< Back to front page Text size +

She wishes I made more money

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  September 17, 2013 10:03 PM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

It's another celebrity answer day with "New Girl" star Lamorne Morris. And we chat at 1.


Q: My wife and I have been having issues. It really started with my current job, which I love, but it barely pays enough to cover bills/expenses and that places most of the financial burden on her. I have had this job for about three years. She was OK with it at first because I think she knew how important the job was to me but also because she thought it would only be for a year and she did not fully understand the financial impact it would cause. I have started teaching on the side, which helps a little but not nearly enough. I'd say about a year ago, I finally accepted I have to move on and started looking for other jobs that pay more. At first I conducted a limited search, but since about April I have expanded my search and applied to about 25 jobs (with no response yet from any of them).

She is 34, I am 36. We live in a small one-bedroom apartment. Due to my situation (and our combined significant student debt and that I do my best to not accrue any credit card debt), we don't take vacations, we don't go out very often, and we can't really plan to start a family because of financial constraints. She wants all of those things and is tired of not having a bigger place to live, of not taking vacations, not having kids, etc. I do understand that.

We went to a few sessions of couples counseling a few months ago. I thought it was productive and that we had a plan that we agreed on -- that we would both look for new jobs. She feared that I was content with our situation and didn't want more, but in therapy I thought it came across that I want to be able to do all the things she does, but that I am afraid about money. That is why I don't like to go out often, why if she is going out with friends sometimes I decline to attend in order to save money.

Things improved, but in the last few weeks, I see that we are right back to where we were before we went to counseling. She is clearly unhappy and feels trapped and frustrated. And then today, I went to check my email but her email came up. I honestly was not snooping but Gmail displays the first line of emails, and I saw that in about four emails to different friends she was complaining about me, saying she is just focusing on herself and doing her thing and not worrying about me, that she is tired of me not wanting to go out, and that she is sick of our lives being in neutral.

I guess I don't know what to say or do. We have discussed all of this, and I understand her frustration. And I have admitted that I waited too long to understand. But at the same time, I feel like she is showing no patience. I can't make someone hire me who will pay more money. I am going to teach an additional class to try to earn a little more money, but I don't want to spend money I don't have in the short term. I get why she may not want to hear me say "it will get better" since I have said that before, but I do feel frustrated that the issue we discussed in therapy a only short while ago she seems to have already forgotten about. I know I firmly believe any problems we have stem from money (my job and huge student debt). She thinks there is more to it, but any issue she brings up traces directly back to money. She feels she is the one who always plans everything and that I never go out, but that is because of money issues.

What should I do? Think? Am I wrong to be upset that she appears unwilling to accept our financial situation since I am putting in a real effort to improve it, or at least understand that is why I am hesitant to go out more and make plans more?

– Mo Money, Mo Problems, Boston


A: Please use the money from the extra class to go out and be social with your wife. You can't stop living while you wait for another job, and you need to learn balance. Saving is good, but so is having fun with your partner. You have to invest in the relationship.

Tell her that you miss going out with her (assuming that's true), and that you hope to use the class money to be better in the present. I'm not advising big nights out on the town, by the way. I'm thinking appetizers and a movie or a free night at a museum followed by a drink with some friends. And yes, you should plan some of these nights.

I also recommend that you have more daily communication about the job search because I doubt she knows that it's still a big priority. She didn't realize that you were on the same page about the future until you talked about your goals in therapy. Keep telling her where you are so that she can't make assumptions about what you're doing (or not doing) to move forward.

Readers? Should he be going out more? Is this about his salary or his inability to go out? Should he use the extra money to be social? Should he tell her he saw the Gmail? Should they stay in therapy? Discuss.

– Meredith



E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

 
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

Ask us a question

Required
Required
archives