I have written before about my wife and some serious issues in her life that make it difficult for her to regulate her emotions. I am learning how to cope and adjust, but there is one area of our life together that I still can’t figure out--money.
We often bicker about money, but the key problem is that my wife cannot control herself. She spends impulsively and recklessly. She admits there is a problem, but that doesn’t solve any issues. She can--and has--spent thousands of dollars (especially around Christmas) in ways that cost our family even more money in overdraft fees, credit card interest payments and late fees.
We have tried many ways to remedy the situation. She has turned over all credit and ATM cards to me. That works except for the fact that it is so easy to purchase things online. She has given me all the checks, but that hasn’t stopped her from taking a handful when she discovered where I had been keeping them. I have stopped asking her if she still has any checks because even if she does, she lies about it.
We have one joint account, but the rest are in my name alone. I have decided that the only recourse I have left is to let her know that if she makes any purchases on my accounts, I’ll have to tell the bank I did not authorize them and they are fraudulent charges.
Whenever we discuss these issues, my wife tells me I would be perfectly happy to control every aspect of her life. Her ability to spend money, she says, is simply a measure of her freedom. Ironically, though, it is her overspending that controls the rest of the family. There are things we cannot do for ourselves and our kids because she has driven us so deeply into debt.
Of course, it damages our relationship, too. I have trouble believing her considering how many times she has lied to me about money, or has tried to hide her spending. We rarely have helpful discussions due to the fact that she takes things so personally and has trouble staying on topic. She counterattacks with everything she’s got.
I just don’t know what else to do. I’ve told her she needs help, and she agrees, but doesn’t act. I’ve tried to protect our family, but with only limited results. Perhaps the only solution is to sever completely our financial ties. That would have consequences, too, and wouldn’t solve any of her problems.
Maybe if I started playing the lottery...