She's a Total Workaholic and It's Ruining Our Marriage

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Credit Card Debt

Meg: That's not true. I'm uncomfortable running up credit card debt under the best of circumstances. John and I have really different approaches to finances. Money was tight in my family, so I learned to shop sales -- or do without. I don't need expensive things to be happy. He does. John has great taste and high standards. He drinks only the finest wine and he's always the best-dressed guy in the room.

But John isn't just materialistic -- he's a secret spender, too. He'll go clothes shopping on his lunch break and can easily spend $2,000. Or he buys antiques online and I don't know about it until boxes show up at the front door. Three years ago John bought a bedroom set on eBay without telling me about it until the day before it was delivered. I was livid! I'd never buy something big for the house without consulting him first. To this day I'm still angry that he didn't ask my opinion.

John: Suddenly Meg wants all our financial decisions to be mutual. The irony here is that, in keeping my financial life separate from hers, I've been playing by her rules. We got married late in life -- Meg was 37, I was 43. We had decent nest eggs and long histories of credit. So Meg insisted we keep our credit separate. Fair enough. But then when Meg freaked out about my briefcase and my personal debt, it pissed me off. "Don't demand a full accounting from me now," I told her. "We're not changing the rules because you don't like them anymore."

Look, I don't blame Meg for hating her job. The hours are awful, the workload is outrageous, the clients are never satisfied. And I hate it, too. Meg comes home exhausted and stressed, still stuck in work mode. She doesn't have energy for the kids and she's too tired to help me straighten up the house. Meg is the love of my life. But lately I feel like our relationship is an afterthought. To me, our problem is that Meg's a workaholic, not that I'm spending too much.

Continued on page 3:  The Big Picture


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