Dear Prudence

Help! My Husband Rejected My Plan for Our Money. Now I’m Working Overtime to Cover Our Losses.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

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Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. R. Eric Thomas is filling in as Prudie for Jenée Desmond-Harris while she’s on parental leave. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Q. Sad & Tired: I am having trouble getting over a bad financial decision that my husband and I made last year. A little bit of history: I have been the main breadwinner for our marriage (22 years) and earned a relatively significant income for the last 10, enabling him to be a stay-at-home father for most of that time, which was fabulous for our kids, for me and my job, and for him (he agrees).

He now has a job that he likes, at which he earns a decent pay, and carries our health insurance. At the end of COVID, I hit a wall emotionally and physically, and was part of the Great Resignation. My husband was on board with me taking what we called a “sabbatical,“ which would coincide with an equity vesting at my company that we had earmarked for a number of things, among them our kids’ college education support and our retirement in the long term, and now, some cushion for however long my sabbatical lasted.

As we discussed where to put this money last summer, we both acknowledged that 2022 was shaping up to be a bit of an economic sh*t show. I suggested that we take a portion of the money and pay off our mortgage, so as to alleviate the largest monthly expense we have (since three-quarters of our income was going away), and also so that if things did go sideways as we feared, we would at least own our home. He disagreed. As did our financial planner. I lost the argument, and, now, an amount far in excess of our remaining mortgage. I can’t let it go. I got a job and feel the pressure from my husband to bill a lot of hours (it’s contract) so we can stay afloat. I’ve been through market crashes and recoveries before, but I’m mourning the security we would have had if we had just gone with my plan. My husband—wonderful in so many ways—has never been able to acknowledge when I’m right (I guess he thinks me believing I’m right and him not verbalizing any disagreement is sufficient). Saying “sorry” or “oops” is also not in his lexicon. I know we are fortunate to have a nest egg to begin with, and I need to get over it and get back to work, but I’m sad (and tired) and feeling it all alone.

A. It can feel awkward and even self-serving to ask for an apology, but it sounds like that’s what will help you and your husband move forward. That said, it’s possible that he feels there was no way of knowing which path would have been the right one—indeed, your financial advisor sided with him as well. But having a frank conversation about the stress the additional pressures are putting on you and the budding resentment you’re feeling will act as a kind of release valve for you. He may not accept the blame, but being clear about what you need—an acknowledgement, an apology, a plan to better communicate about money in the future, or something else—will begin the process of getting you out of this cloud.