She's a Total Workaholic and It's Ruining Our Marriage
Meg, 48, PR manager
John, 54, sales director
Married 11 years
Kids: Alex, 6; Kim, 4
Marlene Gershman Paley
Cold Spring Harbor, New York
Meg wants to quit her job to spend more time with her family. But she thinks she can't work less than full-time because John spends so much. John insists that's not a real issue. He feels neglected and thinks Meg puts career before family.
Meg: If John really wants me to quit my job, why won't he stop spending like crazy? Buying lots of expensive stuff means I have to stay in my job so we can pay the bills. When I tell him I'm scared about money, he rolls his eyes and says I'm being "ridiculous." Really? I think he's being selfish and inconsiderate.
John and I have our own credit cards and separate checking accounts for personal expenses. We don't review each other's bills, but the other day, when John bought a $600 briefcase, I took a closer look at our finances and learned he'd spent $17,000 on stuff for himself over the past two years. I freaked out when I saw the debt he's carrying. How can I downsize my job when he's spending like that?
John: By "review our finances," Meg really means that she snooped through my credit card statements. Yes, I've got debt. But she didn't even know about it until she flipped out over the briefcase and started poking around. Here's the thing: Meg acts like we're living on our last dime, but we're not broke -- not by a long shot. And I'm not mortgaging our future. I'm saving 20 percent of my salary in my 401(k), we have two 529 plans for our kids' college educations, and I make triple payments on my credit card debt every month. Over and over, I've assured Meg that I can support our family. We don't need her income to meet our financial goals. But Meg would rather blame me than believe me. I think she's looking for an excuse not to leave her job, so she pins it on me because it's easy and convenient.