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(not) sharing finances

(3 Posts)
brdgrl Sun 26-Jun-11 21:01:27

Have just had the hundredth row with DH about this and i need help.

We have been living in one household since November. He has two kids (teenagers) and we have one shared child, who is 1. He's a widower. He is the primary earner; I am a SAHM and also finishing my PhD dissertation; I was working part-time but the work ended and that 'pocket money' is gone. So, for now, he brings in the money. Some of the income is related to a pension from his late wife. Down the road, we both anticipate that the situation will be different, and that I will likely be the primary earner. We are struggling along financially most of the time, getting by so far, but with no real security to the future

The problem is that he handles all the finances, as he did his own finances before we were living together/married. He gives me small amounts of cash when I ask for it, like if I am going in to town and want to meet a friend for coffee. He pays the bills (although often not on time or in full, which has led to some issues in the past). We have had some serious arguments because he has had a tendency to keep things from me - unexpected expenses, missed payments, that sort of thing. I think he does this just to avoid fights (it doesn;t work) or because he doesn't want me to get anxious (also not working). I don't see the bills or the statements, and he has made several HUGE monetary decisions without speaking to me about it at all.

We did agree some time ago to open a joint account. When we did, he deposited a check to open the account. It bounced. We had a fight over that. But it never did get sorted out. So there is no joint account. We just go along with him controlling everything. I nag him about sitting down and making a budget, and he agrees in principle, but then never can be bothered to do it, it is always put off. Every time he hides something from me, and I find out, he says he won't do it again... I can't say that he leaves me or the baby wanting for anything immediate - we have food on the table, things for baby, and I have shoes on my feet! But he doesn't give any thought to long-term planning; his older kids are taken care of, but if anything happened to him, or even just if the relationship ended, the baby and I would have nothing but debt. He also just doesn't get around to things - stuff I would take care of myself if I could, but I can't.

It is hard for me to argue that I should be 50% responsible/in control, because after all, I am not contributing (in monetary terms), and moreover, a part of the income is from his late wife and really nothing to do with me (?). I am a foreigner here; before we were married I paid my own way on everything, but I couldn't work full-time so I lived close to the bone, but at least it was all my own and I knew what was going on. Now I can finally legally work here, but it isn't feasible unless we put the baby in nursery and also I'd have to give up my dissertation. I can't drive here yet (I can drive in my home country but need to get a UK license which means starting out as if I'd never driven a day in my life...). We plan to stay here in the UK for the next few years because it is better for his kids and their schooling. So I have no family, rely on buses or him to get around, and have absolutely no idea or input into the household finances, AND I don't have any money of my own. I feel trapped and I don't understand how I ended up in this 1950's life...

mdoodledoo Mon 27-Jun-11 21:43:39

In your message you say that 'It is hard for me to argue that I should be 50% responsible/in control, because after all, I am not contributing (in monetary terms), and moreover, a part of the income is from his late wife and really nothing to do with me (?)'.

I disagree - you are a core part of your family and as a result you should have a say in how finances are controlled. There are plenty of SAHM's in the UK, and in other cultures, who reverse your situation by having tight financial control and handing out pocket money to the man/husband. You can have whatever model of finances suits you both and your family, that may not be 50/50, it can look however you both want it to look. If you're not happy with how things are then it's entirely reasonable for you to ask for changes.

Finances are a key issue of contention in many relationships and, IMO, it's an important one to sort out early. What you describe in your post really wouldn't suit me - but I'm sure there are women who would be fine with it. If you're really not content then you need to assert your right to have a voice in your family and ask for what you want. You may not get 100% of what you ideally want, but even 'better' is a start huh?

Beamur Mon 27-Jun-11 21:48:59

I wasn't happy with how our family finances were arranged, as I ended up doing much of the food shopping/clothes buying etc and was earning half that DP did - which meant I was getting in debt and getting cross with him.
Our solution was to go for joint everything, we both pay our income and any other sources of money into a joint account and all bills etc come out of that - no nasty surprises, we have equal access and are also tackling savings and paying off credit cards etc. Much healthier for us, but as the previous poster says, each to their own.

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