Originally Posted By: LovingAnyway
She doesn't steal or lie anymore. So I don't think having a joint account where both your salaries are deposited and bills paid from is unreasonable anymore. I know it once was.

We can agree to disagree. She still asks to use the cards all the time. She is better about not "stealing" them and using them without my permission, but that does not mean that if I gave full access to her she would continue to always ask my permission before spending. I got burned the last time I gave her control. I am NEVER giving her full access. Ever again. There is NOTHING she can say or do that would convince me the reward of a "closer relationship" with her is worth the risk of financial ruin. Could I be any clearer?

Like I said, we have tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt and no plans to dial down our lifestyle to repay that debt any time soon. When we discuss these issues, she gets very defensive. She is not interested in having a calm discussion of how we could cut back expenses and generate more funds available to pay down card balances. That is part of what causes me to decide that I cannot trust her with any level of control over our finances.

She doesn't seem to derive any emotional benefit from the idea of living without debt hanging over our heads. She just knows what she wants and pushes relentlessly for me to consent to paying for them. We have discussed her going to back to working full time outside the home now that both kids are out of the house and the cancer threat has receded (thankfully all treatments over months ago). She likes working part time for minimum wage because it provides a flexible schedule. Fine. Then stop asking me over and over again for expensive things we can't afford and pushing to spend more (can we go here? can we get tickets for this? can we get this for the kids?) rather than spending your times trying to come up with ways to spend less so we save more and can pay down more of our debt.

You seem to envision a partnership between us that simply does not exist. Maybe she wishes I treated her more as an equal. I tried that. It was horrific. I don't actually think she wants that. I think deep down she wishes I were more forceful, not more cooperative. But my being forceful terrifies her, so she fights tooth and nail any time I try to do more than veto overspending. I agree the "parent'child" dynamic we have on finances is a bad dynamic. But, like democracy, that doesn't mean it isn't the best dynamic available.

Look, I understand I am a big part of the problem. My fears and insecurities. My neediness. My unwillingness to go "all in" and become the best man and husband I can be. I am not saying this is entirely her fault. Just look how defensive I got when you suggested going back to having joint accounts. It is like I have PTSD.

When I say this is the best available dynamic, I understand that is in large part because of the constraints I am placing on finding a better solution. This is the best I can do without going outside my comfort zone. Maybe something better is available outside my comfort zone. But, as with trying to determine how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop "the world may never know".

Thanks for caring.

Solutions? There are none. There are decisions.