Question: Dear Luise: My husband and I have been together for a long time but wehave some trust issues. We have kids and own a home, and for the last three years I have been managing all of our finances. Things are tight, and much of our disagreements have to do with money. I was laid off from a good job last year and am on unemployment, and since itdoesn’t look like any jobs in my field will be popping up anytime soon, it looks like I will be full-time caretaker for our kids for the forseeable future. I was a musician in college, and music is my life. In a moment of weakness, I bought a $600 guitar with my own earnings recently. My husband is outraged. Given how tight our budget is, he says I never should have bought it and certainly not without telling him first. He is having my name removed for all our checking accounts and is taking over the finances again as a result. I know it wasn’t a great idea, but the last time I bought a “me” thing (also an instrument) was over 3 years ago, and that used money I got from a small inheritance, not family money. He has been in a fit over this for weeks and says he doesn’t trust me anymore. I have told him that I while I understand why he is upset, I think he is overreacting. All of our bills got paid. He is making both of us miserable, and I have told him I am going to have trust issues with HIM if he goes through with ripping my name out of all our accounts. He says he is just trying to “protect the family.” For the record, I am pretty thrifty generally. I do have a small amount of debt from running a small business, but I am learning as I go, and I have changed some of my policies to put an end to that. I believe I am generally responsible, even if I am not perfect. I feel strongly that if he goes through with cutting me out of all our bank accounts it will create an even bigger chasm between us. He doesn’t see it that way. Your opinion? M.
Answer: Dear M.: My take is that your husband is doing something radical because you did. You had no right to make a unilateral decision like that. It was immature, selfish, shortsighted and dangerous. Tell him you want to get back on solid ground again and will return or sell the instrument. Ask him to meet you half way by not continuing to harp about it. I agree that you can’t be on the accounts. You acted like a child and children don’t have bank accounts. Consider taking a job in a different field, perhaps at less pay. What is probably behind all of his angst is his anxiety over being the only one working and knowing your unemployment is going to run out. Talk to each other about this. Don’t let it undermine your marriage. Blessings, Luise