I guess this is one of those "get used to it" things, right? - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 11-18-2016, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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I guess this is one of those "get used to it" things, right?

We're in fine financial shape. Closing in on old enough for SS, and reasonable spending has put our nest egg up there above the 90th percentile. Our financial advisor says we're in great shape.

I fell out of high tech - simply could not cut it any more due to increasing competitiveness. Now doing a little here and there and buiding a clientele, but of course, gross income is in the few thousand now. She's working, feels like a desparation move on her part - didn't even look for a job until I was no longer earning. It's as if she is in mortal terror if our net worth drops from month to month - but hey, isn't that normal when you cross that barrier of "no more income"?

A year of counseling - me regularly, her when she feels like going which has been 4X. I've learned that her anxiety is not my problem to solve - in fact, I'm told to "stop trying to fix it" becuase that's not what women want. They just want to be heard and have their feelings acknowledged. So says counselor, and wife nods in agreement.

In the past, if she would say "We're spending too much!", I'd open Quicken (she populates it), usually find some huge errors in data entry, and report to her what our real spending is. This never satisfied her - I didn't understnad it then, but now I know what I did was to "prove her wrong", which is the opposite of providing emotional support.

So, now, when she says "we're spending too much!" I say that can't feel good, sorry you're struggling with this, that must feel awful, etc - I validate her feelings. And it seems to calm her to at least know that I care.

But lately, she's been following up with "what are you going to do about it?". I resist the temptation to say "well, you're the one with the fear, so I don't think I can do anything about it", and instead, say "what would you like me to do about it?" and she storms out of the room.

I should point out that I don't spend much...I put gas in the car, I go out to lunch with a pal every few weeks, and thats about it. Shortly after we got married, she seemed almost hysterical about the fact that I wrote the checks for mortgage, insurnace, bills, etc, and felt I was hiding everythign from her. She asked me where's the money going and I tried over 10 ways of reporting it to her and she was not satisfied with any. So I said look, here's Quicken, here's the cash flow spreadsheet I maintain, why don't you figure out how you want the report, and she just took over...and it seemed to reduce the anxiety, but not stop it.

In the past few months, she has sent me emails saying "We're spending $xxx per year!!! That's 50% more than the 4% rule says we should!!!". Notwithstanding that the 4% rule doesn't apply to us, I doubt the figure - I cannot get Quicken to produce the figure at all. Byron Katie, and our counselor, both say that the first proper response to fear is to ask yourself "is it real?". So, I offer her emotional support and then ask "can you show me where that figure comes from" and she says she doesn't have time. She never has time to sit down at the software and look through it.

So...I don't have the ability to fix it. She doesn't express her needs in a way that I can address them. She seems to think we need to spend less (which means change behavior), she does most of the spending, but somehow seems to be telling me that I need to do something about it.

I think all I can do is say "that can't feel good, sorry you're hurting about this...".

No fun.


There are three kinds of business. Your business, my business and God's business. Whose business are you in? -Byron Katie
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