- 5 years ago
- Wedding: April 2010
Hello all of you fine Bees out there! I am so sad and confused and need some objective views from you. I feel as though I deserve better treatment but am mired in doubt. Perhaps I am wrong. Have I missed something? Am I blinded to a serious character flaw of mine? Your opinions, advice and input are welcomed (positive or negative).
Here’s my story:My husband and I have fought over finances and money since before we were married. I had made a previous financial mistake (supporting a boyfriend beyond my means) which led to my filing a consumer proposal in 2007. We fought bitterly and actually broke up over this and behaviour arising out of it. If you asked me, I would say we broke up because of his rude behaviour and meanness towards me (calling me dirty names, screaming and putting his fists through walls because he was so angry at me). If you asked him, however, he would say that he ‘Turfed my sorry butt right out of his house because I was looking for a man to take care of me and I couldn’t wait to get hitched so I could take advantage’. We were apart for a few months and yes, missed one another. He had been a huge drinker, easily putting away 20-26 ounces of hard liquor on a work night and I thought this was contributing to his rages. So when he came back to me and said he wanted to give us another go, and he had decided to quit drinking, I was so happy. I was still very much in love with him and thought we would be able to work through things like sane people.
Fast forward to 2009 – we get engaged for a second time and are married in 2010. I land a better job and am able to pay the consumer proposal off early and begin credit redemption. However this ruins one’s credit for another three years, and sadly, I cannot qualify for a mortgage with him. He insisted on a prenup to ‘protect what he has built through his life and career’ which at that point consists of a company pension account and an as yet unrealized potential for partnership in a brokerage firm. I did not feel comfortable with the whole thing as to me it brought the reality of divorce too close, and triggered my fear of abandonment. Irrational perhaps, but it was how I felt. I envisioned sinking all my means into the marriage and supporting him in realizing his potential and at the end of the day, being cut loose with nothing. Still, I agreed and signed the prenup, as it was in fact drawn up to be fair to both parties, despite giving him opportunity to divert all savings etc to the future corporation to which I would have no right. I chose to believe he would not do that and also requested that I be allowed to contribute to registered retirement savings in my own name only. Nevertheless he adds my name to the title on the house, as we have agreed to pool our finances 100%. He added me to two of his credit cards as an authorized user, although I do have two low limit cards of my own which I have obtained for credit repair purposes. He also added my name to the registration on his new truck, again as a show of good faith. Keeps going on about 50-50 and insisting on equality. In retrospect, I guess this is the least he could do since my income was going to pay for those things. Meanwhile I have an aging vehicle and need to drive 70 miles a day to my job. We have long and bitter winters around here and I wanted a new and more reliable vehicle. Not to mention I feel that since I am paying for a portion of the new truck, why should I have to drive a beater? Again I cannot qualify for any sort of decent financing, and we have a huge fight over it, which ends in him qualifying for the zero financing, and the car is in his name with mine added to the registration.
A few facts so you all can get a fair picture:- His take home pay is almost double what mine is. – He has excellent credit while mine was poor and is now average.- I am 37 and he is 8 years older. I have been independent to date and no man has ever supported me, although I have supported a man before.- He pays >$1K a month in child support to his first wife, and his two children live with us 50% of the time.
We have had many conversations about finances and budgets, which always end in a fight when he says I have no money left to spend, it is all taken up with bills, and I say I earn a good wage, why can’t I keep some of it to spend on myself? He feels this is completely wrong and I am not entitled to any of my earnings because they are now our earnings. Reminds me each time that I would never have any of these things, such as nice house, new car, etc without HIS credit. When I remind him that I do in fact pay for these things with my income he ramps up the rage and lists all the ways in which I am less than him: credit, social status, career experience, life experience, education (he has a university degree), etc. By the way, my credit is improving every month; I have had a steady job and a growing career in the insurance industry for over a decade after obtaining a diploma plus a professional insurance designation with stellar marks as an adult while working full time.
I look at the budget and the financial spreadsheets, and I see that yes indeed, these expenses seem to take up all our income. He attempts to placate me by putting an amount in the budget for both of us to spend on things we need, such as haircuts, clothing, grooming, gifts etc. This number was $400 a month.
I am excellent with math and numbers but feel too restricted on this budget and so it is all too easy to just put it out of my mind and buy whatever I think I want or need. So I do this, and it is over the set limit, and results in his line of credit debt going from $10K to $18K in a year (2012). My total spending on myself in 2012 was approximately $8K. I brought in $50K (take home) to the household in 2012. Half of our basic home expenses including mortgage, taxes, utilities, insurance and repairs for that year came to $20K. So my argument is that I am pulling my weight, so why can’t I spend this on me? Bad argument as this makes me horrible and selfish and uncommitted to the marriage.
Finally he is at his wits end, and on New Year’s day, he announces to his parents, his sons, his sister and family, and his high school friend who is visiting, that he is giving me 30 days to financially shape up or he will be divorcing me. Follows it up with a mass text to my women friends saying the same thing. He does this loudly and with a good amount of namecalling and rage. It’s terribly humiliating not just for me but for everyone else who was subjected to it. I am just devastated and furious and heartbroken all at once.
We sit down with his parents and show them all our numbers and budgets, and make a plan that allows for all debt including vehicles to be totally cleared by end of 2013 and also provides for each of us to have $100 a month for personal necessities. I offer full apologies for contributing to increasing our debt and full commitment that I will follow the plan in order to eradicate it. However this is not enough for him and he wants me to sign to a document that agrees that once our debt is cleared, for the two years following, I will take half as much for personal spending as he does. This is to pay back to him what I ‘stole’ from the relationship. I take exception with this and say I would rather be bankrupt than be accused of thievery and follow this punishment plan for two years. This causes some sort of shift in him and he informs me that I am horrible and selfish and completely the wrong person for him; he is sorry he ever married me and he no longer loves me or wants me. His parents, who had also loved me, are supportive and agree that the only way he can save himself from the financial ruin that I will bring to him is to divorce me. I tell him that when I married him, I made a commitment. I married him because I love him and I am not quitting the marriage – he will have to make that choice. He scoffs at my every declaration of love and informs me that love is all about paychecks and credit reports and I am just trying desperately to hang on to some man who will care for me as I get older. He tells me I see an opportunity to take advantage of his (as yet unrealized) wealth and I wish to have all the benefits of marriage while still keeping one foot in the single world (by wanting some of my own money). No matter how many times I tell him that I married him for LOVE and that is still the case, he refuses to believe me and continues to mock and belittle me. Says that I am the one destroying the marriage because I have labelled him an abuser and a monster. What I have said is that his behaviour towards me is abusive and I do not want to be treated with contempt in my marriage. To me that is not love. And I remind him of that and reiterate that I want to work through our issues together. We shouldn’t quit the marriage because of a tough time, two people who love each other work through this. And when you marry older, or for the second time, more compromise and tolerance is needed. On both parts. He insists that this is a one sided issue (mine because I am so messed up about money) and although I am welcome to do marriage counselling he will not be a part of it. We have tried several free counsellors before and they did not work for us. The last one, DH ended up stomping out halfway through the session. I suggested we try a paid psychologist in hope that we would get more value. In the meantime he has suggested we try to peacefully coexist until the debt is paid off and then he will determine whether he wants to share his wealth with me or not. I am making every effort to give him space and also offer warmth and affection and declarations of love to show him I am truly committed to the marriage and am willing to weather a tough time. I am also sticking religiously to the spending plan, and have also sold some extra items on the local classifieds and put all proceeds into the household. He is very standoffish and not returning the affection. Says it just sways his decision toward ending things. It’s hurting me a great deal and I have decided I will back off any affection while still remaining warm and pleasant. Seems expressing love and loyalty makes him angrier.
So here I am, wondering how much bravery and courage I have left in me. Is this a waste? Will it ever change? Will we ever work out this issue? And will I ever shed the stigma of a financial mistake?
I love this man deeply and wish for a happily ever after for us. But I also want a relationship in which I feel loved and valued for my contributions. And in this marriage I feel neither.
For those of you who read this whole missive – Thank you. And I look forward to your comments.