Money & The Self-imposed Resentment

Mr. FAF and I have a generally happy marriage. I said “generally” because we do face problems in our marriage.

Sometimes it takes only a brief conversation to address the issue at hand.

Sometimes our conflict resurfaces multiple times until it’s resolved with a huge argument.

Mr. FAF and I were born and raised in two different countries in Asia.

We both came to America for school and are trying to build our family here.

In short, we are two different people despite what we have in common: frugality, ambition, and dedication.

There have been times when our marital conflict took a toll on our health, sanity, and productivity.

When Mr. FAF and I were in a long-distance marriage, we faced the challenges of miscommunication and sometimes lack of trust from my end.

After Mr. FAF graduated and moved to DC, we have faced new challenges of a young married couple with a baby.

We’re both in our 30s, but after staying so far away from each other for so long, sometimes I feel like we just moved in with each other a couple of months ago.

One thing I realized is that I do resent Mr. FAF sometimes.

And what I later on discovered was that a lot of that resentment was actually self-imposed.

Money

Compared to Mr. FAF, I am more frugal and conscious of my spending. I set all sorts of rules for myself: no expensive clothes, no eating out, etc. Essentially, it all has to do with not spending money.

I believed that staying under budget and preparing for a rainy day was more important than eating at restaurants regularly or buying an expensive top.

Mr. FAF doesn’t buy unnecessary gadgets or “toys” like a motorcycle or expensive phones. However, one area he tends to spend much more money than me in is eating out.

Mr. FAF would go out to lunch with one of his colleagues at work once a week and eat out with another friend on the weekends. He packs his lunch and eats dinner at home the rest of the time.

Eating out is fun. But it’s not cheap!

While it might not sound excessive, but $20-40 of eating out each week does add up to $80-$160 a month.

Given that our food budget always hovers around $1,000 a month, I would like to see Mr. FAF eat out less or at cheaper places.

And most importantly, it’s because I want Mr. FAF to be more frugal like me. I don’t eat out at all, so I want Mr. FAF to do the same.

Every time Mr. FAF goes out with his friends, I would feel a sense of resentment running through my body and to my brain: if he can, why can’t I?

An easy answer to that question is that I can do the same, but I refuse to. I don’t want to drop $10 on lunch, so I don’t want Mr. FAF to do that either. In other words, I try to force him to do what I do without realizing that we’re two different individual with different priorities.

I think one area I’m not particularly good at saving money is Macy’s dresses and work clothes. One time I told Mr. FAF I had spent $250 or more on work clothes.

He just said ok and moved on with his life. He didn’t force me to wear old or cheap clothes like he does (although I do have plenty of those).

I realized that accepting the fact that my husband only eats out every once in a while to socialize is not a bad thing, and that I should either loosen up and treat myself better or just let Mr. FAF live his life the way he wants.

I used to not go to Meetup groups to meet people because  I didn’t want to eat out. But now I will attend more Meetup events that involve food. After all, Mr. FAF and I are married, but we don’t have to be married to the same circle of friends.

I should lead my life the way I want to.

Related: Interview With Mr. FAF – Husband Of A Personal Finance Blogger

Housework

Is housework mainly for women?

I once wrote a post about the division of housework in our family.

In the post, I talk about how I take over most of the chores at our household, and that Mr. FAF’s main responsibility would be to cook after my mother-in-law goes back to China.

Before writing the post, Mr. FAF and I did have a chat about how I would appreciate more help with Baby FAF and housework from him.

He agreed to help do the dishes.

But after seeing him come home from work at 8 PM, I just want him to take a break and end up doing the dishes instead.

There are also some household chores that I believe I am more efficient at such doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom. I don’t know why, but it takes Mr. FAF almost 30 minutes to fold a load of laundry while it takes me only 10-15 minutes.

The way he cleans the bathroom also doesn’t meet my standards of cleanliness. I feel like I have to do the bathrooms another round of cleaning after he finishes the first round. I subconsciously take over more housework and then end up getting upset at Mr. FAF for not helping.

I want to feel efficient and be able to take care of both my job and my family. But I also resent the fact that Mr. FAF doesn’t do as much housework as I do.

We reached an agreement where I would hang out with my friends on Saturday while Mr. FAF can meet his friends on Friday night or Sunday.

Whoever stays at home will need to take care of the housework on that day such as cooking and taking care of Baby FAF.

This arrangement has surprising (or unsurprisingly) relieved a lot of the hard feelings I have towards Mr. FAF. We can now both enjoy our lives with our family and friends.

Related: I Don’t Trust My Husband 100%. Here Are The Reasons. 

Sleep

Mr. FAF usually goes to bed at 10 PM. That’s around the time when I used to go to sleep before starting Frugal Asian Finance. My bed time is now midnight instead of 10:30 PM like before.

I want to blog to grow fast and steadily, and I’m willing to put in the work to make that happen. However, sometimes I get jealous of Mr. FAF when he gets more than 8 hours of sleep and just heads to work without having to feed Baby FAF or take him to daycare.

These feelings were worse when I was in my 4th and 5th month of blogging trying to stay up until 2 AM to figure out Pinterest. I would then wake up at 6:15 AM to prepare Baby FAF for school and head to work.

I resented Mr. FAF because he got enough rest while I didn’t. I became tired, cranky, and irritable. But I always had to remind myself that I could have gone to bed earlier, but I decided not to because I wanted to blog more.

It was my choice, and I had to deal with the consequence of sleep deprivation. No one, including Mr. FAF, forced me to stay up past midnight to work on my blog.

I imposed a lack of sleep on myself and envied Mr. FAF his good sleep. It wasn’t entirely fair although Mr. FAF does have more time every day to do what he likes (i.e. watching soccer, surfing on the internet after dinner).

Related: How Much Would You Pay For Your Spouse’s Good Sleep?

Conclusion

After four years of marriage, I realized that I need to either lift many restrictions off of myself or try not to impose them on Mr. FAF. If I choose to not spend money eating out, do more housework, or sleep less, then I need to figure out how to deal with the outcomes.

If I am not happy with the way things are, I need to either change myself or talk to Mr. FAF so that he can change his for everyone to be happier.

I have talked to Mr. FAF about all of the topics mentioned above. I am glad that he listened, and that we have made headway on improving our lives together as a family.

Related:

Do You Trust Your Spouse 100% With Money & Other Aspects In Life? I Don’t.

Did You Win The Husband Lottery?

Why Being Chinese is Financially Advantageous

The Pros & Cons Of Being A Female Breadwinner

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17 thoughts on “Money & The Self-imposed Resentment”

  • Ultimately each person in a marriage has their own values along with shared values. It’s important to allow for both sets of values to be fulfilled. The reality is your happy marriage is worth the few bucks he spends for lunch a week. That’s what you get out of that money.

    • Thanks for your advice, Full Time Finance! I’ve come to terms with the fact that Mr. FAF will eat out with his friend for fun once a week and drink wine from Costco on the weekends. He doesn’t have any other extravagant hobbies, so I’d let him have his way with the food and drinks 😉

  • You guys are doing really well. Just keep working on it. A marriage takes a long time to settle down into a good routine. You both have to make some compromise. We’ve been married for 19 years and I’m finally getting better at avoiding resentment. Mrs. RB40’s biggest indulgence is expensive work clothes. I used to be a little annoyed, but now I just ignore it. 🙂

    • Expensive work clothes used to be my biggest indulgence too! But now I realized I just have enough and rarely wear them since they need to be hand-washed or dry-cleaned. I prefer the good old washer. Also, I have a clothing ban this year that’s going really well 😀

      This post was written a couple of months ago. We got into a big fight afterwards, and things seem to have improved A LOT. I’m not sure what our next challenge is. But it does take time for us to even get to know each other on another level and to compromise.

  • Baha, my husband also takes twice as long to fold laundry as I do. I suspect it’s because he pauses after each article of clothing to complain that he hates folding laundry, but that’s just a wild guess 😛

    I feel like I can’t offer much marriage advice since we are still newlyweds, but it is encouraging to see that we’re always going to be growing and adjusting and getting better!

    • I know Mr. FAF watches random stuff on his phone or laptop while he folds laundry. That’s why it takes him SO long! >_<

  • I understand the resentment completely. There were moments in my own marriage where I got frustrated because my husband did things differently than how I would do them. What helps is to put myself in his shoes. If I were doing something and he told me it was wrong or tried to get me to stop, how would that make me feel? Even though we’re married, we’re two different people that should be allowed to have freedom in what we do and how we do them.

    • Putting ourselves in our partner’s shoes sounds like a great idea! I rarely do that and just focus on what seems right for both of us. Great reminder!

  • I’m really glad that you managed to make some headway with it all. Relationships require steadfastness, hard work, and maintenance. Everything worthwhile does.

    I think you’re right, lift some of those restrictions that you impose upon yourself. You’re doing great. Are strained emotions and total sacrifice really worth shaving a couple years off your goal?

    Like I said before, you’re in a better position than my parents were and they made it to FI when my Dad turned 50, off one income. He didn’t even start earning decent money until his 30’s, even now it’s a normal low middle-ish class income. Along their journey they never really deprived themselves, or us if anything worthwhile.

    Let up a little. You don’t want to kill yourself over it. (I’m also speaking literally.)

    • I’m trying to loosen up instead of being too focused on things that weren’t that important. Now I find myself telling Mr. FAF “It’s up to you” more often and find that kinda liberating 😀

  • I don’t have resentment towards my husband anymore because within 6 months when we met, I was gathering resentment and I had to dig inward to realize it was MY problems that I blamed on him. Ever since, it’s been definitely better! This is a really really good move towards a healthier marriage!

    • Yup, part of it is indeed my problem, which I will discuss in a future post. I’m glad things are working out great with you guys. Resentment is not a good feeling to have all the time >_<

  • This is seriously why we have a dishwasher. I still don’t understand how he can leave grease/food scraps on items after washing, and that’s after nagging him for days to do one load (this was the one task I did 99.9% of the time just to get it done, and done to a reasonable standard). Dishwasher = marriage saver!

    I’ve basically given up vacuuming as it causes me too many problems now I’m quite pregnant, I guess the good thing is that chores involving gadgets seem to be more his style – I personally would never have bought a steam mop or this pet vacuum, but if they help equalise the division of labour I’m all for it.

    • I have Mr. FAF vacuum and mop our floors too since my belly is getting really heavy and I’m just days away from giving birth. Sometimes I don’t understand how/why Mr. FAF does certain things around the house either since it makes no sense to me. One of my pet peeves is that he will put super oily or greasy stuff in a plastic container which takes a LONG time to wash!

  • If you have an agreed upon budget you can put in a category for personal money so he has 50 dollars or so a month to spend as he wishes (eat out) and you can use your 50 for nicer clothes or whatever. That way it’s fair but you don’t have to both do the exact same things. My husband and I do this and it works great!

    • Great idea, Sharon! I think I’ve mentally done that recently. I think I was a bit jealous of him since I rarely spend my allowance. But we’re not the same individuals, so I decided to just accept it. It feels great now not having to obsess over it!

  • This was me in marriage – year 2. Everything you wrote was me to a “t” and I ended up getting divorced right after my second anniversary. Of course, there was more to it than just the self-imposed restrictions I set for myself that he didn’t follow, but I know I will need to work on this if I am ever to get married again. I made myself very unhappy because he didn’t value what I valued. I still have a lot of growing left to do.

    Thank you for sharing this. It really hit close to home for me.

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