Why Separate Accounts Helped Keep Us Together

My husband and I doubled down on the ‘dutch’ 25 years ago, and I never looked back.

  • By Jules Olbermann
  • June 27, 2013

The first and only joint checking account I’ve had with my husband lasted approximately six months. 

I've been married for a long time, nearly 30 years, but at the beginning I was quite young and not fully prepared for all the responsibility that came with marriage. Growing up, no one ever discussed money except to say that I should save every penny I had for a rainy day, and beyond. But when we got married, neither of us had much money. We were both just embarking on our careers. Shortly after the wedding we moved to a major city and pooled our finances into a joint checking account. My husband was new to this country (from France) and didn't have a bank account yet, so we just opened it together. I thought it would be the easiest thing to do. I was wrong.

Months later, during a routine trip to the bank, I burst into tears when I discovered that most of our money was gone. It turned out that while I was just trying to pay the rent, my wonderful, loving and still-new husband was spending a lot of money on his guys’ nights out. I didn't ask him about closing the account. I just did it.

I confronted him afterward, but he didn't seem to care. It was hard for me. He was being totally irresponsible, and I felt like his mother. Plus, I was shocked and hurt, and felt betrayed even though the money was his too. It was a strange feeling I had never experienced before.  I felt like I had to be the ‘grown-up’ and take responsibility and make sure we had the funds to pay our necessities because he obviously wasn't going to.

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