The worst part was - I thought - it set up a weird dynamic between us. When I came to him to ask for money, it gave him a lot of power to say “no” if he thought my use wasn't a good one. Because we don't talk every day, I would have to save up my money talk for when we did get a phone call, leading him to say (when he was feeling dramatic) that I only ever wanted to talk to him about money. The problem escalated as the months went on, until we came to a kind of agreement about a budget he'd give me, and not ask how I was using it.

A better solution?
It's still not perfect. He thinks I don't need as much money as he sends me, no matter that I beg him to ask his friends how much their wives spend on food, babysitting, transportation, clothes… (which is kind of cheating, as I spend virtually nothing on transportation and clothes); I think his structure is only going to continue to cause this unease between us. I can't deny that it's nice to have him paying the major household bills. And it's certainly my goal to make enough to pay for all the groceries and babysitting my little heart could desire; I do, some months, and those are so much easier between us.

Separate accounts can work
I really do believe that separate accounts can work; but only if either:
  • Both partners are making enough to meet their individual needs and one is making enough to save after the bills are paid; or
  • Both partners are almost perfectly aligned in their spending values.

I'm hoping I can manage to make #1 happen, because I'm fairly sure #2 is too far in the distant future to count on. How about you: Have you made a joint account work? Do you fit one of these two categories or do you have another one I should add to my list? If you've had separate accounts and it hasn't worked out, did you find a way to solve the problem?