When You Financially Break Your Spouse’s Heart
When my wife and I started our journey to eliminate our debt, it seemed nearly impossible. It almost seemed like we were Sisyphus cursed to push that huge boulder up the hill, only to have it roll right back down to the bottom so we would have to start all over again.
The idea was to get our debt paid down. We were going to use the debt avalanche method and arrange our debts in order from highest interest rate to lowest and knock them out like Mike Tyson used to do to fools that would step into the ring with him.
We started out okay, we developed a budget, we both had our side hustles working for us, we were focused on our goal of total debt elimination. Then things started to go a little slower and we had some emergencies we needed to take care of. Some things were put on credit cards. I was once again trying to figure out how to create extra income from different side hustles.
If you know me, my problem is that I get bored easily. I don’t just start one side hustle. I will start five side hustles and then see which one pans out. The obvious problem with this technique is that I am spending startup money on five projects hoping that one of them will take off.
It isn’t always just throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks. Sometimes I have an idea and then two days later will have another idea that I think is equally as brilliant, and of course I have all the time in the world to do both projects. I can always throw the startup costs on a credit card because it will eventually make enough money to cover it plus make a ton more.
Well, let’s just say that this cycle went on for a period of time that we will not speak of publicly and the startup costs, which are actually monthly and yearly sots, kept adding up for many projects that are now just sitting there. Don’t get me wrong, some have been good ones and are doing great, like the 2 Money Guys Podcast. Yes, shameless self-promotion.
The day it all came down is when my wife and I were going over the budget and looking over transactions for the past year. The deathblow of a question came out of her mouth, “What are all of these purchases for?”. Have you ever seen a grown man turn into a six-year-old? I literally felt like a child at that point in time and really hadn’t realized exactly how much money I had spent on all of my side projects over that period of time. All of them put on credit cards.
I then had to sit through a lecture on spending and budgeting that rivaled that of government officials. All I could do is sit there, listen, and nod my head because I knew that I screwed up. I knew that it was my idea to develop a plan to eliminate our debt in the first place and it was me, alone, who was destroying that plan. Even though, in my heart and mind, I was trying to help our situation by creating alternate income streams, I was spending money and not actually making any. Not only that, I was charging money and was paying interest on it.
Finances is a trigger point for my wife, so she is in tears by this point and I feel like I just broke her heart. If my wife and I ever argue, it is about money, but this was different. I actually let her down and could tell that, in some way, I actually hurt her by doing this. Again, in my Middle Age Man brain, I was trying to help us.
It is at that point, that I saw money and finances for what it truly is. Money is not just something that is used to trade for goods and services. It can affect relationships, shape families, both hurt and heal. Money is not just an object, it becomes an emotion, a feeling that directs your life.
There are two sides to this idea. If you have money and are able to be financially stable, it can be unicorns and rainbows most of the time. There is one less stress-factor in your life that may trigger conflict.
If you are like my wife, and cursed to have me (Sisyphus), pushing that boulder up the hill only to have it roll down to the bottom again, life becomes more difficult.
And if you are like me, realizing you are Sisyphus, you have a choice to make. You can keep rolling that stupid boulder up that stupid hill and let it roll back down or you could learn your lesson and realize that you are the problem, get in the boulder’s way and be the hero.