Shortening the leash on a financially irresponsible spouse?
June 3, 2009 7:19 AM Subscribe
Seeking techniques for aiding/supporting/educating a financially irresponsible spouse who talks the talk but won't walk the walk.
posted by anonymous to human relations (27 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
My spouse and I have a very weighted financial relationship. I earn 90% of our income and handle 90% of the family financial responsibilities (getting and maintaining insurance, paying bills, getting rent paid, etc.). This in and of itself is unacceptable to me, and has been the subject of many discussions.
The salt in the wound, however, is my spouse's child-like self-control and sense of entitlement. We have a budget, spouse is aware of the budget, and professes to understand the importance of keeping within it. Spouse professes to check the bank balance daily and live within the funds budgeted for "pocket money". When we have the discussions, it's yes, yes, yes, and very convincing statements of understanding of how important it is to share responsibility.
Recently, with my approval, a new computer was purchased - big sums are not the issue here, they are always negotiated and discussed between us prior to purchase. However, the small things are the problem - $40 at the record store, $40 at the comic store, $40 on liquor (within 48 hours of a discussion on how we are "tapped out" on non-necessary spending under the budget). I can't get through here. In the last several days, there have been $200 in non-necessary spending, all knowingly in excess of the budget. No bills have been paid.
So, obviously, there is nothing really more to be gained from talking - spouse will say yes, irresponsible actions will continue nevertheless. I've tried taking away the ATM and credit cards, but I have two problems with that: (a) I'm not the parent figure here, and don't want to be in that bad emotional situation and all it causes, (b) It creates problems - spouse my go grocery shopping, get there, and realize spouse did not bring the credit card, or spouse may remember to bring credit card but not return it - method causes more problems than it solves.
So, I guess I am looking for advice/anecdotes/etc. on how you have solved these problems. Real-life strategies, suggestions, day to day ways you have helped problems like these, etc. Please, please, please be considerate enough to refrain from knee-jerk DTMFA comments, as we have been through hell this year (loss of a child), and I have no interest in that - I love and care for spouse, and am looking not to change my spouse, but to accept spouse and create joint management techniques that can work. Please also know spouse and I are both seeing a grief/marital/general support counseling professional.