Joint Accounts

How Can I Get My Partner to Stop Micromanaging My Money?

It’s hard not to feel resentful

Kristin Wong
Forge
Published in
4 min readSep 9, 2019

--

An illustration of a couple butting heads. The man has dollar signs in his eyes and the woman has fire in hers.
Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

My partner and I both work full time, and we both contribute to our household expenses. She outearns me substantially — which I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t I feel that she micromanages my spending.

She knows that I have almost nothing left after taking care of bills and necessities each month. Whenever we sit down to budget, she questions all my financial decisions like I’m a child — why I spent money on this or that, or, don’t I think that purchase was frivolous? And every time, I get defensive and we get into an argument.

Am I being unreasonable? I want to know how to overcome this feeling of resentment before it blows up, but I don’t know which one of us needs to back off.

Sincerely,

Reaching Resentment

AsAs someone who can also be a bit controlling when talking money with loved ones, I can understand where your partner is coming from, and how frustrated she may be feeling. On the other hand, I get where you’re at, too, because I’ve had people tell me how cruddy this makes them feel.

Your partner probably doesn’t fully realize how she’s coming across when she’s financially shaming you, or the effect that it’s having. To her, it probably seems like you’re just being defensive because of what she perceives to be bad financial behavior.

Still, without knowing all the details, it does sound like she needs to back off a bit. Even if you could use some help with your budgeting (and hey, we all could use a little help), micromanaging someone is rarely effective, and often is counterproductive.

The first step to getting her to ease up is talking about how her behavior is making you feel.

But let’s try to see this from her side, too. Why does she feel she needs to micromanage your money? That’s not a rhetorical question; it’s something to explore with her. Control issues are often rooted in fear and insecurity, so what is she fearful or insecure about? For instance, I worry about my family’s financial…

--

--

Kristin Wong
Forge
Writer for

Kristin Wong has written for the New York Times, The Cut, Catapult, The Atlantic and ELLE.