No matter how much, or how little, you have, managing money is always a stressful endeavor.
Particularly among married couples.
Even if there is a designated provider, how each member spends and manages the household income is still guaranteed to cause tension every so often.
Redditor otherbunnygrenade was in a fairly lucky situation financially, as he made more money than he was ever likely to spend.
Unfortunately, the original poster (OP)’s wife was having trouble holding down a job and was more often than not unemployed.
Even so, when the OP’s wife made a request about redistributing how they managed their finances, the OP was less than willing to oblige, owing to his wife’s familial situation.
Wondering if this was unfair, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA? Refused to help my (privileged) wife cover her increased cost of living.”
The OP explained why he was unwilling to go along with his wife’s proposed re-assesment of their finances.
“So I (39 M[ale]) am married to the love of my life (36 F[emale]).”
“We have two sweet kids, ages 5 and 9, and we all live in a house in a nice small typical Scandinavian town.”
“Our economy is mostly shared – more on this in a bit.”
“I’m an engineer, working as consultant.”
“Great pay and benefits.”
“I make more than I spend.”
“My wife has a masters degree in human communication – a horribly useless degree, even according to herself.”
“Since graduating something like 8 years ago, she has been unable to find a job in her field.”
“Note: Those 8 years does include her second pregnancy and maternity leave.”
“Here is the thing.”
“My wife has very wealthy parents (like no-financial-worries-at-all wealthy).”
“Thanks to them, her share of our house was gifted to her (I still pay mortgage on my share).”
“They gifted her a brand new car (I drive my own).”
“Each Christmas, they gift her $20.000 – her, not me.”
“Besides that yearly gift, she has more or less been without income for most of her adult life, including when she attended university.”
“She did hold a few odd jobs here and there.”
“We share all family related expenses (utilities, food, insurances, vacations, kids stuff and so on) through a shared account – 50/50.”
“Besides that, we have our own accounts.”
“But many purchases goes toward the family/house/kids anyway, so its not like air tight.”
“You know how it is.”
“My wife recently got a part time job (15-20 hours/week) in a clothing store.”
“Pay is terrible, hours are weird and she doesn’t get along with the owner.”
“Therefore, she is considering quitting.”
“I’m telling her to go ahead, but also that even a bad job pays better than no job.”
“In my opinion, she is a little picky with jobs.”
“Won’t do cleaning, elderly care and other stuff like that, despite those being jobs she is able to get without any qualifications.”
“She keeps applying for jobs in her own field, but so far without any luck besides a couple of first round interviews.”
“The market is VERY limited.”
“Because of increased cost of living (you all know the story), her yearly gift and small paycheck doesn’t quite cut it anymore.”
“She tells me that she is barely making ends meet.”
“Therefore, she has asked me to help her out, by paying a larger share of our shared expenses.”
“I basically said no.”
“I told her that not many people are as privileged as her and that she really should be less picky – or even consider requalification (new education and/or field of work).”
“I felt bad telling her, but also needed to be honest with her.”
“I could help her out, but that just doesn’t sit right with me, all things considered.”
“So now of course, according to her, I’m an a**hole.”
“But am I?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community was somewhat divided on whether or not the OP was the a**hole for not helping his wife with her expenses.
Some felt that neither the OP nor his wife deserved anyone’s sympathy. Since the OP is making more than he needs to, he shouldn’t have made such a big deal out of all this. Others thought that his wife does need to learn a bit of discipline and be willing to make some compromises with her employment; they also question how functioning they were as a couple.
“This is a weird situation.”
“You’re supposed to be a team, partners.”
“And yet, you’re the only paying for the mortgage on the house, and you expect her to pay half of everything despite the fact that she probably only get a low paying job like cleaning or taking care of elderly people.”
“As a married couple, you should be living with what you can earn yourselves and not above your means.”
“I don’t get how you both let things got that far.”
“You two need to sit down and make some serious changes to the way you’ve been living your lives.”
“Do you even still love her and want to be married to her?”- Primary-Criticism929
“Good luck with the divorce. Should be pretty easy since you have basically already lived your life 50/50.”
“This is not a marriage. It’s a roommate situation.”- WestCoastValleyGirl
“I’ll probably get downvoted, but this is why having separate finances in marriage is a really, really bad idea.”
“You guys are married, you have kids, you’re meant to be a team.”
“It’s absurd that you’ve been paying a mortgage payment on ‘your half’ of the house and that she keeps $20k annual gift to herself.”
“It’s also absurd that you have a great job, she’s working a very low-wage job, and you expect to keep splitting things 50/50 like you’re roommates.”
‘Helping her out’ doesn’t ‘sit right’ with you because you’ve been treating each other badly for so long.”
“This whole arrangement needs an overhaul, and apologies from both of you.”- coffeemom23
Others, however, felt the OP was valid in feeling the need to teach his wife a lesson, even if some still saw some holes in his logic.
“NTA, but you said your wife’s parents are wealthy.”
“They will not live forever.”
“If your wife inherits their money when they pass, are you going to be willing to accept it if your wife tells you that you still have to pay your half of everything on your own?”
“Will you be ok if she takes a vacation and you can’t afford to go because your half costs more than you can afford?”- Mikey3800
“NTA as you live in Scandinavia where childcare is abundant and affordable and where it’s extremely uncommon to be a SAHM.”- love_travel
“She should start paying for herself instead of expecting everyone else to.”- Sumomagpie-1918
While others felt that neither the OP nor his wife were in the wrong, understanding where the OP was coming from, but also sympathized with his wife for holding out for a job that she finds fulfilling.
“I understood that in Scandinavian countries, there’s a much stronger concept of equal contribution (within financial and non-financial spheres, not across them).”
“I get the ‘team view’ that OP should just suck it up and support the family unit, but especially in a society where partners are more likely to make equal financial contributions I wonder if that’s a short sighted view?”
“Will that make their relationship stronger?”
“Or will the reality be that they both find themselves unhappy with the unequal financial split?”
“OP, your partner wants to have meaningful employment in her chosen field.”
“For many of us, the reality of providing for our families precludes the pursuit of our professional dreams.”
“It doesn’t sound like your family is in that situation, but you’re focussing on the wrong thing.”
“I think you both need to take a step back and talk about her career, which is the real issue here.”
“Would she be able to find a job if you move?”
“Could she start her own business?”
“Could she teach?”
“Are you both invested enough in your relationship to commit to fully exploring, together, how she navigates the move from carer to professional?”
“Between help from her parents and your income, you’re fortunate enough to afford to take a year or two to throw everything at this – including counseling to help her (which will be important if she needs to change directions).”
“OP, your choice is about if you choose to provide your partner with emotional and logistical support to make a plan together or if you choose to ignore what she really needs at this transitional state of her life.”
Money has a way of complicating things, particularly for two people who have very different views of fiscal responsibility.
Even so, it seems like there is a solution somewhere in this muddle that could benefit everyone, as the OP’s wife could possibly stop being so reliant on her parent’s help, but it wouldn’t hurt the OP to cover her expenses until she finds a job that makes her happy.
Hopefully, with a few civil conversations, this will all be sorted out.