Nekia Walker

My husband wants me to pay half the bills

  • Money matters: couples must have a united plan when it comes to domestic finances

Dear Dr. Nekia,

I work part-time and stay at home taking care of the house and the children when I am not working, but my husband wants me to still pay half of the bills.

I thought it best to look into home schooling our children and for now my mom and I watch them during the day so that they do not have to go to preschool and nursery.

I donít mind being a stay-at-home mother and wife, and what I do make contributes to my personal expenses and sometimes the childrenís so it is not like my husband has to completely take care of me. I do not see the problem. Do you think that it is fair that he expects me to be responsible for paying half of everything?


He Wants Half

Dear He Wants Half,

Finances are a very personal matter and I encourage couples to try to work things out between themselves. Find what works best for your household and agree to stick to it as much as possible. But every now and then, there are those who find it difficult reaching an agreement among themselves. This is where a mediator and/or a financial planner becomes an asset to your relationship.

Usually, partners do not share or see a common financial vision and each has their own passionate opinions of how they think that money should be handled.

However, you both need to see one anotherís points of view and be willing to truly hear what one another has to say. Half of communication is listening, and, unfortunately, couples have a difficult time hearing one another out when it comes to topics that excite emotionally charged responses. It does seem highly unlikely that you will be able to contribute to half of the householdís financial expenses since you only are employed on a part-time basis because chances are that you are bringing in far less than half of your total income.

Half does not seem fair, but this all depends on the value that your husband places on you staying at home to care for the family and the expectations that he had prior to marriage. Did you both not talk about this and set out a plan of how your household would be run? I hope that you did, but I am sometimes amazed at the number of couples who do not have serious discussions about topics such as children and finances prior to being seriously involved with one another.

It is best to find someone who is compatible with your goals and who shares your vision or is at least willing to compromise with you. You need to be on the same page and if not, and you are already in a union together, you have no choice but to hash things out. A man who places great value or importance on a woman taking care of the home will be far less likely to expect you to pay half of the bills, but a man who values money or who cannot provide enough to sustain his family will insist that you do contribute half to all expenses.

So is this a matter of your husband not valuing your non-financial contributions or is it that he can not afford to take care of the bills on his own? Figuring out the answer to this question will help you to know how to proceed in addressing the situation. If it is that he can not afford everything on his own, then there are really only a few options for you. Either you have to downsize on expenses, he has to get another job that will take him away from spending time with the family, or you have to consider further employment.

It is admirable that you would like to carry on the traditional values of being the woman in the home, but for a lot of us, this may not be economically feasible. On the other hand, if your husband can afford to provide, but he does not value your homely contributions, you will have to convince him to take what you bring to the table seriously. As todayís society is pretty much all about profits and financial gain, it is not uncommon for men to devalue a stay-at-home mom and wife. They would much rather someone who brings in an attractive paycheque rather than someone who spends her time keeping an attractive house.

The reality is that many men would prefer and often times expect for a woman to do it all. They expect her to be a good mother, and a pleasing wife who holds down a job plus the household duties. And make no mistake about it, there are women who buy into this as well. However, not all men think this way, and not all women would agree to taking on so many roles and responsibilities. This is where compatible and common vision come into play.

It sounds as though you and your husband do not share a common vision of how to reach your financial goals. Visit your monthly income and measure it up to your monthly expenses. See if there are any areas that you both need to cut back on and decide what makes financial sense. From there, make a list of the household tasks that need to be completed to run the household smoothly. Discuss the benefits to home schooling and make agreements of how your income will be spent. Try not go bring too many people into the situation by asking their opinion. Like I said, finances are very important and personal to each couple. Stay focused on what will work best for your house, not what so and so has done or what has happened to this and that person. You and your husband may not be able to come to an agreement over night, but you both will feel so much more at ease once you do.

Dear Dr. Nekia,

My girlfriend got an abortion without telling me she was even pregnant. I just found out after it has already been done and I am very angry at her. She doesnít understand why and says we are not married and it is her body so it is her choice what to do.

She didnít even give me a chance to want or not want the baby. And I think that is very selfish of her. How can I even trust her again if she can keep secrets and just go make such a big decision behind my back and feel no way about it afterwards? But everyone will look at me as being the unsupportive bad guy if I break up with her.


She Didnít Tell Me

Dear She Didnít Tell Me,

Do you view abortion as a viable option to pregnancy, or are you against it? It helps to establish just how much of your anger towards her is personal or moral. If you think that abortion is wrong, you are much more likely to look down upon her for her decision because of her deceit and immoral decision to terminate the pregnancy. However, if you do not think abortion to be wrong, you are most likely focusing on the fact that she was so secretive.

In either case, I would guess that you also feel as though she took from you the power of choice and potential experience of being a father. The truth is that many women have been taught and believe that the motto ďtheir body, their choiceĒ is true for them.

What these women do not see is the value in the manís contribution in making life, nor do they believe that his voice carries as much weight as hers. Most of us go into pregnancy having to ask ourselves, what if? And what entails the worst-case scenario? What if he leaves me? What if I can not afford this baby on my own? What about my career? What will my friends and family think? And the list goes on; so what very well may have been a selfish act on her part, most likely was coming from a place of fear or donít not wanting to be a mother at this time.

Your girlfriend probably did not want to tell you of the pregnancy because she didnít want you talking her out of the decision she had already made. This happens more often than you think, and the fathers go unaware that they were ever even fathers. Is it fair? No. Do I think that it is the right thing for a woman to do? Absolutely not.

You see pregnancy is more than just being about whose body it is. And while science may downplay the early stages of development, a life is still a life.

This does not mean that one does not have the right to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy, but rather that the father should at least have his feelings and point of view heard. I know a lot of times we think, whatís the point because we will not trust the promises that he makes to stay and help raise the child anyway; but this is more of a reflection of our distrust in men than it is about parental rights.

We must question ourselves. Who taught us to think all men to be disloyal, absentee, or poor fathers who will leave us to shoulder the burden of parenting alone? Does it happen? Of course. But while you are wondering how it is that you will trust her ever again, chances are she did not trust you to begin with. If you choose to remain in this relationship, I would advise that you both be extremely honest about what happened, how it happened, why it took place, and how you feel now that it is done. Knowing as much as possible can help you both to rebuild trust even though it seems nearly impossible right now. You both should learn things about yourselves and one another from this experience. And in doing so, you should not have a repeat of this situation or any situation that causes feelings of such betrayal. As you allow yourself to go through your anger and move on to the phase where you can begin to build trust, whether with her or with someone else, you will want to make sure that you assert your presence and value in your relationship. Do not be timid or any to let your woman know that you are here and that you want to be included in the major decisions that affect her life.

The more a woman trusts you is the more that she will let you in, and will even look to you for your help or opinions. But without trust, you do not have much of anything, so take your time deciding whether or not your relationship is worth rebuilding.

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