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Financial abuse or luxury?

(187 Posts)
hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:17:31

N/c as some posters know my RL identity.

Before we had DC, DH and I both had well paid professional jobs, at about the same level. However, I have now been a sahm for many years whilst DH has significantly progressed his career. My earning power is currently negligible relative to his.

Fast forward to now: DH likes to know what I spend, so I pay for everything on a credit card for which DH has the password so he can view the transactions. He keeps a real time spreadsheet of my expenditure split into categories which he looks at most days. There is no way for me to spend without it appearing on the spreadsheet (other than cash, and DH doesn't like me to get out cash).

My credit card bill consists mainly of family expenditure: food, insurance, car costs, DC clothes, holidays, vet bills etc The annual total is in the tens of thousands but it is well within our budget, and has still enabled us to make significant savings for retirement. I generally feel too guilty to spend money directly on myself but that is probably my own perception rather than imposed by DH who often buys me generous presents - he likes to choose my clothes and my jewellery.

DH also has a credit card, the monthly spend coming out of the joint account. I have no way of telling how much of that is business expenditure and how much is personal - it could be 100% business or it could be 100% personal. It does not appear on the spreadsheet. I feel it is up to him what he does with the money he has earned so that doesn't bother me.

Anyway, should I feel uncomfortable that DH has such a close monitoring of my spend, which I find a little infantalising, or is it reasonable of him to want to know where the money is going?

In short, I have no financial privacy, but I'm not sure why I want it.

A friend of mine tells me this is financial abuse .... even though DH has NEVER criticised me for overspending, or attempted to limit the amount.

BTW my DH works such long hours that I hardly see him and we live pretty separate lives so I do feel like a paid housekeeper sometimes and maybe that is the heart of my problem....... (the spreadsheet makes me feel like an employee providing receipts tbh).

Sorry about the long post; to refocus, my question is whether I should be insisting on financial privacy or not? Is this accountability reasonable and normal, or is it a strange way to live? Or am I simply jolly lucky?

ohbuggerhelp Wed 08-May-13 13:19:56


Controlling at best, abusive at worst.

And the line that he likes to choose your clothes made me wince.

eminemmerdale Wed 08-May-13 13:22:05

I think it's controlling too sad It must be lovely to have enough money to not worry and get bought lovely things but I'd feel really uncomforatble myself. How would he react if you said you wanted things to change?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 08-May-13 13:22:52

That sounds horrendous.

I'm a SAHM, with a relatively high earning DH. All our money is joint, DH couldn't care less what I spend and on what provided that I don't bankrupt us.

I do think you are experiencing financial abuse, because your DH's habit of checking so closely has got you tiptoeing about how much you spend without him having to actually say 'do not spend XYZ'. He likes to choose your clothes for you? WTF??

What would happen if you went and spent £1000 on clothes that he didn't like?

CockyFox Wed 08-May-13 13:23:04

I think it is reasonable for him to want to know where the money is going but I don't think its reasonable fir hin to not want you to have cash. It seems to controlling for me, the only way for a one income family to work is with complete transparency and equal access to all the money.

EarthtoMajorTom Wed 08-May-13 13:23:11

I think you know... Your penultimate paragraph is very telling.
Why doesn't he want you to get out cash?
And what would happen if you asked for financial privacy?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-May-13 13:23:15

Can I just say that my toes curled when you said he likes to choose your clothes and jewellery... you're a grown women & not a doll to be dressed up and decorated... hmm

I'm not sure if it's financial abuse but it's certainly not equal. If CC receipts are going to be logged on a spreadsheet then they must ALL be logged. Full disclosure for EVERYONE. Then it becomes a family budgeting exercise rather than him checking up on you and you alone which is positively creepy. If he doesn't disclose his expenditure, neither should you.

what would he say if you suggested keeping a spreadsheet on (or at least access to the details of) his spending?

it does sound very controlling and very much like he sees it as his money that you are spending, rather than family finances

annh Wed 08-May-13 13:29:20

He looks at the spreadsheet most days?! Why? If you were a family on a very tight budget, there might be justification for seeing if you had enough money to pay a large bill or get to the end of the month or something but from your post, it sounds as if even if you made an unexpected purchase of a couple of hundred pounds this would make no difference to your finances. So wtf is the obsessive checking of the spreadsheet about????

And you don't like to buy your own clothes? Does your husband realise that you are a grown-up and your marriage is a partnership or does he think that he married some brainless ball of fluff who couldn't possibly be taxed with managing grown-up stuff like money?

detoxlatte Wed 08-May-13 13:32:03

I think it is very sensible for a household to know where money is being spent, and a spreadsheet sounds like an excellent idea.

However, this should apply as much to him as to you (household expenditure, not wife's expenditure), and it should make no difference whether you spend cash or credit for these purposes (you just tell him where the cash went, or input it yourself).

My Mum has kept a record of every single penny she has spent in her 40+ years of marriage. Never ever has my Dad passed a comment on what she has spent or how she has spent it, other than at the beginning of the year to say stuff like "did you know that we spent £[shocking number] at the butcher last year".

Nor has he ever decided what clothes or jewelry my Mum wears sad .

I'm in a similar position in that I gave up my career and largely use a credit card for expenditure, and DH has a card that covers work and personal. Difference is I do the household admin so see both sets of credit card statements, and he queries nothing (unless the bill is huge and wipes out his account... e.g. when I paid for the new carpet by card). The other difference is he has no rules on cash use. I tend not to use cash much out of personal preference, not because I'm told not to.

Your DH sounds very controlling and a bit off putting to be honest. I'm sure there isn't anything sinister about it but it would really put my back up.

unebagpipe Wed 08-May-13 13:33:32

Controlling. I think you should have a look at how much you usually spend on yourself and your dc and take it out as cash instead so you are not being 'tracked'.

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:37:50

I suppose we both feel that it is indeed HIS money as he is the one that goes out and earns it.....whether or not I might have achieved the same high flying career had I not become a SAHM, I guess I will never know.

If I go out and spend money on clothes (I have done this before) then he tells me that they didn't suit me/ made me look frumpy/ were cheap looking. He doesn't make me take them back but he does make me not want to wear them. To be fair, he buys me much more expensive clothes than I would buy myself. He says he has more taste than I do. He probably does.

If I asked to see his CC bill I think he would be very cross indeed - he would say it was his work card (it is) but I know he puts personal expenditure on it too as he uses it when we go for meals out. Whenever I have accidentally come across his receipts, they are always for meals out and drinks. His job (unusually for his profession) involves business entertaining on a fairly regular basis. I can hardly complain as he is very successful so must be doing something right.

I guess I am conflicted after all this time as to what is "family" money and what is his money. In our early years together we both earned the same so I felt more independent. It's too late to go back to that now so I am stuck with being a dependent.

The other thing that worries me is that he keeps the passwords to our savings accounts online which makes me nervous that we could lose our life savings. I have asked him not to do that but he says I am being neurotic. He has the passwords to accounts that are in my sole name which I know he is not supposed to have but he looks at me like I am mad when I tell him that I could be in trouble for telling him the passwords (and him then noting them all down).

I just can't tell still whether his position is completely rational - he does just want transparency.

parabelle Wed 08-May-13 13:39:34

It sounds a little weird. Does he ever comment on what you buy?
Personally, if I was a SAHM, I would want my own bank account and a certain amount paid in each month for me to spend as I wanted.

unebagpipe Wed 08-May-13 13:42:40

Your money should be treated as joint money. Otherwise you are unpaid and unrewarded for a very important role at home. How rude about your clothes. Why do you believe him? I'd tell my DH to wind his neck in. You sound lacking in confidence and self-belief. Would you like a part time job?

I think you should ask him to stop putting your expenditure onto his spreadsheet and then decide if he is being abusive and controlling when he has responded to your request.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 08-May-13 13:43:25

His job involves entertaining which is unusual for his profession?

Are you certain he isn't having an affair? It would explain the secrecy and the fact that he treats you like an employee.

I think he sounds like a controlling wanker. He knows better than you what you should wear? hmm

yes but the transparency is only working one way, and it's not just the financial transparency either is it? he wants to control other aspects too

i keep spreadsheets of my personal and our joint spending and check receipts against credit card bills etc, i think it's sensible, but this sounds different

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:45:29

annh you are right: even an unexpected purchase of a few thousand pounds would make no difference. That is why I should consider myself lucky.

I started thinking about this because I have been trying to reduce the food bill (which is very large from Waitrose) so that I can justify buying myself a computer of my own but then thought how ridiculous when DH earns nearly 7 figures....I should just ask him for a computer.....atm the DC have a computer each, DH has a work one but I only have the "family" one so have nothing private (I Mumsnet on incognito mode and hope that the auto back up doesn't capture it).

But why do I feel the need for secrets? And how entitled must I be to want a computer "of my own". Maybe this is a middle aged crisis.

parabelle Wed 08-May-13 13:45:51

x-posted and it all got a bit weirder.
Answer this, if he walked out tomorrow, what access to cash would you have? Not saying he will, but seriously, you are in a very vulnerable financial position. You don't even have the password to your own accounts? This needs sorting and you need a more financial independence.
Oh and ignore the comments about clothes and you are not stuck with being a dependent, you can always change the situation.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 08-May-13 13:47:46

You should not just ask him for a computer, you should just go and buy one.

It isn't his money, it is your joint money.

What would happen if you changed the passwords on your accounts to ones that he doesn't know?

maras2 Wed 08-May-13 13:49:05

Holy God ! Why does he choose your clothes and jewelry < weirdo > Him not you ...... although ....

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:50:44

parabelle Technically, all the savings accounts are in my name (for tax) but if DH walked out, I expect he would first use the passwords to transfer out all the money. I don't expect him to do that, by the way!

bagpipe Yes, I would love a part time job but don't feel I can justify the disruption to the household for the earning of some pin money that would make no difference to our standard of living whereas me being on call is a valuable service. It would cost more to replace me at home than I could earn, I reckon.

alibaba an affair has crossed my mind but then I think I must be a nasty person as I think really he is working his socks off.

ohbuggerhelp Wed 08-May-13 13:51:27

No amount of money in the world would make me want to live like you are.
It's making me shudder to read it and reminds of the Julia Roberts film, Sleeping with the Enemy, if I'm honest.

And yes to him having an affair.

Whowhowhoswho Wed 08-May-13 13:51:47

I am in a similar situation to you.

I am Sahm. Although children are no longer dependant. My husband makes me put everything I spend on credit card which he pays off. I don't have cash. We don't have joint accounts. All groceries, petrol etc all go on the card. He goes through the statement every month. It always causes an argument.

He always has lots of cash in his wallet also has his own business credit card that I don't see. Same as your oh. He is very flashy outside the house.

He buys me expensive shoes (jimmy choo his favourite) then tells his mates what an expensive girl I am. Which is just rubbish

When I told my mum she was mortified. She says its the worst kind of abuse there is. He is very controlling. Been together 23 years.

Parabelle - if he walked out tomorrow she'd be entitled to a very good settlement so would be fine (although a good lawyer would be essential as he sounds the type to hide assets). I'm sure he wouldn't be so stupid as to leave his wife without whilst negotiating the settlement. It would not get the courts on his side and a quick call to his office could really hurt his career. He's controlling, but with a job that well paid is not stupid.

DottyboutDots Wed 08-May-13 13:54:14

Just say you want some privacy as you feel uncomfortable with his spreadsheet.

The fact that you feel unnerved is usually a sign that something is wrong.

FWIW we are in quite a wealthy bracket and I use a CC for the bulk of my purchases, but that is because it is linked to a program that we like earning points for. My DH never, ever questions what I buy and doesn't choose clothes for me either.

We do discuss on laptops in front of the telly our planned big expenditures for the month but that's only to manage cash flow.

Bugger what he says, start to take out cash and see what he says. The counter it, with Fuck Off, you're not my dad.

quietlysuggests Wed 08-May-13 13:54:23

Ask yourself this
If the roles were reversed is there a chance in HELL you would treat your husband like a little au-pair: able to mind the children, has access to money but afraid to spend anything at all.
Seriously he earns nearly a million and you have to ask for 500 for a computer?
Seriously he wont let you have cash?
Seriously he trashes the clothes you buy so you only wear what he chooses?

You would seriously be better off financially if you divorce.
That is, unless he has a second family he has to support as well!!

CinnabarRed Wed 08-May-13 13:54:36

You're a bird in a gilded cage. It's still a cage.

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 13:54:51

whowho I am so glad it's not just me! How does it make you feel? Is there a way out? Are we just entitled kept women? When I was young and successful, I never thought I would one day be here....

maras sadly, I suspect I am weird as that is the reaction I get when I talk to people about my life which then means I can't talk about it any more and am no further on! I think I have lost grip on normality. My father was very controlling (and/or my mother was a natural victim).

I really appreciate honest answers. Thank you to everyone.

apatchylass Wed 08-May-13 13:54:52

What do you mean 'how entitled must I be'? Do you feel greedy for wanting a computer of your own?

Your OP has gobsmacked me. It's a definition of a kept woman. Everything on his terms. Have to say, DH got this way when DC were tiny. Not quite as bad as your DH but deeply controlling about money. Soon as DC were in school I set up my own business, separate account and he has no access to it or knowledge of it. Now I earn more than him from it and although I love him dearly and he is overall a very lovely man, i still get a little thrill of payback time when he's struggling because he had me practically barefoot and chained to the stove for the first five years, living on child benefit while he spend more on lunch time glasses of wine at work than he gave me to keep me and the DC occupied all week. We had access to his second credit card, but no cash, so no freedom.

You DON'T have to live like this. Get back earning. Set up a separate account. Set up a separate, password protected log in on the family computer for now. You are allowed to live like an adult and to have as many benefits in life as him. Has he any idea how very creepy he's being?

It's not middle aged crisis, it's coming to your senses. As to saving money from Waitrose bills - Ibsen was writing about how unfair it is that women live like this over 100 years ago. Read A Doll's House! Read the feminist section of MN. But, please take charge of your own life and get some money of your own sorted out.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 08-May-13 13:55:20


He treats you like a housekeeper, and dress-up doll. An untrustworthy one at that.

Please read the links at the top of the emotional abuse support thread. You deserve a much better life than this, one where you have the freedom to be your own person.

eminemmerdale Wed 08-May-13 13:57:22

sad sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-May-13 13:59:00

"If I go out and spend money on clothes (I have done this before) then he tells me that they didn't suit me/ made me look frumpy/ were cheap looking. He doesn't make me take them back but he does make me not want to wear them. To be fair, he buys me much more expensive clothes than I would buy myself. He says he has more taste than I do. He probably does."

Jesus H Christ....

quietlysuggests Wed 08-May-13 13:59:16

Me again, I just am so angry at your situation, it comes up all the time on mumsnet and I never would have believed that in 2013 so many men treat their families like its the 1950s. It is so abusive. Women would NEVER do this to men on such a scale.
Imagine if all his posh colleagues and clients were to know that his wife is at home not allowed to carry cash or decide for herself to buy a computer!!
Jesus Christ woman, this man needs a quick kick.

He sounds horribly controlling.

If he is earning that much money, there is no reason for you to feel guilty buying some things for yourself. And you probably wouldn't, except that he makes you put everything in a spreadsheet and looks at it every day.

He doesn't have to say anything to be controlling, you are controlling yourself because of his actions.

As a start, I would ask him to enter a new item on the monthly spreadsheet: £XXX for your personal spending (clothes, treats, what have you). Then withdraw this in cash every month. Just have it on hand so that you can treat yourself when you like without second guessing yourself.

If he genuinely is not trying to control you, he won't have a problem with it. After all, it will be on the spreadsheet, and you can afford it.

If he says no, then I think you know you have a serious problem. He does not trust you or respect you or see you as his equal.

DottyboutDots Wed 08-May-13 14:01:04

Change the passwords on your savings accounts and, if possible hire a forensic accountant to get an idea of your true financial position.

Fairylea Wed 08-May-13 14:01:27

Wow. That's bonkers.

I am a sahm. Dh and I have two joint accounts. Everything goes in and out of one and a set amount of what is left over goes to the other one to be spent between us. Neither of us care what we spend our spending money on as long as we don't go mad and go into the overdraft.

Typically if anything I am a bit naughty and overspend my share so dh has a little bit less than me but he just laughs about it. I get carried away on eBay etc.

I couldn't bear anyone checking up on me or what I spend.

apatchylass Wed 08-May-13 14:01:59

OP - seriously - why are you glad Whoswho is in the same boat as you? Why would you want anyone else to be stuck like this. Get out now, both of you. It's only your mindset keeping you there. Sell the bloody Jimmy Choos on Ebay to get a bit of cash and set up your own business. Or put those stunning designer clothes on and go out and get yourselves great jobs somewhere.

You're not dolls. Don't behave like dolls. The passivity frightens me. DH did this to me when I had no choice whatsoever, as DS2 was so severely ill that it took all my energy to care for him, and I had no rational mind left to sort myself out. But underneath I was seething. Almost left him over it. Instead, I sorted myself out, on my own terms. Now we have a far more equal marriage and my balls are so much bigger than his. smile

You friend is right; you are being financially abused here; controlling behaviour like he is showing you is abusive behaviour. He is setting a terrible example to his children as well.

You are truly the bed in his gilded cage of his own making; he is choosing what you wear and dislikes your choice of clothes.

Abuse like this is insidious in its onset so it is not your fault entirely that you have not spotted this until now.

Would suggest you read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft and make plans to leave him enlisting the help of Womens Aid, friends and family. You will never be truly free otherwise, yours is a pitiful kept woman existance.

Floggingmolly Wed 08-May-13 14:03:23

Luxury???? What part of you identified this nonsense as luxury? sad

TheSmallPrint Wed 08-May-13 14:03:31

I am quite shocked by your post OP and really saddened that you appear to have such low self esteem due to you husband's behaviour.

Please go and buy yourself a computer/ipad and password protect it. Don't tell anyone what that password is, they have no need to know if they all have their own. Don't ask permission for it, just do it and see if you get any comments back. I suspect you will be told that the model / brand you've bought isn't very good and you should have let him choose you one etc.

If your children are at school then start looking to get yourself back out there and get some financial independence and also some self esteem. You are worth more than he is making you feel.

parabelle Wed 08-May-13 14:05:07

^worsestershiresauce Wed 08-May-13 13:52:53
Parabelle - if he walked out tomorrow she'd be entitled to a very good settlement so would be fine (although a good lawyer would be essential as he sounds the type to hide assets). I'm sure he wouldn't be so stupid as to leave his wife without whilst negotiating the settlement. It would not get the courts on his side and a quick call to his office could really hurt his career. He's controlling, but with a job that well paid is not stupid.^

I don't think he's stupid, but I have seen how separation and divorce change people and personally I wouldn't be happy being in such a vulnerable financial position.
But it doesn't sound from OP like he's about to leave.
OP, it does sound though, that you need to take small steps to achieve some financial independence. Not necessarily a job if you honestly feel it wouldn't be worth it, but maybe something to stop you feeling like he's so in control. Hope this thread helps and you sort something soon.

parabelle Wed 08-May-13 14:05:28

Well those italics didn't work did they?!

Branleuse Wed 08-May-13 14:06:06

its up to you if you want to live like this. some women do and are very happy but its a specific sort of fetish rather than anything like normal, and if you havent actually agreed to it nor do you get any actual attention or physical presence from him in any other way then it sounds very unappealing to me.

financial abuse.

i'd start siphoning off money into a secret account tbh. everyone needs their own money that they don't have to justify to anyone. even if it's £1.

i knew a guy who mortgaged his house up to the limit, maxed the credit cards, withdrew all the money from the savings and current accounts and left the country. his wife and small child were left destitute.

your dh has an awful lot of privacy doesn't he? yet you have none. it has nothing to do with amounts of money. it just makes it less justifiable if you have a lot. more justifiable if you have less.

and i'd also change all the passwords on the savings accounts to ones that you know so you can see what's happening.

if he asks why you need to know, have you tried countering it with 'why shouldn't i know? it's my money too.'?

What do you want to teach your children about relationships here?. This as a role model?. For goodness sake make plans to leave asap. I never write that at all lightly but I will call this abuse because control like he shows you is abusive.

i agree with TheSmallPrint.

go and get a computer and password protect. say it's your personal pc. do not explain beyond that or give in to giving him your password.

this guy is a total shit. sorry, hopingforinsight, but he is.

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 14:08:22

aptchylass well done you! I should have done that a while back.

I have suggested having a password protected bit of the family computer to myself (everyone uses my log-in for some reason) but DH says that there is too much shared stuff there now that he needs access to, so it is too late.

Ok, I need a job. I have tried in the past and always given up as I am needed at home - DH doesn't mind me working but only if it does not impinge on him so I still need to do or organise all the housework, childcare, shopping, cooking, maintenance, admin. That's a tall order and I don't have the stamina really: I fell into a good job about 8 years ago which lasted a year before I collapsed with a heart problem brought on by overwork...I was then advised (medically) not to work full time again but I am quite prepared to ignore that as I don't see how a fulfilling job would necessarily take a larger strain on me than being at home, and I feel fine.... but maybe I am complacent and lazy. i am also not sure I am very employable any more so my own business would be the way forward especially if I can get to leave the house.

It is reassuring in some ways that everyone is telling me I deserve more but I'm not sure that is true, incidentally - I was always very academic and good at my job but have never been a good housewife..... eg I hate cleaning and cooking. Just putting the other side because I don't want to get carried away with people being sympathetic thinking I am some sort of martyr! I am not.

Plus3 Wed 08-May-13 14:08:28

I think it depends on how you feel about it really. If you are happy with the situation then it's for you and your DH to manage.

However - you don't sound happy so you need to talk to him about it. Maybe he has got too organised and just needs reigning in a bit. hmm

For what it's worth, I think he is being completely unreasonable.

everlong Wed 08-May-13 14:09:49

He should not be doing this to you. You are married but he doesn't own you.

I would hate to be in your shoes.

My DH earns good money and I'm sahm we have a joint account. We save some, pay bills and buy what we like. It's ours.

Sorry if you've said but why does he keep a real time spreadsheet? Does he trust you?

starting your own business is a great idea.

and start doing some investigation. can you get to see his paperwork? start photocopying and hiding copies. you need to start protecting yourself now.

HormonalHousewife Wed 08-May-13 14:10:45

wow I am really shocked if this is true ?!

We have no financial worries at all and a lot of your initial comments resonate with me.

However my DH would never in a million years behave like this. Its not normal and I dont consider you lucky at all.

Spreadsheets are a good idea yes - but to examine and update daily ? wtf?

Could you ever buy him a surprise expensive present ? or could you even spend £2.50 on yourself for a coffee ? or would he have to know every penny ?

Actually I am seriously wierded out by this.

Sorry I meant to be more supportive as I kind of know where you are coming from...

eminemmerdale Wed 08-May-13 14:10:58

It would surely be very hard for her to leave though as any 'different' expenditure or deviation from the norm would show up wouldn't it? Perhaps she is really frightened. (sorry to refer to you as 'she' op). It sounds like it would be impossible to even siphon away a pound.

itsatiggerday Wed 08-May-13 14:11:31

OP I think the telling thing is that you're on here talking about feeling uneasy but seemingly unable to express that to your husband.

If it helps, my parents had a similar dynamic on the surface. Dad handled all the money, Mum didn't work after youngest child was born. Apart from a couple of times in the early years, they were very comfortably off. Mum bought most things on CC as he asked, Dad went through everything each month (cheque book & CC receipts / bank statement) and he preferred that he withdrew the cash because of a fraud that happened a long time ago.

HOWEVER, he gave Mum cash on a regular basis, occasionally because she asked (usually had to only because she'd spent it all rather quicker than normal!) usually, he just said 'here, for when you need it'. He never queried what she'd spent it on - even when it was more in quick succession! - and he definitely hasn't made her feel unable to spend on herself ;-) . I cannot imagine her writing your OP despite the circumstances seeming similar on the surface. The only similar thing is that she has worried about what would happen to all their financial things if something happened to him so he took her through things and showed her where contact numbers and details were overall so she'd be more able to sort things out if necessary.

Basically, I don't necessarily think the exact circumstances are the issue, they work for some people. However it is an issue that you're feeling imprisoned and suffocated by them and that you can't talk to your DH about that. I hope you find a way round that...

How old are your DC?

Could you set up your own business/consulting from home, while they're in school? As a start at least.

garlicyoni Wed 08-May-13 14:15:01

Just looking at the immediate problem, hoping, go and buy a bloody computer. Why the heck should you be asking for a password-protected area of the family computer? Get a lovely new laptop. I'm curious as to why you haven't already.

ExcuseTypos Wed 08-May-13 14:15:43


I may have missed this but have you actually sat down and told him you aren't happy with the arrangements?

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 14:15:54

ok, I have read more posts now and there are some great ideas. I will just buy a computer and password it (gulp). We can afford it and he has no reason to object so if he does then I will know something is wrong....of course, he will say he doesn't understand why I need to have secrets from him and I am making him out to be horrible if I need them.

I will also suggest that £xxx of personal expenditure in the form of cash :-)

For those saying DH is a total shit, what, exactly, has he done wrong? He would say that he just wants to know what we are spending on. It seems so reasonable, but it feels very uncomfortable oddly. Maybe it is because we have almost no emotional relationship any more sad but maybe that is my fault too.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-May-13 14:16:58

BTW folks.... I'm a spreadsheet-keeper and a fastidious logger of expenditure. I don't have to... the Cog cashflow is fairly healthy these days ... but I was once on my uppers and old habits die hard. This isn't about obsessive book-keeping - if his own expenditure was on the spreadsheet for the OP to examine that would be fine - but about issues such as respect, secrecy, contempt and above all control.

garlicyoni Wed 08-May-13 14:17:13

Also, why don't you know how to create your own secure account on the family PC?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-May-13 14:18:19

What he's done wrong exactly is treat you like the rich man that has a race-horse but no interest in racing. You're an expensive pet to be dressed, observed, monitored but ultimately ignored.

hopingforinsight Wed 08-May-13 14:19:12

Sorry I have to go out now for a bit on the school run and then may be busy. Thank you for all the replies and I will look again tomorrow at everything people have suggested.

garlicyoni Wed 08-May-13 14:20:07

I will just buy a computer and password it ... I will also suggest that £xxx of personal expenditure in the form of cash.

YAY! Well done grin

What, exactly, has he done wrong?

Example: Buying you clothes & jewels is nice. Insisting that he choose them is not nice, it's controlling (in your word, infantilising.) Slagging off the ones you choose for yourself is abusive.

Viviennemary Wed 08-May-13 14:20:28

Well the point is he sees it as his money as he earns it. And after all this time I can't see much hope of changing his views. I think you will just have to put up with the situation as you are able to live in some considerable comfort. Or if it is unbearable then consider leaving and making your own way. Sad that this is all about money. But it is.

HormonalHousewife Wed 08-May-13 14:21:06

Has your DH had financial problems in the past ? started out from nothing ? worried that he could loose it all ?
if that is the case I can kind of see why there is a need to keep a spreadsheet, but it has got out of hand if every last penny has to be accounted for.

Its got out of hand. You need to sit down and chat about how you feel and definitely you need to have £500 that you can spend no questions asked.

It's not unreasonable to want to know where your money is going.

My DH keeps an expenses app on his phone. The difference is that I just tell him when I spend money and what it was on, and he enters it without question. That is very different from not allowing you to have cash, not trusting you to just tell him your expenses, looking at them every day, and criticising you whenever you do buy something for yourself.

None of that is reasonable, honestly. You feel uncomfortable because deep down you know he's not treating you like a person he loves, but like an employee, or someone he doesn't trust or value.

ExcuseTypos Wed 08-May-13 14:23:25

Good OP- you go for it. Buy a computer for yourself. If he asks about "secrets" tell him you haven't got it for that reason, you've got it because you want one and as you're the only person in the house without one, you wanted to treat yourself.

And yes to the cash for each month. Tell him you are his wife and mother of his children and will not be treated like a member of staff anymore.

you can't buy your own clothes
you can't withdraw cash
you can't keep your most private things private (passwords etc.)
you are not treated as an adult in your own home (expected to be at beck and call of everyone)
no prospect of shared house responsibilities. if you were to work full time you still have to do all housework etc.
you are not in an equal relationship / he is a total shit

have you got a cleaner / housekeeper / someone to help out with the stuff you don't want to do so that you can go and work?

how about studying?

i would start spending CASH. so he doesn't like it? so what.

have you tried talking to him about how this all makes you feel?

i really do think this is financial abuse. to change it would mean getting used to his disapproval. what do you think would happen if you started defying him?

Whowhowhoswho Wed 08-May-13 14:25:20

Hoping - I understand completely.. I am still making excuses as to why I have allowed and still allowing my oh to control everything. I have tackled the situation so many times. He also works very hard and we are financially secure. We jointly own a couple of properties.
I do have a job working from home but its not regular income.
I understand when you said you were g,ad I was in the same position. Of course you didn't mean you are glad I am suffering 2!
All the responses here make sense but When YOU are in the thick of it it's hard to see a way out.
Of course it's not acceptable.and we wouldn't treat our partners like that.
If I wanted to but something large like a computer I would have to discuss and SELL my case to oh. If he wanted one there would be no discussion it would be bought.
I gave my son £10 last week in front of my husband. He went mad saying how dare you give him MY money.its not your cash to give..
I don't know a way out either. Other than to leave which is a possibility if I was brave enough.

Thumbwitch Wed 08-May-13 14:26:01

He is "keeping you" and expects to know how much that is costing him, which is not so much infantilising as treating you as a subordinate human.

I am a SAHM; DH tried similar (but without the close eye on expenditure) and I felt hugely uncomfortable with only having a credit card in his name to buy stuff with. He would give me the occasional $50 note when I wanted cash for stuff and it felt like I was being given "pocket money". Well sod that. So I insisted that I have my own savings account, into which he pays a monthly sum, and then I can withdraw cash as I need it. I still largely use the credit card for most things, but I can buy frivolities and presents and stuff from my own account without DH knowing what they cost.

He doesn't check up on what I use the credit card for but he does pay it off out of the main account, which I made him change from his account to a full joint one (in case anything happened to him, he does a lot of driving). I don't bother to access it, but I could if I needed to.

I couldn't live like you do - and I certainly wouldn't be letting him "choose my clothes" - ugh!

CatelynStark Wed 08-May-13 14:28:36

OP, just reading about your life has made me feel quite ill. God only knows how you can live with this level of disrespect and control! He's really done a number on you, hasn't he? [shocked]

I'm a skint lone parent but I wouldn't swap lives with you for a minute - you're allowing him to treat you like a wayward child.

I find his attitude totally repellant and feel very sorry for you. Please, please find the self respect to break out of your captor's grasp - not necessarily by leaving him, in the first instance, but by putting a stop to this appalling situation.

detoxlatte Wed 08-May-13 14:30:02

If he wants to know what you are spending on, ask him why.

Valid reasons: so we can shop around for a cheaper gas provider, so we can cut back on x to spend more on y, to know whether we are wasting money on random things we don't even know we have.

Invalid reasons: so that I can check up on what you and DC are doing when I'm not at work.

And yes, perhaps this is exacerbated by a lack of an emotional relationship. And no, it probably isn't your fault; it takes too to tango.

Seems to me that as a couple you need to look at priorities: he's too busy making money, you are too busy doing unfulfilling stuff that is leaving you unhappy. Scale back, reassess, actually THINK about your lives together.

Viviennemary Wed 08-May-13 14:31:48

Reading all those posts I am not sure I could tolerate living in those situations where a man provides all the money. I thought it would be the ultimate life married to a rich man who earns a lot. But perhaps not.

sweetestcup Wed 08-May-13 14:32:39

I Mumsnet on incognito mode and hope that the auto back up doesn't capture it)

Why, what would he do if found out you were on Mumsnet? If its just so he cant see this thread then maybe but I get the feeling its more than that. Clearly he was damaged your own self-esteem so much you think you are "entitled", and of course you're not.

TryDrawing Wed 08-May-13 14:34:10

You say he just wants transparency. But only for your spending, not his. So more of a one-way mirror than a window.

So you're not so much equal partners in the marriage as Supervisor and Supervised.

No amount of money would make me submit to being treated with such disrespect.

HormonalHousewife Wed 08-May-13 14:37:37

Viviennemary its not all bad smile

This is definitely the exception and not the norm.

I'm poor, but I make every decision about what I spend my money on. Even the bad decisions! And I'd rather be me than you, financially. Your life sounds stifling. The thought of it makes me feel panicky to be honest. There is nothing so liberating as independence and it sounds like you have none.

Runoutofideas Wed 08-May-13 14:40:20

We are in a similar financial situation and my DH likes to now exactly where the money is going. Not because he is tight, or controlling, just because he's an accountant and that's how his brain works. For us, the solution was for me to use a credit card for whatever I wanted - family expenses, my clothes, food shopping/ whatever and as well as that he has always transferred £x amount of money into my bank account every month which I tend to use for daily expenses like coffee/lunch out/nights out etc. in his head because he has transferred £x to me, it has gone and he knows where it has gone, whereas if he didn't do that and I spent joint money all the time, he would be tempted to ask for receipts for coffees etc which would drive me insane!
Having said that, he doesn't tell me what to wear, or not to Mumsnet etc so I think you may have more of a problem....

princessnumber2 Wed 08-May-13 14:43:06

You're not free. It's nothing to do with being a SAHM. I'm one too. My dh earns enough for us all to live comfortably but genuinely believes that we both earn it jointly in different roles. The money is in one account. I spend what I like but also have a credit card in my own name for privacy, which gets paid off by the joint account each month. We are both responsible about money and while neither of us feel that we need permission to spend money, if it was a very big purchase we would probably discuss it. But in no way do I feel I need to account to him.

If I were you I would change the passwords on the savings accounts and hire a forensic accountant as someone suggested. I'd also get legal advice as he may not take kindly to a change in the status quo.

I certainly couldn't live like this. He could have an affair and walk out on you and you don't have info on your situation as the transparency only goes one way.

It's really not just about pin money.

DottyboutDots Wed 08-May-13 14:43:40

I'm not convinced by the start-your-business ideas. Do you know of difficult it is to get a start up off the ground? OP, you have some difficult times ahead. You need to get some short term, mid term and long term plans. What you refer to as Pin money may save your sanity? Hugs as living with the constant anxiety sounds very stressful.

He sounds awfulsad aside from the financial abuse, and it is abuse, he is controlling in other ways. Not allowing you to work, threatening you that you will have to cope with both the household (which he should be a part of anyway, you are a sah parent, not a housekeeperangry ) and a job, as though you job/career is meaningless. A job is often about more than money, just because his offers more money does not make it more important.He undermines and belittles you. How dare he say your choices are bad, how rude to suggest he has more taste than you. He is a nasty entitled man, you don't seem to feel entitled to anything howeversad
Take back control, get a computer, change YOUR passwords, and try to get some independence, a job, or more control over Joint finances at least.

AnyFucker Wed 08-May-13 14:45:19

You really live like this ?

Wow. Did your husband remove your frontal lobe one night when you were asleep ?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 08-May-13 14:46:15

Your posts make me so very sad.

I wish I could inject you with a little bit more self-esteem, so that you too could see how desperately sad your view of yourself and your marriage is. Both are from from normal.

You are not a martyr, no. But you are being abused. And you do deserve better.

This is beyond creepy and abusive. Your dh earns close to a million a year and you have no access to cash, have no idea what's in bank a/cs in your own name, he buys your clothes and you think you should ask his permission to spend a few quid on a computer.

I tell you what, I would rather be destitute than live with this abuser.

poshme Wed 08-May-13 14:50:22

For those saying they couldn't be dependent on a man for money- remember it isn't always like this. I understand OP about your luxury comment- you are aware that as a family you are better financially off than most people- and can afford luxuries. However, as an individual you are not- because your H doesn't allow it.
I'm a SAHM with a DH who earns well. He pays money into my account each month for bills etc. everything else I put on a credit card which he pays off. If the bill is a bit high he queries why- but not accusingly- just wondering.. I used to keep a spreadsheet of all outgoings - his and mine- but can't be arsed now. If I wanted to buy eg a new laptop yes, I'd discuss it, but more in a 'I was thinking if getting' and also as his income is up and down (he's self-employed) I'd want to check the finances weren't too down that month.
I have all the savings money in my name (tax reasons) and can access it all- he can't.
Perhaps when you sit form with your H to talk about this. You could work from the angle of - if you were hit by a bus tomorrow how would I have money- pointing out you need access to money.
Are you sure his work is still paying what you think? All his secrecy and having your passwords makes me wonder whether actually he's lost it all and you're living on credit. sad

matana Wed 08-May-13 14:50:38

OP my sister is a lot like you. Her husband earns a very good salary, she enjoys the money, doesn't like the housework side of being a sahm etc and in lots of ways is very different to the girl I grew up with since meeting her husband and essentially being dependent upon him for everything. The difference is he does not keep a spreadsheet, she is given an allowance (or salary I suppose) in admission that she is doing a job that requires reward. They sat down and discussed what was a reasonable amount, she budgets to stay within that parameter and he lets her get on with it. Part of her is lazy and complacent and she likes the luxuries they can afford. But the point is, she is not treated like a child and checked up on. He trusts her (and she probably does take the piss a bit if I'm honest). You sound very unhappy in lots of ways and that is what concerns me. You never see each other. You no longer have an emotional connection. You are sad ffs! This is about more than finance, which I think is just one symptom of a bigger problem.

Re. The clothes. Spot the difference:
1. I don't like that dress, it's a bit frumpy. There are others that I think might suit better.
2. You look frumpy in that dress. It looks horrible on you. You shouldn't have bought it.

My dh often gives his opinion on clothes and sometimes we disagree. I expect him to have an opinion, but I expect him to voice it in a way that does not make me feel small, ugly and worthless.

Re. The job. A job is not just about money and I fully appreciate that you do not need the money. A job gives you independence, self confidence, motivation, self worth, a sense of your own identity and not merely a mother or wife. Could you consider part time work, or charity work even that will fit around your responsibilities.

And I think you should be really clear with your dh that you are so unhappy. It is not a crime to want a little corner of the earth that is really yours and nobody else's. It's not about secrecy it's about being an individual, responsible for your own thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes.

Sorry if this sounds like a lecture, but your post has really struck a chord with me. Perhaps he is not aware how any of this is making you feel. If that is the case then it's time you told him. Good luck. X

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 08-May-13 14:51:05

You asked us to explain what your H is doing that is so very bad. Here's some reading material for you. Start with this one.

georgie22 Wed 08-May-13 14:51:19

To be truthful I would rather live on value baked beans and be respected and treated as an equal by my dh than live the life of "luxury" you describe. I'm not a SAHM so cannot give any opinion on how finances should be arranged - I just know from my experience of the unpaid part of my maternity leave that dh earned money for us all as a family. We both earn (nowhere near your dh's income) so family expenditure is joint then I have the remainder of my salary to spend as I wish.

You are being abused as your friend has identified. It's not right that you are discouraged from buying your own clothes etc.; what does that say about your identity in the relationship? It's very sad that you don't have an emotional aspect of your marriage - in essence you are a housekeeper and child rearer. Even with children my relationship with my dh is still of enormous importance to me, perhaps more so now.

OP, you need to start the process of trying to restore some control in your life. Did your dh make the decision to devote so much time to his professional life alone, or did he discuss this with you? It seems unsatisfactory that so little time is devoted to his family but he still has those levels of control. I wish you luck.

Lweji Wed 08-May-13 14:52:16

Sorry, I haven't read everything, but good god!

You have no financial privacy (in fact he has control of your own accounts! shock), you can't really wear clothes you like, you feel that you have to ask for a computer when he earns a lot.
You feel that it's his money.

Yes, total shit.

You have allowed him and supported him in his career. You have given up yours (and I wonder why. Your decision or his?)

ldt87 Wed 08-May-13 14:52:47

Would it be possible to get a bit of cash back each time you shop to have cash that you don't have to account for? Like with the food shop, he probably wouldn't notice 30-50 extra if it was already expensive? Just a thought to squirrel some personal money away xx

impty Wed 08-May-13 14:53:42

My dh does the spreadsheet thing and knows where the family money goes. It can be irritating but its just to budget not keep an eye on me. I have my own bank account, 2 of my own credit cards and dh puts some money in my account each month as 'me' money.
I don't feel controlled but I seem to have more freedom than you. Plus dh always, always discusses our finances with me before any changes are made. I suspect that makes a big difference.

quietlysuggests Wed 08-May-13 14:58:33

OP if you get a job, housework should be split equally, childcare costs should be split equally, and all cleaning and cooking should be split equally.
That is the way it is in most houses, including mine.
Too many women make the mistake of thinking that if they go to work then they pay all the childcare costs and continue to do all the housework.
Dont be a fool.

I think you should rock the boat a bit by going clothes shopping and buying yourself a computer and see what his reaction is, you seem scared how he will react I think.

EuroShaggleton Wed 08-May-13 15:03:10

OP, this sounds awful. He does not consider you an equal. He acts like he owns you. Some of your language suggests you are very browbeaten, e.g. "maybe I am complacent and lazy. i am also not sure I am very employable any more so my own business would be the way forward especially if I can get to leave the house".

I hope you can find a way to rectify the situation.

impty Wed 08-May-13 15:04:36

Actually, it might be s good idea to get your own bank account and credit card. Put some cash in the account if you can. Credit card just in case you need it. If dh asks its for you or to buy him gifts etc. Never hurts to have a plan b in the background, not that I'm saying you need it. But still...

StoicButStressed Wed 08-May-13 15:06:17


'the spreadsheet makes me feel like an employee providing receipts tbh'

It makes you feel that way as it is precisely how you are being treated.

The 'Does a lot of Business Entertaining (unusual in his profession)...all on his card I can't see' thing. OP Sometimes 2+2 DOES =4sad

I would: go out tomorrow and buy the best Mac you can find; withdraw £500 cash; and when he interogates you asks you WTF you were doing, tell him to go fuck himself.

Genuinely, if ALL above is real, you have problems WAY bigger than 'just' the vile way he treats you vis financesangry

matana Wed 08-May-13 15:07:16

Also what quietly says. That's how it is in our household too and it has jack shit to do with how much each of you earns. I actually earn much more than my dh but do and equal share of the housework.

I've been where you are.

Make an exit plan.

Get a cheap tablet and MN from that.

But get an exit plan. Please.

Your posts are making my blood run cold. You are me 10 years ago.

Allalonenow Wed 08-May-13 15:13:16

One of the first things you should do OP on your new computer, is open your own personal current bank account. If he finds out about it and asks you for the password, do not reply but ask him for his passwords.

He isn't only financially abusing you, it is emotional also, telling you that you have no 'taste', forcing you into a mould he has made for you.

Your posts are sad and frightened, as though he has drained all the joy out of you. He is unlikely to change, because this is what he wants; to have you in thrall to him.

If this creep decides to leave tomorrow, you are well and truly fucked. You are in prison.

cestlavielife Wed 08-May-13 15:37:19

"he keeps the passwords to our savings accounts online " so if he dies of a heart attack tomorrow /gets run over /etc what will you do ?

(let alone if he leaves you etc)

KristinaM Wed 08-May-13 15:40:48

OP, do you want to stay with this man?

Branleuse Wed 08-May-13 16:15:57

im really surprised you just thought all of this was normal till you mentioned it to your friend.

If my dp decided he wanted me to be a kept woman and did all the things you say, id probably quite enjoy it for a while. Sounds quite cosy, but then chains are only a problem if you want to be free.

If youve always been happy with the way things are, then dont split up just because people on a forum think you shouldnt be happy

BranchingOut Wed 08-May-13 16:50:44

I think buying the computer will be a good way to test his reactions.

HamletsSister Wed 08-May-13 17:00:36

Get an ipad or similar and keep it in your handbag. That way you don't have to hide or password it - it is yours and you don't have it on display. Do you have wills? Could you make an excuse to see a solicitor together about wills and so have everything disclosed to them? If things do go wrong you would have evidence.

What about his family?

FWIW we have one account (shared) and two separate credit cards. My DH, anal accountant type, wants the total for my card but never questions the actual purchases or sees the bills.

Also, with expensive things in the house, what about a spot of secret e baying to build up funds? You can get a PayPal account and now get one with a debit card. That might give you a cushion, if ever needed.

Myinboxisfull Wed 08-May-13 17:05:26

Ldt87, she can't add cashback on to the shopping on a credit card, I don't think, only on a debit card. That is no mistake on the part of her dh as she can't put anything aside for herself.

I feel for you, op, you sound like a prisoner. Your 'd'h is effectively making you produce receipts for his approval. You can't really go anywhere or buy anything without him being able to track this. He's undermining you self belief by telling you that he (his taste in clothes) is better. Your situation is not normal.

You have said that the socialising he does is unusual in his line of work and I would question whether / why he's doing it then. You only have his word for what he's doing and he isn't treating you with much respect. I think that you should keep an open mind as to why he's out so much.

BenjaminButton172 Wed 08-May-13 17:12:57

I have only read the OPs posts and i just want to get this man away from you. NO ONE should control you.

My parents have completely seperate finances. Seperate bank accounts, no idea how much each has in theirs etc. My mum is a typical stay at home mum who gets 'house keeping money' from my dad. She can spend this money on whatever she wants. He doesnt ask her what she has spent the money on, he doesnt buy her clothes, he doesnt comment on her taste of things. As long as she pays the bills and buys the food my mum can use the rest of the money for whatever she wants and my dad doesnt bat an eyelid even though it is technically his money.

OP i think u need to start getting yourself more freedom. A computer is a good start.

QuietTiger Wed 08-May-13 17:21:22

He is being completely unreasonable. Just to put things in context, so you can see how unreasonable your DH is being...

My DH runs his own business and I work in a supporting role, in that I don't have an "outside" job, I work from home helping run the business as well as doing all the "domestic" housewifey stuff.

I have access to the business accounts, DH's accounts, our joint accounts and also have my own private accounts. I don't justify any expenditure on myself, take cash out when I want it (from all the accounts) and do pretty much as I please. DH & I discuss "big" expenditure before it happens, but not as a control thing, it's done for budgeting purposes and if I really want it and we can afford it, we get it.

Today I went out shopping (for essentials - groceries and a massive Pet food shop) but DH couldn't for the life of him tell anyone what I'd spent or where. Hell, half the time he doesn't even know IF I've spent money. He just assumes that if we don't have it, I don't spend it.

We sit down and discuss budgets weekly and manage the accounts together, but there is certainly no micro-management and control from DH, in the way yours does with you.

And in a MILLION Years my DH wouldn't buy me clothes to wear or critique what I was wearing. He'll tell me if he likes something I'm wearing, but he wouldn't dream of managing my wardrobe.

I would go as far as to say that your DH is emotionally and financially abusive. It seems you are his play thing, rather than his wife.

cassgate Wed 08-May-13 18:24:04

Wow, do men like this really exist. I am a sahm with a dh that earns good money. He too keeps spreadsheets for expenditure. Too be honest I am not remotely interested in them so have no idea if his own spends are accounted for but I would expect knowing him that it includes everything. I have my own bank account which he pays money into when it runs low and I use this for coffees, lunches taking the kids out etc. Everything else I put on my credit card. The card is in my name and I buy whatever I like. He pays the bill in full every month. He will occasionally ask me what items are on the credit card statement but more out of interest than anything else. He knows that if we couldnt afford it I wouldnt buy it. I would be more worried about the way he controls the way you dress. Have you ever said that you dont like something that he has bought you or do you just wear something even if you dont really like it.

apatchylass Wed 08-May-13 19:24:31

OP, I am genuinely concerned by you standing up for him, and saying things like: I'm not a great housewife, I'm not a martyr. As though you only deserve our sympathy or concern if every inch of your home gleamed and you served him like a Stepford wife.

No. you are his equal and a human being. If he doesn't want you to have a computer with your own password ask why he needs one.

And really - look for a part time job. nothing too strenuous but which will bring you some money to call your own and some independence. you will be amazed at how much better you feel.

It o=is surely not up to your husband unilaterally to decide whether or not it suits him for you to have a job. If being a SAHM and living on his terms doesn't suit you, then as an adult in a liberal society, you have the right and power to change your circumstances and to challenge him on his reactions. I had some really strongly worded heart to hearts with DH. He was shocked to learn how very close I came to leaving him when DS2 was only 18 months old.

Because his life suits him, your DH is probably unaware how like a caged pet you feel. Be very very direct in your explanations and give him precise examples. Ask him repeatedly how he would feel if his own life were similarly governed by another person who told him what to wear, what to spend, analysed his every move and had access to all his online material and financial details. Explain you don't have his and he has questioned your need for them. You respect his need for some privacy and you want yours too.

If he won't give it, for goodness sake, him him a big hefty shove to sort himself out, and get yourself organised to earn as much as you can with your excellent previous track record. What are your skills? Can you use them in a freelance capacity, tutoring capacity, transfer them to a different industry?

Make a list of changes you really need in your life. If you'd rather work as a TA two days a week and use the money to get someone else to clean - do that.

But start by buying yourself that computer and password protecting it.

Believeitornot Wed 08-May-13 19:26:55

Does he think he is above you somehow? Negates the fact that you actually look after the children?

I'm astounded that you put up with this.

It is wrong, beyond wrong.

Bonsoir Wed 08-May-13 19:32:41

My DP knows exactly what I spend on the household and, frankly, I find that comforting! I spend a lot and I could easily spend a lot more if his watchful eye wasn't there curtailing me. Why do you care that he knows what you spend?

On the other hand, my DP has no clue what my capital is worth and how I manage it and that is fine with me too!

thecook Wed 08-May-13 21:46:38

OP - You have a controlling husband love.

I didn't know people used spreadsheets for family finances until I came on here. And he checks them all the time??????

I agree with the poster up thread that said this situation reminds her of the film Sleeping with the Enemy.

He is an abusive arse love. Time to leave love.

MatureUniStudent Wed 08-May-13 22:05:15

I am out the other side. In my crumbling guilded cage unable to keep up with the breathtaking cleverness that my STBEXH has used to hide his assests away. I trusted my STBEXH and the DC are paying the price for my naiveity now. Whilst I am not saying your world will implode, it could.

You may not wish to start rocking the boat, but I would find some way to ensure you build up a fund of money for yourself. Where does your child benefit money go?

It may all end well, but something has nagged at you, so you have posted on here. I would suggest getting savvy.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 08-May-13 22:10:59

OMG, this is scarily controlling. Many sahp's control the finances especially if the working partner is often away or works long hours.
OP you can't let this continue. Why haven't you asked him to show you/ give passwords to his accounts.

Asheth Wed 08-May-13 22:24:54

I am a sahm. But all money goes into a joint account. So in theory DH could see how much money I was withdrawing and items on the card and equally I could see what he spends. But in practice we don't check, beyond making sure we're living with in our means and that there's been no fraudulent activity on oru account/ I'd certainly discuss a big expenditure with him and he with me, but normal cash for clothes, nights out etc. is not discussed. I'm planning on going back to work soon, but the way our finances are managed wil not change.

You say your DH works long hours and you have little time together, but he has time to go through your expenditure most days? And I find it nasty that he criticises your choice of clothes. What would he say if you criticised the clothes he buys you?

CutMyFringe Wed 08-May-13 23:13:43

OP, you sound so lonely, downtrodden and completely lacking in self-worth.

You feel uncomfortable because you have reason to! Can I ask how old your DC are? What must they think of mum being treated like this?

I also think you should sort an exit plan - just as your insurance policy. And start getting cash back with all shopping, where poss. Get stuff sold on eBay and find yourself again.

FiftyShadesofGreyMatter Wed 08-May-13 23:39:49

It is not HIS MONEY, it is family money. He would not be free to earn this money if you were not at home running the house, kids, etc. Everything should be transparent. He is controlling and abusive.

Give him an ultimatum, either all money is shared and everything is transparent, or you go back to work and he pays for a cleaner, housekeeper, childminder, etc, etc.

I could not live like this, no matter what.

LessMissAbs Wed 08-May-13 23:54:23

I can't see how keeping a spreadsheet detailing expenditure is controlling, in the absence of other controlling behaviour. Perhaps he is just someone who likes to budget well and keep track of things.

Change your own passwords if it bothers you. If you feel guilty spending the money he earns, get a paying job. Retrain if necessary. Perhaps even take over the control of the spreadsheet. You are being very passive and letting this happen.

I don't think you are "jolly lucky" - its a limited way to live your life and you are missing out on so much. Its also putting all your eggs in one basket. I would only do it if I had a private income (eg money from property/trust fund/inheritance).

Wuldric Wed 08-May-13 23:58:15

I cannot imagine this scenario - it is utterly infantilising and demoralising and YUCK YUCK YUCK

Wuldric Thu 09-May-13 00:02:33

My last post was unhelpful - sorry - but I was genuinely shocked.

In the scenario you describe, your DH has complete financial freedom, he can buy what he wants and you cannot know about it. He could in fact have a mistress tucked away in a mansion block - not that I am suggesting he has - but he has the freedom and autonomy to do precisely as he likes

You cannot buy a pair of flip-flops without him knowing about it.

You have to see that this situation is entirely inequitable.

Are you allowed to have savings in your own name? Or are they only notionally in your name because they appear in the spreadsheet.

happygoluckyinOz Thu 09-May-13 04:19:42

Hmmm, I'm conflicted. Our situation is slightly the reverse, in that I'm the one earning most of the money at the moment as DH has been out of work for 8 months (he's just started working again, but is earning half what I do and what he used to).

I control all the finances, all of which are joint. I ask DH not to spend cash because I like to see where the money's going so I can work out how much we've spent on luxuries, or food or clothes etc. I do check the bank balance every single day...but this is because I've been the only one working and if I don't keep a hold on it it could spiral out of control.

I haven't placed any restrictions on what DH can and can't spend (neither has your DH on you by the sounds of it) and most purchases are a joint decision - he needed a new pair of trainers, asked if that was ok, I said sure fine.

I guess thinking about it he asks permission from me more than I ask it from him.... does this make me controlling? I don't necessarily think so as we are both happy with the arrangement - he doesn't pay any attention to the finances - never has done, just is happy that I make the books balance.

My DH likes to buy my clothes - I don't see that as negative, but I'm happy to purcahse my own too! He'll pass comment on whether he thinks somethings nice or not, and if he hates something I'll usually take it back - I'm not going to wear something my DH doesn't like me in!

I think the main problem is that you don't feel equal and you don't feel like your earning your share - if your DH doesn't have an issue with what you spend your money on I think it's something you've got an issue with rather than him.

happygoluckyinOz Thu 09-May-13 04:35:11

Ok, I've just read your last post (must have missed it somewhere) so would like to add to my comment!

Does your DH make you feel unequal? Does he place any restrictions on what you spend? Do you feel like he controls you?

You said you can't work because he said it can't effect him. If he's earning well, why can't you get help? Get a cleaner, a gardener and arrange childcare? Then you could get back to work and get some independence back.

I think it's a bit of a crock that you can't have access to his records as well - to be equal you need to be able to have full disclosure of what he's spending his money on.

I'm just torn, I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon that he's a controlling bastard and you should leave him, because only you know that. I just see a lot of what you are saying in my own relationship, but in reverse. But we are totally open about everything, no passwords, no secrets, phones, computers, ipads are all open to view if the other choses, I've no reason to hide anything from him and him from me.

Are you happy? Do you love each other? Is this the only issue? Can you have a conversation and work this out?

Tortoiseontheeggshell Thu 09-May-13 05:18:34

Happygolucky, if your DH said to you that he felt controlled by the financial arrangement, and how about the two of you agreed a 'luxuries' budget whereby he could have a set amount of cash per week, would you feel alright with that?

If he wanted to see your CC statement, would you feel okay with that?

If he wanted a passworded section on his computer, would you feel okay with that?

It's the adding up of all the things, here. This DH chooses basically all of the OP's clothing, and if she 'rebels' and buys something for herself he criticises it till she takes it back. He controls all of her money, including holding her passwords to HER accounts, and yet would "get very cross" if she asked to see his. It's the fact that she doesn't feel like she can ever make a purchase or a decision, even if she knows full well that it's easily within the grasp of their finances. That's different from what you're describing. He DOES have an issue with what she spends. He tells her that her taste is bad. He tells her that she doesn't need her own computer. He tells her that she is not allowed cash even though the couple can well afford a 'slush' fund.

Tortoiseontheeggshell Thu 09-May-13 05:20:34

I'm also intrigued that Stoic is the only one who has picked up on something else.

This DH keeps his own CC completely private. On it, the OP says, are bills for plenty of drinks and meals, although his job isn't one that generally requires a lot of entertaining. He works extremely long hours. Their physical and emotional relationship is negligible.

Given his general attitude towards you, OP, and his attitude towards women, I would put the chances of him NOT having a mistress at approximately 10%.

KristinaM Thu 09-May-13 07:47:35

It's very odd that someone who has a very good income and entertains a lot for business puts his business expenditure onto his personal credit card. Most empoyers woudlnt allow this as it makes the paymenst of expensee and accounting very complex. Most accountants wouldn't like it neither as it makes it too easy to put personal spending through as business.

My Dh travels a lot for business and everything work related goes onto the work Amex card. At the end of a trip he just collects up all his vouchers/receipts and gives them to one of the admin staff who sorts it all out.

Why would someone who earns " a 7 figure sum " like the OPs husband spend his time sorting out businessfrom personal expenditure, receipt ing it all and putting on a spreadsheet ? I'm surprised his clients or his employers are happy to be paying for this nonsense . It's far more likely that in fact the card he refs to is a personal one, and he doesn't wish his wife to see what or who he spends it on

i agree kristinam.

he's hiding something.

This probably won't be a popular post, but I'm going to go against the grain here. I can see the controlling aspect of his behaviour, but I can also see how this could be innocent. Which it is would very much depend on how he reacted if you spoke to him about it and told him it made you uncomfortable. If he tried to give excuses, make you feel you were being silly, or minimalise it, then it's very controlling. If he surprised, concerned about it and open to making changes to solve the issue, then I think it's probably innocent.

I say this because in our household I'm the one with the spread sheets, who does the budgets, and monitors DH's (and my own) spending. I have given DH access to see my accounts too, but he never remembers them (even when I set the pass code to HIS birthday! grin). As we earn no where near 6 figures, we each have an allowance for personal spending. I do monitor when he's spent money from his personal account, usually because if he's spent it on family stuff I move money back over so his "allowance" isn't affected, exactly the same as I would for me. However, if DH ever said he was uncomfortable about things, we would change them. I do like having control over the finances, but only as a team with DH. Keeping a close eye on what we're spending feels much more secure than just frittering money away without knowing where it went.

cory Thu 09-May-13 08:23:11

MrsMango, how can it be innocent when the dh is refusing the OP access to his accounts, when he won't even let her buy a dress for herself without belittling her taste, when she has already broached the question of a password to the computer and he has refused, when he won't let her take a job because it would impinge on his life?

Everything she has told us about this relationship shows that it is not a normal, adult, equal, budget-keeping, spreadsheet-managing relationship but something far more sinister: a situation where the OP is constantly made to feel that she is not equal, that she is not an adult, that her dh has to look after her and make her decisions for her.

KristinaM Thu 09-May-13 08:24:45

Im also confused by the posters suggesting that she goes out and gets a job. She already has a job, she looks aftre the children and does all the runnig of the household. Their household income is nearly £1,000,000 a year. The ( money ) problem isn't that they don't have enough money, its the unequal distribution of that money between them. She needs to get her share for her labour, not get another job on top.

It seems to me that the money problem is just a symptom of the much larger control problem. He has a lot of the money and complete control and privacy, she has much less and has to account for where every penny goes. She doesn't even have a switch card, a bank account she can control or internet access that he doesn't control . He doesnt like her to have cash!!! He chooses all her clothes. In theory she is allowed to buy her own but in Reality he criticises all her purchases. This isn't about spreadsheets, it's about abuse.

Wuldric Thu 09-May-13 08:27:21

It's very odd that someone who has a very good income and entertains a lot for business puts his business expenditure onto his personal credit card.

This is very true. You mention that your DH is in a well-paid professional job - so I am imagining someone like a partner in a magic circle law firm or one of the big 4 accountancy firms. These insist on corporate AMEX cards being used for business expenses. Not just for ease of management and monitoring but also because AMEX gives those firms large kickbacks for making it compulsory to use their card.

cory Thu 09-May-13 08:29:03

Agree with Kristina. If she were to go out and get a job it wouldn't really change anything unless her knob of a husband the dynamics of the relationship changes: he would only make her kill herself coping with the housework and children on top of the job; in fact, she told us that has happened once already.

Potteresque97 Thu 09-May-13 08:40:09

The job thing came up as op mentioned recently trying to get one to work, from op's posts it seems clear her self esteem is pretty low and being able to earn your own money even though not £££££££ can help, although agree a properly supportive DH would help her effort by getting a cleaner/childcare so the op isn't just doing more and that needs to be in place.

Your DH works long hours, but finds the time to examine your spending, split into categories, most days? hmm Doesn't let you see what he is spending. hmm Controls what you wear. hmm Belittles your choices. hmm

Way too controlling and untrusting. You are an adult. I was going to say, you are not a small child, but I wouldn't belittle a small child's choices.

You say he doesn't criticise your spending, or attempt to limit it, so what on earth is the deal with the spreadsheets?

cory, I'm happy to be corrected but I can't see where the OP has said she's already asked for access to the accounts. I am full of cold, so I admit I could have missed it. As for the clothes thing, my DH will tell me if something I buy doesn't suit me. I love dragging him out clothes shopping as he does have good taste for clothes that suit me. I don't feel belittled by it, if I did I would say so and DH would be apologetic. If the OP can't tell her DH that he's hurting her feelings and expect a positive change, then yes, that's a problem. However she hasn't said that they've had that converatsion. It might be that he thinks it's some kind of inside joke. I'm not saying that's definitely how it is, but it's possible.

I also can't see where the OP has said that her DH won't let her work, just this;

" Yes, I would love a part time job but don't feel I can justify the disruption to the household"

That's the OPs choice.

As for the computer password thing, it sounds like the OP asked to password protect a section that is already storing shared files. If I added a p/w to my computer it would probably cause problems for DH as we share quite a bit on here.

If the OP is feeling disrespected then I think she needs to talk to her DH first and foremost. If it is a equal, honest adult relationship, then he should want to changes things so that the OP is happier. If he openly acknowledges her concerns, then good! If not, then yes, it is definitely more sinisiter. I'm just saying that I can see how there could be another side to this.

Oh, and passwords? I trust my DH completely, but he doesn't know any of my passwords and I don't know his. We don't need each other's passwords because we trust each other.

apatchylass Thu 09-May-13 09:08:06

There's also the issue of lack of cash. Lack of cash is deeply controlling. DH had me on this one. My only cash for about five years was Child Benefit. I used to marvel at the other mothers who said they put CB away into a savings account for their DC. I wondered how on earth they paid for a coffee or soft play, or a bus fare to buy groceries. DH repeatedly 'forgot' to put any money in my account for months at a time, so it became embarrassing to ask.
In his eyes, I had access to anything I wanted, because i had a second credit card (that he kept tabs on) but I had a very restricted life. Some weeks other mothers would go for a coffee at a cafe and i couldn't join them.

Like MrsMango, I'd argue that it could be innocent. There was a part of DH who was controlling me but only because he was scared of losing me. once I really started standing up to him, he backed down, rather than lose me.

OP so much depends on his reaction when you argue a case for parity in your relationship. Equality. you having access to a similar level of adult privacy that he enjoys. If not, why not. Take it from there. It doesn't have to be LTB and women's refuge. But do definitely confront him.

apatchylass Thu 09-May-13 09:12:13

Kristina those of us who suggest she gets a job are doing so because she isn't fulfilled as a sahm, and lives this way because her husband has decreed it. She used to have a superb job. She has an academic brain, and her DH is treating her like a barefoot skivvy.

To help her overcome this, we are suggesting she gets outside of the home, gets to see herself in a different context, where she is valued and where she is rewarded financially for her contribution, and has full control over that finance.

Whatever happens in her marriage, being a sahm isn't going to help tip the balance of power and self-seteem in her favour if you reread her posts.

Potteresque97 Thu 09-May-13 09:15:35

I don't think op would have been posting if something wasn't wrong deep down. Whilst its not entirely clear whether DH is a monster or just a bit of a career minded control freak she needs to stand up to, it's clear many things need to change for op.

MysteriousHamster Thu 09-May-13 09:16:07

Hope you're okay, OP. Is this 'buy a computer' day.

Does your husband realise he only earns so much because you have enabled him by being their for your children? He does not have an automatic right to delegate everything related to his children to you. If you work, their childcare should come out of his wages as well as yours (I know it's hard to view it like that if you would otherwise be making a loss) - give it time and you could be earning more quite soon.

You need some personal spending money.

Can you do the supermarket shop somewhere cheaper and get money out on cashback? You could put a little aside that way without him knowing, though you shouldn't have to.

"OP so much depends on his reaction when you argue a case for parity in your relationship. Equality. you having access to a similar level of adult privacy that he enjoys. If not, why not. Take it from there. It doesn't have to be LTB and women's refuge. But do definitely confront him."

This! Thank you apatchylass, that's what I was trying to say, but much more concise. <tries to shake fog out of head>

DHtotalnob Thu 09-May-13 09:39:34

Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but

If I asked to see his CC bill I think he would be very cross indeed - he would say it was his work card (it is) but I know he puts personal expenditure on it too as he uses it when we go for meals out.

This is very likely to mean he is treating you as a business expense and reclaiming the cash for your meals out. Aside from the psychology behind that, it's also gross misconduct in most companies. As well as theft, tax evasion etc etc. Often gets swept under the corporate carpet when discovered, tbh, but can also be a perfect excuse to fire someone. And it's embarrassing for anyone to have expenses looked into.

A bit of ammo for your war chest, should you need it? Just sayin'. xx

DHtotalnob Thu 09-May-13 09:44:48

X posts!!!!
This is how long it takes me to get anything done......

AgathaF Thu 09-May-13 09:57:29

I so hope you have gone and bought your laptop. I suspect if you have then it will cause the biggest of rows - instigated by him.

You really need to stop him having all of this control over you.

Someone mentioned upthread about selling some of your expensive clothes on ebay - that could give you a bit of cash just for you. For goodness sake though, don't let him have access to your ebay or paypal accounts. Keep them for you. Good reason to have your own laptop for that. Consider opening a bank account in just your own name too. He wouldn't need to know about that either.

Also, he says he wants to keep track of spending. He works long hours. Why don't you take over the job of tracking the spending (ya know, kind of as a favour to him wink) since you are at home and probably have more spare time. You need to claw back some control over your own life.

Long term, I hope you can see that either he needs to radically change, or you need to strongly consider leaving him. His abuse of you is disgusting. Dictating your spending, your clothes, the hours you may work (so that he is not inconvenienced), dismissing your choices (clothes) as poor and unworthy of him. He is not around much anyway, so would you really miss him?

I'd feel like his employee not his wife.

If he needs to check on every single one of your expenditures why can't you see his? Surely you can see the unfair inequality there? How much goes on 'entertaining'?

...and as for controlling what you wear. Fuck that! You have your own mind.

You said earlier on in the thread that you don't have much of an 'emotional' relationship anymore and also rarely see him. I think you need to thrash this out once and for all. I hope you have your own bank account and your name is on the mortgage as well as a joint account?
If you stay together i would look into doing some work hours, not for the money as much as for your own independence and self worth.

I had a friend who was widowed very suddenly. She did not know the passwords to their joint accounts/savings etc online etc - you need to know these incase something happens.

I also thought - i know someone who was a mistress. She'd filled the vacancy when he married his last mistress. For the past few years he has helped to support her and put her through studies. Even though they are no longer together he gives her the equivalent to a reasonably paid full time job salary every month. Presume the wife is clueless as he is very wealthy and would say he was on business trips, then visit her every few weeks, usually midweek. He has also managed to buy a complete house for a previous mistress to buy her silence and that was undetected by the missus aswell! It must be easy to do if you conduct your finances in a secretive manner and earn a fortune.
You really need to know more about where the money goes OP, it should not be kept from you.

perfectstorm Thu 09-May-13 10:23:40

DH isn't especially high earning but he paid the credit card bills without question when I was a SAHM and also paid a regular sum into my own account each month by standing order.

What he is doing is controlling and unacceptable, yes. He should pay you a lump sum each month, and it should be up to you how you manage it. It's treating you as an employee, as you say. The only thing in his defence is if this is his work mindset he may be used to it. The real issue is the imbalance - either you both have expenses the other checks off on via shared spreadsheets, or neither do.

I'd talk about how it makes you feel, and that you want it to stop. You want to be paid a regular sum which you can then control. Try to communicate. It may just be that he's never stopped to think about it from your side.

Get that computer (maybe a tablet? iPads are nice and portable) and definitely look into a job. You may not earn much at the beginning but as your experience increases that will change, and it will also increase your self esteem... and shift the balance of power in the relationship, too. Sad to say it, but many men disrespect SAHW and M. My own needed sharp reminders that I was working bloody hard, and had not been lobotomised by the role change.

Snazzynewyear Thu 09-May-13 10:32:28

Definitely get yourself a laptop or tablet - his reaction to this is the litmus test. Bet he asks you for the password. If he does - and this is important - DO NOT tell him. Either say 'I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours', or if you don't feel brave enough for that, tell him a dummy password that isn't the real one (you can always say you 'got confused'). If you do (b) and he comes back to you and says 'that wasn't the password' you have even more serious questions to ask yourself - and him - about why he is so set on you having no privacy or personal space whatsoever when he gets to have plenty himself.

Also wondering: do you get to go out much? You said he works long hours so does that mean you have to stay in every night with the kids, or get a babysitter (and how does he feel about that)?

TyrannosaurusBex Thu 09-May-13 10:40:59

I'm wondering if the OP's husband may be paranoid about her having an affair herself? Scrutinising her spending, not allowing her cash, denying her privacy, undermining her confidence, keeping her tied to the house by insisting that she must retain responsibility for it even if she were to get a job, dressing her in a manner he deems appropriate...hmmmm...

hopingforinsight Thu 09-May-13 10:52:39

Thank you everyone for the helpful replies. I have taken on board the reactions.

I think DH is merely trying to keep an eye on finances, and is not being abusive, but as I have begun to find it stifling, and as I don't want matters to slide further and our current arrangement sounds odd to many, I am going to suggest we each have a private "personal spending" account with a certain amount of money going into it each month....I will ask to keep my own password and suggest DH regards the money as "spent" when it goes into my account (someone suggested that they did that and it worked). Then I can buy that computer and also put some money aside for other things I may want to do with it (eg presents for DH and the DC). If he has a problem with that then it will ring alarm bells and I will deal with it.

The root of my problems, I feel, is that I regard our income as DH's money and not joint. I think that attitude is mainly mine and not his and I need to change. Gosh, even saying that sounds unreasonable but I am accepting that DH works because he gets lots of affirmation from it so if I take the downside (his absence) then perhaps I should not feel guilty about the upside (being a SAHM with disposable cash). My life is fine really! (Honestly) And I do feel myself to be lucky, I have no financial worries, lovely DC, and wonderful friends.

happygoluckyinoz probably gets it right smile although other posters' reactions have been a slight heads up and vindicate my original friend who highlighted this issue.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 09-May-13 10:54:41

The root of my problems, I feel, is that I regard our income as DH's money and not joint.

The root of your problems is that he regards his income as his money and not joint. And you as another of his possessions.

What HotDAMN said.

Snazzynewyear Thu 09-May-13 10:59:14

I think the plan you have about the personal accounts is a reasonable way to approach this for starters. I would say that you should not 'ask' to keep your own password, though, but should act as if that will naturally be the case, not behave as if you need permission for your own password. Also be prepared for him to ask what the password is, and remember what I said earlier - don't tell him if he is not prepared to tell you his first.

OP, your DH was only able to build on his career to the point where it is now, because of you supporting him. If you had both decided that he would look after the children and you would continue to work, would you think that all the money you earnt was yours, or would it be joint?

Please don't feel guilty about it, you are earning it just as much as he is.

You do not naturally want to think of him as abusive; many women in these situations do not. But he is; he regards you as a possession to use (i.e pick the clothes you wear) and abuse (monetarily) as he sees fit. The power and control balance in your relationship is totally skewed in his favour. He has the run of it all. He regards the income as his and his alone, you are but of secondary concern to him even if you do figure at all. You are but a trophy to him.

As for your glib comment that, "My life is fine really! (Honestly) And I do feel myself to be lucky, I have no financial worries, lovely DC, and wonderful friends".

Do you really deep down believe the above that you choose to tell yourself or are you just really further kidding yourself?. His financial control is the big elephant in the room, one that for many reasons, not least of all his overall attitude, that you have not been able to address with him. Denial is also a powerful force.

You have not been able to deal with this till now and it took a friend to point out the inequalities here. Its not entirely your fault you have not seen the control because such abuse is insidious in its onset. Nothing has changed since then and you will not be able to deal with him at all if he disagrees to your reasonable requests for an account of your own. How are you going to tackle this?.

I doubt very much that he will agree to you having any financial autonomy and will block any attempt for you to have a spending account ; what then for you?. Even in the unlikely event he did agree to this, he'd soon stop any money from reaching an account in your name.

If you were to look at your own self before you met him you would probably find that you have modified his behaviour to such an extent that you try and anticipate his behaviours.

Lweji Thu 09-May-13 11:46:06

Good luck.

I have an inkling about what his reaction will be. But hoping for the best. smile

What about your clothes?

Lweji Thu 09-May-13 11:51:29

About passwords, exH and I knew (or knew about) each other's passwords.
Emphasis on each other's.
And we knew about each other's finances, balances, accounts, etc. All in the open.

He was still a twat in that he argued with me about the £2 a month I gave to a charity and used up tens of pounds in online gambling on the sligh.

Your H should only comment on your clothes if you asked him to.

AnyFucker Thu 09-May-13 13:06:27

Do you love this man?

You haven't talked much about that

BranchingOut Thu 09-May-13 13:18:52

Next time you are in town, take your passport, a council tax bill and one other official letter.

Just pop into a bank and open up a basic account.

Simple step, but you never know when you might need it.

AgathaF Thu 09-May-13 13:30:57

I regard our income as DH's money and not joint. I think that attitude is mainly mine and not his and I need to change

He regards the money as his, and you mimick his attitude towards it. Why can't you just go and buy a laptop today or tomorrow? I'm sure he would if he wanted one, so why can't you?

His attitude towards you is that of an edwardian husband, who has his chattel at home and needs to keep her in line, whilst wheeling her out to present to friends/family when demanded and expecting her to not let him down in looks etc. You seem to have absorbed that role in his life very well.

My father was very controlling (and/or my mother was a natural victim). Your life now reflects theirs. Do you see that?

He is controlling. I'm sad that you can't see it, but that doesn't make it not so.

How old are your children? How is he towards them? Are they old enough to realise how he treats you financially? Would you want them to be married to someone who treats them in this way?

For the record, I find his attitude that you may work as long as it has no impact on him, absolutely outrageous. As should you. What a selfish, entitled man.

AgathaF Thu 09-May-13 13:32:03

Incidentally, if you get cashback from the supermarket when you do your shopping, it doesn't show up as such on the cc statement.

We learn about relationships first and foremost from our parents; what did your parents teach you?. You've continued the relationship pattern that your parents showed you by marrying someone like your Dad with you now playing out your mother's role.

Would urge you not to let a third generation i.e your children learn these same lessons.

Alligatorpie Thu 09-May-13 14:00:45

Ebaying stuff is a great way of making extra money. and your dh doesn't have to know.

I agree about the cashback - £20-50 every time you go shopping, will really add up. You can put it in your new bank account.

If you haven't already bought yourself a computer, I second an ipad. It's small, you can carry it with you - just don't tell him your password.

Sorry OP, but you are deluded if you cannot see this abuse.

DocBrown Thu 09-May-13 16:29:44

Why should the OP be scrabbling around selling stuff on ebay and getting cash back to hide in a secret bank account when she has perfectly good money in savings? The only problem is that her DH has the passwords to the accounts (she has mentioned that the savings are in her name for tax reasons). Personally, I would be going to these providers and saying the security of the password has been compromised and re-set the passwords. Then, and only then, would I be broaching the subject of money, clothes, work with the DH as the OP would have some "ammunition" and a safety net should (and when) the SHTF. I think the DH will hit the roof when he finds out OP has taken some control back.

Sorry OP but it sounds like you live a single life as it is - except that you have to account to your DH for every penny that you spend and every minute of where you are and what you are doing. What would happen if the shoe was on the other foot?

BlingLoving Thu 09-May-13 16:43:26

I completely agree with DocBrown. Go change the passwords on the savings and then have the discussion with him.

OP, I read these posts all the time and it breaks my heart. If you believe that he earns the money and therefore deserves to spend it, what do you believe you deserve for spending all this time doing childcare? I never understand why women think that their childcare duties don't count as work. DH is a SAHD. He works as hard, if not harder, than I do.

LapsusLinguae Thu 09-May-13 17:48:54

OP have you seen this guest blog post from Women's Aid?

It describes your situation.sad

On a practical note if you can't get cashback with a credit card how about buying some gift voucher cards each time you shop?

Please don't tell us he wants the long till print out showing all the supermarket transactions?

With regard to the savings in your name contact the banks say you've forgotten the password and you want it reset. Then reset it. Then you will see how often your husband checks these accounts.

LapsusLinguae Thu 09-May-13 17:51:14

Also do you get the child benefit?

If your husband has asked for it to be stopped there is no need. Get it reinstated and he can pay it back on his tax return.

Get it paid into an account only you can access.

KitchenandJumble Thu 09-May-13 18:00:23

I agree with the majority on this thread. It sounds like your H is financially abusive, controlling, and generally an arse. I think the word "abusive" is tossed around rather too often these days, but your husband's behaviour certainly fits my definition of abuse.

Your relationship is not based on equality. Your H doesn't seem to have any respect for you at all. The idea that if you are working full-time you would still be responsible for all childcare and housework is insane.

I could never live like this. Why do you allow him to control all the finances and check up on every single thing you buy, while simultaneously having no access to the records of what he spends? I'm of the school of thought that in a marriage, all money should be considered family money, both partners have a right to access their shared money at any time and make purchases when they want and need to.

I've also been musing about the arrangements of families in which one partner has a high-powered job and the other (almost invariably the woman) stays home with the children. The danger of massive shifts in power relations is very real, and it seems as though stories like the OP's are not isolated examples. I know that people often say that such an arrangement is a choice, often described as "the best choice for our family," but I wonder whether our choices are quite as free as we would like to think they are, given that we are all products of a particular culture with its own expectations, assumptions, etc. Why would anyone accept that her place in the family is that of a second-class citizen (as the OP seems to have done)?

I'm not in any way suggesting that the OP's situation is typical, but it is less unusual than it should be. I have no axe to grind, certainly have nothing against SAHMs. But I don't think it is coincidental that most people who find themselves in a financially abusive relationship are women.

MusieB Thu 09-May-13 18:56:16

I think a lot of people in "top" jobs would be categorised as "high control" by those management analysis tools which try to sort people into personality types and I'm sure OP's H would fall into that category. It may well be that he's acting as he does without realising the impact on OP and that he does not consciously think of her as some sort of skivvy or not his equal.

My DH is definitely a high control type (as TBH am I). He cannot bear waste (would far prefer to eat food I regard as dangerously out of date etc than throw it away), is naturally very frugal and has savings mania. He would love to control our finances. Unfortunately for him I earn rather more than he does so have unilaterally awarded myself casting vote on certain spending decisions. Otherwise we would never eat good food, wear nice clothes or go on anything but basic holidays (all of which we can comfortably afford) and a great deal more would be squirelled away in savings. If I didn't work I think I would have a struggle on my hands not to be in OP's position.

But I do not think OP should try to go back to work unless she wants to for the sake of actually working rather than earning her own money. Instead in her shoes I would stress that H and W in a marriage are a team, that all money is family money and she should be kept informed of their general financial position, that she enables him to focus on his high pressure job to the degree he needs to, that she finds his scrutiny of her spending overbearing and demeaning and that she needs access to some funds which she can spend as she pleases without such scrutiny. She might add (if she feels it to be the case) that she is not accusing him of being ungenerous.

BeCool Thu 09-May-13 19:04:22

OP have you seen the guest blog on mn by Woman's Aid re financial abuse. Might be if interest to you.

Goldchilled7up Thu 09-May-13 20:47:55

Besides all the abuse I would seriously start questioning why he is so secretive with his own spending, and if its really clients that he's entertaining.

Wuldric Thu 09-May-13 21:39:57

In and around work today, I bought a pair of trainers for DD, recklessly splurged out on a latte at Costa and had a quick lunch at Waga with an old mucker. I did all of this spending without DH's knowledge or consent and I absolutely take this to be the norm.

How can you live like this?

musu Thu 09-May-13 22:23:47

I know plenty of people who use personal credit cards for their business expenses. I work with a lot of them. We have coroporate credit cards but can choose to use our personal ones and claim back (eg some people use their own to collect points, airmiles etc). Our company (financial services) doesn't mind at all. They are more focused on ensuring it was a properly incurred and documented business expense than which card has paid for it. Not this company but I've worked elsewhere where it is expected for the PA to do the expenses submission on behalf of his/her boss.

I've never not had my own income but I remember at a young age my (happily married until death of my father) mother instilling in me that I must always have access to my own money.

I couldn't live like the OP but I have known people who choose to because they don't want to give up the lifestyle they have. I was shocked the first time I came across that but it is unfortunately surprisingly common. The lifestyle is very attractive and the longer the relationship continues the greater the loss of self esteem and the harder it is to break away.

ChasedByBees Thu 09-May-13 22:24:11

Awful awful awful.

He doesn't want to keep track of 'what we spend' he wants to keep track of what you spend. You don't have the same right.

You are responsible for all household tasks and childcare, even if you have a full time job. He stood by while you worked so hard you developed a heart condition. Now you have been advised not to work full time but you're going to ignore that (and presumably continue to do 100% of all household tasks).

He wants you to be around to do all the household tasks but they are worthless, as in any money into the home is his alone - all your work counts (financially) for nothing even though you taking on that load allows him to achieve his success.

This is not just a problem with your perception. If it was, he would have willing corrected it for you. He would not insist on your passwords, he would not keep such close tabs (there is no reason for that frequency of checking your expenditure) and he would allow you privacy without even thinking about it.

My DH and I are moving from a situation where we both early the same and now our incomes have shifted, DH is a SAHD setting up a business. I'm very mindful of the fact that there could be an imbalance and we discuss how to address it and I encourage him to spend what he wants to. I certainly don't check what he's taken out of the bank - as long as we have enough money for bills and approximately equal 'fun/personal' money, that's all that counts.

ninjasquirrel Thu 09-May-13 22:25:07

If he asks you why you want a personal account, don't get tied up in justifying it, ask him why he doesn't want you to have one when it's a perfectly normal arrangement - is he implying that you are untrustworthy?

Snazzynewyear Thu 09-May-13 22:37:28

I'm surprised someone earning that much in that kind of high-powered job has the time to check personal spending records daily. It simply isn't a cost-effective way to spend your time - in fact it would be a lot more efficient, in terms of keeping the household running smoothly and in good financial shape, for you as the SAHM to do it, with just a regular discussion with him of any major trends, big purchases or issues you both need to be aware of. So whatever his reason for checking daily or almost daily, it simply does not make sense as a 'best way to run the household' approach.

musu Thu 09-May-13 22:55:56

The OP's dh may not actually have such an amazingly high salary. Many years ago I had a student job where I dealt with 'high net worth' individuals. It was surprising how many weren't actually as wealthy (in terms of having money/assets that actually belonged to them rather than the bank) as they liked to appear.

Snazzynewyear Thu 09-May-13 23:13:35

musu maybe not - though I think the point stands that his checking behaviour isn't actually an efficient way to do things so there must be some other reason behind it.

perfectstorm Thu 09-May-13 23:28:18

OP, how did you get on with buying that laptop/tablet?

whatnowpolonius Thu 09-May-13 23:35:27

Entertaining clients? Yeah right. Knocking off someone else, more like. If he was, would you ever find out? So you're not allowed to look at his bank account. Is he equally secretive about his phone and email?

I know someone who bought his mistress a house in Kensington. Yep. His wife had no idea (until the divorce) because she had no access to finances. Btw she had no claim over that house because it legally belonged to the mistress.

He could be hiding all sorts of secrets from you. Prostitutes, mistresses, dodgy deals... It's possible that, with a few wrong decisions from him, all that money you think he's got could just disappear leaving him with fuck all. And you with 50% of fuck all if you divorce him...

OrWellyAnn Thu 09-May-13 23:37:20

I think it would be a very good idea for you to have some sort of independent finance as a 'just in case'. If you have the discussion about cash and he refuses you still have lots of very expensive clothes, shoes and jewelry... would you get away with selling some of it on the sly and opening a bank account that he knows nothing about and squirrelling some away there?

perfectstorm Fri 10-May-13 00:34:09

OrWellyAnn the savings are in her name, but he has all the passwords. Frankly if I were in her shoes I'd do as someone else has suggested and contact the financial provider to change them, if the savings are substantial. But the OP sounds a little more phased than that.

I agree calling Women's Aid for counselling is an excellent idea, OP. They'll say if they feel it isn't their area. And offer support if it is.

I'd missed the clothes part. To be honest, alongside the rest? That would be less a red flag and more a klaxon alarm. He has complete control over your life while allowing you no access whatsoever to his.

perfectstorm Fri 10-May-13 00:34:35


garlicyoni Fri 10-May-13 00:40:38

Secret bank accounts aren't secret. He could just do a credit check. If he is a controlling nutter, he will.

It used to be something of a tradition for the wives of controlling, wealthy men to have copies made of their jewellery. The jeweller would take ownership of the original, paying them the difference. I imagine this practice hasn't died out altogether - but you need very high-value jewellery, as good copies are expensive.

I recall threads on MN where rich men's wives have resorted to selling their stuff on ebay and at dress exchanges, in order to get an escape fund together. It doesn't sound as if OP will come to that - but at least it's better to have valuable things to sell than not!

Hoping - I'm hoping, too. I hope you've bought your laptop, organised a decent personal cash fund for yourself and are discussing a cleaner/housekeeper to free up your time.

How are things?

JojoMags Fri 10-May-13 13:56:42

I am a sahm - have been for 6 years and totally dependent on dh's earnings. However, it is regarded by him, as well as me, as family money and I manage our accounts. He does not check up on me and I would regard it as bullying and controlling if he did.

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