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This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
Big Changes...
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3point14 posted:
hi everybody! firstly, just want to apologize in advance for terrible punctuation/grammar. posting from my cell, and its a little arduous.
soo, yeah, if you dont know my "situation" i'm a 24 year old woman in a really happy,healthy relationship with a 25 year old man. no kids, we've been together for just over 3 years with normal amounts of turmoil but for the most part, darn happy.we recently had a huge lifestyle change when my gram found us a house to rent. its less expensive than our former apartment on the rent, and this is the first time in my life i've ever not lived in an apartment. i'm really, really happy about the whole thing, and we literally juuuust got done moving.

the only thing is, we're going to be combining our funds for this house. it just makes more sense, we've talked about it endlessly and we have the same financial goals: to get the most bang for our buck with every dollar, and put a ton of money towards the house. even though we dont "own" it, this house is a massive deal to both of us and we want to make it gorgeous. we've already done a ton of painting and work on it, and are working together to make a functional budget.

but, because I grew up super poor, combining money has been stressing me out badly. i love him, i trust him, i don't see us breaking up anytime soon...but i make a little bit more than he does, and theres this part of my brain that just wants to cry every time i think about our budget. i dont think im going to wind up carrying more of the burden or anything...i think it's just that ive come so far from how my life used to be that i'' just petrified hes going to mess me up financially. hes gotten SO good about money and communication is key...but theres this little anxiety-monster that insists "well yeah of course he wanted to combine funds, he makes less than you do".

i dont know, i feel like i'm explaining myself poorly...basically i logiclaly "get" that moving into a house together and putting our money together is like, the kissing-cousin to being "married" and i just have really, really conflicting feelings about that. theres nobody else i want to spend the rest of my life with, but like, i've always liked our relationship because we were together but separate. we spend a lot of time not around each other and have different friends. i'd always said that even if we got married, my money was mine and his was his, but pragmatically this is going to make my life so much easier.

i just feel weird about the whole thing, and whenever i try to explain it to him i feel like i'm being insulting. i think i mostly have a problem with the degree of change i'm experiencing, and the lack of real-world advice i have.my parents are very supportive of all this, but they see it as a stepping-stone to their baby girl getting married. it probably on some level is.this is terrible to admit, but i've been proposed to like eight times, and i've always said yes because those people didn't super matter to me. i fear this relationship because it's so high stakes. as we get more "serious" i have more to theoretically lose, and once my money gets tangled in that, i just fear so badly that if things go wrong, i'll just be nothing.

i have a hard enough time depending on him emotionally. i've gotten better about it, but it's still really hard for me. to have him have veto power on purchases, or to have to take his opinion into account...it just freaks me out. it requires a lot of trust, and while i trust him deeply...if i'm being real with myself, i'm scared. i never thought he'd want to stay with me for so long, and get so committed. i'm so honored that he does, but its still a huge weight. i don't want to disappoint or be disappointed...
basically, i'm sitting in a new house with a new life stretched out in front of me, waiting for me to grab it, and i'm intimidated as hell...am i being dumb? over-analyzing the fun out of this whole experience?
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queston responded:
If the difference in your incomes is not extreme, then it would probably be best to just share these expenses equally--you could each have a certain amount per month directly deposited into a joint account, and then make decisions on how to spend from that account jointly.

Since you make more, this would hit his income a little harder, percentage-wise. You could compensate by picking up more of your other expenses (meals, entertainment, etc), or you could kick in a little more for larger joint expenses on an ad hoc basis.

Kicking in by percentage is also fair, in a different sort of way, but I think it would inevitably lead to the feeling among one or both of you that there is an imbalance in decision making power with respect to that joint money.
 
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queston replied to queston's response:
I meant to add that my wife and I have always treated our money communally, so that's what makes the most sense to me. When I was in grad school, her income was greater, but since then, mine has been (but not drastically so). So we've never really had any feelings of inequality or problems around our joint finances.

However, about 6 years ago, my wife did pretty-much unilaterally decide to take a lower-stress job that paid about 15% less. Shortly after that, the economy crashed and our salaries have grown very little since, so that 15% cut has hit us pretty hard. I try very hard not to feel resentment over than, but every time she complains about money, that nags at me.

*My* interpretation of that is that it's much safer for couples to make financial decisions jointly. Individuals in a marriage or other long-term couple relationship having major financial autonomy seems like a dangerous recipe, to me.
 
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darlyn05 responded:
I like questons` idea of creating a joint account where you both deposit a certain amt of money each pay period and use that for the household expenses. It seems as though in essence the two of you are/were already doing so previously by sharing expenses. Taking small steps like this towards your future goals together I would think will help lessen the anxiety and stress you are experiencing. Just take things slow and I'm sure he understands and appreciates your position on this.

Good luck!
 
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MellyGal20 replied to darlyn05's response:
My other suggestion would be that you both participate in the bills and financial arrangments. Check out Dave Ramsey for sure, and try to meet together once a month for a Budget Committee Meeting. My experience is that when only one person is taking care of the finances, the other person begins to feel left out - cheated - and bitter. Do it together, it's really not as hard as it sounds. Just tough to get started! Good Luck!
 
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1nt3rnalc0mbu5t1on responded:
Welcome back first off, havent heard from you in a while. Congrats on the new digs. I have some experience with this sort of situation and i can totally relate to where your at.

Your not being "dumb" or over analyzing anything, so give yourself a break When i was married this obviously was a topic that came up and the situation was similar to yours, my ex made more money than i did. When we bought our house it of course made sense to put all the cash in one spot. I was mortified to say the least. All my life it was "my" money and now its going to be "our"money. What we ended up doing was creating a joint account and we both opened up individual accounts at the same bank.

So you could have your own bank card and with technology you can move money back and forth between the two with the click of the mouse or tap of a smart phone. So when you get your budget together and include everything. All the bills, rent and have an idea for what you'd like to spend for fun or dates, etc. So if your budget is 1400 a month, you each could put in 350 a pay check. That way you'd still have your money to spend how you want and you took care of the financial responsibilities.

It will take some getting used to thats for sure, but if you care about this guy, which you obviously do. You'll find a way to make it work And when it comes to bdays and holidays, you'd still have your money to buy gifts and such.

Best of luck on the house and the finances!

IC
 
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gd9900 responded:
3point - I've wondered how things are with you! Very happy to hear you and man-friend have been offered the opportunity to experience home life in a different light. I understand how intimidating such changes can be...its worth it to let things settle in before taking more on. I find you to be an intelligent and cautious person - relationships aren't easy as you know...and your happiness is what is most important in your life. You know this and I've witnessed (through your posts) you taking several stands attesting to that. Its clear from your post you are not comfortable with the current financial arrangements. Rather than explaining your view, what would think about offering an alternative you would feel more comfortable with? A compromise...Maybe its looks something like, agreeing on an amount each of you contributes weekly/bi-weekly/monthly/ that equals half to the household "shared" bills. The remainder of your pay each of you is allowed to keep for personal bills or purchases. The beauty of compromising is its a joint effort of agreement designed to give each party a little of what they want...not one sided. Sometimes it is a better way of communicating because its more of a business deal and less of an emotional hashing. KWIM? In any case as the stakes go up and your relationship grows, keep true to yourself. Its so good that you throw caution to the wind as you do...it means you are not willing to lose sight of you! You're worth it girlie!!! And if man-friend is all the person he sounds to be, he must realize those qualities you possess are worth giving something up for every now and again


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