Scraping Quarters for Gas Money

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I've been married two years now, and we live off a pretty low income.

I just had our son, and my husband is constantly after me about saving more than half his paycheck and not touching our savings at all -- even when our son needs more than the "budget" he gave me.

The economy hit his parents hard, and they are in debt. We aren't. I keep all our bills clean and don't even get myself things I need to pay off my medical bills.

I'm pretty much at a loss at what to do. He doesn't want me to work due to some health issues. I keep applying for a job and, every time I get an interview, he bashes me down, claiming he doesn't understand why I need one.

Yet we are scraping up dimes and quarters to put enough gas in the tank to make it to my doctor's appointments. Still, I’m not allowed to touch our savings. I would think it would be obvious why I want to have my own income coming in.

Making things worse, he cheats on me. It’s becoming a habit, as it has happened with many girls many times.

I feel lost. His whole unit thinks he is an ideal man and treats me well. But inside, I'm dying and miserable. I've told one person he has cheated on me, and they don't want me to leave him. That's all anyone tells me: Don't leave him.

 Should I try to get counseling for the money and cheating? Or am I at a point that I'm better off leaving? I don't want to be the overreacting military wife who left her soldier.

-- Miserable

Dear Miserable,

Wait a minute: Your husband is cheating on you? He is very controlling with the finances? He doesn’t want you working so that you can earn money and improve your self-esteem and self-worth? And you wonder if you are overreacting???

Of course, you are not overreacting. This situation is not good. It’s very harmful. You are feeling very low. You said you are "miserable and dying." You have to make changes.

I can’t tell anyone when it’s time to leave their marriage. However, let me be clear: Your husband is not acting like your knight in shining armor. He’s behaving like a jerk.

Again, you can stay and do nothing if you want to, but this is a trainwreck waiting to happen.

I think you should pursue counseling so you can have support. You need someone who can provide guidance and assurance to help you make some decisions. This insight will also help you discover why you would be willing to stay with someone who treats you so badly.

I also think you should find employment. Consider that since your husband believes you are financially stable on his income alone, the money you earn from working can be yours. He doesn’t need you to contribute to the household.

You are doing something I could never do -- staying with someone who doesn’t respect you. If you stay, you should at least make changes that are beneficial to you and your children.

I care about you and I care about your children.

Check on base for the availability of counseling services. If none are available, contact Military OneSource, and they will connect you to a provider in your local community.

Let me know what you decide to do.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Family and Spouse Marriage