Do I Have a Right to Be Angry?

Updated on January 23, 2011
B.H. asks from Detroit, MI
28 answers

I have been married for about 15 years and my husband and I have never had an argument about finances. In fact we never have discussed money at all in a negative way. We both have always worked full-time jobs thoughout our marrage and we just did our on thing when it came to pampering ourselves with "things" we wanted to buy. Hubby thing was his stereo equipment and electronics. Breakfast with his buddies every saturday. I would go shopping for new clothes for myself and the kids everyweekend in addition to getting my hair and nails done on a regular basis. My thing was to shop weather I needed anything or not. For several years now we both have had our own personal fitness trainers who we see two to three times per week.
Now my problem is just before Christmas my salary was cut by almost 25%. So now that life for me has come to an end. I have not been to work out since before christmas ( I need that coaching and pat on the back to be motivated this is why I had the PT). I don't have the extra mone to pay him. I have not been shopping in almost 3 weeks. On the other hand hubby tells me that after he has paid the bills their is no extra money to contribute to my activities. He on the other hand continues to work out with his trainer and still has breakfast with friends and seems his lifestyle has not changed. I have no left the house in 3 weekends because I don't have the money. I only leave to go to work and I am miserable.
I have been sort of angry at him for this situation. Is it fair that he continues to to what he wants? I'm I wrong for feeling this way?

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So What Happened?

I always believed that the reason our marriage went on for so long with no financial problems or issues was because we both worked and came together for bills or whatever. After the children were born I no longer paid household stuff. so their was no problems. He has always made more than me so naturally he does pay the mortgage and other stuff. Our arrangement worked for us a long time. Lots of our friends who did not have an arrangement like our could never understand it. But most of them are divorced because their were money issues. I believe the reason why I miserable is mostly because when i go to work I almost feel like a volunteer because I'm still working 40 hours and I believe that I should get paid for my services. Then I come home and I feel alone and stressed because my husband does not understand what's going on. He asked if the car insurance was paid! "my response was excuse me why can't you understand my pay was cut. If you did not pay it then its probably behind! I don't know why he does not understand this.

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answers from Houston on

Well i dont work outside the home, and i expect all the same leeway financially that my husband gets (if i were to require it). You cant be mad about it unless you communicate this to him though.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I agree with Bug.
It sounds like the only reason it was "working" before your pay cut, was because you never had to discuss it or make any compromises in what either of you wanted to do. Now that cuts are having to be made you have no "plan" for it, because you've really never discussed your money issues before.

"Me spending my money and him spending his money" is NOT discussing money. It's NOT discussing money because you didn't have to. Most people would prefer not to have to discuss it and each do their own thing. But to have a successful marriage, financial decisions really need to be made together... not my decisions and his decisions about spending. That's why I've never been a fan of separate accounts. Separate sub-accounts maybe.. after you have written out a budget delineating how much goes into which sub-accounts and for what purposes (we call ours our "blow" money ---hubby's weaknesses are golf, books and CDs; mine are decorating and organizing the house and stuff for the kids that they could do without).

Sit down and write out a budget. Sounds like you two got by without one before, although you have "needed" one all along and just didn't realize it.

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answers from Harrisburg on

This is what you said..."We both have always worked full-time jobs thoughout our marrage and we just did our on thing when it came to pampering ourselves"...

You have lost 25% of YOUR end of the pay and have been unable to keep up with your luxuries...He has not, so he continues as normal.

If you both were contributing to the same funds and give each other allowances for your personal pampering, then I could understand when one income impacted the other, so while I understand you're upset, I think you're sort of mad that he gets to continue having "fun" while you "suffer". Now you want your incomes combined when before it was not.

I would ask him to reconsider budgeting based on your current incomes and start over the financial arrangement. Then from that decide which luxuries you both can continue to enjoy..mostly the necessities like getting your hair and nails done so you can still look presentable.

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answers from Dallas on

This is the problem I see with trying to keep parts of your life separate. The thing is when you are married, you are a team. While it might have worked for so's not working now. And, just because it "worked", does not mean it was the best way to handle the situation. This is the thing, it wasn't actually working. It SEEMED like it was worked, because you had disposable money. It didn't bring up the actual issue, because the actual issue (keeping separation) was able to be avoided. I think the way to fix this issue, is to now become a team financially. I think when people get divorces over money, it's not because they didn't keep things separate. It's because they weren't a team and on the same page. You and your husband need to get on the same page. The money he earns is not HIS money. The money you earn, is not YOUR money. It's BOTH of your money. You need to sit down. Figure out where YOUR collective money is going. Take what is left over after necessities, to be split equally between the two of you. It's time to be a team financially. Otherwise, you will both be angry. The truth is, your reason has gone on so long with no financial difficulties, is because you could freely spend money without accountability. (I'm not saying there is anything wrong with having extra money.) Look at what happened. As soon as you couldn't do that anymore...problems started happening. Time to be a team and not individuals,

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answers from New York on

The direct answer to your question is NO. I don't beleive you have a right to be angry.

My marraige is much different in yours in that we are both firm believers that all the money goes into one account. We pay the bills. After that we decide how to spend the extra. However, you situation has always been much different and now you want it to be like mine. It doesn't work this way.

If your situation and hubby's were reversed, and this post was "I don't feel I should have to give up my luxeries and pampering"; I would agree based on the fact that for 15 years you have had a my money/your money arrangement.

Either way, I would encourage the person whose salary has remained the same to cut back on a luxery or two, and advise give part of that income to the other.

Also, there is no reason why you can't leave the house. You can still workout, but just not with a PT. Find a friend to workout with. You can still go shopping, just cut way back on your purchases.

Also to keep yourself from being miserable, be thankful for all the things you do have. Everyone I know has been hit in some way by this bad ecomony and we all have to learn to cut back.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

While I can understand that you're upset it doesn't sound like you guys have had a money talk now that things have changed.

While I might agree it's not fair that hubby keeps up his lifestyle because his paycheck hasn't changed the fact remains you guys need to talk.

15 years into marriage and you still have the this is mine and that's yours going on.

The real world has hit you both upside the head and some serious change and compromise need to take place.

To answer your question - you really may not have a leg to stand on as far as being upset since you both haven't laid down new ground rules for the money.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Sounds like you both just need to have a good talk about this. Its strange to me that this is happening only because I believe in a marrige, everything should be equal. No you pay for this, and I pay for that. All the money gets put into one account and bills paid then whatevers left over gets spent however we want. It eliminates the "its MY money" things, and prevents arguments that way such as this one here.

Maybe you need to try something new as far as your finances go, and both pay for things that should be mutual, such as food, clothes, and the kids things together, and then decide how your money is spent for each of you. Cant you get a trainer that is for both of you?

Just need to tell him how you really feel and after 15 years of marrige, you shoud be able to communicate and figure something out.

Good luck!

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answers from Detroit on

You are married - you are a union - you are ONE family unit. So, there should be no "his" and "her" paychecks. Put both your paychecks into the same pot. Pay all the bills out of that pot. Then, whatever is left over, divide between you, him, and your kids for "fun" money. Then you each decide what to do with fun money - trainer, breakfasts out, shopping, electronics. The key is that neither of you feels like the other one has more "disposable spending money" than the other, and also that neither one of you feels more of a burden to meet the responsibilities (bills) of living in this marriage. You may be resentful of him for more spending money, he may be resentful of you for being in charge of more bills. If you are going to live separate lives like that, you may as well just call yourselfs roomates instead of marriage partners. Let me say again - one family unit, one budget.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Dave Ramsay (sorry--another "commercial" here) suggests pooling the money and having a budget to cover bills and agreed-on expenses. Try that. It's not "my" money and "his" money--it's "our" money!

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answers from Peoria on

It sounds to me that maybe you both need to sit down and work out a budget. If your salary has been cut by 25%, that is a pretty significant chunk and definitely worth a chat about finances with your husband. I understand that it is hard to give up things like shopping, hair, nails, etc., and I am sure it will be hard for him to give up any of the things he likes to do as well, but it sounds like you both could really build up your savings if you were both willing to give up some of these things.

Sometimes putting down finances on paper can really be a wake up call. Sit down with him one day and both of you write down your monthly expenses - ALL of them down to even the smallest thing that may seem insignificant like, for example, going to Starbucks a couple times a week. Then try to separate the needs from the wants. Once you write down all the things you NEED (electricity, groceries, gas, insurance, etc.) see how much money you have left over. Then, out of the "leftover" funds, see how much of that is going to wants (breakfast with friends, electronics, shopping, etc.). Once you see what is left after all that - it will probably be pretty eye opening. See if you can compromise with him - maybe breakfast once a month instead of once a week. Getting rid of his personal trainer and getting some P90X videos to do at home. Maybe not buying the latest gadget he just HAS to have until it goes down in price a little bit. You could explain that if you both take the money that you would normally be spending on your "wants" and put it into your savings, you may be in a much better place for the future. You will be surprised to see how fast that will add up in the bank!

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answers from Atlanta on

Hi B., I agree with a few of the comments here. First and foremost, that you do have a right to all of your emotions, but in this case I think the question isn't whether you have a right to be angry but who exactly are you angry at? If I were you, I'd be angry at myself for not making some changes before now. Ditto and ditto to those who said you should long ago have come up with a better household budgeting plan. But let me ask you this: how is it that you've seen what's going on around the country and have continued to shop weekly and didn't think it would effect you in the long run????!!! So, it's not so much about getting hubby to give up his luxuries, as the family looking at a whole different plan of action where money is concerned. What're you teaching your kids by shopping every weekend whether you can afford it or not?

Let me also suggest other creative solutions like finding a boot camp near you. Most of the bootcamps on are free.

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answers from San Francisco on

Marriage is give and take. Your husband is selfish for not adjusting his lifestyle to accomodate yours too! Tell him he needs to cut down on his expenses and share the weath with you as well--its not your fault you took a 25% pay cut-- he should give you money every week for you to do whatever you want with. As far as your feeling mad, NO! you are not wrong for feeling this way! I would too. Feelings are ok no matter what they are. But I would feel that way too. Take care and hope this works out for you


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answers from Tampa on

It is a bit selfish for him to withdraw financial support for his spouse... it's not like you quit working - but even if you did... the money you both make should be the whole family's income, not just the individual making the money.

He should cut back a bit so there is money for you to at least have the occasional outing and your regular PT visits... maybe share a PT?

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answers from Minneapolis on

Hmmmm...I earn almost double what DH does and sometimes I feel like I deserve a bigger chunk of "pin money" than he does but I have never acted on the fleeting; sorta miserly, feeling. To act this way about money with by best friend just feels petty. So instead, we stick with contributing a fair share to all joint bills and granting ourselves equal amounts as far as spending cash goes. Meaning, say our mortgage is $1,000 a month, we do not each pay $500 -- Instead, my paycheck contributes $600 and his contributes $400.

Perhaps you should suggest this to your DH. Tell him you need to cut your contribution to joint bills by 15% (don't try for the entire 25% cut...You need to "own" part of your pay loss yourself).

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answers from Detroit on

It sounds like you've had the his and hers finances rather then being "two becoming one" with them. That is why separate finances are a problem, when there is enough money who cares, but when its tight it becomes yours and mine. My inlaws struggle with this as well.

It sounds like the best thing to do is find a budget coach who can help you two figure out the best way to divide up any excess money you two have so you can both enjoy some extras. Sometimes a third person can be helpful.

Best wishes!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Sounds like it is time to sit down and re-do the budget. Just tell him that you cannot afford to pay the things you were paying, that it is more important for you to have the same life style as you did before. He makes more he should take on more of the stuff you were paying then you can have your regular spending money.

But you really need to stop finding self worth through shopping just because it makes you fell better about yourself.

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answers from Detroit on

I took a University Financial Peace class at my church and it was the best thing I've done. My husband went to the first class and that was it. He said he knew how to budget money, which is true to a certain extent.

Sitting down with your husband and set a schedule of all bills that need to be paid and create a budget together.

He needs to cut his spending too. But blaming is not going to help. It is imperative you work together.

Many blessings.

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answers from Kansas City on

Whether or not you have the right to feel angry doesn't matter...the fact is you are angry. I know a lot of couples do the "his money/her money" thing, but we've never done that and have never had an issue about money. I have been a SAHM for the last five years (I worked the first 5 of our marriage), so I don't technically have "her money". My husband and I have always been on the same page where money is concerned, so it's not a problem (he golfs and I go to the spa). Sounds like it is time for a change! I would be very unhappy if my husband got what he wanted because he makes more money (even when I work my hubby makes more than I do). I can tell you, though, that if it came down to it, I would have the nicer car and everything I desired...that's just who he is. He would cut back--his choice. I have a good friend who drives a Honda and her husband drives a Lexus because he makes more money...not in my house!

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answers from Sacramento on

It sounds like you just had an understanding about finances without ever having a real discussion. Now that things are different financially, you need to communicate. If you have paid the car insurance previously, how is he just supposed to automatically know he neeeds to pay it now without there being a discussion. Maybe you can go through all the clothes etc. you bought but didn't need and sell them for some extra money.

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answers from San Francisco on

Have you actually talked to him about this? Or have you just assumed he was supposed to notice that you haven't been doing your usual recreating?

I think you just need to talk to him about it. "Honey, now that I got a pay cut, I don't have money to do my usual recreating. I need it. How are we going to work that out?"

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answers from Austin on

Has he purchased any stereo or electronics since your paycut? If he hasn't , then is this a point to gripe about?

I imagine the cost of a breakfast with friends once a week is $20. I would think that you probably spent more than $20 when you went out shopping. So I'm not sure him going out to breakfast is that significant of an expense either. Are you still getting your nails done once a week, or did you go 'au natural'? The cost of your nails is probably about the same as his breakfast.

So, the thing that's left is the personal trainer. It sounds like that is his big expense, which you have to do without. So, what would you change--Do you want him to give up his workout also? In my household, telling my husband he can't workout would just make for a grumpy, argumentative husband (we dont have personal trainers either). Because assuming you don't have to juggle childcare at the sametime, you can still workout. After all, you've done it enough times; you know the workout routine even if you don't have a coach. You need to go do it.

However, I don't think this is about the personal trainer, or breakfast costs, etc. It sounds like you are miserable at your job, which I'm not entirely sure I follow. Were you miserable in terms of coworkers, personal fulfillment, etc., before the paycut? Is it just the monetary aspect that is making you miserable? That's the part I don't understand... I was at a job that did a forced paycut, forced time-off days. Sure, I was making less but I still enjoyed my coworkers, still found what I did to be interesting and fulfilling. I dunno, it just sounds like this has to do more with not liking your job (and wanting to quit? Perhaps you'd like to be a SAHM for a little bit?) than it has to do with the cost of his lifestyle perks.



answers from Denver on

My first comment is a marriage is 50/50 and you already had the short end of the deal for the sole reason that you used your money to pay for the kids clothes. That can be expensive. Also, did he buy the food for the house or you? That is another thing that is short changing you. I would just talk to him about it in a non-threatening way. The worse part is that you cannot do the fun shopping you used to do but that may be something else you both talk about. Maybe present it to him that the household money has gone down so the both of you need to make sacrafices, maybe you both give up the personal trainers and keep the other fun stuff. You can figure out ways to work out together at home for motivation.

Good luck, money is the hardest thing on marriages.



answers from Charlotte on

B., what would happen if you were a stay at home mom? Would he refuse to let you buy anything for yourself? Ask him how much bearing his children is worth to him. If it's worth nothing, then I would say you have a worthless husband. You may really need to cut down paying for new clothes and stuff that you don't really need, but going to the trainer is important because it keeps you healthy. If he's going to golf, you should get to have a life outside of work too.

Don't you have a joint checking account? How about a joint credit card? Better have a real hard talk with him about his attitude. But you also have to tell him you accept that you can't shop as much. And you should accept that, especially when it's about wants instead of needs.




answers from Portland on

I haven't read all of your question and will go back and do that later when I have more time. I just want to tell you you always have a right to your feelings no matter if they're anger or happiness. My question would be is my anger getting me what I want? If not, what can I do to get it? For me anger is my first response that drives me to look for a way out of the anger towards a better relationship.

Later: Sounds to me that the problem isn't finances but that you feel unloved and unappreciated. I would focus on finding a way to have better communication. Instead of talking with your husband about finances talk with him about how you feel. Tell him what he can say and/or do that will help you feel more appreciated and loved. Use I statements. When he asks if the insurance is paid tell him "that question makes me angry because I'm anxious about my pay cut and don't have the money to pay it."

I suggest you look up Non-violent Communication and try out some of the ways of talking that they suggest. There is a book with that title and also a web site. Another helpful book geared towards parenting but which teaches ways of communicating that is helpful in our adult relationships too is titled "How to Talk with Children & Listen So Children Will Hear, by Adele Farber and Elaine Mazlisch. That's not the exact title which eludes me tonight.

I also suggest that you're depressed. That is a natural response to your situation. And suggest that you talk with your doctor about getting an anti-depressant medication. You're naturally more sensitive now that you were when you felt successful and had a better income.



answers from Saginaw on

You need to talk with him about this and not let things build up. Maybe you could work out together instead of having the personal trainers! They are expensive! Maybe still get your nails done-or something inexpensive just for you. Go shopping once a month. All this was very expensive for every week but you can do little things to get yourself out but not cost so much. Explain to your husband how things are alot different for you now. Sometimes men just don`t get it until it`s explained to them.



answers from Detroit on

Hi B.---I think that your hubby needs to be more understanding and help a bit by changing his priortities and habits as well. As stated in another post, it is not your fault that your salary was cut. You both should sit down and prioritize your expenses together.

I would just like to throw in my 2 cents as a health educator. Cut out what you have to but you really should go back to exercising and I truly believe in the VALUE of a personal trainer. Exercise is essential for good health and, especially right now, STRESS REDUCTION. Not only does that trainer give you that pat on the back, he/she is able to make sure that you are working on every part of your body, exercising small muscle groups that are just as important as the pecks, bi/tricepts, glutes and quads. No way would I give that up. But that's just me.

You and hubby MUST sit down and come to a mutually agreed upon solution to your new, hopefully temporary, situation. If you want to get it done, you will. Good luck...D.



answers from Detroit on

My husband and I have always had a "yours, mine, ours" approach. We have contributed a portion of our salaries to the joint account to cover mortgage, utilities, and household stuff. He pays for his extras (clothing, books, electronics, movies) and I pay for mine (hobbies, clothing for me and son, books, etc.). If our cars need service, it comes out of personal money.
Now, my husband has always made more than me, until he was laid off.....the sad part is he was getting more in unemployment than I was making full-time, lol. Then, his unemployment checks started shrinking as the time lengthened. It was only then that he realized he had to change his spending habits. Me, I cut out non-essentials (no crafts, only necessary clothes for a growing child, made due with old coats, etc.) immediately because I am a planner. I knew I'd have to kick in more for the house/food and such and made changes in the food we ate as well. Even with my shrinking personal money, I managed to come out ahead in savings by making simple changes. Those essentials (personal trainer, nails and hair) are luxuries. I cut my own hair (and it's still cute - lol). I work out at home because I let my gym membership lapse. I recycle lots of things and downsized.
Did I resent that he kept spending on Books and electronics? Yes. But since I normally pay the house bills I showed him a detailed account of what we needed to keep our house.....and we made it work.
Then, he got a job and because of the "Lean Time" mindset, we've worked on rebuilding our wealth. I still don't do many luxuries and I'm doing better than ever. When we go to the bookstore, I make a list of the books I want and then check the library. Or I buy used from Amazon. I go to resale shops for my son's clothes.
You say you haven't left the house for 3 weekends because of no money.....don't you have anything to do that doesn't cost money? Shopping can be a research expedition instead of a buying expedition. If you had a personal trainer, does that mean you have a gym membership? Can you go with a friend who will motivate you? As someone else suggested, can you go with your husband? Or, can you ask your husband to get a Wii Fit so you could both work out at home? (It can't cost much more than a few training sessions).
I agree with others that communication is key.....I agree that having the "mine and yours" mindset is fine when the money is somewhat equal and steady, but you do have to work at it in thinner times. And you will have to make changes because there's no guarantee now that you'll suddenly go back to your pay level.



answers from New York on

Your husband is being really unfair. You are married and it is both of your money, not his and yours. Talk to him and tell him that he needs to cut some of his activities so you can some too. Tell him youre miserable and hopefull he'll understand. I am a stay at home mom and dont bring in any income, however, my husband and I both have semi equal activities. He gets a bit more because hes the sole provider and I think he deserves it. I would be mad as hell if my husband told me I couldnt have fun and shop just because I dont bring in any income and he doesnt want to give up any of his fun. Maye find some fun activities you two can share even. It would be even better if you could also share the fun with your children. Fun all around!

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