He was used to sharing everything with his wife their whole married life. So, when she received an inheritance, he thought the same thing would happen, but he was oh so wrong!
OP (Original Poster) has been married for almost 20 years to a “well-educated woman” who was doing great in the workforce. However, 10 years before OP posted this story, his wife decided to be a stay-at-home mom when their daughter was born.
This was a good idea for OP, and the couple pursued this plan.
Happy and Thriving
Throughout all the years that his wife stayed at home, OP’s career has gone very well—to the point that their income can be considered “wealthy.” They don’t have a prenuptial agreement, but since they are happily married, OP isn’t worried about anything related to his wealth.
From OP’s perspective, his wife isn’t greedy and isn’t someone who wants to get a hold of someone else’s money. Instead, she’s a person who loves him just as much as when he was in college and had no job.
Yet She Chose Him
He explained that his wife’s boyfriend before him was pretty rich, but she broke up with him when she could’ve been set for life at 22. All she had to do was marry him, which the guy wanted, but she didn’t.
OP wrote, “When we started dating, I was probably well positioned to get a decent job, but there was no reason to believe we’d be in the position we are now.”
A Couple’s Partnership
He’s thankful that he got to this point in his career and believed that he owed part of it to his wife being a stay-at-home mom.
OP genuinely believes that being a stay-at-home mother is an “important job,” and he has never acted as if his salary isn’t shared. Aside from that, he also pays “little attention” to his wife’s spending.
However, just a while before this story was posted, OP’s wife’s grandfather passed away. Per the will, his wife received about $20,000 with a reminder saying her grandfather wanted the money to be enjoyed.
She endorsed the check and left it on the counter, leaving OP to deposit it since he’s the one who does so whenever they have physical checks, and they have no separate accounts. He added, “I actively pay our bills, but she has full joint control and access to everything.”
After depositing her inheritance into their checking account, OP asked his wife if she wanted to save it for a post-COVID-19 trip, maybe do some house upgrades, or if she had other thoughts for the money.
It’s Not Your Money!
However, his wife got angry that he put the money in a joint account instead of what she wanted, which was to set up an individual one.
OP added, “She told me not to worry about it, that it’s her money, pointing out how my side of the family doesn’t have anything, and we won’t inherit anything from them.”
Too Minimal to Compare
OP was caught off-guard as he and his wife have never fought about money before, even when they had much less. He also doesn’t mean to come across as “entitled,” but he noted that $20,000 isn’t even close to what they had in savings.
He noted, “She has expensive habits that I encourage because they make her happy. We are not likely to ever get divorced, but if we did, we live in a state where she would get half without any debate, and this amount isn’t a big impact on that number.”
Hitting on Her Spending Habits
Eventually, OP told his wife he was a “little hurt” by her “selfishness,” considering all his financial contributions to their family. He even told her she should “use the money on her $300 haircuts or clothes.”
When “Theirs” Became “Hers”
After that, his wife accused him of being an “a**hole” for trying to “claim” a part of her inheritance. Then, she told him to “mind his own business.”
OP heartbreakingly said, “I am at a loss how money was never her or mine until this.”
Getting What She Wanted
Not long after their argument, OP calmed down and took steps to make things right. He transferred the money to another account and told his wife that if she wanted to set up another account for it, she was very much welcome to do so.
Looking back on their initial argument, OP noted that he was just surprised as they had never had anything that was separated before. In an edit, he added, “Some of the private messages used a lot of four-letter words calling me a ‘controlling monster,’ and when I showed my wife this, she literally laughed out loud. It’s a small argument in a long, happy marriage, and in any marriage, I would expect things like this to come up.”
The Community’s Suggestions
Redditors believed that OP wasn’t wrong and that it was evident in his story that he didn’t ask for a part of the money and only thought they’d be sharing it.
The top commenter wrote, “Your title is a little misleading, actually, not the a**hole, but you aren’t even asking for half. You’re just asking when did your finances become separate.”
Another person said, “Not the a**hole. Apparently, your money is joint money, but her money is her money. If you have shared finances, then finances should be shared. If you have separate finances, then she can keep the money to herself.”
Seeing Both Sides
Some people looked at both OP’s and his wife’s perspectives. While OP’s side was understandable, his wife’s feelings and thoughts are also reasonable and sound.
A Redditor wrote, “Not the a**hole. So, your point of view is entirely valid, but I’m trying to sympathize with your wife as much as possible in the hope of giving you a more rounded response. You say she’s a stay-at-home mom. So would this be the largest sum of money she’s had that is ‘hers’ as opposed to ‘ours’ in a long time? So, perhaps she is defensive about this as a sum that is not part of the relationship.”
The same person added, “Yes, you share your money, and I’m assuming you share all of it. But that money starts off as a paycheck paid to you and then becomes ‘ours’ in the shared account. Sounds like something you might want to approach gingerly and take your time to let her process.”
Doing What He Ought to Do
OP was only doing what he thought he should in the situation, and people think he’s not wrong for that.
“Not the a**hole. You acted accordingly with literally every other financial transaction you guys have had. It would be understandable if she’d had a discussion about wanting it for herself, given it’s from her grandfather, but it’s downright insulting to say, ‘It’s mine because we’re not inheriting anything when your family members die,’” a commenter wrote.
Was OP wrong in this situation? Do you also believe his wife was selfish for wanting to keep her inheritance to herself?
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This post first appeared as A Stay-At-Home Mom Refused to Share Her $20,000 Inheritance With Her Husband, Saying He Should “Mind His Own Business.” He Thinks She’s “Selfish,” but People Say He’s a “Controlling Monster!” on Quote Ambition.