What's His Is His; What's Mine Is His

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

My husband joined the Navy to make a better income and life for us. As an E-4, he now works longer hours for less pay. He is completely unhappy.

He has been complaining about how much I make, which is the same amount as his paygrade plus the Basic Allowance for Housing.

He wants me to pay half of the rent, which should be covered by the BAH. When I asked him why, he said that I need to contribute to "something" around the house and if he uses the BAH to pay the rent, he will be left with nothing because he has a car note to pay, which is about $300 a month.

Every time I am short on money and ask him for some, I end up having to pay him back.

I am mostly short on cash because after paying half the rent, I am the only one paying for any of the utility bills (phone, electric, water, cable, etc.).

He saves his money for what he needs. If I were to ask him to pay into anything, he would throw a hissy fit about how he works long hours and is underpaid.

I cannot seem to get through to him anymore. Just last week, he spent his WHOLE savings on firearms. I asked him, "Where do you see a firearm being used in MY life? I thought the savings were for OUR benefit?"

He replied, "But I want them."

I feel like he has been very selfish lately and possibly throughout the whole relationship, but I am just realizing it now.

I don't want to end our marriage and have been compromising with all of his requests, but I feel like this relationship is more about him than it is about us. I just want him to start thinking of this as a partnership and not just a "gimme" relationship.

I have been thinking about running away and just disappearing somewhere he cannot find me. I am to the point where I cannot even look at him anymore.

I care for him, but I can't even love him anymore. How do you get through to someone like that?

-- Not His Equal

Dear Equal,

This is not a fair marriage. It sounds like you are in a business arrangement and living with a roommate and not your husband.

Moreover, it sounds like you work for him. At times, you have been giving him 80 percent of your pay and you have nothing. What's "his is his" and whatever you bring to the table belongs to everyone.

He is glad you are working so you can take care of him and his hobbies. How can he justify buying firearms when you can't spend money or buy anything?

This is sad and bordering on abuse. I can see why you feel like separating from him and running away where he can't find you.

Obviously, with your pay, you can afford to take care of yourself. Your husband made a decision to enlist. If his current salary isn't enough, then he should get a part-time job like many other service members who need extra income.

He can't expect for you to take care of all of the finances: the rent, utilities, food and all of his personal items too. This is just not fair.

It would be great if he would work with a good marriage therapist who could teach him negotiating skills that could help him with this marriage and in other areas of his life.

I can't tell you to leave your husband, but I agree with you: This is not a good, healthy relationship that is based on love and respect. Please let me know what you decide to do.

-- Ms. Vicki


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