Her name is Janet. Or, if you like, you can call her by any other name of your choice. The name doesn’t matter, what matters is for you to know her story. She’s my friend, one I’ve known for years. One who’s stood by me through all my upheavals. And yet, when the time came for me to do the same, I couldn’t. She wouldn’t let me. I spent hours sitting beside her watching her cry. I knew something was amiss.
I was determined to find out what had gone wrong in her life. Money issues in marriage? Or was it something to do with her personal life? Buckle in to find out just what was ailing my friend, and how she got through her troubles.
How Money Issues In Marriage Plagued A Happy Relationship
Rewind to eight years ago when she first found love. This in itself was a huge announcement to me, as she’d always been so content with work and never thought about getting married. She always kept busy, with her work, so when she announced that she was tying the knot, her parents hit cloud nine and I was stupefied.
Her marriage was a lavish affair. No expense had been spared on the décor and the chicken kebabs were the softest that I’ve ever eaten. Given how little regard she ever gave to marriage, I was blown away by how excited she was for this new chapter in her life.
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A glimpse of “happily ever after”
The next few years were like a fairy tale for her At least that’s what I thought every time she talked about her husband, her in-laws, her new home. Her husband had given her a new car, there seemed to be no hints of the marriage ever going through a rocky phase, let alone any money problems in the marriage. They’d go to foreign locations every so often. On paper, life seemed pretty perfect for Janet. Her in-laws encouraged her to work as well. The icing on the cake was that she had a child with her husband, a bonny girl.
Then one day she called me and asked me to meet her at our favorite haunt, Dilli Haat.
She sounded calm. But I knew something was amiss. We never met on a weekday, because she always wanted to get back to her family as early as she could.
As we sat drinking fruit beer, I saw what I never thought I would. Janet’s face is usually is full of grit, self-composure and self-belief. That evening, however, I saw her hold the straw, not sipping, and fingers shaking. With tears steadily streaming down her face, she said to me, “He’s leaving. I didn’t stop him. We are doing it as maturely as we can.”
Money issues in marriage started causing problems
Her husband earned less than her and yet he never lost an opportunity to accuse her of being a spendthrift with his money. Such accusations instilled money issues in marriage, making their seemingly perfect relationship now suffer from insecurities and trust issues. When in reality, she was spending her own money and that too on him, his parents and their daughter!
Where things went south in her marriage
Eventually, the husband took things to the next level. He announced that he wanted a separation because he felt that he couldn’t live with a woman who always wanted to spend rather than think about the future and save. He was fighting over money with his spouse when she had already got insurance policies, investments in mutual funds and fixed deposits.
She could have indulged in a dirty divorce game. But she did not, that was not her. She chose the simpler and saner route.
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It was just a plain and simple walking away with mutual consent, she even got possession of the baby. She did not let money arguments in the marriage cause a bitter rift and even allowed free visitation of their child to her husband. She didn’t care for his money, she had plenty of her own. Janet wasn’t one to let marriage and debt play games with her mindset. She didn’t even take any maintenance from him.
Naturally, the days that followed weren’t easy for her. Moving on from divorce is never easy. Being a single mother in the city, without parents to fall back on, is never an easy task. But she did it. Right from getting a place to live to connecting with her aunt who would look after her child while she was at work.
How she moved on from a failed marriage
I kept in touch with her through it all. Whenever we talked, each and every time, her wedding albums would come out. The more I told her that this was the one thing she was doing wrong, she told me, “It is all that I have left of the past.” Then she would break down and cry. She didn’t listen to me.
“Take these. And do whatever you want to do with them. But don’t show them to me again. I don’t need these pictures anymore,” she said.
She clutched the pictures to her. They seemed to be her companions.
Then one day, around a couple of months ago, when I was at her place, and it was long after dinner, she took out those albums and handed them to me.
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Lots of questions erupted from within me, she gave me answers to none. That’s Janet. She makes her own decisions. And when she does, she just does; not always offering explanations till she wants to. But, since that night, I have seen a change within her. She looks and sounds more like the girl I knew ages ago. I still don’t know what it was that made her give up the albums. But I’m hoping that someday she will tell me.
As for me – I haven’t thrown away the albums. They’ve been packed into a box and put right at the back of my cupboard. I look at the box once in a while. It’s a reminder to me that things change. We always have the option to take it in our stride or give up. My friend chose the former.
(Name changed to protect identity)
Financial infidelity in marriage refers to when spouses hide debt, spend money, have secret accounts, or anything related to money that is being kept hidden from their partner. Financial infidelity can cause multiple money issues in marriage as well as trust issues.
Couples can and in most cases should keep their money separate from each other. Having separate accounts will lead to fewer fights over money with the spouse. However, keeping separate accounts doesn’t give you free rein to hide your income or monetary activities from your partner. Being open and truthful with your finances is a must for every marriage.