Money and Relationships: How a “Trapped” Stay-at-Home-Mom Can Break the Cycle

Money and Relationships: How a “Trapped” Stay-at-Home-Mom Can Break the Cycle

I read a post recently on a discussion board, This post details the feelings of entrapment, financial inequality and neglect stay-at-home-mother (SAHM) Wyjo feels because her fiancé hoards all of the money that “he brings in.” This situation can actually occur more often than one would think, so I thought we could all brainstorm some solutions to Wyjo’s situation.

The Situation

Before we dive into the solutions, let me paraphrase the situation: Wyjo lives in a small town with few jobs and no daycare. The nearest large town is 20 minutes away. She has always worked before she met her fiancé and has since become a SAHM. She and her fiancé have been together for five years, and she has a 15 year old and a 3 year old. The couple only has one car, which is titled to the fiancé.

Wyjo’s fiancé works a sales job with rough hours, so he takes their only car and leaves the home from 8 am to any time after 7 pm (up to 11 pm some evenings). The job allows for every weekend off. During the weekends, the fiancé prefers to make plans that do not include Wyjo and again takes their only car.

The car has become an even bigger issue because Wyjo’s parents are in failing health. She must care for them on top of her own family, and they live 50 miles away. During the week (since that is the only time she is allowed use of the car) Wyjo must drive her fiancé to work, drive 30 more miles to pick up her father, drive back into town to complete errands, take her father home, and drive back into town to pick up her fiancé. Often she must wait around many hours for her fiancé to get off of work.

Their biggest problem, though, is how controlling her fiancé is about money. Since he is the only person in the family working, he considers all of the money his. Wyjo must call him to request permission to purchase anything over a few dollars, and she is running into the same must-control-the-money issues she had with her ex-husband.

The Solution

As you can see, this problem is pretty big. Wyjo needs a car if she wants to begin to work again, but she needs money if she wants to buy a car. She would need money if she wanted to end the relationship, but she does not have access to any cash. Wyjo also seems to be in a cycle of relationships with controlling men. So what should she do to break free from her stifling situation? Here are a few ideas:

  • Leave the Fiancé – Unless they get some counseling, the future of this relationship does not look promising. Wyjo could request her parents’ help to purchase a cheap car and to house her and her children. From there, she could find a job and eventually get back on her feet.
  • Seek Marriage and Financial Counseling – If her fiancé would be open to counseling, they may be able to work out these differences. Counselors can show them that their partnership needs to be more of a joint effort to succeed.
  • Move Into Town – One way to make her current situation more bearable would be to move the entire family, fiancé included, into the large city. Once there, Wyjo could find a job and a daycare, make friends and run her parents’ errands, all without needing another car.

These are the three solutions that immediately came to mind, but I’m sure there are a ton more ideas. If you would like to help me help Wyjo, post your solutions here. I will pass them all on to Wyjo at Momster. Together we can help Wyjo find the balance she needs!

Photo Source

Niki's picture

Niki wrote:

Wed, 05/25/2011 - 11:35 Comment #: 1

I am sorry to say that the relationship does sound doomed. The fiancé is never home and very controlling and not just with money it sounds like. His frame of mind about the money being only his is scary coupled with the fact that he knows she has no access to to get employment, which means access to cash.

Maybe she could move in with her ailing parents and help them and get back on her feet at the same time. It could be beneficial to both parties.

If she is not wanting to leave him, I agree that they should move closer to town. That way she has more access to employment and childcare.

optionsdude's picture

optionsdude wrote:

Wed, 05/25/2011 - 13:30 Comment #: 2

Hate to say it, but the only real option is to leave. My wife and I have many friends and compromise works for awhile but old habits die hard. Sounds like this guy will control all aspects of her life. This is a personality trait that forms the core of this guy's being. You won't eliminate it and five or ten years from now worse problems will be occurring.

jeff @ Sustainable life blog's picture

jeff @ Sustainable life blog wrote:

Wed, 05/25/2011 - 15:39 Comment #: 3

This sounds like a tough spot for wyjo to be in, and I think you're right - the relationship is not headed anywhere good.
I think the best option (after getting marriage counseling, of course) is to move into town.

Alex | Perfecting Dad's picture

Alex | Perfecting Dad wrote:

Wed, 05/25/2011 - 18:15 Comment #: 4

Wow, that couple is nuts. It's not a money or car situation, it's a family situation. One thing I don't get is how a girl gets into that situation. The guy you describe is obviously a jerk buffoon and terrible husband/father material, but did he become that right after they got married? How is this not visible before getting married.

Actually, sorry: You described him as a fiancee so they're not married yet, which is good, but I guess they had a child together (the 3 yr old) so they are quasi-married -- at least very strongly connected. Question still stands, why go for that kind of guy?

For sure they are not going to stay together, either that or she's going to be miserable on an ongoing basis. My vote: Find a good man next time. We do exist. Single mothering is tough to handle, and I wish she never got into the situation. I think it's going to be bare-bones survival for a while for her if her fiancee doesn't smarten up.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Thu, 05/26/2011 - 18:50 Comment #: 5

Niki, you're right: the relationship does sound doomed, even if they do move into town. Hopefully she can move in with her parents or into town.

OptionsDude, I agree that leaving is her best solution, but I do think that if he is open to change, he could possibly change. That's a big "if", though.

Jeff, I hope she can move into town or move out as well. If he's open to counseling, maybe they can work it out, but it seems unlikely.

Perfecting Dad, great point -- Wijo needs to identify how she got into this situation. This is her second relationship where the husband/fiance was so controlling. She should definitely find out what the pattern is and break it. I suspect she gives too much of herself to every relationship and that the man just takes over. She needs to assert herself as her own person and make herself count in the relationship for this one or (more likely) her next one to be successful.

Alex | Perfecting Dad's picture

Alex | Perfecting Dad wrote:

Fri, 05/27/2011 - 00:17 Comment #: 6

Or the man is no good. Why is it her fault if she is who she is. Just find a man who will take her and be a proper teammate (I'm assuming that she's a good catch too, since men should also look for good women)

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Fri, 05/27/2011 - 20:55 Comment #: 7

Alex, Very true -- the man could just be a total loser! This is in no way Wyjo's fault, but I do worry about her choices since this is the second relationship she's been in where the man was so controlling. It makes me think that she needs to reevaluate the men she is attracted to or how she presents herself to the men she becomes involved with. It does take work on both sides, and either assertiveness or choosing a good man may be what she needs to work on.