Dear Annie: I married a man who earned less than me seven years ago and now collects disability. He paid for cable and electricity way back when while I covered everything else. Over the past three years, I have received a few lump sums of money, one in the form of an auto accident payout and the other was an inheritance my father left me this past summer.
I have been more than giving in the relationship, and while my mother is probably rolling over in her grave, I have been honest about the amounts with him. I deposited the funds in my account and transferred them to a joint account we have, but I have never touched it; it’s mainly for him. I am the only one making deposits into this account. His disability check goes into his account, and I have no issue with this.
He wants $20,000 of the inherited money. I explained that I hoped to purchase a house because we are currently renting, and I have to pay an inheritance tax (I file separately). I paid off several credit cards, gave him $8,000, and helped his daughter and her family. He remarks, “Yeah, I don’t have money like my wife.” And the two bills he once paid, I am paying now, so I cover everything. He will pay for dinner when we go out, but we took a recent trip that I paid for. A few months ago, I terminated him on two of my credit card accounts as an authorized user because he had the cable set up as an automatic payment on one, so technically, I have been paying the cable bill. I purchased a vehicle for him a few years ago, and he said he would make the payments; he didn’t. I paid off the car.
A part of me wants to give him $10,000 and asks him to leave. He asked me the other day if I was in love with him, and I told him no; he also admits that he is not in love but is happily married.
This is my second marriage; I was single for almost 15 years before marrying him. We did split for a few months over the summer, and I told him that he had kept none of his promises. A death in the family caused him to return because our dog had puppies, and I needed someone to be here with them. And I gave him money when I sold the pups.
I know it’s more blessed to give than receive; however, I have already given way too much, and the only thing I have received is an open hand with more requests. — All Spent Out
Dear Spend Out: Without a doubt, you’ve paid your fair share of the finances and then some over the course of your second marriage while your husband has brought little to the table. But there’s a difference between being helpful and providing for your family, and enabling his behavior. Enough is enough. No more bankrolling his lifestyle. There are many ways for him to contribute, monetarily and otherwise, starting with getting a part-time job within reason, keeping in mind his disability. Having him handle the cable and electricity bills again, and perhaps groceries, would be a step in the right direction. I’d also recommend sitting down with a financial planner who can help you two get more organized with your personal and joint finances in a way that’s fair. Considering this has been such a one-sided arrangement for so long, it could be quite refreshing to get a third-party expert’s perspective on the matter.
Money, however, is only part of this equation. You’ve both admitted you’re no longer in love, and I can’t help but wonder if this is purely a result of the financial imbalance or if other issues are also at play. If you both would be willing to genuinely try to repair things, a marriage counselor would be the perfect place to start a relationship revamp.
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