Lending Children Money Causes Strain on Marriage

armymom8086February 17, 2009

New to the Forum and looking for advice. Maybe I'm being unreasonable. Here's the background...

I met my husband eight years ago through work, we've been married for four. We both were successful in business and money is not an issue. That is... what is his is his, and what is mine is his. He's very controlling when it comes to the checkbook, but I'm not high maintenance and it is generally okay with me that he controls the money (we both had healthy bank accounts). We have three grown sons between us and I am close to my two boys. He cut his son off at eighteen, no extended education, and he works as a laborer, but makes decent money. Their relationship is strained. My sons went all the way through school and both have their Masters degrees. I am close to both of them. So my husband and I differ opinions on relationships with children once they've graduated High School.

My husband likes to pick at little things and has referred to me as stupid more than once (even though I have an IQ of 149). It bothers me, but I have always let it go.

Here's the story... My youngest son, an officer in the US Army currently serving in Iraq called me and asked me to wire him $1,000. They don't have access to a lot of cash over there. He told me when he got back he'd write me a check but his checkbook was in storage in Alaska. My son is very reliable so if I want him to pay me back there is no problem with him doing so. We wired him the money. Last week he was home on leave, which was a nice visit, and he thanked me for sending the money to him and told me he would get it back to me as soon as he got back from Iraq, next September. After my son left, my husband went ballistic, he demanded "his $1,000" and told me he didn't care if he was on his way back to Iraq or not I was to call him "now" and tell him to get "the money". I was in shock...I told my husband I would not call him and I told him I refused to have this conversation with him. We have not spoke for two days and it is killing me, but I feel my husband was way out of line on this one. Am I wrong? My son has never asked for anything from us before. I'm still stunned at this reaction from my husband.

I feel like this has done some serious damage to our marriage.

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I'm not sure what to say other than WOW. I have been married almost 16 years and in those year my DH has never called me stupid or been controlling with our money. It bothers me more that he puts you down and speak to you that way then the money issue does.
I don't care if you have the I.Q. of a doorknob he has no right speaking to you that way.
I know I am not offering any advice simply because I have never been treated this way and I'm not sure what to say.
In my opinion you are not wrong and he owes you an apology.
Best of luck!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 5:21PM
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He's way out of line.

1) $1,000.00 to a trustworthy son who hasn't yet done anything other than what he promised is not that big an issue. If your hubby wants to make it an issue, he can wait until your son returns and then fails to repay. That was the promise. When he does repay, your husband will have had some idiot-awareness training.

2) Loving spouses don't speak to each other as you've described he's spoken to you -- whether there's a legitimate issue or not. That should be compelled to stop.

Since you're getting the silent treatment right now, that fat's already in the fire. Why not clean it up right now instead of waiting for the next time. Don't let this fester. IMHO it needs to be dealt with at once.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 6:32PM
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If you don't have separate bank accounts, get them pronto, or take over the accounting yourself.

We're only talking about $1000- there is absolutely no reason to worry about that if you are doing fine financially. You may have plenty of money going into the bank, but you need to check to see what's going out.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 3:07PM
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Best freakin' advice my dad ever gave me:
"Never LEND anyone money...instead GIVE to those in need whatever you can afford to give. In both scenarios you're not getting the money back, so the latter will at least change the way you feel about it."

If there is no obligation to repay and no deadline, then it doesn't strain the relationships, which a loan ALWAYS does. And if you do get it back eventually, then it's just icing on the cake.

I'm sorry for your troubles. It sounds like your hubby is being a bully and a control freak. As far as his reaction goes: personally I can't stand Dr. Phil (sorry Dr. Phil fans), but he said something once that I found very insightful, he said, "You teach people how to treat you." If you allow people insult you, you have taught them that is acceptable to do so. His reaction is totally inappropriate and you should draw the line immediately if anyone is being disrespectful to you, spouse or otherwise.

There was one time when DH and I were first dating, he was flirting and teasing me about something, and in a totally playful manner I flipped him off. He got totally serious and explained to me that he was ok with that from his friends, but when it comes to relationships, he feels that both parties should treat each other with the utmost respect, and he would appreciate it if I would never do that again and he promised never to do it to me. That was a wake-up call. For ten years we have stuck by that 'code of conduct' even through many-a-heated argument, because he made it clear that was out-of-bounds.

Don't let him bully you. Give him logical reasons why you made the deicion that you did, and take the high road: avoid insulting him back as it gives you credibility and shows that you practice what you preach. I would recommend changing the loan to a gift and explain that you have a right as a financial contributor to make that decision. If you get the money back from DS, then put it in a seperate account for him in case he ever needs another 'gift' in the future. That way, the future 'gift' comes out of money you never expected to have and therefore shouldn't put a strain on your relationship.

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 11:02PM
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I don't think you are being unreasonable.

You should expect your husband to be supportive of this situation. How dare he doubt your son and his promise to repay the money.

One good thing is that you have some money in your name.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 12:47AM
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I would agree that this incident has done some serious damage to your marriage. You let him have control of the money because you were comfortable with that. This incident is no longer going to have you comfortable with that. He has no right to demand you do anything. Its your money too. You shouldnt have to explain or "clear it with him" to give your son money if he needs it. This incident would induce a much needed conversation about "funds". If you are making your own money and he expects everything to be cleared with him first, my monies would be separated in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 8:04AM
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Thank you all for your words of wisdom and support. I am guilty of enabling my husband to be controlling and you are all correct that I should have sat him down the first time he belittled me and made it clear that it would not be tolerated. He is a good man, strong business man, and overly protective, but I think he tends to forget I am not a business associate but a life/love partner. The ice broke last night and we were able to discuss a few things. Although he is not capable of apologizing he realizes now how terribly he hurt me and maybe he will think twice before doing it again. Maybe not, we will see.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 10:44AM
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