I need some advice from strangers re: marriage... is it worth it? (REALLY LONG)

Wow, in all of my Doper experience, I never thought I’d start one of these “personal business threads.” But here I am, sharing this stuff with people I don’t know, but people who are pretty wise and forward-thinking. I actually wonder if I’ll be able to finish/publish this thread… we’ll see.

I’ve been married for almost 8 years. My SO and I have been together for many years - back to college. I’m pretty social and have tons of meaningful relationships with lots of people, everywhere I’ve ever been (HS, college, work, grad school) but never dated anyone else seriously after HS besides my SO. My SO is rather different. She’s smart and respectable but has very few friends. She’s friends with the people she works with who are all very nice people but I wouldn’t say close. Most of our mutual friends are friends of mine that she’s friendly with, and as we’ve been together for so long my friends are always friendly and inclusive. We’re at a point where a lot of friends are married as well so that makes sense.

My SO has some really strange habits/behaviors - and I say this trying to be as fair as possible. For instance, we’re having a horrible row right now (she’s in bed and I’m looking at the couch/office floor for the night). Here’s how it happened:

SO wears glasses. Problem is, she’s not careful with them. Had them for many years and often falls asleep in them (I’ve removed them as she sleeps many times). They’re bent a bit and while I’ve been able to bend 'em back in to shape more or less, they’re needing replacing, methinks. There are more stylish and modern styles she could wear.

I also wear glasses, and have a long history of being dissatisfied with them. Pinching my nose, uncomfortable, sliding off my face… but a friend convinced me to go to a “eyewear boutique” instead of Lenscrafters. And you know what? I found a wonderful pair that I really like, almost perfect, and the shop is really good about adjusting them - great service. They cost a lot more than I usually pay but as I wear glasses for years I thought it was a wise investment. For months I’ve been getting compliments about them.

I thought a certificate for glasses at this shop would be a wonderful gift for her birthday/anniversary (fall in the same week). However, SO is very… careful with money, should we say. She’d never go in a store like this because of the fact it costs more than Sears and those types of places. So I needed a GC that was “cashless” - sort of “go to the store, pick what you like, and everything will be taken care of.” I talked to the manager about this and he was very helpful - basically said they’d back off, give her time to look, and not mention prices and I could handle the financial part later.

I told SO I had a surprise for the anniversary and to meet me near the shop after work - we walked over, went inside, and I said, “Why don’t you try some of these on?” SO tries on pairs, finds fault with all of them and so on, but at least is looking them over. The staff is sort of aggressive in the store so I sought out an employee, explained the situation, and asked him to call the manager (as he told me to) so he would understand how we’d handle the transaction. SO is eyeing me out of the corner of her eye, and says that she doesn’t want to buy anything, that she doesn’t see anything she likes (after looking at one little section of the rather expansive store).

As you might imagine this is SOP - if money is involved all bets are usually off. I don’t want a fight or play “this is why you should consider a new pair of glasses.” I tell the employee, “Right now isn’t a good time - we should probably come back,” and SO and I leave the store. I’m seething but silent. Damn it, I live with SO, I think carefully about apt, useful gifts she needs or might want, and I only do “gifts” like this at the holidays and this time of the year. Furthermore I went to efforts to make it as “easy” for her - no need to see the cost, just pick what you want, let your taste dictate what you want instead of the price tag.

SO asks “what’s wrong.” (Like it isn’t obvious.) I state that I’m upset because I was trying to give a gift and she didn’t even give it a chance - I mean, if she looked around for a while and decided that the place didn’t have what she wanted and we left, I’d wouldn’t mind. But the fact she leapt to “I don’t want to buy anything” annoyed me. She wasn’t going to “buy anything” - if there was going to be buying I would take care of it. SO then said the old glasses were fine… and I told her that actually, they’d taken a beating over the years, and as a professional, she would look much better in a newer set of frames. She responded “No one else thinks there’s anything wrong with them” - and I say, if you’re not particularly close to people, it’s not something you usually get to hear. If you asked them, do you think I should get new specs, they might gently suggest that that would be a nice idea. Then SO says the selection is limited - my response was well, you didn’t really look around a lot. And because they are a boutique they can get almost anything you want. SO then says, well maybe I can look at Sears… and I find myself in the familiar spot. Hey, this is a great place, why not try something a little fancier (and a little higher quality) for once. It’s apparent to me though that this is about money (again).

I should point out that we have no consumer debt. We rent. Car is a old beater but paid for. I just have grad student loans and we save like mad. We have a LOT of money saved up - easily over a year’s salary for both of us - that stays constant because we don’t spend much - no movies, booze, partying, fancy shopping, and that kind of thing (though I do all of those things in moderation and like the technology stuff). No kids. Both of us came from modest households and while we weren’t poor, money was always tight - and our parents haven’t always been the most prudent with their finances. We of course are careful because of this. I had a sizable consumer debt when I was much younger, about 12 years ago when I was just out of college and making very little money. I got counseling, got out of debt by myself by sticking to a budget, and now have a very high credit rating - investments in 401ks for both of us and so on. So it isn’t as if we are scaping by to make ends meet.

But SO is parsimonious to a extreme level. I don’t have a problem with store brand stuff like toilet paper and tissue, and some of her money-saving tips rub off on me. But I like my name-brand cereal (while she will often by the generic equivalent - which I won’t eat). We’ve both started thickening a little, and so I joined a gym very close by. It’s about $60/month, and there are cheaper gyms elsewhere - but traffic and parking in our area is horrible, and I figure the stress and time I save by going to a place nearby is worth it. SO came on the tour with me, and liked all the stuff there - except the price. Didn’t sign up, although there was a really great special going on when I did. Bang goes an opportunity to do something outside the house together. When we were on vacation recently, SO went on and on about the gym in the hotel and the pool - and of course I said, “We have the same equipment at the gym at home - if you’re interested and want to get a regimen why don’t you join?” She of course had a litany of reasons (too many people watching, tired when I come home) but it was clear that if the gym was free she’d go.

I’m the first to admit to being a little on the cheap side (wearing sneakers that I’ve had for about 7 years) and I’m not above using coupons when I shop and so forth. But I’ve noticed the tendency in a market economy for goods and services to cost a little more when they are of superior quality. In other words, I love a bargain, but I value quality and integrity more. My car is a beater but it is still running decently after 15 years - that’s why I bought a more expensive model when it was new. In short, looking for the cheapest deal is an example of being penny wise and pound foolish at times. I buy high-quality shoes and shirts because they a) look better and b) last longer. Trust me, it took me a while to learn this lesson but I get the importance of quality - which guides my purchasing decisions.

SO is always looking for the cheap way out, though I admit after a particularly skeevy motel stay our accomodations are usually good to excellent on vacations. But now I get asked, “Are you hungry? I’m okay until dinner. Do you want lunch?” when we go on vacation. I eat twice a day, every day. Why would that change, especially when we’re visiting somewhere new (for me, the highlight of travel is trying new food!)?

It would be hard enough dealing with this if it were simply a quirk that SO understood as being a little weird and hard to deal with. But SO thinks there’s justification and I’m being a snob (even though I think paying big $$$ for a purse is dumb, for example, and I’m usually in a pair of Gap jeans or shorts from the outlet). Essentially, the discussions we have on the issue are very unsatisfying - usually making me the problem and her ignoring the fact that a) I am smart with money and don’t believe in spending for spending’s sake and b) for a birthday/anniversary you might expect someone to want to give a nice gift. She’s rejected gifts I’ve given before - even ones she put on a list for Christmas - and I find that very hurtful, even if it’s something minor. If it’s the wrong size or color I understand taking it back, but to take it back and get cash or credit back (she doesn’t keep it, she gives it to me usually) kind of says “I don’t want your gift.”

Thing is, she’ll bitch about a purchase (computer, TV, laptop) for the house or for herself but a week later, she’ll use the thing with no problem. A few years back I told her I was getting her a laptop (tired of her using mine and complaining about how hard Macs were to use). She asked me to cancel the order but I refused. When she finished grad school, she finished it using that computer (and it meant that there was no waiting to use the computer or the lab on campus). It’s fair to say that it is one of her most used items.

A few months ago I got a new laptop and it came with an iPod mini - I already had one, so I gave it to SO. It sat on the table for several months until I threatened to give it to someone else - and then she started to use it, and got some enjoyment out of it. I notice she doesn’t use it that much anymore even though she has a 45 minute commute on a bus to work. Before I gave her the iPod she wanted to use my antiquated 128MB mp3 player… which made no sense to me.

Anyway, for these reasons, and the horrible argument we had this entire evening, I am seriously considering divorce. I hate that this is a continual issue, I hate that SO always ends up twisting the discussion into irrelevant stuff and that I spend so much time pissed off and annoyed, and I hate the idea that if we have a child this kind of stuff is in the picture. I know I have hang-ups about money but I want our child to grow up not afraid of money, able to respect it but not hoard or spend it like water - so I force myself to “grow up” and confront my financial issues instead of doing the same unexamined stuff. I think SO is not willing to analyze and perhaps even modify these behavior for the good of the relationship and for the good of a child. SO will do anything - purposely attacking me, straying off topic, pretending to be “too tired” to talk about her behavior - but avoids discussing the real issue - why do you have such a hard time spending money, even for a good cause? For example, SO will never dip into her pocket for a charity or a fundraiser but probably would do community service.

I’m really bitter and frustrated. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who has gift-giving occasions turn into arguments and harsh words. I certainly love SO but it almost seems abstract because the day-to-day reality is frustration. SO lives in a reality where no-one else’s opinions matter, and if one dares to disagree with her they are either a) jealous or b) trying to put someone down. I am so down and I know normally in a few days we’d reconcile and continue until the next issue comes up. I’m tired of that way of living. SO’s favorite saying is that I’m taking out stress from work on school on her - in actuality, I love my school and work and I take on challenges willingly. The real frustration in my life comes from disagreements and arguments. I’m successful in those realms in SPITE of what happens at home, not because of it.

We tried counseling years ago but it went really poorly. I felt counselor wanted to blame me for everything - I think she was of the “blame the man” mentality. While I know I’m not perfect it seemed way out of balance. We’ve had one-off meetings with counselors and that seemed to go okay but SO is of the opinion that counseling indicates that there’s something wrong with you. I’m sure it’s cultural, I used to have the same hang-ups, but I’ve talked to counselors as an adult and I think it is really useful. I think SO is scared of a lot of things - she used to be really OCD (undiagnosed, but really bizarre repetitive behaviors about locks, doors, that kind of stuff) but she’s much better now.

SO had a tough childhood - no physical abuse but a lot of neglect, especially from dad, who certainly didn’t hold up good examples of expressiveness or fidelity. SO claims “she’s dealt with it” through reflection and prayer but I don’t think this is the case. She distrusts people more or less instinctively, while I consider myself street smart but still trusting of people generally. I think she needs to seek out counseling individually and we need to seek out counseling as a couple, but she’d never agree to it. I will probably seek out counseling for myself just because I can’t possibly burden my friends and family with this anymore.

Maybe some of you have dealt with relationships like this before and have advice for me. Or you can help me see the assumptions or problems I’m causing, because I really don’t see how I’m creating a majority of the difficulty in this household. I know I am quite self-critical and at times I am critical of SO, but I have really cut back on that behavior. For instance, I used to strongly suggest that SO style her beautiful hair (she used to wear it in a really unflattering manner) - but eventually I stopped and a co-worker made it clear to her that she needed to do something with it, and she more or less has a nice, manageable style. I felt that if she had close friends they would have made the suggestion as well, but I’m the bad guy because I actually present reality instead of polite conversation and interactions that come with people you don’t really know. I realize that and back off quite a bit nowadays.

I could go on and on and I appreciate anyone who even gives this a cursory read or skim… apologize for the extreme length, but I’m really hurting and I think writing this has helped a bit. Advise away!

I’m not licensed in your state, and dunno what the requirements for divorce in your state may be. In my state, you don’t have grounds for fault based divorce based on your OP. The only option for you would be a “no fault” divorce, which is only available if both parties consent.

That said, do you really want to trash a long term relationship over a tiff about an anniversary gift? Nobody but you can answer that question. If you want to do it, you’re looking at dividing up your stuff, finding new living quarters, potential awkwardness with mutual friends…especially the married ones. It’s a major disruption in your life, with lots of emotional issues, and potentially very expensive. Just points to ponder.

Sounds like you’re really unhappy. Sounds like things aren’t going to get better. Just be glad you don’t have kids - make sure not to have kids unless you are happy again. Good luck!

Your relationship sounds similar to my brother and someday-to-be-ex-sister-in-law’s (they’re separated, but not done with the divorce). It’s amazing how chronic disagreements about financial matters can affect you. In their case, it created a very poisonous atmosphere that made me cringe whenever I was around them; unfortunately they have children who had to live with that for several years. Really a bad scene.

I think you need to make it clear to her that you are very unhappy and that your differences about money need to be addressed. Based on what you describe, it sounds like you need to find a counselor that both of you can work with and commit to figuring out how to have a relationship that both of you can be happy in. You really don’t want to bring children into the situation you describe.

It particularly concerns me that it takes days for you to get over rows like the current one. Any relationship involves disagreements, but if it routinely takes days to get over them, it’s not in a healthy place.

Hope you can sort this out to your satisfaction. Life’s too short to spend it unhappily.


HH- My youngest sister sounds a lot like your wife. Growing up she would respond to gifts from family members with, “I HATE IT!”::throw gift to floor, tears swelling in everyone’s eyes::
I really noticed the problem when I chaperoned her 7th birthday sleep-over with 8-12 littlle squealing 7-8yo girls. Interestingly, she was gracious and receptive to their gifts, but the two gifts from family members were greeted with extreme prejudice.
When I was 21 and working in a deptment store in the handbag dept I purchased a small handbag, wallet, and key fob from Liz Clairborne in matching taupe triangles (you remamber ladies, in the late 80’s) for her 12th B-day. It was the correct size and it was a cute combo, and extremely difficult to contrive on my meager salary and the difficulty level to which it was to obtain all the pieces. My sincerely well-though out, hip gift was greeted with, “I HATE IT!” I told her that it is more polite to state, “Oh, my! You really shouldn’t have! Did you keep the receipt?” then explain that you would like to exchange it for something else.
Birthdays and Christmas are a nightmare. We finally resorted to contributing to a charity instead of giving her a gift. Not even gift certificates really work out. It boils down to she doesn’t want us to spend money on her for things she hasn’t expressed a need for.
A tad stressful but we survive.

It does sound as if your SO needs counseling. Or the big -D for irreconcilable differences.
Best wishes to you.

Excuse me if I’ve missed this, but you seem to have overlooked what I consider to be a pretty important fact: How much do each of you make? Who is the breadwinner? Do you have a single bank account, or separate?

Money was probably one of the most contentious issues in my marriage. My ex had little respect for saving money or being frugal. I don’t think your wife sounds unreasonable in her frugality, she just operates at a different financial philosophy.

I think considering divorce over this single issue is premature, although I do understand that there are other issues involved. There always are. But marriage is a vow to work through the bad times, even though they are difficult and frustrating. I’m going to assume that there are many wonderful reasons you married her in the first place. Try to remember those.

Look at getting separate bank accounts, if she’s amenable to the idea. Tell her you want her to feel like she has more control of her own financial responsibilities, and then work out a schedule to split up shared bills and expenses. That way she is responsible for her own money and can manage it how she sees fit. If she doesn’t see the value in gadgets or gizmos, or fancy clothing or accessories (like glasses) then she doesn’t have to feel pressured or feel like her values are out of whack. I think the most important thing here is to not make her feel like you’re judging her tastes or financial philosophy.

I don’t see this as a money management problem in the slightest. Hippy’s SO is depressed, it sounds like. She doesn’t seem to be able to find joy in the relationship or their collective success. It’s got nothing to do with the money, which Hippy says is firmly under control.

We could be in the same sitcom: “I Married A Cheapskate”. We’ve been married for almost 10 years and together for 19. My husband cannot enjoy an expensive meal, balks at the fact that I spend $65 on a pair of jeans (even though he’d be the first to tell me they make my butt look faaaabulous), sees no point in buying things to beautify our environment. He did spend $400 on new glasses, but bought the same old ugly frames he’s been wearing since the '70s. And then wears his Walgreens “cheaters” 90% of the time anyway. :confused: He also has very few friends and is uncomfortable to the extreme when outside his personal zone.

There is a rigidity factor that can be extremely grating on a relationship. The unwillingness to try new things can be very disheartening, because it’s a constant reminder that you aren’t growing together. It’s constantly in the back of your mind that you either have to slow down to accommodate your partner’s lack of interest in things, or you have to forge ahead by yourself, almost as if you’re single anyway. I know the feeling well. Sometimes it’s not big deal. Other times it makes you feel like a pair of mismatched shoes.

I can only advise that somehow she needs to get herself into counseling to explore why she has deep-seeded feelings of unworthiness and fear of change. It doesn’t sound like she’d be willing to examine the root of these issues. I guess the final question comes from Ann Landers: Are you better off with her or without her? For me, the answer changes as often as I change my socks. Sigh…

Good luck. It’s a difficult spot to be in and ultimately you are the only one who can sort it out.

I agree.

No offense to the OP but your situation as described sounds pretty minor to consider divorcing someone over. Call me old fashioned but I think frugality is a good trait. If her caution with money approaches Hetty Green levels THEN you’ve got a problem.

I don’t think it’s the frugality that has him down. It’s much deeper than that. The cheapskateosity of it is merely a symptom of a bigger problem.

Perhaps as a first step you could find out why it is that she doesn’t want to spend money on certain things? Really understanding this from her point of view may help you to work on a path going forward - what you both regard as essentials/luxuries etc. And it shouldn’t really matter if she doesn’t want to spend money on certain things but that you can and do. You’re both still individuals in this relationship, and you will value things differently. But understanding why this is may help you be less frustrated.

And instead of getting frustrated with her about the glasses, gently tell her that you’d love to treat her to something special, and while you thought really lovely glasses was a good idea, you’d be open to getting her what she’d like. After all, the gift should be all about making her feel happy and loved - unless the gift really was you getting fed up with her glasses?

I think this sounds like a silly thing to break up over, perhaps things will look less serious in the morning. If not, it’s still really worth while sitting down and talking about how you feel. I don’t think marriage is supposed to be easy the whole time, and perhaps this is just one of those times.

Marriage is hard, hard, hard, and of course there are time when we wonder why we’ve done it. Are you thinking about divorce because you’re so angry & hurt, or because you are so far past angry and hurt that you just don’t care. I think the latter is far worse than the former, personally. If it hurts, you can fix it.

I’m going to suggest something different from what I’ve seen here thus far. One: Instead of a marriage counselor, why don’t you go together to see a financial counselor. Take a good long look at what you’ve got, and what you can afford to spend on needs and wants without worrying. Maybe a 3rd party opinion will help her feel safer about money. Two: You mentioned she said she had “come to terms” with things through refelction and prayer. Maybe you could talk about your marriage with your (her) priest/pastor/rabbi/? It might not do too much, but at least it will call attention to the issues, which may be all you need.

I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and best of luck with whatever you choose.

Does your wife agree with you that the last counselor was bad?

If this were my marriage, I wouldn’t be considering divorce. From what you’ve described (which can never be the whole story), this is just a worse part of the “better or worse.” You’re not going to be happy as a couple until she’s happy, and she doesn’t seem to get happy about much (from what you’ve described). So you have to help her get happy and accept her until she does.

FWIW, it doesn’t sound like the refusal of the glasses was about you, at all, so she doesn’t really “get” why that hurt you.

Unless you can both sit down and discuss your problems, the outlook is not good. If one person is refusing to communicate or won’t even consider that they might be in the wrong, it doesn’t bode well for your future happiness.

Arguing is normal. No two people are ever going to agree on every single issue, and there’s always going to be things your partner does which irk you, but if someone is unwilling to even address the problems or consider adapting, you’ve hit a brick wall. At that point you have to ask yourself: “Can I live with this for the rest of my life?” (If they won’t work on problems now, chances are their refusal will only get worse as the years go by.)

In a good relationship, you should be able to say, “Love-of-my-life, [this] bothers me and hurts my feelings.” The correct response is not to fly off in a rage and give fifty reasons why your emotions are incorrect, but to say, “Well, darling, if it really bothers you, let’s talk about it and see if we can come to a compromise.” It’s not an issue of who’s at fault. It’s a simple matter of making adjustments to help your partner be as happy as possible.

Flat-out, you need to talk to her and discuss these things you wrote about in your OP. Try to phrase your conversation along the lines of, “I feel [this]” instead of statements which can sound accusatory, like: “You make me feel [this].” If she won’t talk to you, there’s little you can do. At that point you have to decide if you can live with this for the next fifty years or not.

I wish you the best of luck.

I think the problem may have been this: Your gift came off as you being critical again in your wife’s eyes. It hurts to know your husband thinks something about you isn’t quite up to par, and it came off like your gift to her was actually a gift to yourself because she would look better in new glasses to you. It seemed like you were forcing something on her that she didn’t want because you don’t like her the way she is. I might be reading the situation all wrong, but I can see how she might feel that way in that situation. Nobody likes to feel like they’re constantly being criticized or judged as having, as you said, “strange habits and behaviors.” Not wanting to spend money when you don’t think it’s necessary is not a strange habit or behavior, especially for someone who had a rough childhood during which, I’m guessing, there wasn’t much money to be spent. I’ve seen that kind of behavior in people who lived through the Depression or grew up in a very large family where there were never any extras. Just trying to put a different perspective on it.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t care for expensive gifts. My husband knows that, and he knows me well enough to give me small, inexpensive things that I like such as books, CDs, clothing, etc. To me a gift is much more meaningful if the person put thought into what I wanted instead of just going out and getting something epensive. Sometimes I will agree to an expensive gift, but only if the gift is for both of us. For example, we got a new digital camera for our anniversary last year, but it was a joint gift to ourselves.

Yellowval may be on to something here. But I appreciate gentle, constructive criticism from Mr. K. As long as it doesn’t cross the line into the ridiculous column, like when he says a business suit should be 4 inches shorter (so I look like the office HO). But there are ways of doing it subtly…“Those frames are so attractive on you! They really set off your eyes!” or something like that.

No one likes to hear “Boy, that really looks like shit on you.”

First - you should see a counselor. They’ll do a better job of helping you see straight than we will.

Second - you should consider letting your wife know - if she doesn’t already - that you see your marriage meter as having reached the red…something needs to change, and it can’t be just you or just her - both of you need to participate in changing it. If she does’t want to compromise (i.e. what Lissa said) - possibly finding a counselor you can both work with, pack and see an attorney. Marriage is a two way street and unless you are a complete jerk (in which case, leave for her sake, please, she’ll be better off without you, though I doubt this is the case), she needs to be making an effort.

Well, you could just be forthright - like Lissa said. “I love you, and I think you need new glasses. It would mean a lot to me if you’d let me do this for you.”

I agree with** Dangerosa ** completely.

You and your wife need a new set of communication tools in order to be able to live together and support each other. Using a professional counselor is the best way to do it.

Gifting - with its unspoken ajendas and expectations - is always a mine field.

Ah. I understand that being forthright is generally a positive quality. I like it from my best girlffriend, my mom, my siblings, a number of people. It is not something I like from my spouse. Emotionally, not intellectually, but emotionally, it’s not something I care for. I don’t like feeling there is something about me that my spouse needs to “fix.” For me, it feels too much like “fixing.” It makes me feel like he has evaluated me and I’ve come up short and I feel less like a person and more like a project. Fortunately, Mr. Del is not a fixer so we are a good match in that respect (hopefully in other respects as well :slight_smile: ) Maybe I’m irrational on this front, maybe I’m immature, but you’re (the general you, not you=bup) not married to me, so it’s all good.

When the read the OP, the one thing that really struck me was that many of the examples he gave were about fixing things for his wife. Out of the goodness of his heart. Because he cares. Because he sees little things that could presumably make someone happy. Her response to the glasses shopping trip annoyed him. I agree that her behavior was annoying, and that’s especially hurtful because Hippy Hollow’s intentions were pure and generous. The thing I see, which maybe he didn’t see, was panic. Her persnicketyness was her way of getting out of the situation, and because it was so uncomfortable for her she went for the quickest way possible – shutting down the shopping trip and getting the hell out of Dodge.

Hippy Hollow, I’m sorry about your situation. From your description, I think that yeah, definitely, there are some issues there that if your wife chose to work on, she’s probably be a happier person and your marriage would be happier as well. I don’t mean to downplay the financial thing – I agree wholeheartedly with the person who suggested seeing a financial counselor as well as any other kind of counseling you might seek out. Even I, as a person who has a real empathy with her dislike of having a fixing-type confrontation with you, think that her way of coping with it leaves a lot to be desired.

There’s that whole axiom about how you can’t change other people, and there’s definitely some truth to that – you can’t make someone change. But in a marriage, you also have the right to articulate just how unhappy you are about certain things, and expect that your spouse will work with you to find a solution. One thing I would ask you is how much you are willing to change to reach a better place in your relationship. Let’s say your wife recognizes her reaction to your shopping trip was less than ideal, and wants to work on this. What if the improvement is that her reaction becomes more pleasant and not essentially different? “Thank you honey, but you know, my glasses are something I would prefer to handle on my own time and at my own schedule. Say, there’s a great movie on TV tonight, let’s make some popcorn!” Could you change enough to let the glasses go?

I agree with all the other good advice already posted. (I’m not a counselor, just a regular divorced person.)

One thing I thought as I was reading the OP was that you went on and on about examples of money disagreements, with details about your different spending philosophies and your justification for buying this and that, etc., and I asked myself whether the real problem is really money management or something else. Then finally toward the end of the OP you started mentioning more significant matters.

I think you need to shift away from focusing on the money thing as the main problem, and try to find out what the real problem is.

If the problem were just money, then you two should be able to reach some kind of compromise (probably involving separating your finances) and then get on with your lives. But it’s not just money. Have you tried putting yourself in her place and trying to get a grip on what she may be thinking (subconscously or not) when these kinds of disagreements happen? Even if you think she’s wrong, you need to also be able to put yourself in her shoes and have some knowledge of what’s motivating her.

That being said, you two need counseling, and need a different counselor than the one you went to before. You also need to talk with your SO and let her know that this is really bothering you.

If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t divorce yet until I’d given counseling another try. But of course if you two can’t work it out then you need not suffer for ever with this.