Welcome to Joint Accounts, a weekly advice column about money and relationships of all kinds. Have a question? Email email@example.com.
Dear Joint Accounts,
My wife and I keep all our money in joint accounts. She’s generally pretty good with our finances, except when it comes to her adult daughter, whom she spoils grotesquely. Whenever my stepdaughter asks for money — which she does, often — my wife hands it over, to the point that I’m uncomfortable with it from a financial standpoint as well as a parenting one. But when I bring this up to my wife, she shuts it down with comments like, “You seem to have a lot of unresolved anger toward her.”
I’ve also discussed this issue with my therapist, who advised me to separate our accounts. But that seems drastic to me — like the first step toward a separation. Am I being overdramatic on this? Should I move my money so my stepdaughter’s requests are no longer my problem, or am I better off trying to get my wife to say “no” to her daughter?
Reluctant to Separate
It sounds to me like there are two issues at play here: Your conflicting views on parenting, and how that conflict is affecting your finances. It’s hard for me to get into the parenting stuff without knowing your wife’s side of the story, but if she thinks this is about unresolved anger, and you don’t feel that way at all, then there’s a disconnect happening somewhere. It’s time to find it and fix it.
You mentioned you’re in therapy, which is great. Is it possible to bring your wife to a session? With ongoing conflicts like this one, it can be especially helpful to have some third-party guidance. If that’s not doable, you and your wife will need to sit down and have an objective conversation on your own.
But you’ve probably tried this, and I’m guessing that every time you do, the conversation turns into a fight. If that’s the case, examine your approach. Think about the way you two talk to each other when you have this discussion. For example, one partner might be anxious about conflict…