One husband has triggered an online debate after revealing that he has a secret bank account he keeps hidden from his wife in order to hide the extent of his spending.
“AITA for hiding money from my wife?” UnlikelySurprise3 asked, before diving into his story.
He explained that he and his wife have been trying to save money for trips overseas. She earns about $100,000 a year working as a physicians assistant, while he earns $12 an hour working in retail.
“My wife and I have been married for 2 years, dated 2 years prior to that. She makes considerably more money than I do. She is a physician assistant making about 100k/year and I work as an assistant manager at a small retail shop for about $12/hour. I’ve always handled the finances because my wife isn’t great with money.”
“I do the grocery shopping and cooking. We live VERY modestly, a very small house, never go out to eat, etc. I have a lot of our income going into a retirement account and a lot into savings. Our favorite thing to do is travel, and that’s what the savings is for. We generally take 2 trips overseas every year to explore a new part of the world we’ve never seen.”
OP revealed that his wife had recently began scrutinizing his spending a little more than usual.
“I have no idea what prompted it, but my wife started digging into the finances and was very upset that I was occasionally spending a few bucks at a bar, getting a beer after work, or going to a movie maybe once a month. (She works 9am-5pm Mon-Fri and I’m 3pm-11pm Wed-Sun).”
He gave examples of how his wife would question his purchases down to the penny, including gas and beers at the bar.
“She started demanding accounting of everything I spent, down to the penny. She looked at two purchases of gas I made 4 days apart, looked up the MPG of my car, and wanted to know why I drove X number of miles in 4 days when to work and back wasn’t that much. It became unbearable to have my life scrutinized to that extent.”
So OP opened a secret checking account in response to her audit.
“I opened a new checking account and had my direct deposit at work changed to send $25 per paycheck ($50 a month) to this account. I use this money for that occasional beer, movie, or whatever and wife hasn’t noticed at all.”
And now he wants to know: Is he the a**hole?
“Our relationship seems much better because she thinks I’m not spending any money she doesn’t approve of, and she’s not hassling me about a few extraneous purchases. But I’m feeling skeevy about hiding this from her. AITA for doing this?”
Several people concluded ‘ESH’ (Everyone Sucks Here), pointing out why both OP and his wife were wrong in this particular scenario.
“She’s being way too judgmental about spending, but there’s no way this ends well. Hiding money from spouses never ever ends well, you should be honest but she needs to cut you some slack.”—Jaywearspants
“Yeah. This is just delaying ‘hassling’ until it finally comes out in one big explosion. Couples counseling would be helpful here. Also, OP’s wife might need some therapy on her own because that’s not healthy behavior…”—KaitRaven
Some even pointed out that OP’s wife most likely thought he was cheating—hence checking the mileage on his car.
“I think she thought he was cheating too. Checking the gas money and the mileage on his car.”—CandidWitness
“Honestly, hiding your spending instead of just talking to your wife like a normal person? He’s got to be hiding more than just the occasional drink and a movie.”—MAKE_ME_REDDIT
“I agree. Her behavior says she thinks he’s cheating. Going to movies. Getting drinks after work. If you tell your spouse your doing this and they know you go do these things, no big deal. However if I saw my husband (or my husband saw I) was getting drinks and going to movies without them and without discussing it, we would be having discussions.
Not saying you can’t go do these things without your spouse, just that it’s normal to talk about doing these things and them not ‘finding out'”—12th_companion
Several commenters felt as though OP’s wife was definitely in the wrong and was being far too controlling of his behavior and spending. Like this particular horror story:
“This leads to divorce, it did in my case. The wife used finances to control my actions, she would take everything, EVERYTHING, b-day money, EVERYTHING. I squirreled away a little money each month so that I could avoid conflict. After 14 years I had a decent savings ($5k). I finally decided I was tired of the stupid financial aspect of our marriage and confronted the wife.
She goes crazy (14 years of enabling will cause that,) and demands all the money. I refuse and tell her that our account of $35k is enough and that this is my money. I state that we need therapy, she says that I cheated on her financially and changed the locks on the house while I was at work. Etc etc etc. we end up divorced because of all the stupid s—t.
I now pay $40000 a year in child support and alimony. While you wife doesn’t sound this crazy, and is probably feeling left out more than wanting to control you. (She is working a lot of hard hours. )
You need to stop this crazy train and work on your finances together. Set “personal” money for both of you, kinda like an adult allowance. Take her to the bar you go to, and remind her why you are best friends and are married.”—Steevicus
Overall, people couldn’t understand why OP wasn’t communicating with his wife, and let him know that squirreling away money for his own needs was definitely the WRONG thing to do.
“Yeah, I find it really weird that they aren’t communicating regularly about what they’re doing in their spare time. I get that they work different hours so they don’t have the same free time but I can’t imagine coming home at the end of the day and not telling my SO what I’d done that day. That seems like a much larger issue than the money.”—littlestranger
“You definitely should not lie to/hide thing from your wife. But she should not be demanding an accounting of every penny spent either. Lying to her is certainly not going to help in the long run. If you are serious about making it work you need to communicate and if that fails seek counseling.—QuadrangularNipples
“ESH. Your wife seems to have gone mad (talk to her! ASK what prompted it!) but you’ve responded by going behind her back. And it’s not like it’s just money behind her back, because now it means you’re seeing movies and going out and explicitly hiding from her… which is honestly going to make it look like you’re having an affair if she catches wind of it.
Your best bet going forward here is to assume your wife has some sort of reason for going crazy into the finances lately and actually talking to her about it. This is not a sustainable relationship model.”—BardicLasher
Also, where WERE you going, OP? You never really addressed that in your post…
“‘She looked at two purchases of gas I made 4 days apart, looked up the MPG of my car, and wanted to know why I drove X number of miles in 4 days when to work and back wasn’t that much.’—— Yeah this part doesn’t even sound like finances at all to me. She’s wondering where tf he’s going.”—Bitchbasic
“Honestly where did he go??? He didn’t answer that in the post. It seems they don’t get much time together and he’s going to bars and movies without letting her know? That seems like cheating. Even when my husband and I worked opposite schedules I had a pretty good idea of where he was everyday. We budget hard too so getting a beer or going to a movie is mentioned if not discussed.”—whitetoilets
“My thoughts too, if I were the wife doing these things it would be to look for cheating and nothing to do with finances. No question.”—FancyATitWank
But, no, in actual conclusion, OP needs to talk to his wife so the two can lay all their cards out on the table and move on with their lives. Or not.