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July 13, 2007 -
Include your husband in the new home management team

How should financial matters be handled when one partner suddenly makes substantially more money than their spouse?
     Three years ago, I started my own business; my income increased dramatically.
     Previously, my longtime partner and I used to earn a similar salary.
     I worked very hard and paid off all our credit cards and debts.
     Now, I’m expected to pay the household expenses (95%), plus mortgage, vacations, insurance, our daughter’s tuition, Christmas gifts (his family gifts too).
     I’ve done this for three years but it’s wearing on me as I still have all the same responsibilities as I had before.
     I’m feeling a bit resentful because while I’m hard at work six days weekly, he’s hard at play (squash and golf) seven days weekly.
     We’re both in our early 40’s, and have a daughter, 19.

- Overworked

It’s called bad management – it’s time to apply your business smarts to your home life. Tell Happy Hubby the uneven “partnership” isn’t working.
     Of course, the person with more income can be more generous, such as paying the difference between what you both can contribute to a vacation, and an “upgrade” to something more special. (But not all the time should you be expected to turn every family event into a luxury gift.)
     A good portion of your better income which is disposable, should be set aside for savings and investments, to secure the future for both of you as you age, and for your daughter’s higher education.
     Hubby needs to feel important in this new dynamic, not just lucky, so make him part of your management team. As part of benefiting from your earnings, he should help re-organize the household budget, and assist you with your added responsibilities.
     A big change always requires adjustment, so drop the resentment and start work together on finding a better balance.

For the first time in my relationship with my daughter, age 20, we have a big problem. We’ve always been very close, and she’s pretty much gotten everything she’s wanted. She’s kind and caring and never caused any problems.
     Six months ago, I ended a high maintenance toxic friendship with a close friend, who’d also been a big part of my daughter's childhood. I’ve never told my daughter all of the incidents and personal problems that caused me to end the friendship.
     My daughter asked if I’d mind if she kept in touch with her, and I said she was free to remain friends with her.
     Now my daughter’s getting married. I asked her not to invite this woman to the wedding as I’d find it uncomfortable, stressful and awkward, and it’s ruin the day for me.
     She was vehement that this woman attends.
     Does the mother of the bride not have any say in the guest list?
     It’s the only request I’ve made of her about the wedding.
     I’m prepared to do most of the work organizing the wedding and pay for most of it. 
     What do you and your readers think of this situation?

- Devastated

Dear Readers: Feel free to weigh in. My own response is that you can’t have it both ways – you withheld information that might’ve helped her understand your feelings better, and agreed to the continued friendship.
     I advise that you reveal the whole story, and show trust that she’ll make a more caring choice.
     She needs less indulgence and more responsibility, so guide her rather than take charge of the wedding.

I’m married to a guy with plenty of baggage.
     I started an emotional affair a year ago. After a couple of botched sexual encounters, and guilt, I ended the "relationship." I ended it by text message - I wasn’t strong enough to do it in person but knew I had to end it, immediately.
     It feels like an addiction.
     Several months later I’m still going through tremendous pain but occasionally feel a sense of enlightenment.
     How do I get this person out of my head?

- Still Pining

It would help to learn what you’re trying to avoid by escaping into an emotional affair, especially one that doesn’t work.
     Your husband’s “baggage,” for example, may be easier to deal with once you stop fantasizing about another life (which is what an emotional affair is).
     Seek counselling, and find out how to focus on reality; or you’ll likely soon be daydreaming about another idealized romance.

Tip of the Day: When there’s a major boost in finances, couples need to share the responsibilities as well as the joy.

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