Help! I’ve been married for five years and my husband and I have two kids together. He makes a good amount of money, but all of it is consumed by bills. Whenever he has extra money, he gives it to his sister or mother (they ask for it because they think he’s richer than he really is). He never consults with me. Shouldn’t he be including me on these decisions? I work, too, but don’t make as much as him.
Am I wrong for thinking he’s taking our relationship for granted by just giving away his money? By the way, he tells his mom and sister that they don’t need to pay him back.
— Jehan from Chicago
I’m so happy you asked this question because I’ve faced the same problem. In my case, an ex-boyfriend was constantly forking over money to his son, and it drove me nuts. I felt like he wasn’t teaching his son the proper way to earn money, which, in my eyes, is through work, not handouts. I resented his son so much that it caused the majority of our fights. Even though we had separate bank accounts and we weren’t even married, I was just as angry as I’d be if it were my son and my money.
Something had to be done, and I knew from all my annoying spiritual books that I couldn’t ask my man or his son to change. I had to change. Finally, I found out that I suffered from the same disease many of us catch at some point — self-help guru Byron Katie named it the “Whose business are you in?” disease.
You mentioned a few times in your letter that it was “his” money, and it does sound like he takes care of you and your kids before “his” extra money goes where he wants it to go. Some guys blow their extra money on poker games and strip clubs. Your guy is spending it on his mom and his sibling. But if I were to flash back to how I used to feel when I was in your shoes, I’d have said, “I’d rather have my man spend it on poker games and strip clubs than on family members who expect handouts.”
I know it will be painful to read this, but hear me out. People like you and I, who have strong work ethics, get jealous of people who make money the easy way — by asking for it. We take the role of victim, claiming someone is taking advantage, when really we’re just jealous that we don’t have the guts to blindly ask people for money ourselves.
Sit with this for a bit, and if you can start to believe it to be true, you’ll feel so much freedom that you might giggle the next time you see him give a handout.
Or, do what I do now when I see it in my own life. I think, “That lucky son of a bitch.”