My wife offered to ‘lend’ me money when she was in financial trouble. Now I make six figures and she refuses to pay the bills.

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Dear Quentin, I wonder if I am paranoid or if I have reason to feel used. My wife and I have two children and we own a home. We have had difficult times throughout our marriage, but we are holding on. In 2019, I took a sales job thinking it would lead to higher pay. I was wrong. It took me a while to get my sales going, along with my commissions.

I had to start using my savings to pay my share of the bills, which is usually a little more than half of what we spend. My wife, coincidentally, started making a lot more money from her job and earned more than I did during 2019. It was around 60/40. She knew I was tight and was drawing on my savings, and she offered to “lend” me money to pay it back. I declined their offer and decided to borrow money from my company, what they called a “tie.” I was surprised and annoyed that he was treating our marriage as a business transaction.

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“‘She claims she shouldn’t have to pay any bills because she’s at home with the kids now during COVID, and I’m making six figures.’ ”

Fast forward to 2020. Luck changed. She received an inheritance of $ 200,000, plus $ 40,000 from her job as severance pay after she was laid off in March. The difficult sales job I had taken led me to get a new job that paid me more than six figures. When I started my new job and my wife received her money, she used part of her $ 200,000 inheritance to spend a lot: a $ 50,000 pickup truck and a $ 20,000 camping trailer. AMZN, the + 0.61% packages arrive every other day, and the rest is kept in a savings account. Here’s the thing. You will no longer pay bills. She says she receives no income except $ 3,200 for unemployment. She claims she shouldn’t have to pay any bills because she’s at home with the kids now during COVID, and I earn six figures. He also insists on “budgeting” so he can count every dollar I spend and make sure he puts that much extra money after the bills on our mortgage to pay off the house faster. It feels like I’m being pressured, but I can’t make her pay the bills. I am a fool? Confused You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at qfottrell@marketwatch.com. Do you want to read more? Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter and read more of his columns here. Dear Confused, I was feeling more puzzled than confused when I read your letter. Why would his wife offer to give him a “loan” instead of contributing more money to help them both through difficult times? Why wouldn’t your wife consider your $ 40,000 severance pay as a form of income from your business? Why wouldn’t you help pay the bills if you can afford it? Wouldn’t it make you feel good to be involved in running your home? You did your best to pay your way.

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“‘If a fool is born every minute, it is safe to assume that there is also one married every minute.’ “- The Moneyist

You could ask him these questions, of course, and you would no doubt get caught up in a debate that was tit for tat. If we accuse others of acting rudely, they will undoubtedly find an example, comparable or not, of some rude or petty behavior from us. I am not naive enough to believe that I, or anyone else, can win a lifetime game of negligible points and come out unscathed. It can last for years. Until death separates them. Therefore, these questions, while valid, are unlikely to lead to a satisfactory conclusion. They would probably open the doors to more rooms filled with stubborn pent-up outrage over financial irresponsibility. Are you being a fool? There is also no productive answer to that question. If a fool is born every minute, it is safe to assume that there is also one married every minute. But what good is it to revel in self-pity or disgust and embark on another battle of wills? The Moneyist: My fiancee’s mother asked us to raise her 2 children as we live in a good school district and she has a gambling addiction; then he reclaimed his stimulus controls. Questions to ask might be something like, “What has happened that has led us to this unhappy place where we embarked on a cold war: bank account against bank account, income against inheritance, and spouse against spouse? Is this the life that we had planned for ourselves? Because it was not the life that he had planned for us and it is not the kind of life I want to live. What can we do to get to a place of mutual understanding and respect? “It must also be done the hardest and easiest questions of all: What are you willing to accept? Where are the red lines in this marriage, the ones that are unacceptable to you, and where are the white lines, the ones you are willing and able to commit to? Having your wife go shopping while refusing to contribute to household expenses is not an action that leads to a healthy marriage, but it does not come out of nowhere. You have to find out where all this is coming from. It is repairable or it cannot be repaired. But you must ask the right questions of your wife, and yourself, to find out. Hello MarketWatchers. Take a look at Moneyist’s private FB Facebook group, -0.57%, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest financial problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns.