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Old 29th March 2009, 10:30 PM   #1
Siskin
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1
Please somebody help me

I've been married to my wife for nearly 6 years, and we have two young children: a 3 year old and a 2 month old. My wife is totally dependant on me and stays at home to look after the children.

There are many things I am struggling with in our relationship, but my major problem right now is her apparent inability to stop spending money. She has always been a spender to some extent, something I've always resented. I work hard for my money - our money - and I expect her to look after it. But month after month I find she has been running our joint bank account into overdraft, spending hundreds of pounds on needless expenses. Every month we sit down and I try to talk calmly with her about it, and she apologises, hands me back her bank card and tells me she won't do it again. I need to leave her a bank card so that she can buy groceries and other essential items. Even if I just give her a fixed cash amount, she will find another use for it and then claim she needs extra money for food or the children.

Last year we went to marriage counselling after I completely flipped and left the house for a while. Things calmed down, but she hasn't really changed.

Right now I am so angry and upset after checking the monthly bank statement, I feel like I just want her out of my life for good. I've had enough. But I have two young children, so what am I supposed to do? If I leave her, she couldn't support herself and she has nowhere to go. She has no qualifications and could barely pull minimum wage. If I were to take the children, how could I possibly look after them whilst working full time? I just don't see how a seperation could work in practice yet, if I stay as things currently are, I think I would die from the stress.

I'm equally angry at myself for letting myself get into this relationship in the first place. But I love my children so much, I just want to do what's best for them. I'm trying not to scream at my wife when I have children around, but I have no other way of venting my frustration. My wife just cannot seem to change. If it weren't for leaving my children without a father, I would probably kill myself.

I really don't know what to do any more, please somebody help me.
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Old 30th March 2009, 12:36 AM   #2
Ageing Grace
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 738
Re: Please somebody help me

Hello, Siskin.

What came out of your counselling sessions? It seems odd that you went to all the trouble of working to understand your marriage - and, now, posting here - without offering any insights as to why this might be happening. I am sad to hear you're so upset, and I know how annoyance can interfere with good will. So please forgive me if I seem to be asking too many questions!

It often happens that people confuse money with love and/or appreciation. This becomes chronic with people who were given gifts instead of affection, when they were children. If your wife is actually spending a lot of your money on things for the kids, it seems quite possible that she's repeating her own childhood pattern. Have you thought of this? Did it come out in counselling?

If you believe that is the case, then simply providing positive feedback - hugs, smiles, chitchat - could be all that's needed to fix both your relationship and your children's developing "things" problem. It wouldn't happen overnight, but you'd probably see improvements quite rapidly (and feel better for it!)

The fact that she initiated counselling - and that you joined in - says not only that there's a serious problem in your marriage, but also that you are both willing to make an effort to fix it You have no idea what a plus that is! Most couples only realise there's a problem when the marriage has already ended. Don't underestimate what you've got, between you. It's worth a bit of leg-work!

Your post fizzes with annoyance about what she's spending. I'm not saying you're wrong - it is true about people mixing money up with love, and your wife sounds like a classic case ... but your level of irritation with that is quite special

Given that we've never met, and you've only posted once so far, I'm going out a limb here. Is it possible that money=love for you also? If money's tight, it's natural that you would feel like your relationship was going downhill - because you'd feel as if you didn't have "enough" to give. And she'd feel like she wasn't getting "enough". It's all a bit bonkers, but may be worth giving some thought ... ?

I can easily offer you ideas on how to have a great time - with and without the kids - for free, and millions more for nearly free - but this is a worldwide forum so you'll probably need to find resources closer to home!

The important thing, for now, is probably to figure out this 'money' thing between you - as in: Does money represent more, to each of you, than simple spending power? Did you both have 'provider' Dads (or one was, and one failed?) How much time have you spent together, wasting time, holding hands, doing nothing much for free? Do you need to practice having a lovely time without spending anything apart from nappy-money?

Most of this probably sounds really glib. I'm sorry. But I'd love to hear your reply!

Cheers
AG
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Old 30th March 2009, 08:54 PM   #3
Raymond
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 6,409
Re: Please somebody help me

AG may have some good points there which are worth considering.

I don't think the answer is just to leave her. You would be creating much worse problems.

On a practical level you need to let her have an allowance and stick to it. If she overspends you shouldn't just dole out more. She is trying her best but maybe she needs some of your discipline and control regarding it. You have to make sure the children do not suffer in this though.

I take it she is getting enough to meet all the needs for the house and the children and that you are not being stingy. Maybe she has never learned to be frugal with money and has to learn it? Obviously you cannot have a joint account any more but she should have enough. Sometimes it is the man who wastes money but in your case you really need to handle the finances until she learns, but leaving her is certainly not the answer. That would just be a cop out.

Raymond
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Old 30th March 2009, 09:08 PM   #4
clockwork orange
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 73
Re: Please somebody help me

There are also some practical things you could do too. With the ease of online shopping, the groceries and other essentials could be done on a weekly fixed order so that it is paid for out of an account your wife can't access. Then as Raymond suggests let her have an allowance for personal stuff.

AG also has some interesting points - I am inclined to consider the love=money(or gifts) equation quite seriously. Although the roots of that can be quite difficult to get at.
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Old 31st March 2009, 08:49 AM   #5
Raymond
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Re: Please somebody help me

That sounds like a good idea Clockwork. I have never looked into the aspect of love=money or gifts. That is a new one to me although one of the love languages is receiving gifts but I think that is different.

Raymond
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Old 31st March 2009, 07:26 PM   #6
clockwork orange
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Re: Please somebody help me

I think the point AG has raised is about the child-mind interpreting gifts as love from a parent or such. Especially where gifts of some expense are given to compensate for lack of pysical presence etc.Later this would tend to develop into spending more and more on oneself to try to find the same sense of pleasure as in a childhood gift. Not quite the same as the love language idea, as you say Raymond.
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