The Original Poster (OP) and his wife navigate the choppy waters of shared finances, impacted by her adult son and ex-husband’s persistent financial needs. As they eagerly plan a vacation together, an unexpected call from the past threatens to derail their plans. Tensions rise, leading to a contentious decision that questions the boundaries of responsibility and love.
The Income Disparity
OP and his wife have a significant income disparity, resulting in a 70/30 split for their joint expenses. Their lifestyle choices, including vacations and home purchases, are based on what they can afford.
The Financial Breakdown
Occasionally, OP would bear the full expense to enjoy vacations at his preferred destinations. However, typically, OP’s wife directs 30% of her income towards shared costs like bills, retirement funds, and shared vacations. The remaining 70% is at her discretion.
OP’s wife has a 23-year-old son from her previous marriage. When they got together, OP agreed to occasionally help financially until the son turned 18 and found a stable path. For most of their relationship, the son has lived with his father.
The Son’s Choices
Despite reaching adulthood, the son opted against pursuing higher education or vocational training. He lacks a clear vision for his future and often switches jobs. Similarly, his father has also been financially inconsistent.
Frequent Financial Emergencies
Every few months, either the son or the ex-husband calls the wife, requesting financial aid ranging from small to significant amounts. This recurrent financial drain has sometimes caused her to be short on funds.
Whenever the ex-husband seeks help, her justification is rooted in their son’s residence with him. While OP understands this to some extent, he’s increasingly concerned about the pattern and how it affects their plans.
The Upcoming Vacation
OP and his wife had an impending vacation on the horizon, a simple getaway to rejuvenate and relax in one of their favorite locations. The expenses left to be covered were the hotel, rental car, and some bookings, with both agreeing to share the costs.
The Ex-Husband’s Urgent Need
Out of the blue, the ex-husband called, requiring a substantial amount to retrieve his car from impound and cover his rent. The son was reluctant to commute to work without the car, avoiding public transport or biking.
After assisting her ex-husband, OP’s wife told him she could no longer afford to contribute to their mutual vacation expenses. Frustrated with the recurrent disruptions due to her son and ex-husband, OP decided to cancel the vacation.
The Ensuing Argument
The wife felt OP was heartless, prioritizing a vacation over her son’s needs. They argued over it, but OP held his ground, concerned about the continuous financial rescues and the son’s increasing impact on their lives.
OP is vexed with the lifestyle decisions both the son and ex-husband make. Their habitual quitting of jobs over trivial matters, coupled with unnecessary expenses like smoking and frequent outings, appear self-destructive.
The Growing Resentment
OP thinks his wife’s relentless support is enabling the son and ex’s stagnation. They remain stagnant due to their choices, and she’s inadvertently fostering this behavior, which increasingly impacts OP and his wife’s life together.
The Unspoken Agreement
OP’s frustration isn’t about money alone but an unspoken agreement he believed they had. He never envisioned continuously bailing out two capable adults and feels it’s taking a toll on their relationship.
A Question of Fairness
OP wonders if he’s wrong for canceling the vacation instead of covering all the expenses. He’s questioning whether it’s reasonable to feel burdened by the consistent financial dependence of the son and ex-husband.
Shared Lives, Separate Responsibilities
While they live a shared life, OP feels there should be boundaries regarding external responsibilities. With the current pattern, OP reassesses what he had initially agreed to. While he was open to supporting her son until he turned 18, the continual assistance is too much.
Was The Husband’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts his story online for feedback and judgment from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “Why are you married to her, though, since she puts her ex and grown son before you and your marriage? She is enabling their financial irresponsibility.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “He can work and support himself. He’s choosing not to because he doesn’t have to with her as his safety net. He’s already 23, the window to retrain is closing rapidly, and soon he will be a copy of his dad.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “She has already established she can’t budget HER money, let alone something you contribute to as well. What are you supposed to do when she takes from the house fund for her ex and son.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “Wife is supporting two fully capable adults who find it easier to get handouts than work a steady job or make reasonable decisions about spending.”
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