Married 6 years. Together 18 years. Me: (f) 47. Him (m) 50. NO KIDS
Here’re my dilemma. My husband is a millionaire many times over, and retired at 50. He inherited all his money from his mother 4 years ago. We’ve lived together nearly 2 decades.
My sticking point is this: despite his massive inheritance, my husband still charges me a monthly rent and bills me for every tiny expense. I have a modest amount of savings (around $250k), but they are largely tied up in my 401k, so can’t afford to retire anytime soon. I work 40+ hours a week, while Hubby stays home and indulges in expensive hobbies like golf and sailing, and takes long trips without me. Is it unreasonable of me to expect him to share his good financial luck with me?
My husband and I lived together for 12 years before getting married. We both worked lower-income jobs, making around $40k/year each, living in the expensive state of California.
He had a couple of bad experiences dating women who he said wanted him to support them, so we agreed to always split expenses 50/50, and to never share finances. We lived quite happily in rented properties for most of our relationship, splitting the rent, gas, internet, etc., my share of which came to around $1200. We kept our bank accounts separate, and even went so far as to grocery shop for our own items separately.
We lived modestly and never had much money, but I felt proud we were avoiding the petty squabbles over money most of our friends seemed to have. I worked hard and eventually got a better job, and a near-perfect credit score. Life was good.
When we got married 6 years ago, my husband asked me to sign an extensive pre-nup, stating that if we ever broke up, we’d leave with only what we’d personally purchased during the relationship. I was fine with that – in fact I thought it was very sensible.
Life changed dramatically 4 years ago, when his mother passed away unexpectedly after a short illness. His father died when he was young. His mother had a nice house, which my husband sold and split the money with his older sister. He used the money to buy us our first house, saying that “maybe” if his finances worked out, I wouldn’t have to pay rent any more. He put the deed in his name, in accordance with the pre-nup.
Then came the bombshell. His mother ran a small business on an unusually large lot, which I always assumed she rented. After she passed, I found out that not only did she own the building and the lot, but it was next to an upscale Hilton property that was desperate to expand. The hotel chain offered a premium for the property. After the sale, my husband and his sister walked away with a cool $8M each.
We moved into our fancy new house, and as the first of the month approached, I (foolishly) assumed that my ‘bill’ would be smaller, now we had no more rent to pay. But instead, my husband told me that due to higher utilities and property taxes, my payment to him each month would now be higher, to the tune of $1800/month.
This is a below-average rent price in our area (believe me, I did my research after our discussion!), so I kind of shrugged and accepted this. After all, I was now making $80k/year and could afford it.
I thought nothing more of it until COVID hit. Suddenly we were both home all day every day. Working remotely, I got to see first-hand how my husband spends his days. He rarely rises before 11AM, then after a round of golf at the nearby course he comes home, cooks a leisurely lunch, and spends his afternoon watching sports on TV. He is constantly (and loudly) on the phone with his guy friends planning elaborate weekend trips away boating, and goes on week-long getaways with a number of other richer retirees from our friend-circle every few months.
In short, he’s enjoying his retirement. But he’s left just one thing out: his wife.
What to do?
I have tried so hard over the years to be a good partner. I want our marriage to work, but I’m at a loss over how to process my feelings about this. I feel misled over the purchase of our house; I also feel like an idiot for not insisting I was added to the deed before my husband purchased it. I’m also unable to see how he can come home from each fun boating trip to find his wife in a dark room by herself, bent over a laptop working, and not think there is anything wrong with the situation.
I have shared the above with several close friends, who told me to just confront him about all of this, but I have this (likely dumb) sense of pride about all of this. I feel like if he wanted to share his retirement with me he would have already done so; it’s something that an equal partner would have freely given. The fact I have to ask makes me feel like things are already over between us.
I guess my biggest fear is that once I’ve brought up the subject, I can’t “put the cat back in the box”, and he’ll think I just want his money and it will cause us to break up. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. I loved him for over a decade when we were both broke.
To be honest I just want back the life we had before he inherited all this money. We were so happy, and now he’s the only one left in this relationship who’s happy.
I don’t know what to do. Should I leave him and look for a more equal partner, and keep my pride intact? Or should I see if we can work out some kind of deal, and risk losing him by just asking?