"My Husband Is a Tightwad"

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His Turn, continued

"Patricia is the most beautiful, energetic woman I've ever met -- the kind of person whose natural radiance attracts people. On the night we met she was a font of information on Philadelphia, where I was a newcomer. Within a few months, I was madly in love. Patricia brought an excitement to my life that I hadn't known I was missing.

"When we were dating I sensed that Patricia was more liberal with money than I was but I didn't realize how wide the gap was until we started remodeling the condo. We set a budget for everything, and I made it clear that I wanted to stick to it. With a baby on the way, I felt anxious about the expense of raising a child. I wanted to exercise some restraint, especially since Patricia stopped working after her first trimester. I didn't mind that -- she was so sick in the beginning she could barely work anyway -- but I don't like the fact that she disregarded all my concerns. If she found something for our home that was beyond our budget but that she couldn't resist -- the antique light fixture in our bathroom, for instance -- she'd buy it without telling me. Or she'd upgrade to more expensive sinks and faucets, saying the investment would enhance our resale value. I wouldn't know about these purchases until I looked in the checkbook. One of our worst fights was over that painting. I've hated it since the day her friend loaned it to us and I've repeatedly told her so. But Patricia has a selective memory. As for her claim that I don't help her make decisions, well, what's the point? She'll do what she wants anyway.

"Patricia is deceitful in other ways, too. It's gotten to the point where she hides her purchases in places she thinks I won't look. Once I came across an expensive leather handbag with the tags still on it wedged behind pots and pans in a kitchen cabinet. When I asked her about it, she cried and accused me of not loving her.

"Yes, I'm guilty of staying out late with clients and not calling. Yes, I'm guilty of drinking a bit too much these days. I'm ashamed of this behavior, but I'm so unhappy at home that client events have become a refuge. I love my wife, and I want our marriage to work, but this money situation cannot continue."

Continued on page 5:  The Counselor's Turn


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