My husband has a friend who lives off the kindness of others. Historically, he has been unemployed, constantly in crisis, codependant with his friends to join together to pay his way whenever he needs money. I can’t stand this, and I have failed in my attempt to end the friendship between my husband and this charity case. Now it’s Christmas and we argue over what gift to send him. I say, send him only a card since he never gives anything to anybody, he only takes. My husband wants to spend more than we can afford on the charity case because he’s a friend, and my husband doesn’t care if he gets anything in return. What can I do?
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Your issue is with your husband and not with your husband’s friend. The issue is not about whether or not to get a gift for your husband’s friend – but rather how you two share financial decision making and power within your marriage. You will need to come to terms with your husband as to how financial decisions are made within your marriage. In my mind, both partners of a marriage have a say in how these decisions are made without regard for whether both, one, or neither of the partners bring income into the marriage. This assumes a view of marriage that includes the idea that the marital partners act as a unit and not as independent persons in making important decisions. This does not mean that all decisions should made equally, however. What you can do is to talk with your husband, framing the issue as your concern over how money decisions get made. You will be seeking a compromise wherein you can leave feeling that your money supply is less in jeopardy and your husband can feel that he is still doing right by his friend. I think you need to respect your husband’s friendship – but not his unilateral demand that your joint money be used to pay for a gift you can’t afford. Good Luck!