I pay half of ALL family expenses

Dear Gulmohar,

I am this close to walking away from my marriage. My husband insists that I pay half for everything! When we got married we decided that the big expenses like rent, household expenses and fees, when the kids came, would be taken care of by him. Treats and savings would be what my salary goes to. Now, eight years later, when we go out even for a casual chaat or pizza he asks me to pay half. Sometimes, even as little as Rs 150. I find this absurd. I don’t have bad spending habits and I am very careful with my money. But he says I am saving all my money and he doesn’t have any of his own. He even asked me once, what if the marriage ends, what money will be left for him. At that point, I told him that what we saved, we would take half each. But that doesn’t seem to make him happy. Even when the dhobi comes home, and the bill is Rs 200 he will give me Rs 100 and ask me to pay the rest. I find it absurd and ridiculous. I am at my wits’ end.

Half and half

Dear Half and Half,

Financial insecurity isn’t a woman’s prerogative alone. Men feel it too. And maybe as he grows older he is actually wondering what is happening to the money that he earns. Does he have other commitments, such as towards his parents? If yes, maybe that is the problem. Are your communication channels clear? Does he feel loved and accepted in your marriage? Maybe he is doing this because he feels like he’s just a source of money and isn’t getting anything else in return. But if the above things are not true, then here’s what I’d do. I’d tell him to do half the housework. Wash his own clothes, cook  his own food, manage his own side of the room and things. When he can ask you to pitch in financially you should definitely ask him to do half of the physical labour that you put in, if he doesn’t do it already. See how he responds. When he does respond, then have a long serious chat without losing your cool. Tell him how ridiculous his behaviour is and how marriage is about partnership and not doing half and half.

Dear Gulmohar,

I have a very serious problem. I married my wife after dating her for two years. It’s been a mostly peaceful marriage but the minute I develop a friendship with a woman, a perfectly healthy, normal friendship, my wife immediately reaches out to my friend and takes her over. That itself isn’t so bad, but then she shares all our personal details with her and they become best friends. Now I can’t talk to my friend about stuff because she says, “Oh but [wife] said this.” It’s frustrating. I can understand if it is with one or two friends over the past 11 years but with every single female friend? I can’t understand her insecurity at all. We have our own house, we have a great social life, I am faithful, we take holidays together. I can’t even talk about it because what do I say? “Why are you friends with my friend?” Even I can hear how stupid it sounds.  I really enjoy the company of other women now and then. Why won’t my wife allow it?

Not a ladies’ man

Dear Not a ladies’ man,

I feel your pain. I do. It cannot be easy to have a jealous and controlling wife. But maybe first you should be grateful that she deals with her jealousy in a not very negative manner? I mean, she isn’t throwing tantrums and checking your phone or spying on you. That said, here’s what I think you should do. Tell your friend not to discuss anything with your wife. If your wife won’t respect your boundaries (and she clearly doesn’t) then hope that your friend has better sense and respects it. If you trust your friend, there’s nothing belittling about telling her what the situation in your life is and being clear that you don’t want a mixing of boundaries. I would go as far as saying throw a little tantrum at home if a cool talk doesn’t reach your wife. A healthy fight (without dragging old issues in) sometimes does what a calm chat cannot. Keep us informed, will you?

Love,

Gulmohar.

 

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