No. of Recommendations: 35

I've avoided wading into this thread until now because:

1. Your posts seem far from objective, so I don't think they're a good gauge as to where the problems really are;
2. You don't seem at all happy with your marriage and are obviously thinking about divorce; and,
3. You seem to be looking for some kind of justification for an unstated - and perhaps not yet formulated - course of action.

I suspect part of your problems stem from:

1. Inadequate communications from both of you;
2. Inadequate buy-in from your spouse; and,
3. Denial from both of you as to the source of your problems.

I would like to say that more money would fix these issues. And in the short-run it probably would. But I suspect even your lack of funds is symptomatic of a more fundamental underlying problem. (My little brother and his wife seem to have a similar relationship; but my parents help "enable" it by paying for things when they're short every month - which prevents any crisis from coming to a head.)

I suspect neither of you are really motivated to make this work. At least not any more. I'm sure you were doing fine when it was just you on a teacher's salary.

You'd probably found a niche you were happy with and you probably spent just a little less than what you made. Then along came your future wife. You fell in love, got married and had kids. But nothing changed in either of your careers (or lack thereof) or spending habits. However, you did increase your expenses. Now it's catching up to you and you can't stand the stress.

You want it all back the way it was. And she probably wants to deny what's happening. She probably, "... wishes she had a man capable of really providing for her and the family she's created." Or she could be one of a number of self-destructive personality types - hard to tell from your descriptions so far.

I think at a minimum you two need counseling. It sounds like you are already at your wit's end and need help in more than just finances. This board can give you some of that help; but I think you two may be in need of more help than this board can realistically provide. I don't say this because of your debt. I don't say this because of your income. I say it because of the tone of desperation your postings seem to convey and the fact that it seems to have something to do with more than just the money.

You seem to be seeking relationship advice. Many of us probably wound up here in part because of a failed relationship. That doesn't make us relationship experts though. We might be experts in one (or more) particular ways for a relationship to fail; but I doubt any of us would claim to be relationship experts. What we tend to discuss are ways to handle financial hardship and how to deal with and get out of debt. Sometimes that involves some observations and advice on the poster's relationship. That's unavoidable, really. Relationships are often fundamental to how finances are handled.

In your case, I think your relationship problems might be more ... problematic. Why? Because I suspect you are part of the problem. Oh sure, the wife is probably sabotaging your efforts; but that could be because she's already given up on you. I just can't tell from your posts. But clearly you're having a hard time dealing with the problems at hand and your posts leave me with a certain ... impression I can't shake.

BTW, I came here in part because of my own spouse. We separated about a year or two after I came to this board. We eventually divorced. I never became expert at dealing with her type of personality ... issues. But I did become fairly adept at isolating the damage she did from my part of the finances - not really because of what I learned here. I had to figure much of that out on my own.

I also drew a line with my ex. She kept talking about bankruptcy. But I knew we had plenty of income and that her spending was the real problem. After all, by the time I came here *I* was paying for every single necessity out of my income and my only remaining credit card debt was due to paying for part of her college and some medical bills she'd incurred.

A few years before we separated, I told her that I had no need to file for bankruptcy and that her spending was her own problem. Within a year or two of graduating she made a full third of our take-home pay - as a school teacher - but she paid nothing toward the mortgage, utilities, groceries, insurance, my automotive expenses and I always paid when we dined out together. You name it, I probably paid for it. Yet her debts were climbing and mine were falling. So at some point during our arguments over bankruptcy, I told her that the day she filed I'd file for divorce - because there was no way a bankruptcy court would keep me out of her bankruptcy given that we lived in a community property state.

What brought it all to a head was my discovering some of her records (before anyone complains, she'd left them in the master bedroom in a portable file box I didn't recognize) while she was away on some "retreat". The contents were pretty damning. She had apparently committed what in my book was fraud. I'll leave the details out for now.

We had a hell of a row when she got home. A lot went after that, including her landing on her behind and later swing a bat repeatedly at me and mine because I'd "hurt her." After she calmed down, I came back home. I'd finally had enough. I had every right to be pissed. She had none. I knew she was a bit nuts; but this was just over the top. I told her to pack her things and get out. I'd be back in a few hours and didn't want to see her there anymore. She broke down and cried. Said she didn't want to leave. Said she couldn't get everything. I told her to come back the next day and take what she wanted while I was at work; but we were done.

My only regrets are: 1) that we didn't separate sooner; and 2) that I waited to actually file for divorce. OK. In hind sight, perhaps I should regret actually marrying her.

So why am I telling you all this? It's because I don't consider myself very functional relationship material. I certainly learned a lot of lessons in that marriage; but there are only a few I care to share. I stuck it out for nearly 20 years. I *KNEW* my marriage was a disaster in 1990; but we didn't even separate until 2001. I was an idiot. Most people will say my reactions are extreme. But I'll never marry again. Oh, my girlfriend keeps making some good rational arguments for doing so. She knows that if she can show we will save money on taxes or something, I might be persuaded. But I'm fairly happy the way things are now. And I'm not married. Why change what works? Certainly I never found marriage to work.

The point here being that I don't know how to fix your relationship problem. But I can see your posts are shouting relationship problems. And those seem to be your biggest problems. And perhaps you need to solve that first.

Anyway, I've had my say. I'll bow out and let other people comment. Hopefully they can offer more useful advice.

- Joel
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