I also agree with the point that people don't have sole control of the money they earn. My husband earns much more than me, but we have an equal day in now that money is spent.
It is totally unacceptable not to mention it, there have clearly been a lot of problems if your friend has resorted to snooping.
Agreed petal. Very grateful for your intuative post catsmother. I think that possibly how we have seen our parents deal with money issues subconsciously might affect our views; my parents shared all money and all decisions, regardless who was earning. Should that really have to change In a step family? Some would argue yes, as your step children are simply not your children and therefore arguably may affect your judgement/decision
Thank you so much catsmother for taking the time to write such interesting posts.
I'm going to pass them on, I know it will help a lot.
It's such a difficult situation to be in.
Thanks everyone for your input. I hope witchofmiddx, that catsmother's posts help you too.
I personally think it should only be up to individuals in a partnership to "do what they want with "their" money" if, as I said before, it's been previously agreed that each party has a certain amount of money each month to spend on whatever they want.
I don't agree - personally - that either the sole, or higher, earner - gets more say over spending because they bring in more. Money isn't the only contribution required to keep a household running after all - there's also all the unpaid work which, if someone didn't do it, would soon see the household descend into chaos. Ideally, both parties in a partnership make equal contributions to the family/home, even if those contributions are different IYWIM.
It's not wrong per se to want to treat your kids - even adult ones - or to help them through financial sticky patches. But this must be done with the agreement of your partner if you don't want to create resentment and I'm sure most would agree it "should" be done with an eye to the wider picture so that other areas aren't compromised - like savings, home maintenance and so on (1st things that came to mind). Thing is ..... time and again, I've seen variations of this issue crop up on step related discussions ..... I can't help but feel perhaps, in some cases, that money's being spent in ways it wouldn't be in an "intact" family. You tend to think that once kids get to 18+ concerns about maintaining contact for example wouldn't be so important, but it's not necessarily as simple as that when children have been pretty much indifferent about seeing their dad - they're not always automatically going to change their approach once they become an adult - so I think that at least in some cases, there's still an element of "buying" affection from kids - which is a very common issue when children are younger and contact is precarious. Yes - appreciate I'm generalising and that of course Bank of Dad is alive and well in families of all persuasions - but somehow when you read step stories, there's often this underlying current about not wanting to say no to financial requests - there may still be residual "guilt" for example. I feel very sorry for women whose OHs go behind their backs like this - especially since you tend to imagine fondly - if your particular step situation has, errrmmm, been "difficult" that it'll all come good once stepkids attain 18 and the problems, for example, of dealing with a difficult ex would end. But it seems a lot of the earlier dynamics continue for many years after that .......
I have exactly the same problem as your friend. My husband bought his eldest a car without discussing with me. As he can never say no to his children, I can see enormous problems in the future where all 3 are at different times asking for substantial loans/gifts. As dh is the sole earner, some could argue it is up to him what he does with his money. But does that not fly in the face of being in a partnership?
Thanks for all the replies, I tend to agree that the snooping is not the issue. He's lied to her in the past about his kids and I know she feels that he's hiding things from her all the time.
I'm going to use your posts to help advise her. They've had lots of arguments about these kids, she thought that the maintenance would have stopped too, and he would just contribute to university, so the discovery of the car and holidays just makes her feel like it will never end and it will eventually impact on her kids. I think they're fine financially at the moment which is why she didn't even know, but last time she was around them they talked about their car, which made her suspicious.
She's being calm about it even though she's annoyed and talking about it with me. I think she'd be scared to confront her dh, but I'm going to advise this anyway.
Her dh is a generous guy, but I know he still feels guilty and responsible for them even though they're grown adults.
Thanks again for the replies, I never know what to advise her.
I bloody hate it when people who snoop get castigated after they've found something out which is unacceptable. Petal is absolutely right when she says it's deflection, and it doesn't alter the original "crime" at all.
At my age I've had a number of serious relationships and I'll hold my hands up to snooping in some of them. (note not all). Where I snooped it was because something had unsettled me, something didn't quite add up or ring true - for example, changes in someone's usual behaviour with no logical explanation, comments that didn't make sense or sound like the usual way someone would express themselves and/or explain something .... i.e. it was a gut instinct thing. And do you know what ? ..... whenever I've snooped I've found stuff which has been kept from me, stuff which was my business, which did affect me, which should have been shared, or stuff which was very hurtful and shouldn't have happened at all. Most people don't enjoy snooping but I'll stick my neck on the line and suggest that in the vast majority of cases (going on my own experience, that of friends, and anecdotal evidence on here) most "snoopers" do unfortunately find good reason for their concerns.
But of course snooping is a terrible thing and we shouldn't do it - which would mean that all the so-called partners telling lies, breaking promises, being selfish etc etc could just carry on doing what the heck they wanted with impunity as they'd never have to face up to their behaviour and explain themselves honestly because they'd just lie and/or deny when challenged!
OP - what you describe is definitely your friend's business. The only set up where it wouldn't be would be if she and her OH had specifically agreed individual sums of money to spend as they each saw fit to and this is what he'd used for the cars and holidays. I'm assuming that's not the case though otherwise she wouldn't have raised the issue with you. Quite obviously we don't know details but for most people funding stuff like that would be significant outlays. If they're very well off he might feel he doesn't have to discuss it with her because whatever he spends on his kids won't affect their standard of living and/or security and if that is the case then perhaps she's being a bit unreasonable ..... though I've always imagined that even if I ever did find myself in such a privileged position I'd still discuss large expenditure - whatever it was - with my DP just as a matter of courtesy - and just in case there was anything in the pipeline which might be affected by a big spend. However - if he's spending money which does affect their life and he's not discussed and agreed this with her then of course he's being unreasonable. How much adult parents fund/treat/subsidise adult kids is obviously a subjective issue and there are many different opinions on the matter but the important thing is that both adults in a partnership agree what is and isn't acceptable. It sounds .... if you're saying that he "doesn't want grief" .... that there has probably been some prior discussion at some stage about acceptable levels of expenditure, and he's now gone ahead and unilaterally decided to ignore that. Your friend really does need to have it out with him once and for all and agree a way forward which is acceptable to them both - I'm not going to say that they should spend £xxx or nothing at all, or whatever, that's entirely their business .... but whatever they decide it should be a joint thing and he should be above board and honest about it going forward, e.g. if he's tempted to deviate from the agreed approach that he talks to her before proceeding.
Sorry, but you can't turn the blame on the snooper!! The fact that she's been snooping does not 'cancel out' her husband's behaviour.
(My exh tried this: I caught him cheating, but as I'd been snooping by looking at his phone, I suddenly became the guilty party. It's called 'deflection'. Men are good at it).
The secrecy is a big deal.
But so is the snooping.
I guess partly it depends on how they have their finances set up, but honestly such a huge sin of omission would be awfully hard to overlook!
Yeah, that's a huge deal. I don't think she should leave it; in her shoes, I'd be seriously considering leaving him.
(Funnily enough, there is another current thread about this sort of behaviour! What is wrong with these men?)
Is it a huge deal that a husband with grown up kids fails to mention to his wife about buying his kids a car and funding their summer holidays to the Greek islands?
I'm a bit upset on my friend's behalf. She wouldn't have been happy if she'd known he was doing it and he doesn't want the grief so hides it. She did a bit of snooping and found out and says she can't figure out if his lies are justified?
The grown up children live abroad in a country where it's not so usual for university kids to get part time jobs, but I (and my friend) come from families where it was expected to work to contribute to our education. So it's difficult to imagine our parents funding everything especially at the age of 24.
I think he should have been honest even if he knows she would have been mad. Lies are lies. What do you think? Should she confront him or just leave it? Thanks
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.