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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2nd marriage. Husband is 52, I'm 50. My husband is getting better at communication but we have issues including what is leading me to post after a hiatus.

Issues: Husband is self-employed. This is a second marriage. We moved into his house. I sold mine, rolled my equity into this house and because of his issues with his ex, bought the house from him. The mortgage is in my name only. Each of us have adult children. I was feeling resentful about what I pay toward household expenses so I took the emotion out of it and I recently did a spreadsheet and 78% of my pay goes to the mortgage and household expenses. I do not get any regular checks from him and we do not have a joint checking account. When I showed him the spreadsheet I thought he would see what I am contributing. Instead, his only comment was that we are paying too much for cable.

Last Saturday, I learned that my husband and his son were going to remodel the bathroom for the first time. I was hurt because I felt that as his wife and the one who pays the mortgage that I should at a minimum be told "Hey honey, JD and I were thinking of remodeling the basement bathroom. We are thinking of doing x,y & z. Do you want to go to Home Depot and help pick something out?" I asked him don't you think it would have been nice to at least let me know since I do pay the mortgage? His response was "we won't do it then.

Today, I returned home to find the bathroom gutted and my stepson painting over "the hideous pastel blue paint" that I had picked out (the bathroom had pastel blue fixtures). I got upset and asked my son what the plan was for the bathroom. I was calm and clearly stated that I wasn't mad at him but since I pay the mortgage and all bills in this house, it would have been nice to know.

Probably a mistake but I was trying to factually and calmly justify why I was asking and why I was upset. My step-son told my husband pretty quickly.

I called my husband after I spoke with his son to tell him 2 neutral things that I thought would interest him and to ask him about the bathroom. I don't think that the son had called him yet. He shut down when I said in a marriage usually a husband and wife will communicate about this kind of thing. His response was to tell me 10 years ago I didn't communicate about painting the walls blue in that bathroom. I told him that I couldn't remember 10 years ago but does marriage to him mean that I cannot have color on at least one set of walls and knowing my communicating style I would have told him. He then said he would finish this job and then I could do my son's bathroom however I wanted. I told him that I wanted us both to do the bathroom. That bathroom was partially remodeled by my husband and his son and that floorboards are still off, it was never painted and there is no mirror some 5 years later. I told him that marriage is about communication and compromise. He said he doesn't play nicely with others and I said you are in a relationship to some extent you will have to. Clearly this is not about bathrooms, it's about doing what normal married couples do--engage one another and work as a team!

Later I called him to see when he was coming home for dinner as I wanted to start it so it would be done in time and he wouldn't have to wait. At that point he launched in on me about having told his son that I pay all the bills etc. and the next time my daughter came up from college he would tell her what a ****ing pig she is as far as how she keeps her car (he's a mechanic) and he will tell her all that he pays to work on her car. (Since he works on all 3 of his kids and just my daughter's car, I don't think that this is special treatment to my daughter and me and trust me his daughter's car is as bad or worse than my daughters). I told him that this is not about my daughter's behavior it's about communication and respect. I reminded him that when we were dating he told me that it was so very important not to hold things in because that causes resentment and resentment causes problems.

He said it's your house do with it how you please. I told him that he tells me that yet when I told him that I didn't want his 24 year old son cohabitating with his girlfriend at our house it didn't matter as she has been living here since December when they both graduated. I told him at the time she was going to move in that wasn't my parenting style and how can we let one do it and if my daughter wants to how can I be fair to her? His response when I told him this tonight: I will tell my son and her to get the **** out of the house and then I'll move down stairs.

I told him that when there is conflict, a couple has to communicate. It may not be a pleasant conversation but you have to communicate and find a way to resolve issues and compromise. I agree that my approach in telling his son everything I did may not have been the right thing to do but I did so out of a knee jerk response and that I wanted to make it clear to his son why I was upset and that I was certainly not upset with him. My husband said that he was half-way home and looked for an apology for me so now he is going to turn around and sleep at his business. This is the first time in 12 years of marriage.

Other factors: He was sick last week. I caught his cold. I slept 2 hours at best Monday night. When my coughing was causing him to toss and turn, I left our room and slept in a recliner. He came out to see me a few hours later and told me to come back in our room. Within 5 minutes he was groping me and demanding sex. I couldn't believe this because no fewer than 5 minutes ago I told him I was up all night with only 2 hours of sleep. He kept pursuing and I asked him "Didn't you hear what I just said about only having 2 hours of sleep? Why is it when you are sick, you can rest (I'll get dressed in the dark in the morning so he can sleep). I gave in for a quickie. He just got his first testosterone shot on Saturday so I don' t know if that has something to do with it.

I'm not expecting complete change--just mutual respect and communication. I want to be heard.

Guys: how can a wife in my situation communicate better but get some movement?
 

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You certainly have some legitimate concerns about budgets and fairness. That said, you and your husband's financial issues are your private affair and you certainly should not have embarrassed him in front of his step son that way.

The way to approach these issues is not to nag and embarrass him and tell him you get to make the decisions because you have the money. Instead in a nice, nonconfrontational way, using a compliment sandwich (before and after) ask to talk about how the two should spend money. While you can probably talk about the paint color, if he and his son (step) want to do a project, it makes sense to allow them to do it, rather than complain about it.

If a man said, I make the money, I make the decisions, we'd call it chauvanisitic. Your last sentence said it well, if you communicate your point better, you should be able to secure some compromise because your points are valid, but the way you have approached it is not the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Bobby if I could have taken one thing back it was to not disclose to his son but the scenario took me by surprise and I was trying to justify my frustration and to not make his son feel it was his fault.

That having been said, this is an unresolved issue and there is a lot more history that I haven't shared.

I work for him as his bookkeeper for free saving him $2000/month (what he paid the former employee) and I work full-time for a large corporation in management. I see where the money goes...when he purchased the bldg for his business, he told me that the bank wanted my earnings...that was it. Days before the closing it expanded to my having to put the house up as collateral (remember my equity and in my name), 1/2 the life insurance proceeds which would have been payable to me and I think I also co-signed. I didn't want to do this but if didn't the loan wouldn't close and he was upset.

About twice per year in front of his employees, including the son's girlfriend he will say "when you cross this threshold I am king--what you want to do with the house you have control of." He humiliated me in front of them because I had a day where he kept being almost like a high school kid with the son's girlfriend talking to her in a singsong voice while I busted butt doing the books. He teased me about bring in a sour mood and it hurt. I didn't want to respond because the timing wasn't right nor were we alone. I felt taken for granted and wanted to be appreciated that was all. When I walked out and gave him his balances I said in a cheerful voice "You're welcome!" I expected "Thank you" and I ended up with being accused in front of the employees as being "Passive aggressive" and the "king comment".He told me not to come back in front of her.

I am very proud of my work and he admits that I do a good job. When I asked him not to "go there" he persisted--I told him "If it weren't for me you wouldn't have a threshold to cross". Again, not my preferred route to go but I was hurt, shocked and humiliated.

He spends a lot on his son and last year spent $22K on buying his daughter's house. All but about $5 K was to be returned when it was refinanced but that didn't happen.

My thoughts are that if he had to pay 1/2 of our bills his spending on his kids couldn't happen to the level it is ($354 on a pair of non-prescription sunglasses for his son and a $5000+ trip to Europe which was only supposed to be $1500). He will rationalize its because the son stayed in school and didn't get in trouble. When I grew up that behavior was expected but not rewarded by my parents, I felt their paying my tuition was my reward and I better keep up my end of the bargain,

In the past 90 days another $5000 trip to Europe for the son with the girlfriend as a graduation gift, NFL playoff tickets for him and the girlfriend for a graduation gift, airfare to Chicago, This past week baseball tickets for him and the girlfriend and $100 tab at a local sports bar...I say NOTHING! If the son wasn't living downstairs trust me there wouldn't have been a bathroom remodel!

He will pay for us to cruise but oftentimes his credit card work overseas so in a pinch I will put charges on mine.

I don't want to be a kept wife. I was raised by Depression Era parents. My Dad worked hard, saved and gave us a great life but they didn't lavish on us. When I was in high school I worked for my Dad, at a store, babysat for 3 families, volunteered and kept an "A" average,

I've tried "the positive sandwich", I've bitten my tongue. I finally said to myself if I don't do something I have no right to complain so in January of this year I took the emotion out of it and prepared that spreadsheet so he could see it objectively. I told him that. His response wasn't how can I help but I think you are paying too much for cable--yet last week his son complained he is not able to get "On Demand" on his TV downstairs and hubby jumped in immediately to try to fix that by upgrading the box and probably an increase in our bill.

Today was pent up frustration and partially wrong on my part. Sorry for the length.
 

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I'd give some thought to giving up the job. Get your own job, probably your own account, manage your money, and contribute to joint expenses. Working with a family member can be difficult. Now with you more aware of various expenses he incurs, you feel the need to question his choices and he feels the need to assert himself more. Not a recipe for peace and tranquility.

Be happy, let him run his business, utilize your skills to get another job, earn money and you each can contribute to joint expenses and both be on good behavior since you don't see each other all the time. There's a 2/3 chance for success with this. Otherwise, if he absolutely needs you for his business, then perhaps he will appreciate your candid comments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'd give some thought to giving up the job. Get your own job, probably your own account, manage your money, and contribute to joint expenses. Working with a family member can be difficult. Now with you more aware of various expenses he incurs, you feel the need to question his choices and he feels the need to assert himself more. Not a recipe for peace and tranquility.

Be happy, let him run his business, utilize your skills to get another job, earn money and you each can contribute to joint expenses and both be on good behavior since you don't see each other all the time. There's a 2/3 chance for success with this. Otherwise, if he absolutely needs you for his business, then perhaps he will appreciate your candid comments.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Understood. I do work a full-time job outside of his business. 3 yrs ago when his office asst left he asked me to replace her. He saved $2K/month
and knew I would have his best interests and for me he knew I would feel better
about having to co-sign a $750K commercial loan using the house in
my name as collateral and 50% of the life insurance proceeds that would
have been payable to me. I have "skin in the game".

I told him if he could get me removed from the loan I would walk away
from working for him. He told me that I was bullying him and I told him
he would have done the same if the shoe was on the other foot.

I apologized for revealing the financial scenario to his son but not for
the lack of communication about a remodel as I feel that's proper btn
a husband and a wife.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
When I question him about a charge, it is usually how do I code this (sublet versus parts). His bank posts pending debit transactions without the payee for about 48 hours and that is frustrating so if I see something >$500 I'll ask him. I found fraud a few months ago when I saw some $1 transactions. Each month I do about an hour long reconciliation and I found a $450 credit card batch that transmitted to our merchant services; however, the bank did not receive the funds. He doesn't have the time to do this sort of thing. I also write letters for him because he likes my style, file monthly and quarterly tax returns and process parts returns.

He doesn't have the time for that and he will thank me if I catch something--he will say that's what I need you to do.

In thinking about this, the punishment here exceeds the crime. I'm actually at peace and enjoying the quiet time as well as getting some rest as I haven't slept in over 4 days because of a bad cold.

In the end, I'm old fashioned. I look at a marriage as partnership. You may not always agree but you communicate timely and whenever you can control it with respect. I've been trying to communicate my frustration for over 10 years. The triggering event may vary; however, the theme is constant: 1) I don't want to be treated better than your kids--I just want to be treated at least like them 2) communicate (this was actually improving- he started making statements like I eat when I get stressed). He would get moody and I would think it was my fault. 3) Respect me as your wife and I'll do anything for you as long as it is legal and not immoral. Up to this point, I would get excited to see him at the end of a work day and loved nothing more then spending time with him. This is why his reaction, albeit warranted in part, seems to be excessive.
 

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When I question him about a charge, it is usually how do I code this (sublet versus parts). His bank posts pending debit transactions without the payee for about 48 hours and that is frustrating so if I see something >$500 I'll ask him. I found fraud a few months ago when I saw some $1 transactions. Each month I do about an hour long reconciliation and I found a $450 credit card batch that transmitted to our merchant services; however, the bank did not receive the funds. He doesn't have the time to do this sort of thing. I also write letters for him because he likes my style, file monthly and quarterly tax returns and process parts returns.

He doesn't have the time for that and he will thank me if I catch something--he will say that's what I need you to do.

In thinking about this, the punishment here exceeds the crime. I'm actually at peace and enjoying the quiet time as well as getting some rest as I haven't slept in over 4 days because of a bad cold.

In the end, I'm old fashioned. I look at a marriage as partnership. You may not always agree but you communicate timely and whenever you can control it with respect. I've been trying to communicate my frustration for over 10 years. The triggering event may vary; however, the theme is constant: 1) I don't want to be treated better than your kids--I just want to be treated at least like them 2) communicate (this was actually improving- he started making statements like I eat when I get stressed). He would get moody and I would think it was my fault. 3) Respect me as your wife and I'll do anything for you as long as it is legal and not immoral. Up to this point, I would get excited to see him at the end of a work day and loved nothing more then spending time with him. This is why his reaction, albeit warranted in part, seems to be excessive.
I would recommend a book called, "The DNA of Relationships" by Dr. Gary Smalley. Find some time to read it with your spouse. It has transformed my marriage. You are in a complex relationship with lots of factors and (quite frankly) a lot of baggage from past relationships. Money isn't your problem. Work isn't your problem. His spending money on his kids isn't the problem. Your problem isn't even his behavior toward you. It is your own fears and his fears -- and not communicating in such a way as to get at the root of the problem. If you read this book it goes into this in more detail. I'm saying this again because it really has transformed my marriage and helped me to see just how much of "the problems" I thought were the problems were not really the problems at all. They were all symptoms -- how my fears and her fears were basically being played out in how we responded to each other and what we were choosing to do.

Anyway, you need better communication with your husband, and you owe it to yourself and to him to do this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I will def get it!
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