December 9 at 7:23 pm #6485
I have been married to my wife for just over 4 years and we’ve been together for 7. Neither of us were ever married before nor do we have any children from previous relationships. After we got married she moved from the city where here family is about 700 miles to the city where I was working. My job moves me around a bit and she has followed me. We will be moving to our 3rd city in the next few months and will be near my family but far from hers. I understand this is a sacrifice and I appreciate it. Since we met, I have always known my wife was not very good with finances. She owed about $2000 in back taxes to the IRS, her student loans were in collections and she was constantly overdrawing her accounts. She had a car with about an 18% interest rate. Since we got married, I paid off her IRS debt, her student loans have never been paid late, I even paid one of them off that was in her dad’s name, and I got her car loan into a much lower rate. She really has no interest in being involved in our finances, though I’d like her to. I have tried to involve her and have tried to show her our online accounts but she’s never interested. She couldn’t tell you how much is in our checking or savings account at any given time, not because I won’t tell her but because she’s just not interested. However, we fight a lot about money and she has accused me of being controlling. I am 40 and she is 32 and I don’t feel we are anywhere near where we should be for retirement, so I have tried to really start saving for us. I have tried to explain this to her. Once I showed her the Roth IRA account I started for her, which had almost $15000 in it, and her response was “can you stop putting money in there and just give me the money?”. If it were up to her, we would stop saving money and just “live for today”.
So one of our main issues, of course, is finances. I feel like I bear all of the stress about our financial situation and she lives in ignorant bliss. When I want to reign in her spending or I don’t want to go out and spend money on dinner, I am being controlling in her mind. Now she doesn’t spend that much, it could be worse, but there are times we are low in our checking and I need to ask her to slow it down.
She just started working again after not working for over 3 years. She had gone back to school for nursing, which we paid partly in loans and part in cash, so now we have more debt (over $80K between the two of us in student loan debt). Money and spending is usually what we fight about. The most recent fight was because we are about to move again and will be buying a home. We don’t have much cash to put down on a house but my wife wants to buy a very nice (pricey) house. I suggested that we will need to sacrifice a bit and she may need to pick up some overtime shifts, but I want her to have her dream house. A day or so later she made the comment that she I so tired after work and she never wants to have to work overtime. This turned into a big fight because I told her that working some overtime could really help us get that house she really wants. She started to twist my words and say that I wanted her to basically be a slave and work double shifts every day and all I cared about was money. Just to complete the picture, my wife left a pretty good state job when we got married, but it was not in a field she liked all that much. She chose to pursue nursing; however, she would prefer to have kids and stop working completely. I did have to negotiate with her to agree to work a couple of nursing shifts a month when we have kids to keep up her skills and to help out a bit financially. So this is not a case of me wanting her to be a stay at home mom and not have a career of her own.
And this leads to the biggest issue for me. As in all our big fights, this one included, she immediately goes to the extreme and starts talking about how maybe we are just not right for each other. We went from a little fight about overtime to her saying that maybe she should leave and I should find a woman who earns enough money to satisfy my greed for money. Maybe she should find a guy who will appreciate her more and not care about how much she works or how much she makes. She says I can move and find a house that I like and live there alone. Now I have never said these types of things to her. I have never threatened to leave. I have never suggested I should find a better woman or that she should find another man. I point out to her that these are hurtful and extreme comments and all she says is “well maybe they’re true.” I always tell her how much I love her and I would never want to be without her. I tell her that I am only trying to build a good life for us. I usually end up apologizing even when I don’t think I am wrong. Frankly, when she is in this mode, I feel like she is completely irrational and almost seems like a different person to me.
These kinds of fights and the comments from her have been happening since we got married. The first year was rough. Most of the time we get along great. We are very loving and affectionate to each other. We tell each other we love each other. We talk about having kids and our future. I feel I am loving and supportive and she usually is to me. I have never hit her or demeaned her. I have never cheated on her. But these blow-ups happen every 2 to 6 months I guess and like I said, it’s like she’s a different person. The first year we were married I thought she might have PMDD (the extreme form of PMS). The last 2 years these fights have been less often though the last one before the current one was only a couple of months ago. She has never actually packed or anything, though the time before the most recent fight she did get on the computer and look at flights, right in front of me of course, but it didn’t amount to anything. We made up the next day. We usually make up in a day or two, but it really, really takes an emotional toll on me every time. That’s another thing. I try to tell her how much this hurts me, but I guess because I don’t break down in tears (it’s mostly internalized, stomach churning and such) she just doesn’t believe me. She discounts my emotions. Usually, during the fights when I tell her how hurtful it is, she says “don’t lie, you’d be happy (or happier) if I left.”
I guess I am wondering how “normal” all this is? I imagine the fights over finances is normal. I even think the fights wouldn’t be so bad if she didn’t always start talking about leaving me and that maybe we aren’t compatible and about us finding new partners. That is the part that really hurts me and wears on me. The fact that she won’t even believe this hurts me makes it worse.
Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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