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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband had been wanting a motorcycle. One day, we had a fight, and he decided that he would purchase it to "put me in my place." I was against this, because we don't have the money for it, (and of course, the intention of it all). I asked if he could wait at least until after my exams, because his animosity/passive-aggressive behavior makes it hard for me to focus on my rigorous coursework. He said he didn't care, and made the purchase.
In order to even the playing field, we have made an agreement that I will withdraw, from our savings, an equivalent amount to all money spent on the bike. This is not the best way to do things, but it's all I can do for now. In my opinion, nothing good can come of any of this, and I don't have an immediate use for the money. I would rather just have a kind husband that doesn't assert his dominance in such dramatic ways.
A bit of background: I am a full-time student; he is in the army (special forces). We have no children. I do not work, but I also don't agree with the idea that it is "his" money. Marriage should be a team. When I do get my career going, I would certainly never pull any nonsense like this on anyone.
I have a tendency to be controlling, but I have also brought it to his attention that if he was someone I could look up to, I wouldn't feel the need to make a lot of the decisions. (He does not read contracts, shop around for prices, and in general, does not like to "think" about any decisions that affect him or the two of us.) He threatens divorce and does things like this to shut me down.
I don't associate with his peer group, but they all get what they want, and I have a feeling that this macho mentality has rubbed off on my husband. I also have a feeling that his dad treated his mother poorly when my husband was growing up, and that my husband probably sees this as normal, acceptable behavior for a man.
I don't believe in divorce; I'd like to try all possible routes to make us work, but I know I don't deserve to be treated this way.
It's Thanksgiving, and he decided that he's not going to help me cook, just to "punish" me for disagreeing with him. He does this frequently. In order to keep the peace (and I guess it's also avoidance), I have him stay the night at his work, so that I can focus on school without him throwing his dominance in my face all of the time.
Anyone else gone through this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
True, but the money in savings is intended for putting into our investment accounts at the end of the year, as well as for emergencies. Just because the money is in the account does not mean that we can afford to make frivolous purchases on a whim.
 

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Well there is a balance that needs to be achieved.

In marriage, the goal of each spouse should be to facilitate, if at all possible, the other getting what they want.

Why do you think it’s your place as a wife to tell him that he cannot get a motorcycle?

My suggestion is that you take an equal amount and put it in a saving or investment for yourself.

How often does he make the unilateral decision to put big money on things?

From your post I get the impression that you are full time student and his income is supporting you two. Is this right? Or do you also contribute financially to the household?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I never said it was my place to tell him that he cannot get one. I don't think it's a great idea to purchase something simply to assert dominance or to "put me in my place." We can agree to disagree on that one, but in my opinion, that motive is inexcusable and facilitates resentment.
I have taken an equal amount out which will most likely go into my investment account, not our joint one.
The last time he made such a decision was about a year or so ago, when he needed a new car. It was a new BMW; he didn't want a used one and didn't want to shop around or deal with the dealers. I was left to do all of that if I didn't want him dropping 60K that we didn't have.
I had worked in the past, but when I started school full-time, I stopped working.
 

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Up front I want to say that I'm not coming down on you. I'm giving you different points of view.... playing devil's advocate.

I can see both of your points of view.

You want to invest more.

He wants some nice things.

Neither of you is right or wrong.

You also made a decision to go to school and thus the household lost a huge chunk of income. So your desire to save more seems to only be tied to him not being able to get what he wants.

Was he putting you in your place.. as in a man pushing a woman down? Or was he showing you that it's not your place to tell him he cannot have a motorcycle? He works hard for his money.

If I were you I'd drop this bit about the motor cycle. Just tell him that you are glad he can have a nice toy that he really wants.

Then, once you mend this bridge, find a good financial counselor. He might do a lot better working with someone else in handling money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, he did say just that, on several occasions. He understands that it is not the best way to go about things, but also that he "deserves" it and that he doesn't care. There are also a lot of other issues surrounding the situation at hand: name-calling, destruction of property, etc etc that I won't get detailed about, but they cause the situation to be more loaded than it sounds.
I don't think he has PTSD or anything from deployments, but I do think that the nature of his job, peer-group, etc has caused some anger management problems. He explodes, and then blames me. I've told him that it's his brain that fills up with anger, and therefore, it is his anger to manage. It is not my job to manage it for him. Of course, he won't go to anger management counseling. Not sure if it shows up on his security clearances or not, but there's definitely a stigma attached to it.
Thanks for pointing out that you are playing devil's advocate; for a second, I wasn't quite sure...
 

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You married a man who has a different money style than you do. Surely you knew this. You are not going to change him completely on this topic.

How old are the two of you? How long have you been married?

You should each get to spend $x each payday on anything you want… put x% in savings, pay all bills then split the rest. He can save up for the toy he wants out of that.

A book that might help is “Smart Couple Finish Rich”. Maybe reading it from a man will help him get it.

Yes, he did say just that, on several occasions. He understands that it is not the best way to go about things, but also that he "deserves" it and that he doesn't care.
He feels that you are controlling him. You two need marriage and financial counseling to learn how to deal with this issue.

There are also a lot of other issues surrounding the situation at hand: name-calling, destruction of property, etc etc that I won't get detailed about, but they cause the situation to be more loaded than it sounds.
This is extremely important yet you left it out of your initial post.
Has he hit you? pushed you?

When he breaks things.. are they things he cares about ? or are they your things and just general household things?

I don't think he has PTSD or anything from deployments, but I do think that the nature of his job, peer-group, etc has caused some anger management problems. He explodes, and then blames me. I've told him that it's his brain that fills up with anger, and therefore, it is his anger to manage. It is not my job to manage it for him. Of course, he won't go to anger management counseling. Not sure if it shows up on his security clearances or not, but there's definitely a stigma attached to it.
Thanks for pointing out that you are playing devil's advocate; for a second, I wasn't quite sure...
Honestly, the motorcycle is not an issue. You had the money and he should be able to have a motor cycle if it’s important to him.

His anger and violence are the issue. He needs to get help or you will need to leave him.

The army is very attuned right now to things like PTSD. He needs to go get the help he needs or he is going to lose you.
A good way to tell him that when things get heated you will stop talking to prevent it from escalating.

I use the word ‘STOP’. When he starts to let his anger get the better of him put up your hand in a stop sign and say the work ‘STOP” very firmly. Do this a couple of time and then tell him you are leaving while he calms himself down.

When I did this I practiced it in front of a mirror over and over.
I’d imagine that he was yelling and getting ready to start the pushing and throwing things. I’d then do the stop routine. I practiced it until it as an automatic response to his angry behavior.

So after it’s an auto response tell him that you have a save word now “stop”. And that when you use it the conversation is over. That he needs to then go do something to calm himself down. He can go for a walk, work out, listen to calming music… something that he finds works for him.

You can go to a safe room, go for a walk, a ride… whatever you need to avoid the conflict and calm down yourself.

Tell him you are going to do this then do it. If he follows you around when you try to go away to defuse things, if he hits you, etc call 911. You have to teach him that this is not ok with you; that you will not allow this behavior in your home.

The other thing that you need to talk with him about is that he needs to be proactive about his anger. He needs to plan things on a regular basis…like exercise to help him manage it. Exercise causes endorphins to be created. Endorphins will help control his anger. Perhaps he can start writing a journal about what he’s angry about. Or he could use a voice recorder…. Anything to get it out of his system and not let it out on you.

We teach people how to treat up. You have to teach him some new rules.
 

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Guy gets shot at for a living, comes home to a wife that tries to control where he spends the money he earned? The same money that is paying for her education? Did i got that right?

Reverse the roles in this. Imagine a woman that works and her husband goes to school. She wants to buy something with the money she earned and he says no, because he knows better what to do with the money SHE is earning!

Is this acceptable? If not, why? And how is this different?

It's not like you're starving or anything. There was enough to go around and take even some more to make it even.
 

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Marriage is 100% teamwork. It can never be good when one side goes their own way.
Whilst still serving PTSD is always going to be an issue. Things will be viewed in a different way once he is out if the service. All the same it does sound like he has anger issues. He can still get help with this.
Have you considered doing 'Financial Prace' together?
A great program to get two people working together financially.
 

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...to "put me in my place." ...

...

I would rather just have a kind husband that doesn't assert his dominance in such dramatic ways.

...

He threatens divorce and does things like this to shut me down.

...

...just to "punish" me for disagreeing with him. He does this frequently...
This doesn't sound like money's the real issue here.

Is this a dynamic that you've agreed to? This is some pretty intense domination.
 

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Guy gets shot at for a living, comes home to a wife that tries to control where he spends the money he earned? The same money that is paying for her education? Did i got that right?

Reverse the roles in this. Imagine a woman that works and her husband goes to school. She wants to buy something with the money she earned and he says no, because he knows better what to do with the money SHE is earning!

Is this acceptable? If not, why? And how is this different?

It's not like you're starving or anything. There was enough to go around and take even some more to make it even.
While we're reversing the roles, are we allowing the wife to put the husband in his place? To punish him?

Would that be ok?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oldmatelot: Thanks for your input. I've heard of Financial Peace, and that is something that I think we both would be willing to try. The army actually gets people together for that on a fairly frequent basis.

Athena1: Yes, it is intense. He actually just cried "divorce" again a few hours ago. He is staying the night at work and not speaking to me. I'm composed and whatnot, but I don't really want a divorce. No telling if he is trying to shut me down again or is serious...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
And yes, if the roles were reversed: I would not be buying a European vacation just to spite my husband, I would not make him feel that he is insignificant because he is a student and not the breadwinner, and I would not threaten to leave him everytime I felt cornered. I'm not the perfect wife, but I certainly don't operate like that. We agreed to this "me being a full-time student" situation. We also agreed that when I graduate (and I will have a guaranteed position, making at least what he does), that he can get out of the army, get his degree, and that I will support HIM.
Also, we are in our early thirties, and have been married for six years...
 

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Let him have his motorcycle.

My husband rides. It's good for them. Just my opinion, of course, but it sounds like he really wanted it and didn't want to take no for an answer. I get it. You aren't his mother. Just let it go. I will probably get beat for this, but I just don't see the big deal. It won't hurt in the long run.
 

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He is not really doing it out of spite. He's just saying, "Hey, I really want this and I know you'll say no, but It's really not up for discussion this time."

Sometimes there is no compromise. I know it's frustrating but don't play the game "tit for tat". Just put your money back in the bank and just let it go. He's probably feeling like YOU want to control what he's doing, etc. I have been there with my husband. I tried to control everything and say what to do, etc. Yea, he left me for 3 months. This isn't a big deal in the big picture. He wants a bike. Let him ride.

Maybe I'm just projecting, I duno.
 
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