May 05, 2010,
G.M. asks from Watertown, MA on May 04, 2010
Should I Leave My Husband - Watertown,MA
I am hoping some of you out there have some good advice for me.
Let me start off by saying I LOVE my husband, and we have one 2.5 year old little girl who positively adores him.
HOWEVER, he is horrible with money - and I mean horrible.
In the 5 years we have been married I have drained my bank account trying to leep us afloat. He has gotten laid off twice in 5 years and that has certainly attributed to our debt. I also decided to be a stay at home mom, so I have no income. Now I am looking to go back to work full time - I have to - we are SO Far in debt that I am using credit cards to buy food. Paying for daycare and getting a job - especially since I have been out of the workforce for 3 years is going to be like working for free. I feel so stuck.
My husband keeps on living as if he has a full time job. Buys breakfast, lunch and dinner out all the time, a shirt here or there, Dunkin Donuts every day, just careless and stupid. He has over withdrawn from our bank account THREE times in the last 4 months. Then will all the insufficient fund fees, etc, we just get further into debt.
Our health insurance expired (through unemployment) last month, and I did not know it, and we have had 4 Dr's apptmts in that time. So now we owe for that too. I cannot take this anymore!
With no money, I really have no where to go. My sister lives about 40 minutes away, and I could stay with her, but she is expecting her first child in a few weeks. I do not want to burden her and her husband. I could move in with my parents, get free 'daycare' and get back on my feet. The problem I have with this is that they live in NC and I live in MA. I would be taking our daughter away from her father, and I REALLY hate that. I do not want my daughter to be without a father.
I am LIVID that he has put us in such debt, and he just does not think it is that big of a deal. We'll figure it out he says. Well after 5 years of just getting deeper into debt, I have lost faith. I NEED to do something.
Any advice would be so appreciated. I am a wreck!
F.H. answers from Phoenix on May 05, 2010
My husband was the same way and he just didn't see it. He would say I was the one spending "all" the money. So one time I took a random bank account statement and added up the ATM withdrawals that he made and that I made. Mine was $40 and his was....$800. We are now divorced. He needs to make some serious changes or this will never get better. I don't have any advice other than HE needs to see the importance of this and HE needs to change. Good luck!
A.K. answers from Minneapolis on May 04, 2010
It seems to me that right now you have no money. But you have love. If you leave him you will have no money. And no love.
Good luck to you, I wish you the best.
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D.W. answers from Indianapolis on May 04, 2010
My intentions are not to be harsh in writing this response.....
I'm a firm believe in the "for better or for worse" vow within reason. Certain things are unforgivable in a marriage, but I don't believe this is one of them in this situation. Money, spending habits are things I believe people have to address before getting married - but, that doesn't help you right now.
I spent my sophomore year out of college for no other reason than money. My parents had gotten deeply into debt during one of the last recessions, and my sister and I both worked multiple jobs to help pay the mortgage. I was so upset that my PhD father wouldn't get a job paying $6/hour like I had to help pay the bills - I didn't understand that he was so overqualified, no one would hire him.
Even when I was laid off last year, I never knew how hard it would be to find a job with my professional background. I was lucky to get back to work in 3 months at 80% my previous salary and no sales commission that I'd received the previous 9 years. Some of my colleagues also laid off last May have yet to find jobs.
I have known several people who have gone on shopping binges when getting laid off - it's their way of dealing with it though it's completely illogical. Perhaps he's in a HUGE state of denial and is deeply depressed because he can't provide for your family.
My mom wanted to bail on my dad during their rough financial times blaming him for having been an entrepreneur instead of a steady job with a more stable company. She couldn't accept that she'd contributed to the debt as much as him by choosing to be a Stay at Home Mom (even in rough times) and with her spending habits. Even now, she has no control over what she spends because she desperately needs other people's affirmation.
So, I say no. I believe you need to find a way to work through it, come to resolution (see if there is free church counseling, financial counseling, etc). Rent books on financial responsibility from the library. Even if it means having to take a lesser job than you're worth so you can provide benefits, I'd take it upon yourself to do whatever you have to to keep your daughter, husband and you taken care of for the time being.
That being said, if it were my husband, I'd be giving him a swift kick in the rear regarding reality. When I was laid off, I'd saved over a year's worth of salary and had it liquid in the event of something like this. My husband has a few hundred dollars in his personal checking account because it burns a hole in his pocket.
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H.A. answers from Dallas on May 04, 2010
Reading your post, I assume the truth is somewhere in the middle -- that you BOTH aren't that great at making good money choices.
Why would you choose to stay home when you knew how unreliable your husbands income seemed to be? I assume these spending habits didn't just pop up, you knew the guy 5 years at least and yet three years ago (before your daughter was even born) you decided to stay home? Why did you decide to wait so long to DO something about this? And why didn't you know the medical benefits were ending?
I'm not saying this is all your fault -- but I think you made bad choices here as well. Many, many people cannot afford the luxury of being home with their one child. You said "I decided to be a stay at home Mom." Anyway, thats the past.. but I think it might help your relationship if you acknowledge your bad choices helped get you where you are as well. You can't blame your husband 100% for everything.
I recommend -- Setting up a separate checking account for your husband. Until he gets a job he gets 50 dollars every two weeks "fun money" and thats it. No credit cards, no ATM cards to other accounts. That is all he gets. Set the ATM card up so it denies if its out of funds with no overdraft fees. Don't have him order checks for the account.
Treat your husband like an addict. If he was an alcoholic and you came on the board saying, "I did nothing for three years and my husband not only drank through all of his OWN booze but he drank my expensive wine too!" The women would probably laugh you off the boards. Treat this like an illness. You wouldn't give an alcoholic free access to the bars, don't give your spending husband free access to money.
I also agree with another Mom -- If Dad isn't working, why on earth would you pay for Daycare when you go back to work?
I do think you can work through this and have a successful marriage. I don't think you're going to get to be a SAHM, with a reliable income from a husband, letting him run the finances and just be taken care of. If that is your idea of a happy marriage, you may not be able to get that and you have to decide if you can handle that. Both of you are going to have to be willing to change your roles.
3 moms found this helpful
J.P. answers from Boise on May 04, 2010
Money is often a cause for divorce, but it will depend if you want to save your marriage or not. First thing - cut up all your husband's credit cards/debit cards. This is while you are having a heart to heart with him. You are now in charge of the money! Give him an allowance if need be, get him help if needed. Read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, and have him read it too. If you both need to move in with your parents for the daycare/free rent, do it.
If you do want to leave your husband, you have to do a lot of the same stuff, including getting all bank accounts severed, or he will just continue to draw from your pool. Either way, good luck, and good for you for trying to get out of this cycle now.
2 moms found this helpful
C.R. answers from Kansas City on May 04, 2010
I totally reccommend that you BOTH do Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. My husband and I just completed this course and it taught us both so much about how to manage our money. It is the best program, and it seems to be working. I know his show is on the Fox Business Network and he is also on the radio. I would go to his website to find out what station he is on in your area. http://www.daveramsey.com I also know that he sometimes gives memberships to callers that are really going through a rough time. You never know you could be one of the lucky ones he would make that offer to.
I would really try this before leaving your husband because financial issues can be fixed. A divorce is so final, and it would put you and your daughter through alot. Are really prepared to have to spend every other holiday without your daughter? I know I would have to think long and hard that.
With my oldest daughter (I had out of wedlock) I had to spend every other weekend without her and we switched holidays. One year I had her for Christmas and the next year he had her. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Christmas was so depressing and all I did was cry.
Okay, back to the point, you just want to look at every aspect before making such a permanent choice. Make sure you talk to your husband about how you are feeling. One thing to remember also is there is no HIS money and HER money in marriage. It is OUR money and WE need to decide together how it should be spent. Obviously, budeting and paying bills is not your husbands strong points, so they need to be taken away from him. You can manage the check accounts, and budget in "Blow Money" for each of you each month. Once the blow money is gon there is no more until the next month. This should help with him eating out every meal.
I really hope this helps and seriously, I would check out Dave Ramsey!!!
1 mom found this helpful
K.P. answers from New York on May 04, 2010
First- call your local Social Services office b/c many states offer low-income health insurance. It's based on income and can be free in many cases, especially for your daughter. They will ask you to produce medical bills during the lapse in coverage and many times they will be able to have them reduced for you. I learned this from a friend who is a social worker!
Speak with your husband in a calm and informed manner. Draft a spreadsheet (or some other visual) that clearly accounts for your household income and ALL expenditures. I would simply state that he has not demonstrated the ability to manage the family funds and you are taking over that responsibility. Because he is not working at this time (I think), it is his responsibility to care for your daughter during the day and you will provide him with a weekly allowance to do so. This is important to the health of your family and your relationship and it should be a priority for him as well.
Then, have his name removed from ALL accounts- he will probably have to be there. He should not have access to your checking, savings or credit cards.
If he doesn't agree to the change in responsibility, then let him know that you cannot continue to be tied to his debt and ask him to leave. It may send a clearer message if you have a clear plan.
1 mom found this helpful
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on May 04, 2010
It sounds to me like you love your husband but are angry about his handling of money. Money trouble is the #1 cause of divorce in the US, so you would be in plentiful company if you left him. But would it really solve anything?
You need to sit him down and explain how this situation is making you crazy and scared and uncertain.
Use that credit card ONE final time to buy a $99 membership in Financial Peace University that you can attend online, together:
Or cheaper yet, just buy the book and follow the steps for budgeting, eliminating debt and saving money for a secure future.
Trust me, this is not a gimmick or a scam. This is solid advice for living on less than you make. But he needs to on board with the plan so really tell him how you fell and tell him how close you feel to calling it quits.
1 mom found this helpful
I.M. answers from New York on May 04, 2010
the first thing you need to do is take everything you have written down here and put it on a piece of paper and sit down with him and go over it. You need to slap him on the face with 'reality'!!! and take away all the credit cards from him, even if you have to do it while he sleeps. Let him see what's going on and what your options are. If you have to leave, you have to leave! Maybe, you and your daughter can go to your parent's house for a little while until you get yourself situated there. Then he can come and meet you there, or tell him you'll be back when he straightens things up here (MA).
You need to think about your daughter first and foremost! what is best for her? Yes not having her dad around everyday will be sad, but it'll be worse when you become homeless!! She can write to her dad, and talk to him on the phone. Try to get yourself together, if he doesn't want to listen to you and try to work things out by going out and getting a job in whatever he finds (not necessarily his trade) then you might have to leave him even if it's only temporarily.
You can also try to see what other help you can get from your state before you make your decision.
But whatever you do, you have to think about your daughter's well being.
D.F. answers from Boston on May 04, 2010
I am sorry your in this situation. But you have not worked 3 of the 5 years that your talking about. I would be mad also if I was charging food and he was going to DD. All that needs to stop. You need to show him this EIMAIL!! I would have a yard sale and start selling off all his new shirts and anything new he buys take back! He does need a wake up call. But you really cannot blame all of this on him. If things were so bad maybe you should have been working also. Marriage is a partnership that needs you both working together. Make a budget, use only cash, cut his cards up. Aslo you can call or go to the bank and have it so no purchase can be made without enough funds. I did this with our depit cards. He needs to get his butt out there and WORK!! Stop eating out and help take care of his family. I hope you find something also. I wish you luck!