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Fear of Abandonment: A delicate, but heavy topic

I am a newlywed, married for 4 months now to a wonderful man. We dated for about two years before we got married, and things have always been great between us. He is super understanding of everything and we are very in "sync" with our quirks and personalities.

He knows that I've struggled with a fear of abandonment for most of my life. In fact, it caused me a great deal of anxiety early on in our dating relationship. When I finally told him that this is what I've struggled with, he was SUPER understanding and reassuring.

I've come a LONG way in dealing with this fear of abandonment, but it has not gone away completely. Most recently, it reared its ugly head when we started discussing how we are going to handle our money. We've both hung on to our individual checking accounts from before we were married, and then just opened a joint account for household bills. But I am getting ready to go down to a part-time job, so I will making significantly less money. I will have enough to pay my credit card bills, and car payment and that's it. No spending money at all. 

My husband's solution to this problem was that he would just transferring a certain amount of money from his checking account into the joint account that I can use for spending money. I suggested just doing one joint account and getting rid of our individual accounts and he said he would like to keep his own checking account. He said that this is how his parents have always handled their finances. I don't think he's doing anything shady; I think he's just trying to do what his parents did because that's what he's familiar with. But I don't feel like it works for our situation.

Here's the psychological aspect of this... The way he's choosing to handle this is sort of triggering my fear of abandonment. The fact that he doesn't want to just go ahead and totally combine incomes is making me feel like we're not a TRUE family, and I feel "beholden" to him. He says he doesn't want me to feel that way, but I don't think he totally gets it. Getting an allowance from him each month is different than just having everything be all together and non-distinct.

Let me emphasize, I do not think he's doing any of this to be selfish or hurtful. And I haven't really told him how all this makes me feel. I've tried, but I don't really go the distance with it because I don't want him to feel bad (even though I feel bad). Also, it is super emotional for me for some reason and I start crying whenever I try to talk to him about it. I'm annoyed with myself that I can't calmly explain my thoughts to him. 

Any advice on how to broach this very delicate topic with him? 

Re: Fear of Abandonment: A delicate, but heavy topic

  • Yes, I would write him a letter. I have done with before on heavy/emotional topics with DH. It gives me an opportunity to get my thoughts out in a thoughtful, non-threatening manner. Plus, I can anticipate DH's questions and provide the answers without him having to ask. Also, it ensures ALL my thoughts will come out before he responds to me.

    The joint or sole accounts issue is fairly common in marriages. So, don't feel like you're the only wife facing this marital topic. The people over on the MM Board may be able to help give you some practical advice.

    Here's an idea: what about having a lump checking account that's joint? Both your paychecks could come into it. Then, each month you and he each get money out of it for your respective needs into your sole checking accounts? So, you START with a joint/lump pile and then the funds get metered out to you or your DH. And, for ease, why not just pay ALL the bills (both yours and his) out of the joint checking and then use the sole accounts for "fun, spending money?" So, you retain some individuality, yet your core expenses and savings are help together?

  • I also answered your question about combined finances on MM.  However, I'm curious as to why you're moving to a part-time less paying job?
    HeartlandHustle | Personal Finance and Betterment Blog  
  • The reason I am moving to a part-time job is because I've been working in an incredibly stressful job for the past two years - I'm a teacher. It's so stressful that it affects my health. Since we are in our late 30s, we want to try and have a baby soon, but I'm afraid the stress will affect my ability to get pregnant. (I had irregular periods due to the stress of my job.)

    He encouraged and supported me quitting my job because he hated seeing me so stressed out all the time. I spent all summer looking for another full-time job, but somehow happened upon this part-time position that was perfect for me. He totally supported me accepting the job. We discussed the lower income and decided that we would be okay. He makes pretty good at his job, so we are still in good shape without my full income. Plus, I'll be doing other odd jobs to make some extra money.

    A little update though... we talked some more and he understands why this whole money thing has been difficult for me. I told him that for me it wasn't a money issue - it was a security issue and me wanting to feel like we are operating like a married couple instead of just two people who are living together. We concluded that the simple fact that we were talking about it and trying to work out a solution meant that we were operating like a married couple.

  • I also recommend @MommyLiberty5013 suggestion.  Put all the money into one account to pay bills/savings/etc. and then, from that money, each of you are doled out your own "mad money" to put into your own accounts.  It seems like that would solve both your need to feel like the money is "ours" instead of "his" and would also satisfy his need to still have his own account and some money to play with.

    With that said, I strongly recommend you all put each other on your own accounts...even if you all never touch each other's accounts.  It just makes it easier in case of emergency.

    That is what my husband and I do.  We actually keep our money fairly separate from each other...mainly because I am the only one bringing in an income at the present time and I deal with all the bills anyway.  But we are also on each other's accounts.

  • Are all the accounts linked and in one bank?  My parents always had joint.  H and I have joint & separate, but I'm able to log into the accounts as either of us because we've traded passwords/PINs, and move money around between accounts.  If you could do that, maybe it would help you?
    You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~Mae West
  • KyraNerysKyraNerys member
    10 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    edited August 2015

    I also recommend @MommyLiberty5013 suggestion.  Put all the money into one account to pay bills/savings/etc. and then, from that money, each of you are doled out your own "mad money" to put into your own accounts. 

    This is what we do.  All money goes into one account and we get an "allowance" every payday.  Just like when we were kids!  Sounds childish, but it's worked for 20+ years.

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