It’s been a while. Things have been stable. I thought we’d reached a new level, some new relationship that worked for us.
I have to expect fights though, I have to be okay that they happen-all couples fight, right? But do they all feel like this? Would I feel like this with anyone?
He said he was worried we were spending too much money lately. I joked and said we’d gone too long without a disagreement. He said he doesn’t want to be in charge of the budget anymore. He’s tired of keeping track of where the money goes. “Okay,” I told him, “send me the spreadsheet so I have the previous months numbers, I’ll work on it”
“When. When will you work on it?”
I thought that went well.
He couldn’t let it go. We couldn’t watch our tv show together. “You’ve said that in the past. You’ve said you’d take over the budget and then you’d stop and I’d end up doing it again.”
“Okay but now I said I’d do it. The me, right now, is saying I’ll do it.”
It wasn’t enough. I could feel his energy changing. His memories of past injustices and times I didn’t follow through with all the things I said I’d do, the expensive sneakers I’d bought for running and then I only ran for two years. The weights he bought me and I didn’t like lifting weights….it was feeding a snowball that kept rolling, and growing.
Today I made a new log of expenses. I made charts and trends and it showed that it really wasn’t that I was spending an exorbitant amount on groceries, not more than months previous, that there were added car expenses, garden expenses….other things adding up. I’m not sure if this made him angry. Actually I think it made him more worried. He couldn’t just blame me for spending more than we had and therefore it would impact him too, he’d have to make sacrifices too-or at least consider the budget a little more than before when doing a house project.
That’s when the fight started. “I feel like I have done more to sacrifice all these years, to save money, and worked so hard and you’ve spent more on yourself than I have.”
“Okay, what will make this fair?”
That’s the problem. There isn’t anything to make it fair now. I didn’t agree with him-I’ve felt restrained and constrained and controlled by his budget worries and had to make lots of sacrifices too, but I wanted to validate his feelings, I wanted to make it right for him.
That’s not what he wanted.
He wanted me to admit that I’ve spent more on myself than he has. That he’s worked to make the money and I’ve just spent it on whatever I want. He doesn’t understand that it’s cheaper to make dinner from scratch, so I do even though it takes 2 hours sometimes and way more planning. He doesn’t understand that I make laundry soap and hang clothes on the line to save, even though it’s more work for me. He sees the cage free $3 eggs instead of the bulk white $.99 eggs. He sees the pods of coffee already made up instead of me filling the little reusable k-cups in the keurig he bought me for Christmas to make my life easier.
He brought up a lot of things that I did that wasted so much money that he didn’t agree with and he wanted me to admit that I was wrong.
But what will make it right for you? What can we do to make it right now? Is the answer really to knock me down and make me say uncle? Admit all that money I wasted because I bought what I thought was right but he didn’t agree with?
Is that how things really go?