I’m looking for different angles on this situation.
Jim, 38, married Kelly, 30, last year. He says she’s a really great person, and I trust his opinion. But there is some strange behavior: She puts stuffed animals on their bed and does a really weird child voice when she’s either trying to be cute (this is never the case, IMO) or doesn’t get her way. He lets this happen all the time and usually compromises whatever position he had just to make her stop. He’s an active guy, responsible, has a good job, etc – his downfall is that he drinks a lot. He’s not a mean drunk or anything and doesn’t do anything stupid when drunk, he just drinks a lot – he’s been since way since I’ve known him. She works in a high-stress, high-paying customer service job (really, really shitty job, but they pay a decent salary).
So a month or so ago we were over their house for dinner…
They did nothing but complain about this and that. She called him “cheap” a few times. Mind you, they’re (he’s) nearly overextended in their new home (a big colonial outside of Boston) and she has a new Jeep. This was all her doing and he went along with it. I was thinking, “He’s not cheap, he’s trying to curb your ridiculous spending because at least he realizes people don’t print their own money.” I didn’t say anything.
THEN, she starts complaing about her 45 minute commute, how it makes her crazy. She bitches about her job and how they don’t let people have any sort of time off, how she’s required to sit in her cube and work all day with minimal breaks, how her boss is “mean,” how she only gets 2 weeks of vacation a year, how she has to deal with rude people calling her all day, etc. They both admit that she’s unapproachable for at least 2 hours after she gets home because she’s strung out from the commute.
So I asked, “Would you guys be able to get by with just Jim’s salary for a while?”
They looked at me like they never thought of this before.* “Yes”, they each agreed.
I then said, “If you don’t mind, I’d just like to ask a question… why not quit and find something locally?”
Kelly: “Well, I won’t find a job that pays this much and it means I won’t have my extra money. Because of the bills we have, I already had to start doing my own nails! Plus, we had a cookout last week and we had to buy toys for the kids we invited.”
Thoughts at this point: WHAT?!
I said, “Oh… I guess you probably just have to weigh the extra money with your peace of mind.”
This time it was a look of, “How dare you.”
Me: “Well, I didn’t mean anything by it, I’m just speaking my thought process if I were in a similar situation…”
Kelly: “Well, I’m not quitting.”
OK, subject change time.
Jim confided in me later that the plan was for her to get pregnant and stop working, and this hasn’t happened. So she’s pissy all the time. He also said that whatever money she makes, she decides where to spend it. She does not contribute to any bills – *this cleared up for me why I got the look. I just listened and didn’t ask any questions. But as he was talking I wondered what his financial situation would be like if she did quit – she’d be doing without a lot of comforts.
I just feel sad for my friend. He doesn’t seem particularly happy. What do you think?