Money makes the world go around but it can also tank a marriage faster than you can say Mutual Funds. This is especially true if both people are not on the same page, financially speaking, Looking back I see that not only were my ex and I not on the same page but we were reading completely different books.
We’d lived together for several years before tying the knot and at my husband’s insistence we continued to keep separate bank accounts after we said “I do”. But over time, keeping Un-mutual Funds divided us in a fundamental way and once that fissure occurred, we were never the same again.
I never knew how much money he did or didn’t have and whenever I tried to broach the subject, he would change it. This allowed my very secretive husband to spend his money as he saw fit, which, most of the time, meant pissing it away on whatever little treasures he decided to buy himself. Even though he made twice what I did, he insisted I pay half of all the household bills, which left me with no excess cash with which to indulge myself. Needless to say, this made me very cranky and resentful.
Saving for a rainy day was not something he thought about. So when the mother of all typhoons hit and he found himself unemployed and broke he did a 180 and conceded his point; merging our assets would be a great idea after all. I saw this as a good thing; finally we would be like other married couples who pooled their resources and made financial decisions together. It would be like being married to a grown-up, I thought to myself. Yeah. A grown-up with no job, no savings and an over-inflated sense of entitlement; not the combo-platter I’d been hoping for.
The absurd part of all this is that before I married him I’d thought he was responsible; a safe bet. He was great at taking care of other people, especially his employers. He was all about making them money and anticipating their every need. But he failed to apply this caretaking to us and our financial solvency and suddenly, I was put in the position of supporting us. He refused to look for employment outside of the field he’d been in most of his life, but he had no problem with my working three jobs to keep us afloat, which I did for the next two years. Once again, this made me very, very cranky and resentful. I think I see a pattern emerging here…
In the end, it comes down to this: money matters and it matters more than many of us are willing to admit. Maybe if I’d understood this at the beginning of our marriage, I could have averted the financial disaster that brought us tumbling down and for which I am still paying the price. Really it’s like a game of rock, paper, scissors; matters of the heart are crushed by money matters every time. And that’s the bottom line.