Dear Ashton: I am in my second marriage, and we have been married for less than 3 years. My husband and I divide all of the household responsibilities and expenses. We have separate bank accounts and we each pay our bills from our own accounts. I have a budget for how much I spend on bills monthly, and I try to stick to it closely. Lately, I feel like my husband is taking advantage of me because he uses up the household items I purchase and does not replace them. He does not even think about my budget and the added expense his actions cost me because I’m the one who has to go buy more. I don’t think it is fair that I have to continue to replace items that he uses freely without considering how it affects me. I do the things I am supposed to do, and he should do the same. Why doesn’t he just replace the items he’s used instead of waiting for me to do it? This is happening every month. I am frustrated, but I have not said anything to him about it. But I know he can tell something is not right and it’s hurting our relationship. Am I wrong for thinking this way???
Dear Money Matters: It is time to talk to your husband and come up with a plan that works for your family. This one is not working. Be open and honest about your finances and share with him your budget and ask him to help you stay within your limits. Listen to him as well and agree to help him too. There must be unity in finances for you to have a successful relationship. Until then, replace the items, spend the money, and choose to have a good attitude.
With that said, I think the issue here is much deeper than spending a few extra dollars every month. Now, let’s take a deep breath and process this. Facing the truth is the first step to growth. It sounds as if you feel like his actions are intentionally meant to harm you in some way. He is the one person that you have promised to share the most intimate parts of your life with, but you don’t trust him. Do you recognize the red flags with this type of thinking? What is it that makes you distrust your husband? Why do you think he would deliberately take advantage of you? Is this why your responsibilities are so separated, so you can track his contributions? The negative thoughts that have created these walls of separation are the same negative thoughts that have created this entire scenario in your head. You have never mentioned this issue to him. Most likely, it will come as a surprise to him that his actions have caused you so much anger and frustration.
This is not about your budget. This is about why you feel the need to protect yourself from your husband, because deep down you do not trust him. Once the trust issue is resolved, the money issue and any other issues will be fixed.