Dear Annie: My husband and I have a small online stock trading account. Several months ago, he mentioned that he was thinking of giving our son and daughter-in-law money to open their own stock account. I immediately told him I was against it. I then left to go to the store and thought that was the end of it. When I arrived home, I found my husband signing a check for $25,000 to our daughter-in-law. We have no agreement that the money will be repaid or that we will be informed as to what happens to it. If I hadn’t returned home when I did, I never even would have known about it.
My husband doesn’t think he did anything wrong. How am I supposed to trust or respect him when he does things like this? Am I justified to feel resentful and betrayed? – Floored
Dear Floored: Your husband should not be making unilateral decisions that affect both of you. But by telling him “no” and assuming the matter was settled, you did the same thing. It sounds like this is not so much about the money as it is about who controls it. Giving a large sum to anyone, including a child, requires the cooperation and agreement of all involved parties.
You and your husband need to stop the power plays and talk about this calmly. Admit your own part in creating the problem, and explain how hurt you were that he didn’t take your feelings into account. We don’t know if this money was a gift or a loan or how you want to handle it, but the discussion should end with the agreement that neither of you will do this again without the consent of the other.