John and Sarah, a married couple with joint finances and a daughter each from previous marriages, face a disagreement over Sarah’s fixation on having their daughters “earn” everything.
John and Sarah had been married for ten years, and they each had a daughter from a previous marriage, Pen (15F) and Amy (17F), respectively. They had always had joint finances, with Sarah being in charge of their finances. However, things had been getting increasingly difficult for John as Sarah had a fixation on having their daughters “earn” everything, even if they were well-behaved, good students, and kind.
Punished for Mistakes
This led to situations where they had to earn every single thing daily, and were even punished for minor mistakes like not putting away their laptop or forgetting to put something else away.
She was Adamant
John had voiced his concerns about this rule, but Sarah was adamant about sticking to it. One day, while John was home resting, Sarah and their daughters went out to buy a Mother’s Day gift for John’s mother-in-law. When they returned, Pen came to John’s room to tell him that Sarah had bought Amy a necklace but refused to buy Pen a pair of earrings she had wanted because she had stayed up late watching Netflix the night before.
He was Furious
John was furious, feeling that Sarah’s rule was “utterly stupid” and unfair to their daughters. He confronted Sarah about it and told her that he was done putting up with it. He demanded that they attend therapy together to fix the problem, and until then, their money would be taken care of separately, with the joint account only being used for house and emergency matters. This meant that Sarah would have to pay half of the utilities and other expenses.
She Felt Financially Abused
Sarah was not happy about this decision and accused John of financially abusing her over a pair of earrings. She went to her parents, and her father-in-law called John to tell him that it was his obligation to provide for his family.
She was Unhappy
Despite the tension, John stood firm in his decision, knowing that he had to prioritize his daughter’s well-being and not let Sarah’s fixation on “earning” everything get in the way of their family’s happiness. He continued to pay for most of their joint expenses (around 60-70%), but Sarah had to contribute to the household expenses, which she was unhappy about as it meant she would have less money for her daughter’s college fund and her own personal expenses.
Straight to the Internet
John decided to head to a popular internet forum for advice on the situation as he believed entirely what he was doing was correct.
The Internet Responds
One person writes, “Mainly because you offered couples therapy as a way to work on the problem. Also because your wife isn’t disciplining your respective daughters, she is just being mean. Everybody in the world forgets things, even your wife. A gentle reminder is sufficient for that. Watching Netflix too late, yeah find me a teenager who doesn’t. She is just picking on them. I did notice too that your stated you would still put enough in the joint account to cover the bills and household expenses, so no you are not financially abusing anybody. Keep trying for therapy, your kids need help.”
Another Person Writes
A second person writes, “Teaching kids to work hard for things is good, but when it becomes that for everything, it’s abuse. She is making those kids feel like they even have to earn her love. She honestly sounds like Leonard’s mom from The Big Bang Theory. Everything she’s done is horrible. Absolutely horrible. And her father sounds horrible too.”
A Final Comment
A third person comments, “The wife is abusing his daughter. I bet she’s been miserable since this woman moved in. Separate finances, OP. Instead of paying all the bills and letting her save for her daughter, just stop. But I don’t see this marriage working out.”
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