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Old 08-22-2008, 09:11 AM   #1
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married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

I feel overwhelmed.

We are married, have been together for 7 years, and I am totally in love with him and our two little boys. BUT. My issue with him is how incredibly irresponsible he is with money. It is driving me NUTS. It took me a loooong time to get my own finances under control, and I'm finally starting to make serious head way there, though I still have a ways to go.

We moved into a house at the beginning of last year and have been paying a rent ever since that is over our heads. (I know we need to get out of it but that's not happening immediately.) We both work full time so at first our arrangement was for him to pay the rent, and I was supposed to handle all other bills. (Phones, internet, electric & utilities, credit cards, TV, car pmt, insurance, medical, groceries, gas, etc ... I found it overwhelming to do it all myself.) Well, for the first year I wound up paying the rent, with a little help from him, as well as the bills. At the beginning of this year, I thought I could force him to handle it by letting go of it myself. I was wrong. We are currently almost two whole months behind on rent. (For the SECOND time this year- the first time he borrowed a couple thousand bucks from his boss which I'm sure he doesn't want to do again.) He was also supposed to handle a tax debt which we incurred because he didn't know what he was doing when he did our taxes one year. He said he handled it, but didn't. Now they're threatening to contact my employer, garnish wages, etc. I do not know where his money goes- he (now) makes more than I do!

I have to admit, we are in a better place than we have been in the past, but I attribute that to him finally getting a decent paying job (and keeping it) and me working my tail off to stay on top of everything that I used to let snowball into oblivion. And I have a solid work history which also helps.

I can't make him change. (I can barely get him to talk about it, or I'm "nagging".) I love him and want him. I figure my choices are to stay and accept him the way he is, or to go. Since I am definitely staying, I really needed to vent. If you made it this far, thanks for "listening".

 
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Old 08-22-2008, 09:35 AM   #2
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

WWhhhheeeeewwww!!! Well, it's good to vent every once in a while, I hope that got some stress and frustration out. But yes, you're absolutely right. Your only choices are to stay and accept the way things are or leave. And since you are staying, just grit your teeth, hunker down and prepare to be strong. But one thing, if I were you, I would insist that he turn his paycheck over to you and you can give him an allowance. Don't tell him it's an allowance, though, Stroke his ego and make it sound like it's his idea. Like, "honey, I know you want us to catch up on the rent, so while I'm paying all the other bills, I'll just take care of that so we can get everything budgeted and on track like you said you wanted. It will be easier for me to do that if you just give me your paycheck and I'll just deposit it all in one place so I can pay all the bills from the same place and get it all done easier and you can have whatever you need for spending and such for the week/month." He sounds rather childish, and so you're going to have to treat him like a child if you don't want your credit and your financial future ruined. Just make it seem like it's all his idea.

 
Old 08-22-2008, 09:46 AM   #3
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

LLM, my thoughts exactly. My beloved husband, while not extravagant by any means is hopeless at organising to pay the bills. We sat down and both admitted that I was better at all that than he was, and I took it on. But we ALWAYS pooled our money. That makes life much easier. I gave him walking-round money, and myself as well. In any marriage/partnership, people have their different strengths and weakness, and we work together to get stuff done. He makes as many major expenditures and financial decisions as I do, and I do the paperwork. We are happy with that.

 
Old 08-22-2008, 10:00 AM   #4
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

I thank you both, ladies! It did feel good to get it out, and even better to receive your feedback.

Seraph, my husband isn't extravagant either, so it really boggles my mind how he can blow his whole check with no regard for any bills!

Larrylou'smom, you hit the nail on the head, I actually think sometimes he prides himself on his childish behavior- likes to tell me with a smile on his face that he's just a big kid and will be forever. Your suggestion of him giving me his checks is exactly what the plan is now. He says he is fine with that, as there's no denying he can't (or won't) handle it himself. We've done it before but his allowance never got him through the week. He goes and spends it in 2 days and then *needs* more. Saying no is one of my weak points, but I'm obviously going to have to do it. I can see that this will help, but I'm so mad about being so far behind. It will be a slow process.

 
Old 08-22-2008, 01:17 PM   #5
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

Well it sounds like you got your problem solved before I got here so I am going to tell you what I did in case this doesn't work and you will have a plan B!

My husband refused to worry about bills.....he paid them when he was going to lose something...so here is what I did....since we both work and I hate to take his whole check. I set up a budget for us both.....took ALL bills that came in on a monthly basis and estimated how much it would cost each of us each week to cover those and this included groceries. Since he makes more money than I, he takes the mortage and that is his alone....like your husband....but lets say it works like this for HIM: Electricity $200 Food $400
Garbage pick-up and water:$100......added together is $700 and split in half is $350 each, but he gets the house added so that brings him $850....divided by the 4 weeks comes to $212.5 each week. Of course this isn't our bills and of course it doesn't add for extras, but the way this works is this money CANNOT be touched and at the end of the month the MAJOR things are paid.

This was really the only way budgeting worked for us, and he knew each week what he was expected to put into the pot and O/T money he could save or use for play, but he always had extra and some weeks had 5 Fridays and he had LOTS of extra.....just a thought that might work for you both.

Mileena

 
Old 08-22-2008, 01:42 PM   #6
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohpandora View Post
... It will be a slow process.
Oh Ohpandora, I think that by doing this (by keeping his checks) you are probably opening a can of worms. I say it from the point of view of a man, but as it is often the case, I might be wrong here.

To me, a moneyless man feels somewhat emasculated, you know. And even more so if his money is under the control of his wife.

I am not telling you to fold your arms and do nothing about the situation. Maybe the agreed solution will be ok in the short run, but gradually his paycheck should return to his purse or pocket, otherwise he may find himself in trouble and angry with you.

The fact is that he must learn how to deal with his salary. This should be a serious request from you. I don't know if you could afford it, but it might help you to consult a financial advisor. This person will set up a strategy for him or preferably for both of you, and since he is an "authority", your husband may find him to be more credible and consistent.

Your husband should be allowed to have his moments of a "big kid" - why not? We all like to be like big kids at least now and then, but not before he learns the basics, not before he pays his monthly debts and sets an example for his kids.

All in all, I think you'd find a better solution for this problem if you had the guidance from someone who knows. He is fine with your working outside the home - and that's great - but he may change when he finds that he is totally under your fist and can't have his own initiatives any more.

I am sorry if my opinion is in disagreement, but it is only my opinion.

 
Old 08-23-2008, 11:15 AM   #7
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

Mileena, Thanks for the idea The reason we just left him with the house payment is because it is more than the sum of all our other bills. So what we each pay for is split pretty proportionately to what we each make.. now the part about managing his check is where we lose it. Your plan makes perfect sense, but it's hard to get there from being behind because there are always a few bills that have to be paid in full immediately and then after other living expenses, there's not much left.

Pendulum, No apologies! You make a very valid point. Maybe that's why it's never worked in the past. We are not in a place to hire a professional. I agree though, that he should learn how to manage his own money, I don't really want to. We've discussed this ad nauseum, and have come up with several reasonable ways we could manage it. The catch is that his name isn't on any accounts, so if the check goes into the bank at all (cashing it seems to help it disappear even more quickly) it goes into my account. This week he cashed his check and gave me a portion of it to save for rent. That could work...maybe.. but it will still take forever to catch back up.

I appreciate your responses. Working this out here helps me to lay off him some. I don't think I talk down to him or anything, but I'm would imagine having your wife constantly telling you what you need to be doing differently with your money could be kind of emasculating too.

 
Old 08-23-2008, 05:22 PM   #8
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohpandora View Post
I don't think I talk down to him or anything, but I'm would imagine having your wife constantly telling you what you need to be doing differently with your money could be kind of emasculating too.
Yes, I imagine it would, but if he refuses to grow up, and is in danger of seriously putting his and YOUR financial security and credit rating at risk, then you've got to do something about it. Constantly nagging him how he needs to do things differently will make for a miserable existence for both of you. Go with whatever way will lead to the least nagging and accepting of who he is and at the same time will get the bills paid. You're not his mom. It's not your job to raise him or "train" him. You just have to accept him as he is and work around it as best you can.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 11:47 AM   #9
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrylou'smom View Post
You're not his mom. It's not your job to raise him or "train" him.
AMEN!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larrylou'smom View Post
You just have to accept him as he is and work around it as best you can.
That's what I was afraid of

I don't know what *the answer* will be, but I just have to believe that we will get there, or anxiety overcomes me.

...By the way, apparently our landlord doesn't keep records either. I called to see what we owe according to them, because my husband doesn't quite know, and they couldn't tell me. I can hardly believe it. What a clusterfrick. I guess I should count my blessings though, I don't guess they'll be kicking us out any time soon.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 12:22 PM   #10
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

Wow! reading all this makes me a little nevous, because I am currently dating this boy (we're 22) who never has any money, and Im terrofied of what our futures will hold, since I pay for everything now :-/ I love him to death though :-/ Ohpandora, if you don't mind giving me some advise on how you deal with your situation, because it seems like your love for your husband is quit the same as the love I have for my bf, eventhough my bf is terrible at finances...

 
Old 08-25-2008, 12:37 PM   #11
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohpandora View Post
...By the way, apparently our landlord doesn't keep records either. I called to see what we owe according to them, because my husband doesn't quite know, and they couldn't tell me. I can hardly believe it. What a clusterfrick. I guess I should count my blessings though, I don't guess they'll be kicking us out any time soon.
Well, the danger of that is the penalties and late charges, if you're renting from a property managing company instead of just a private individual who owns the hourse you're renting. My complex added pet rent last year in November and soon after they did, they changed managers. I called several times for confirmation that I did in fact need to pay pet rent and no one ever got back to me. I then got a call in mid January saying I owed pet rent for January PLUS an extra $50 or so because they add a late charge of $3 for ever day you're in arrears, and that they fortunately just zeroed out like $200 some I owed for November and December and they never told me. Even though no one confirmed with me or told me I was in arrears, I still owed the late fees and penalties for not paying on time. Don't leave it up to someone else to tell you what you owe. Go over your lease and see what it says about late charges and fees and get yourself paid up, and keep the check stubs and get a receipt for whatever you pay.

Another reason why unfortunately you can't really afford to wait for your husband to decide he feels like growing up. This is your life and your future finances, your retirement, and your credit rating too. You can't afford to let him muck it up with his childishness.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 01:20 PM   #12
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

Valleygirl-
This is funny because I was just posting on your thread!

I am terribly frustrated and to tell you the truth I haven't handled it all that well in the past. I was pretty irresponsible myself when we met, but as I moved out of my mom's house and my responsibilities grew, I stepped up to them. I expected the same of my husband, but it hasn't happened. He has made some changes, like being able to hold a job, which is a good thing, but at this point it's not enough.

I basically spent the last few years mad at him for putting us in this predicament and not caring enough to do anything about it. We fought a lot. I didn't know what to do other than to project all my stress and anger onto him. The one thing I can tell you for sure is that that is not what you want to do. But, as I said earlier here and on your thread, there's not much I CAN do that is effective. I have to accept and live a peaceful life with him, or not accept and live my life without him. I had to think long and hard about this one, but I am not giving up on him yet. And I have stopped threatening to do so. We fight a lot less, which makes life much better. Living peacefully with him brought me to a place where I felt like I was falling in love all over again. That's awesome, but obviously does nothing for our money issues.

So. I stopped worrying about who was to blame for the mess we are in and made a plan to pay off debt AND stay on top of bills. It has worked, but I had to leave him with the responsibility of rent because I just can't do it all. And that is where I am at a loss and where this thread begins. I still don't know what the final solution will be, or if there is one for us. All I know is that I'm done fighting.

He says he's "sorry" and "just bad with money". Well, I don't think anyone is that bad with money unless they just don't care to put forth the effort. He also says he "wants" to hand his check over to me, but I am wary of those who say that this is asking for trouble because we've tried it in the past and it never worked.

I married for love, by my own choice, and I'm not sorry I did. But love doesn't pay the bills, ya know?


Larrylou'smom-

Our landlord is an individual who has a mess of businesses and our little subdivision is one of them. I have no idea who would not keep track of what they're owed (other than my husband) but when I call his office, the girl who works there has no idea. She said she'd give the msg to him, but I never heard back. I know he has a family crisis going on and lots of other business matters to keep up with, so I don't want to bug him.

I'm going to go with my husband's vague assessment- thinks we owe 1.5, about to be 2.5 months worth. When my landlord decides to fill me in on his version, I am basically hoping and praying it will be close if not the same. I will be delivering payments from now on and getting receipts, especially since we can't catch up all at once. I tried to explain the importance of keeping records of this and he (my husband) nods his head and agrees, and then doesn't do it.

I don't want to manage his money, but I don't see any other choice right now. I actually resent it because I find it overwhelming to do it all and work full time and have two kids. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to get angry at him and fight. So every day it's an effort for me to put it out of my mind and talk to him about something else, but it sure beats fighting!

Last edited by ohpandora; 08-25-2008 at 01:40 PM.

 
Old 08-25-2008, 01:58 PM   #13
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

OhP you are such a sweetie and very smart, I'm sorry to see you feeling so tired & frustrated. As bizarre as it may sound, 'Freakonomics' changed my life. <silly grin>
Why? Because I finally came to see that people really ARE incentive driven. That doesn't make us horrible, it's just our nature. So let's say you accept that premise for a second. That means figuring out what HE wants and making a trade. Seriously. I know it sounds silly and maybe a little insulting, but try it. You can't make him change, but you might be able to make him WANT to.

I hope you don't think I'm belittling your situation, it's just that you've tried everything else and personally, I have always found 'honest bribery' to be an extremely effective tool. <grin>

 
Old 08-29-2008, 09:31 AM   #14
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Re: married to a laissez faire kinda guy in a money kinda world

rpett,
You bring up another good point. I will definitely think about that one. I'm not sure how it would work for us, but I'm ready to try just about anything at this point. Anyway thanks for your input! Sorry I took so long to respond, I sent myself back to school and classes started this week and with him working out of town it's been crazy busy for me.

I really appreciate you all taking the time to give me your thoughts.

I hope you all have happy weekends...

 
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