it. (Although that conflicts in me morally to advise that because statistically women and children are at much greater risk of poverty and homelessness from a divorce than men are, but as far as legal precedence-- in my state-- that plays a role).

Good luck.

Annamal

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #84 on: March 02, 2015, 07:06:28 PM »
Thank you everyone for the advice.  I will definitely be looking into getting some form of counseling very soon. My wife has done it in the past and she claims that it was of no help.  I understand that the majority is having trouble with our split finances and that is something that we came up with together because of our different beliefs and it caused a lot less drama.  It worked out fairly well while she was working full time but obviously not so much after.  We were able to accumulate our 150k net worth mostly from me finding MMM about two years ago and by finding a great deal on a foreclosure and putting in a ton of sweat equity in a great neighborhood. No I do not have a huge salary ($57,000).

I guess the biggest issue of all that I'm struggling with is that after she became pregnant I thought I was doing the best thing for my son by getting married.  While I obviously care for my wife as she is the mother of my only child, I don't believe I have ever loved her ( neither one of us have ever told the other that we love them)We have always been more roommates/partners in raising our son than the typical husband and wife. I was able to sort of just keep my head down and soldier on up until the past few months.  With everything going on the past few months communication has been non existent and we don't even sleep in the same bed anymore.

While I think I could probably white knuckle it for another few years or even until my son leaves for college I dont think that would be best for anyone.  I understand that divorce is costly and messy but I'm beginning to believe that im only putting off the inevitable.

Does anyone have any other suggestions or words of encouragement?

Thanks again.

Work on communication, even if and when you divorce you two are going to have to communicate about your child for a long time and presumably you both love him.

You and your (probably soon to be ex) wife are going to have to talk sometime, it might as well be now before divorce is on the table, if nothing else you can establish what she wants.

The best thing for your son is going to be if everyone in his life has his best interests at heart and is willing to compromise in order to ensure that he gets the best shot at a stable childhood, that doesn't have to be with his parents together but it does have to be with his parents communicating in some way (ideally not only by lawyer).


The Beacon

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #85 on: March 02, 2015, 07:41:30 PM »
I think your mom's offer is totally sound and valid.  Some people do not like others to tell them how to run their lives even if they know they suck at it. People including your wife, who reject her offer are too just emotional.

If one looks at maintaining a relationship as running a team or a small business, then he/she can stay as objective as possible. The 1st step is to recruit strong team members that value team work.  You obviously have failed that. Now you have a non performing team member. What do you do?

The optimal approach is to motivate her, listen to her, help her, and win her respect.  The ultimate goal is to make your wife listen to you. For that to happen, she will have to look up to you first. Also you need to sink some fear in her. You fear to mess up your relationship with you boss. Are you afraid of your boss?  No, you are just afraid of losing that paycheck. So you listen to your boss.

After you have tried all the positive approaches,  that team member is still the same. Then she is incorrigible.  What would you do here? The answer is simple.

Have a plan and then execute the plan.  Try not to let emotions overrun you.



« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 07:43:26 PM by Sharpy »

WhoopWhoop

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #86 on: March 02, 2015, 07:57:50 PM »
Does anyone have any other suggestions or words of encouragement?

If it counts for anything, I am not going to jump on the divorce train, or the marriage counseling train. As someone who has experienced a negative spiral of disastrous attitudes (like your wife), I think what she really needs is some good luck. Ideally, a well-paying job in your area.

Of course, your communication does need to improve, which is why marriage counseling has been suggested so much, but there are many ways to accomplish that. Step one is never to say the first thing that pops into your head ("Can my mother teach you finances?") and don't try to practice tough love ("You are on an allowance missy!"). Step two is to learn the proper way to communicate with someone who's in a downward spiral ("Here are some of my best memories of you. I'd like to get back to that.") - basically, follow the advice of experts who lead drug addiction interventions. Watch an episode or two of that tv show Intervention and you'll learn a lot about how to only say positive things to a person in chaos who needs help but doesn't want help.

As for never having loved your wife, perhaps you shouldn't worry about that right now. It's best not to get emotional about stuff like that sometimes. Romantic love is just a Western concept anyway. There are tons of people in Eastern cultures who get married through arranged marriages to people they never fell in love with and who are happy with the results. Just do what you've been doing so far and enjoy the company of your son with her.

My perspective on divorce is that it's too soon to be thinking about that. This is one hiccup. I think you said $12k in debt, right? There are people who don't realize they're in trouble until they are $100k in debt. THEN, they realize the error of their ways and become debt fighting machines. People DO change, it's just usually slowly over time. It might end up that divorce is the right option, but part of being a responsible adult is being patient. And, right now, in this instance, it is YOUR responsibility to be the responsible adult. I think you'd be surprised how quickly her getting a $40k/yr job she LIKES will make a difference.

Anyway, that's the perspective of someone who has been through a downward spiral before. A good job fixed it temporarily. Better communication fixed it later on in a more permanent manner. And I didn't have to pay a psychologist.

caliq

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #87 on: March 02, 2015, 08:16:58 PM »
I think your mom's offer is totally sound and valid.  Some people do not like others to tell them how to run their lives even if they know they suck at it. People including your wife, who reject her offer are too just emotional.

If one looks at maintaining a relationship as running a team or a small business, then he/she can stay as objective as possible. The 1st step is to recruit strong team members that value team work.  You obviously have failed that. Now you have a non performing team member. What do you do?

The optimal approach is to motivate her, listen to her, help her, and win her respect.  The ultimate goal is to make your wife listen to you. For that to happen, she will have to look up to you first. Also you need to sink some fear in her. You fear to mess up your relationship with you boss. Are you afraid of your boss?  No, you are just afraid of losing that paycheck. So you listen to your boss.

After you have tried all the positive approaches,  that team member is still the same. Then she is incorrigible.  What would you do here? The answer is simple.

Have a plan and then execute the plan.  Try not to let emotions overrun you.

Holy shit.  You sound like a real charmer.

There is a reason most marriage vows no longer include the words 'to obey.' 

A marriage is not a business transaction, especially when children are involved.

OP "firing" his wife as a spouse is not a solution to the problem, because he would have to immediately re-hire her as a co-parent and the dysfunctional relationship would be the same or worse. 

The Beacon

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #88 on: March 02, 2015, 08:50:05 PM »
I think your mom's offer is totally sound and valid.  Some people do not like others to tell them how to run their lives even if they know they suck at it. People including your wife, who reject her offer are too just emotional.

If one looks at maintaining a relationship as running a team or a small business, then he/she can stay as objective as possible. The 1st step is to recruit strong team members that value team work.  You obviously have failed that. Now you have a non performing team member. What do you do?

The optimal approach is to motivate her, listen to her, help her, and win her respect.  The ultimate goal is to make your wife listen to you. For that to happen, she will have to look up to you first. Also you need to sink some fear in her. You fear to mess up your relationship with you boss. Are you afraid of your boss?  No, you are just afraid of losing that paycheck. So you listen to your boss.

After you have tried all the positive approaches,  that team member is still the same. Then she is incorrigible.  What would you do here? The answer is simple.

Have a plan and then execute the plan.  Try not to let emotions overrun you.

Holy shit.  You sound like a real charmer.

There is a reason most marriage vows no longer include the words 'to obey.' 

A marriage is not a business transaction, especially when children are involved.

OP "firing" his wife as a spouse is not a solution to the problem, because he would have to immediately re-hire her as a co-parent and the dysfunctional relationship would be the same or worse.
Who said a marriage is like a business transaction?   It is team work and 100% like running a team.  Both have to be on the same page most of time to make it run smoothly or it would be like a 2-headed snake.

Listening to someone is totally different than obeying.   You listen to your team leader, if you look up to him, you will follow him/her willingly. If you only obey him and follow him reluctantly, it will be short lived.

Did you see my optimal solution (listen to her, help her, and win her respect)?  Or did you just want to see what you wanted to see?  Firing her is the last resort.  Did I at least imply that?  If nothing works, what do you suppose the OP do?

What is wrong with the word "Boss" here?   Boss is the head of the house.  It does not have to be the man. My aunt is the boss in her household. She was a strong business woman. She has been running her family smoothly for over 50 years. My mom is the boss in my family even if my father is the only bread winner. Both women run a very tight ship at home for over 50 years..

My wife and I have been together for 13 years.  We can count the number of our fights with one hand.  They were minor...  I am indeed a real charmer in my family :)

BTW, I made my wife believe that the probability that she could find a better man than me is slim to none. That is the fear I have sunk deep into her bones, not by coercion or threat, but by loving her and removing all her worries.

 






« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 09:18:08 PM by Sharpy »

JustTrying

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #89 on: March 03, 2015, 12:18:58 AM »
I am so sorry. In all likelihood, if this was my marriage, I'd be filing for divorce. If I thought there was still some chance for reconciliation, it would definitely take her making some effort to show me that she was at least trying to get better, whether psychologically or financially. Some options for her: Give you all her credit cards. Find a job. Go to individual therapy. Go to marital therapy. Agree to live on a specified budget. There are many ways that she could show you that she's trying to improve. If she's doing nothing to get better, things will just get worse. She'll keep avoiding things that make her anxious, the interest will keep accumulating on the CC, she'll stay unemployed, and you'll keep scrambling to make up for her disaster.

I'm really sorry that my post is all doom-and-gloom. I tend to be horrifyingly honest. You're in a terrible position. You can change that position by leaving the marriage, or by convincing her to change. You have control over one of these things and not the other.

Spondulix

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #90 on: March 03, 2015, 03:22:56 AM »
It drives me nuts when these conversations turn to talking about divorce, like "if this were my marriage..." This isn't any of our marriages. ***t happens. Illini1, I really give you major, major props for trying to help during this tough period. For what it's worth, here's my perspective:

- It could be that her spending is an addiction. All the financial planning and education in the world isn't going to resolve an emotional issue (whether it's addition or coping)
- The behavior you describe sounds like depression, not just anxiety. When you're depressed, the mind doesn't work at full capacity. If you give a list to someone who's depressed and ask them to memorize five terms, they'll be lucky if they remember three or four. Now imagine that's a grocery list, a reminder for a phone call, etc. Life things won't all get done, and it has nothing to do with desire or interest.
- It's frustrating as hell to feel like you can't do anything to help your partner, but the one thing you definitely can do is be empathetic and supportive. I went through depression a few years back, and while it was a strain on my marriage, the one thing I took away from it is that my husband is my rock. I know he's on team Spondulix for life. So, there may not be a lot to "do" just yet other than listen and support, which may include taking on more responsibilities for a while.
- It sounds like she may not have any focus (especially with the job gone). Does she do well with structure/repetition? Is there something you can get her enthusiastic about? (even if it's volunteering, selling crafts online, a sport... just something to get her doing an activity and change things up a bit)

GetItRight

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #91 on: March 03, 2015, 07:27:48 AM »
Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.
Then divorce.

^ This. You need to be certain you have proven her mental issues make her unfit to have custody of a child. The more anxiety, self destructive behavior, sabotage of the family (financially or otherwise), refusal to work in any capacity to support the family goals or at least her frivolous spending, and general craziness, the easier it will be. Her behavior sounds abusive, is she verbally or physically abusive as well? Controlling? If you haven't already start keeping notes of what she does and any arguments or incidents. Try to get a professional diagnosis of her mental issues if you haven't already, that will help (both her for treatment and your escape). If you can do that, you may be able to walk away without the courts entirely ruining your life with alimony and child support among other evils, and of course you will still have your son.

If you don't have a fairly clear cut case you are certain you can win it may be best to suck it up for another 15 years then divorce. FIRE is unlikely either way unless she doesn't fight to get custody and your assets, in which case half (or more) of your earnings are hers and half (or more) of her debt is yours. Pretty much you're screwed, you just need to figure out which way hurts less. I suggest watching the film Divorce Corp to get an idea of what you're up against.

WildHare

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #92 on: March 03, 2015, 07:32:12 AM »
Start by acting like you love your wife.  You may not feel it, but act like you do.  Court her. If your mom wants to help, have her babysit. Take your wife out on a date. Bring some flowers home tonight. Stop talking about the money. Start finding ways to laugh and have fun together.  Go to counseling. Learn to say I Love You.  You have a small child. 
It is not hopeless.

justajane

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #93 on: March 03, 2015, 07:39:18 AM »
Get a very good lawyer. One who can effectively show that her behavior makes her unfit for custody of your child.
Then divorce.

^ This. You need to be certain you have proven her mental issues make her unfit to have custody of a child. The more anxiety, self destructive behavior, sabotage of the family (financially or otherwise), refusal to work in any capacity to support the family goals or at least her frivolous spending, and general craziness, the easier it will be. Her behavior sounds abusive, is she verbally or physically abusive as well? Controlling? If you haven't already start keeping notes of what she does and any arguments or incidents. Try to get a professional diagnosis of her mental issues if you haven't already, that will help (both her for treatment and your escape). If you can do that, you may be able to walk away without the courts entirely ruining your life with alimony and child support among other evils, and of course you will still have your son.

If you don't have a fairly clear cut case you are certain you can win it may be best to suck it up for another 15 years then divorce. FIRE is unlikely either way unless she doesn't fight to get custody and your assets, in which case half (or more) of your earnings are hers and half (or more) of her debt is yours. Pretty much you're screwed, you just need to figure out which way hurts less. I suggest watching the film Divorce Corp to get an idea of what you're up against.

Wow. This guns blazing approach seems a little extreme based on what the OP has described. Can you point to one instance of actual abuse in the above story?

I worry that the OP is getting very bad advice in this thread.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #94 on: March 03, 2015, 08:17:53 AM »
You created a life together as a surprise and got married intending to provide a better life for your son. Good for you! But you only took it halfway - you didn't work to make yourselves into a couple with a stable home for your son to grow up in. You owe it to your son to try to do that. The $15k in debt is not good but not awful. You and your wife need to realize that you have to work as a team to make this work. So sit down, figure out where she's coming from, and honestly and clearly state that you want to be a family and to be on the same side.

I gotta ask - Do you guys talk about anything besides money and your son? Do you have sex? Do you think "how can I make my partner feel valued today"? How can you possibly expect to cooperate on money if you never smile at each other?

You already made the decision to do what's best for your son. Follow through by realizing that means doing what's best for his mother, too.

MooseOutFront

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #95 on: March 03, 2015, 08:29:33 AM »
I think WhoopWhoop's perspective was insightful and very good.

I would be thinking that divorce was likely my end game in this case, but would do everything in my power to optimize the situation legally while trying to heal it.  By that I mean get legal advice and follow it for strategy.  Things like waiting until she finds a decent job and possibly changing your job to something lower paying before filing might keep you from supporting her as an unemployed person for the next 15 years.  No idea how spousal support works but I sure would before I started very far down the divorce path.

Then also do your best to be patient with mending your relationship even though her spending may continue to be an issue for now.  Like others have mentioned you'll need to raise this child together no matter what.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 08:32:14 AM by MooseOutFront »

Kris

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #96 on: March 03, 2015, 09:21:45 AM »
Therapy, at least for the wife.  Her lying to you about the credit card stuff is unacceptable.

It might be anxiety-related, or depression-related, or something like that.  But it's going to destroy your relationship one way or another if it isn't dealt with.  You need to be able to trust your wife.  She has simply got to agree to address it. 

Lia-Aimee

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #97 on: March 03, 2015, 09:36:53 AM »
I was sympathetic to your wife UNTIL you mentioned that she turned down your MIL's offer. Of course, 99% of people would hate to have a financial lecture from an in-law. It would probably be a very upsetting and possibly triggering afternoon for her. But hell - for 15k (when family income prob isn't over 70k and especially when you're a parent!) you suck it up and do it. If I found out I had a partner who felt differently, the marriage would be over that same day. Just my $0.02.

Although if it does come down to a custody dispute, please ensure the needs of your child are put above everything, including money.

Pigeon

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #98 on: March 03, 2015, 10:51:41 AM »
If you want your marriage to work, I think you need to concentrate first and foremost on your wife's mental health issues, and stop focusing on FIRE.  I know that's heresy, but I would guess it is anxiety that is causing her poor financial choices.  I would try to get her into counseling, both individual and couples.  She needs a therapist she is comfortable with and maybe she needs medication.

Honestly, you are sounding very, very controlling to me.  You don't sound like someone who has concerns about the woman who is his life partner.  I understand that you have legitimate financial concerns with her behavior.  But one adult does not cut up another adult's credit cards.  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.

MountainFlower

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Re: Help with a unmustachian wife
« Reply #99 on: March 03, 2015, 11:08:13 AM »
Your situation makes me very sad.  I'm so sorry that you find yourself in this situation.  I'm not making any judgment about divorce or not divorce.  Just a caution: 

If she doesn't have a job before before initiating divorce, you could be setting yourself up for a lifetime of spousal maintenance.  That happened to a friend of mine whose wife was laid off just before she filed for divorce.  In court, She claimed that she couldn't work due to fibromyalgia and got  $3K/month...forever.