My wife of five years and I have a son, four, and another boy coming.
I earn well but we spent more of my income these past two years when my wife was unable to get the education needed to get a good job.
She doesn't have a career plan, or any perspective to increase her income. I’m in charge of 70% of all shared expenses and I’m aiming towards equality.
With some savings mechanisms and as sole contributor to my son's education fund, she ends up with more money than me to spend.
Now, she’s decided to plan a 17-day Disney World vacation.
This trip wasn't my choice, nor was I asked my preferences. My young son would rather play with his friends anywhere else.
Despite being overshadowed, I've crunched the numbers and came up with a whopping budget, including travel tickets, parks, car rental, etc.
Since it's her trip, I agreed to contribute a little less than the cost.
She was unable to reach the amount she was supposed to save, and I’m uncomfortable about the added amount I’d have to cover. If I paid it, she wouldn't learn from the situation.
I want her to be financially accountable, responsible and understand that she cannot take her monthly share of expenses to pay for a vacation.
It’s causing major stress at home. I cannot be blamed for making more money, or for considering my house and family security before a “controversial” trip.
Am I being unfair for making her pay more for this trip? Is it unreasonable for me to ask her to contribute more since it's her plan?
No matter whether the male or female is the primary earner, the response that’s non-blaming and still accommodating, is this:
“Honey, we can’t afford this 17-day trip. But since it’s so important to you, let’s go for 10 days or a week.”
Your approach is, instead, overbearing. She’s been through major changes, raising a toddler those two years that she couldn’t get a better job, then pregnant in this second year.
Yes, finances should be shared equally when possible but when one partner’s teaching “lessons” to the other, it feels like control, not equality.
I love my wife. She’s lost any connection with me. I’ve tried for five years and our two children seem to agree.
Their new step-dad, whom I’ve never met, seems to be okay with this.
There’s much more to this story. We’ve been together for years.
Can You Help?
Your pain comes through clearly, but not enough information.
A “new” stepfather means there are now three people involved with your children, each of you with interests and roles regarding them.
The long story you hint at should’ve included accounts of attempts to help the marriage by tackling the issues that were driving you apart.
Without such clues, why have I included this question? For readers, it’s to demonstrate what’s needed when a relationship starts to weaken.
It has to start with facing the truths of what’s happening, trying to resolve what you can, and compromising on what you can’t fully resolve.
Next, seeking professional help… e.g. asking your doctor for referral to a therapist, or choosing pastoral counselling, or finding various community-resources that provide couples’ counselling, group therapy, etc.
But for the letter-writer, I advise you to tell the whole story – whether to me, anonymously through this column, or in a counselling process from which you and likely your children, too, can benefit.
I received notice of my son’s teacher’s name for this school year. It’s the same teacher with whom my daughter had serious problems four years ago.
My daughter’s a very sensitive child and had a mild problem, which became heightened under pressure from this inexperienced teacher who decided she was an attention-seeker.
It got so bad that I had to remove her to another district’s school – with much difficulty convincing the school board, and involving travel for which I have to drive her. She’s done well there.
Should I try to move my son right away? It’ll be another big fight, which makes me very stressed.
I understand your discomfort but think you have to give both your son and the teacher a chance.
If possible, meet with the teacher ahead, and bring an open attitude: This is a different child; the teacher has had more years of experience.
Tip of the day:
Finances can be a major battleground for couples. Negotiate from understanding and love, not control.