Stop a Spender
Q: I have been with my wife since I was 16 and she was 17, and have loved her since the first day I laid eyes on her. We have had an awesome life together. We have three teenagers. We've had your typical ups and downs, but have an amazing home and lifestyle which brings the problem. My wife has been spending money out of my business accounts for several years. She forges my name, steals checks, and every time I confront her about it, she turns it against me. She tells me since I help my family members, she's entitled to this. Problem is, she is spending in excess of 150k per year in cash and has no assets to show for that. Tells me it's for the kids and everyday living, but I spend a lot of time with my family and could never spend this much. I pay all the mortgages, and cars and credit cards are all paid off, I pay tuitions (now college), and cannot afford her to spend this much. I offered her $500 per week since she has nothing to buy. I pay food, utilities, everything. So my question is this: how do I stop her? When I don't give her money she tells me she hates me, has hit me, and told me she wants a divorce. So should I let her go? Is there some sort of financial counselor that can help or would just a marriage counselor do? -- Jim, 45
Dr. Susan: Fixing your dysfunctional marriage is way beyond the expertise of the average financial counselor. It's not only about the unbelievable amounts of money your wife spends, it's her other behaviors as well. She lies, steals, forges your name, hits you, and threatens you with leaving if you so much as try to talk reason with her. You have to get to the bottom of this. I suspect a major drug habit, or gambling addiction, or maybe she's supporting some other lover. Or she could be manic-depressive and spending wildly during her manic phases. See if she'll agree to counseling (because the two of you are obviously struggling and miserable), though if she wants out, let her go. First, consult an attorney to see what your rights are. Meanwhile, take notes and keep records.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.