How couples choose to split their bills can be a sensitive and personal topic — especially if they make vastly different amounts. Some choose to go right down the middle, others go by a percentage, and some are in relationships where their partner pays for everything.
The decision is up to the couple to work out, but things can get tense when both parties don't agree. And that's exactly what's happening to 38-year-old Reddit user Comprehensive_You520 (or Comp for short), whose 39-year-old fiancé is pressuring her to join accounts.
In Comp's post about the issue, she explains, "Our approaches to our marital assets differ slightly. To provide some background: I have a child from a prior relationship and a sick mother. He has two children from prior relationships. There is a disparity in our earnings with me earning about five times more than my fiancé. This has never been an issue to me before and I am hopeful that we can grow together."
"My partner would like to pool all earnings into one shared account from which we cover all household expenses. I am in agreement with this but have additionally proposed that we maintain separate and independent accounts to which 10% of our earnings go. This is for several reasons (autonomy, surprises, individual needs) and to primarily maintain some independence financially," Comp said.
"We both have lost a lot in prior relationships, and while I don’t want to go into a marriage planning for the worst, l think it’s wise to be prepared as we have significant responsibilities."
"My fiancé believes that this conveys a lack of commitment on my part and has told me that this is indicative of my readiness for marriage. I feel heartbroken that he is suggesting delaying marriage because of this."
"As we are both at a sort of impasse, he has proposed we flip a coin to determine an approach. I am not comfortable flipping a coin on such a big aspect of our life. As a result, he has now accused me of being uncompromising. Am I being inflexible or unreasonable?"
After reading the post, commenters quickly validated Comp's skepticism. In fact, they think his forward attitude when it comes to her earnings is a giant red flag.
"So he is basically angry because he won't have access to all your money?" user u/CosmicConnection8448 posed. "I agree you should have an account for household expenses and you should both put in an equal amount of money for that. The rest should be your personal money. Especially as you both have children from previous relationships that you need to take care of."
And to be honest, most think Comp is being wayyy to generous by only suggesting keeping 10% separate because he shouldn't need access to 90%.
"Not the asshole. This would be a huge red flag for me. You’re only asking for 10% in separate accounts (which frankly I don’t think is enough) and he’s refusing to trust you with even that much. If he doesn’t trust you financially, is he ready for marriage?
For context, my husband and I have been together 19 years, married 11. We have one joint investment account and that’s it. Otherwise finances are completely separate and we split bills. If I were you, I’d be insisting on a prenup," user u/Elle_Vetica said.
Some tried to give her fiancé the benefit of the doubt, suggesting his want to join account may be coming from a genuine wish to follow a "what's mine is yours" ideology...but it feels more likely that he just wants her money.
"My generous interpretation: your fiancé feels insecure about his financial position relative to yours, and rather than process that insecurity, he thinks it's a better idea to give him full access to all of your money because of... love?
My ungenerous interpretation: your fiancé has not made this an issue in your relationship because he expected to have full access to all of your money when you got married and did not want to jeopardize that," u/Key_Agent7192.
Regardless of his reasoning, readers reassured Comp that she did not have to give in to any financial pressure from her partner.
"Not the asshole. I would definitely meet with a financial planner or lawyer of some type regarding how the two of you should be setting up accounts so that you both have reasonable expectation for how you will handle both the personal and shared expenses," user u/JessieColt said.
Besides, she has not only her own well-being to think of, but also her children's.
"Unless you are planning on adopting each others children, any expenses for each of your own children should be paid out of the individual accounts and not the shared expenses accounts and same with expenses for any money you spend on/for your mom," user u/JessieColt said.
And that's too big of a deal to simply flip a coin on.
"A flip of the coin?" user u/FuzzyMom2005 questioned. "And if it doesn't go his way, will he insist in 2 out of 3?"
It is 2023, for heaven's sake.
"If a man in 2023 cannot understand why a woman, with previous children no less, would want to maintain a level of financial separation in a marriage without taking it personally, I think that's a pretty big cause for concern," user u/Key_Agent7192 concluded.