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Less money, more problems
Q: My partner, “Amy,” can’t seem to accept things she doesn’t want to hear. When I tell her that we are spending too much money going out to eat, she doesn’t seem to hear me and just keeps making dates with our friends to go out to eat, or call me at work and say that we have reservations at this or that restaurant. When it gets close to dinner time, she’ll get real cute and finds some $3 coupon for some restaurant and claims that we can’t afford not to eat out and claims that it would cost us more money to eat in than go out. It’s really not true, of course, but at the time, I just give in to her.
The same goes with anything else that we shouldn’t be spending money on; like, she bought a bunch of new clothes last weekend – while I was at work – and showed it to me like nothing was wrong. When I said that we were supposed to stop buying things, she said that it was such a good price she just couldn’t pass it up. She went on and on about how cheap things were. Well, she bought $266.90 worth of clothes. I wish I would have asked her to take them back, but she modeled all her things and she did look great in them. I couldn’t see anything that should really go back or that she couldn’t use. But I still felt horrible about it especially when I go and write out our bills.
We are falling further and further behind in our finances. I labor over the bills every month trying to pay the least I can and yet still make a payment of some sort. Believe me, we are hanging on by our finger nails.
As you can tell, I manage our money. About four months ago, I sat Amy down and talked to her about our money issues. She tried to minimize it all by saying things weren’t that bad if we could at least make payments to everyone. I told her that that was no good, that it was like hanging onto a blade of grass while dangling over the edge of a cliff hoping the wind wouldn’t come up. I told her that we would get no where in life this way, and if just one of us lost our job, we would be in such big trouble. Since she knew of people who were losing their jobs where she works, she seemed to “get it.” That was four months ago, and somehow she has lost her insight or fear.
I get tired of reminding her every month of what we need to do. I love Amy and she is a good partner in many, many ways. I want to stay with her, but I just want to know how to get through to her on this one. Do you have any ideas?
A: I’m going to assume that Amy can hear “no” in other areas of her life – otherwise, my advice would go in a totally different direction.
It strikes me that Amy is in denial. She needs to be brought into the bill-paying procedures every month. She needs to sit down with you and write out the bills with you. You need to show her, on paper, how much money you would have if either of you would lose your job: what you could pay and what you couldn’t pay. She needs to see on paper how it will be, even if you both keep your jobs, and how you’ll not have enough money for such things as a new car, a house, a vacation, retirement, whatever it is you’d like to accomplish. If this doesn’t work, then I think that Amy needs to get counseling. She might have an issue with money from her past that she needs to deal with.
I’m concerned, also, about how you are so easily swayed to go out to dinner when you shouldn’t, or accepting that she has spent almost $300 on clothes when you have talked about not doing that. What is that all about? Perhaps you could use some counseling as well.