Author Topic: What to do with a partner that isn't on the same financial page as you?  (Read 4518 times)

Moses1

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Hi All,

I have a partner though that does not see eye to eye with me on this issue and it is putting significant strain on our relationship.

A bit of background..... we were in a long distance relationship with me working professionally as well as having my own business and paying my own mortage. He was working as a tradie - also paying a mortgage. So we decided that I should move to where he lived (about 8 hours from where I'm from) with the intention of moving to some other place where we could start again.

Well a year and a half later and we are still living around his area (for many reasons that take up a lot of space). His house is finally done now and rented out but we are now living with his Mum while enough money is saved to move away.

My problem is that I am getting REALLY resentful towards him.

When I moved I gave up my career, my family and friends AND also a car to get around in (I had a work car), and where his Mum lives there is nothing around so I am a prisoner in the house during the week while he has the car for work.
I am also a Mustachian-in-training and don't like him spending money on things like beer and cigarettes while I skrimp around trying to pay bills and save. So I put him on a (I thought pretty decent allowance) of $120 a week which has been grudgingly accepted.
I also gave up my career to come here and have been working in retail which has made me very unhappy (There is no other work around here hence I would have to travel an hour each way to get other work plus I couldn't afford a car after pumping money into finishing his house).
To make matters worse, his family haven't gone out of their way to welcome me to this new place and I feel really isolated.

My resentment stems from his irresponsibility around money. I keep thinking if he didn't drink, smoke, have a ridiculous car loan debt ($24,000 which he can't get of due to a Hire purchase scheme - trust me I have tried!), have ridiculous insurance costs (due to his bad driving record) - we could save up sooner and move away where I can get work, have friends etc.
He has tried to 'grasp' my Mustachian philosophy and agrees that he would like to retire by 50 (his words, not mine) but really resents not being able to buy things because 'he deserves it'.

I don't want to make him sound like the devil - There are so many good qualities about him - he is a wonderfully caring person that I love. It is THIS issue that is killing us.

So from one Mustachian-in-training to other Mustachian's - what should I do? I don't want to end an otherwise good relationship because of this but I fear it is only a taste of what is to come? Someone wiser - please help.......

KMMK

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I just don't understand this attitude. I guess love means something else to me. There are too many differences between you and way too many obstacles to your happiness. "But I love him" always sounds to me like "I'm scared to leave." Or "I don't like or respect myself enough to realize I deserve someone better."

Seriously, what is keeping you in this situation? No idea what got you into it in the first place.

I'd leave. Yes, sometimes love is a feeling. But sometimes it's an action or a choice. Doing the right actions and making the right choices is a lot easier when you've picked the right person.


Paul der Krake

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It's weird that you are stuck with his mother. Unless you are both low income, or own a shit ton of stuff, how difficult is it to move? Once you have the $1000 or so for the first month's rent and deposit, it's just a matter of renting a U-Haul and hitting the road. Or are there factors you did not mention?

See if the situation improves once you are finally established somewhere else. If you still resent him, then it's probably not meant to be.

Moses1

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Fair point Kestra. I don't feel afraid to leave him and be by myself though (I was single for 5 years before we met) but it is more a fear of making a rash decision without clarity and regretting it later. That is why I am asking for advice. I think it is very easy to see things from the outside as black and white, or even after the event - as black and white but it definitely doesn't feel that way while you are in the middle of it.

To answer your question Paul. Yes we are on limited low incomes due to high expenses and a crappy jobs market in this area. I'm not sure if your Australian or not but over here we will need at least $1500-$2000 to get a rental plus the fuel costs to get us to where we are going and to keep us going (and paying bills) while we look for new jobs. We need to get to these places to suss out work supply in the first place so you can see a little difficult.

See if the situation improves once you are finally established somewhere else. If you still resent him, then it's probably not meant to be.
[/quote]

Yes and that is why I am looking for some advice as I cannot tell if the situation will improve or not or whether I am better to back away now...fast

Paul der Krake

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Thanks for clarifying, your concerns make a lot of sense for such a big commitment. I'm sorry to hear you are stuck in a classic chicken and egg situation, where you need money to make money... that sucks.

Does he agree that saving enough money to get away is the absolute, number one priority for the two of you? If so, then it should be easier for him to give up his spendy ways.

Moses1

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Yes he does Paul but here is the crux of the problem - he has a different outlook on 'spendy ways'. His idea of saving is not going out for dinner this week! Where I see saving as not wasting your money on dinner or any other luxury like beer, cigarettes etc. He feels he needs to reward himself for all the hard work he has done this week (which he does work hard) and this is costing us alone at least $120 a week plus all his insurances for a small business, inflated car cover etc. I would like to know how someone else has handled this situation - do you keep trying to get him to figure it out or just admit it's a lost cause?

sheepstache

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I think a problem here is that a lot of relationships look worse from the outside than they are.  Frequently when people post about their relationships here I want to choose a particularly choice gif of a stick figure running around screaming with his hair on fire and write 'run away run away run awaaaay!' 

In other words often when it's easy to articulate what's wrong in the relationship, it's hard to articulate what's right (though vice versa too).  So our views are naturally going to be more negative than might be warranted.

How is communication between you two?  Have you spelled out to him what the moving costs are and discussed a plan for how and when you will get that money together?  You're talking about a couple thousand to move and you're talking about him wanting to spend more than 480 a month!!  Have you put it to him in those terms?  Because often a general motto of 'we should spend less' sounds like nagging, but it should be much clearer to him if you say 'I'm fucking miserable and you're spending a quarter of our moving budget every month on nothing!!  Why would "rewarding" yourself take priority over getting us out of this situation that's making me miserable??  What kind of priorities are those to have in a partnership?!'  Well, you know what I mean, you would ask that but stop before getting to the editorializing bits.  But he seems to be completely missing the fact that he could be 'rewarding' himself by moving sooner!

I don't mean to say that he's responsible for your happiness but it seems to me that you made a huge sacrifice for the relationship so now it's his turn.  Not that a score-keeping mentality is the best one, I guess...

Also, I'm assuming you had some equity in your house and business?  And he got some money from the sale of his house?  I'm a little confused how you arrived at the current state of having no cushion (or even family willing to lend money?) when it seems like you both started out fairly well-off.  It's common for difficult situations to put some stress on a relationship and make you less than happy at the time, but you should be able to look back on it and be pleased at how you handled it together.  Do you feel that way about what you've been through so far?

The key thing to figure out is whether he's just really committed to his beer and cigarettes such that that's an immovable bedrock item in the budget, that if he were starving in the streets he'd still send the first quarter he managed to beg on a lucy...or is his mindset that he can spend that money because it's a certain percentage of his income and it's a higher percentage than you're comfortable with.  In the first situation, once you two are making more money, he will keep spending the same amount on beer and cigarettes but save all the excess.  In the latter, his 'I deserve it' costs are just going to inflate with his income.

Man, I just, I just am trying to see both sides but I can't.  To spend the money when a mustachian like you thinks he should save more, is normal.  And some people can get by with non-mustachian spouses.  But to spend money when it's so obviously needed borders on financially irresponsible, which you need to run far far away from.  Alternative explanations are that you've been too passive in bringing up your concerns in explicit ways.  Or that he actually is happy in the current situation since he still has his business and he maybe likes living with his mother and near family.  You need to get more data before you can make a decision.

Moses1

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Thank you Sheepstache. That was EXACTLY the clarity I was looking for.

I have explained the $480 thing to him but never the way you described and I'm going to try it tonight.
Just to clarify the houses weren't sold, they were rented out so no equity out of them. His family are heartless bastards only worried about themselves. We did borrow money off his Mum ($2500 to be exact) to finish his house and all she did was complain on that she couldn't afford to live because we borrowed her savings and she only earns $55,000 a year for herself blah blah blah so we gave her the money back ASAP to get her off our backs. We already borrowed $5000 off my Mum which we paid back $2500 and I wouldn't want to ask again for money from her.

As for his committment to beer and cigarettes - I am going to talk to him about it. I guess I will know either way then hey?

I think you are right, I have been too passive as I did not want to be labelled in the 'controlling bitch' category that so many men love to place women in but I need to harden up.

Thanks again sheepstache, I really appreciate it.

Vilx-

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Oof... money is such a sore spot when it comes to relationships. It ruins so many of them. :(

Here's my 2c: Indeed don't go for extremes like breaking up unless you truly feel like it. My guess is that you don't, because right now you're looking for ways to fix the situation without hurting him or yourself.

I suggest that the proper course is lots of honesty, lots of talking and lots of acceptance. If he is a "wonderfully caring person", he will understand and be forthcoming. Let me elaborate a bit:
  • Lots of honesty - you must be honest to him, but also to yourself. And that latter is quite a bit more difficult because emotions always get in the way of truly understanding oneself. I'd suggest firstly spending some time in thought to understand just what it is that you don't like about the current situation (note - situation, not him or you) and why you feel that way. Emotions are not always rational, but they are always logical. Make sure you understand yourself before going into debate. And after that:
  • Lots of talking - you really must tell him everything, don't hold anything back, don't lie. Total honesty is the best policy. But be polite too. You must explain to him how you feel and what it is that you don't like, but you shouldn't offend him either. So do the explaining carefully. If he starts feeling offended, you won't get a rational, productive discussion anymore. You must tell him that, although you feel this way about the situation, you still love him very much and only want the best for him and both of you. And that you are telling him all this because you love him, not because you don't. And then you need to get him to tell his side of the story, completely honestly. Listen to it, don't interrupt, try to understand how he thinks and feels.
  • Lots of acceptance - In the end, this will take lots of acceptance on both sides for this to work. You will have to accept some of his views and he will have to accept some of your views. And with "accept" I don't mean "grudgingly accept but continue to think that this is unfair", but really, really accept it as the right and best way. Hidden resentment has no place in a long-term relationship. You must both agree on the direction your future will take and must both agree on the steps to get there. If something that one of you proposes doesn't seem fair to the other, you need to talk more and find out why, and what else can be done in its place. If he says that "he deserves it", then find out why he likes those things so much and think if there is perhaps some other way he could get the same reward for less money, or maybe switch it out for something different but equally nice. Above all - remember never to start blaming each other. There are no winners in a blame game. You are both on the same side. You need to resolve the situation, not each other.
In the end, it's about getting on the same page with him about where you are and where you want to be in life. Having the same goals. If you love each other and want the best for each other, you should be able to work out something. Good luck! :)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 04:23:22 AM by Vilx- »

Moses1

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Thanks Vilx, great advice!

You guys are great, really helped me out when I needed it!

Cheers

totoro

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Re: What to do with a partner that isn't on the same financial page as you?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 10:11:28 PM »
I would be really upset if my potential daughter-in-law was calling me a "heartless bastard only worried about myself" while living in my home as, as I understand it, a way to save money. 

This is not to say that it might not be true that his family are all heartless bastards but, if his family is really so terrible what makes you so sure that he will be different?

I  would be concerned about a terrible driving record, irresponsibility with money, drinking a lot and smoking, and the fact that you paid to finish his house.

Have you decided where you will move to next?  What is stopping you yourself from using what you both have saved already and taking a bus, renting a cheap room in a house and finding a job there now? If you get a good job the transition for him would be a lot easier and you would not have to keep working at the job you hate while living with his mother.

momo

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Re: What to do with a partner that isn't on the same financial page as you?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2013, 12:41:52 PM »
Oof... money is such a sore spot when it comes to relationships. It ruins so many of them. :(

Here's my 2c: Indeed don't go for extremes like breaking up unless you truly feel like it. My guess is that you don't, because right now you're looking for ways to fix the situation without hurting him or yourself.

I suggest that the proper course is lots of honesty, lots of talking and lots of acceptance. If he is a "wonderfully caring person", he will understand and be forthcoming. Let me elaborate a bit:
  • Lots of honesty - you must be honest to him, but also to yourself. And that latter is quite a bit more difficult because emotions always get in the way of truly understanding oneself. I'd suggest firstly spending some time in thought to understand just what it is that you don't like about the current situation (note - situation, not him or you) and why you feel that way. Emotions are not always rational, but they are always logical. Make sure you understand yourself before going into debate. And after that:
  • Lots of talking - you really must tell him everything, don't hold anything back, don't lie. Total honesty is the best policy. But be polite too. You must explain to him how you feel and what it is that you don't like, but you shouldn't offend him either. So do the explaining carefully. If he starts feeling offended, you won't get a rational, productive discussion anymore. You must tell him that, although you feel this way about the situation, you still love him very much and only want the best for him and both of you. And that you are telling him all this because you love him, not because you don't. And then you need to get him to tell his side of the story, completely honestly. Listen to it, don't interrupt, try to understand how he thinks and feels.
  • Lots of acceptance - In the end, this will take lots of acceptance on both sides for this to work. You will have to accept some of his views and he will have to accept some of your views. And with "accept" I don't mean "grudgingly accept but continue to think that this is unfair", but really, really accept it as the right and best way. Hidden resentment has no place in a long-term relationship. You must both agree on the direction your future will take and must both agree on the steps to get there. If something that one of you proposes doesn't seem fair to the other, you need to talk more and find out why, and what else can be done in its place. If he says that "he deserves it", then find out why he likes those things so much and think if there is perhaps some other way he could get the same reward for less money, or maybe switch it out for something different but equally nice. Above all - remember never to start blaming each other. There are no winners in a blame game. You are both on the same side. You need to resolve the situation, not each other.
In the end, it's about getting on the same page with him about where you are and where you want to be in life. Having the same goals. If you love each other and want the best for each other, you should be able to work out something. Good luck! :)

@ Vilx-: Truly some great advice! Thanks for sharing. I am going to print your comments out and share them.

@ Moses1: Have your shared with your partner MMM's articles? Sit down and read them together.
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/25/having-the-talk-with-a-current-or-potential-mate/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/09/18/is-it-convenient-would-i-enjoy-it-wrong-question/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/09/06/how-much-is-that-bitch-costin-ya/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/07/22/protecting-your-money-mustache-from-spendy-friends/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/07/meet-the-realist/

I agree with sheepstache and Vilx- especially on how the two of you need to remember to work on this together to improve your situation. You are allies not enemies.

Also there are other factors to honestly examine. Honest communication is key. Ask yourself:
How has your partner responded when you share how you feel about specific situations?
Is he supportive when you share how you do not feel you two are improving?
Also are you really listening to his words as well?
What has he been sharing with you?
Does he avoid talking about what concerns you?
Has his actions been consistent with his words?

The resentment you feel is not healthy for you and the relationship. Have you shared with him exactly what are the sources of this resentment? How has he responded? Does he acknowledge your sacrifices?

Moses1, I am not sure if you need to harden your stance per se, rather, it might be good to take more time to self-reflect how you want your life ultimately to look. Calmly and honestly answer these questions, they might shine a better light.
What are your core values?
What are qualities that define you? Does he share them? If not, do you really understand why?
Are you trying to help him change? This one is key b/c if he does not want it himself, there is little you can do to help him help himself.
Can you take each other as-is? If this was it, would you be happy?
Do you want him as an equal partner who respects you and is balanced? If so, does he behave like your equal?
Can you live without him?

Please hang in there and remember either way, you are stronger than you realize and things will work out for you. Keep us posted. Cheers!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 12:45:12 PM by StashtasticMomo »

Vilx-

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Re: What to do with a partner that isn't on the same financial page as you?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2013, 02:27:09 PM »
Umm, you're welome. I just wrote how I would attempt to handle this, no idea if it's a good idea or not. :P So, remember to take this (and any other) advice with a grain of salt. After all - as a law, there's an exception to every law.

I know that some people can be rather sensitive when confronted with ideas that are opposite those of their own, so an all-out immediate honesty might not be the best strategy. You're the one who knows your spouse best - use common sense first.