How do you deal with a spouse that is completely hands off with finances?

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  • #94695 Reply

      In our marriage, I have been the one to manage our finances, mainly because after college (we got married right out of grad school), he never stepped up to have a say or take any ownership of our financial situation. He works full time and is the breadwinner, I own my own business and contribute about 1/3 to our overall income.

      I’ve expressed many times that I feel overwhelmed by having to manage most of everything – our household, our kids, our appointments/activities, my own business, our finances, homeschooling, food/cooking, health etc. I’ve asked him to take lead or at least take ownership of some of this, which he agreed to, but it’s like it’s  just not in his nature to take initiative. Things like a budget. Or getting taxes figured out. Or paying any bills. Or how to invest for our retirement. When it comes to  his own benefits or retirement for work, he sends them to *me* to figure out.

      I haven’t been silent on this, either. This has been something I’ve brought up to him numerous times in the past 12 years, sometimes lovingly sometimes with anger, but he just won’t do anything on his own. If I ask him about it he gets overwhelmed or it feels like I’m nagging and he gets frustrated. Or he does it once and never again. It’s not something I can leave alone for him to “figure out” because it’s our (and our kids’) livelihood. If the water bill doesn’t get paid, we all suffer.

      In all honesty, I’m worn out. He’s a good man but his mental plate seems much smaller than mine, and I am willing to take on a lot but it is starting to really wear me down.

      #94696 Reply

        We all have to play to our strengths. Perhaps finances is not one of his. If he takes over the finances and fails miserably, like you said, you all suffer. So why keep pushing it?

        How about he takes something else off your plate for the household like cooking, grocery shopping, helping more with the kids and family activities.

        I am the one who manages the finances because my husband would have us in a mess. In return, he does the laundry and steps up in other areas.

        To keep him engaged and aware, we have monthly conversations on our spending plan and how things are going.

        #94697 Reply

          Have you heard of the Fair Play cards? Maybe you and him could do the exercise together and help him visualize exactly how lopsided your arrangement is

          #94698 Reply

            My wife and I keep a calendar and shared notepad – maybe try this angle and each choose what you’ll handle each month (like picking chores).

            We also have a weekly check-in meeting to make sure we don’t miss anything.

            #94699 Reply

              I would put everything on autopay that you can if you are in a position to do so. It really helps keep things running smoothly. I do all the things that you do as well, but I don’t work outside the home, so it’s my way of contributing.

              Are there things that you could have someone else handle, like having a housekeeper to reduce some of the stress. Our homeschool years were a lot of work.

              #94700 Reply

                Btdt. You really only have two choices. One you start outsourcing work that you just can’t handle. I personally pay for house cleaners and tax preparation and a lawn service because I don’t have the capacity to handle it. And my kids go to public school not homeschooled for the same reason. Your second choice honestly is probably divorce.

                You’ll still be doing all the work but at least you won’t have to take care of a man child.

                #94701 Reply

                  Seek couples counseling. It’s not “in his nature” to be lazy and irresponsible. I don’t mean that to be harsh, but the mental load on one spouse to do everything (especially women) is a real and unfair one. Try to get that support and some task oriented time blocks. That may help. There’s a reason why he isn’t helping, trauma, world view that the wife should do it all, low self esteem. I don’t know, only he can answer that. But getting to the root to get more support is important.

                  And what is defied as “a good man” is someone who also contributes more than just financially. They help out.

                  I’m glad you have your hands on the finances, don’t relinquish that even if you guys share that responsibility. But it sounds like you want more participation over all. Maybe counseling will help.

                  #94702 Reply

                    I feel you.

                    Maybe try telling him that you are burned out and give him the option of stepping up and taking some off your plate or pay for it to be outsourced. Figure out how much a nanny, financial planner, food delivery service, etc would cost.

                    #94703 Reply

                      I relate to every word you’ve written. I have no sage advice since it’s not something I’ve figured out. I do know that every time this subject comes up in this group, there are a number of people who casually suggest it’s time for divorce – as if that’s an easy answer, smh.

                      It’s certainly not easy and most definitely not cheap to go that route.

                      #94704 Reply

                        I think the problem on your end is less that he won’t jump in with the finances… and more that he won’t jump in with everything else. You listed household, kids, homeschool, food, health, etc. and spearheading ALL of that is wearing you out.

                        I think finances should be handled by someone with aptitude and give-a-shit… and if he ain’t that person, you’re risking it by delegating it. So hold onto the money management and look for ways to get some of other domestic responsibilities off your plate in the immediate term. If there’s things he can’t/wont help with, is there a way to outsource those tasks? For example, put bills on autopay, hiring a house cleaner, subscribing to a meal prep service, etc.? Things like that are lower hanging fruit that can free up your time and energy.

                        Lastly, since it sounds like you’ve tried to address this multiple times and you’re not getting anywhere with him… I’d get into marriage counseling, now. This issue will continue to be a problem and touch every aspect of your lives, and the resentment that’s there will only get bigger.

                        #94705 Reply

                          I went through the same for almost 15 years, then finally got divorced. Wish I had done it 10 years sooner – life is soooooo much easier and less stressful without a man-child to deal with. No one is entitled to your free mental, physical and financial labor. My home is my sanctuary now.

                          I’m 54 and will happily stay single for the rest of my life.

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