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Ask Rene: Will This Atlantic City Escape Mean The End?

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Ask Rene:
Will This Atlantic City Escape Mean The End?

My husband lost his job about six months ago. As you can imagine, it has been rough financially and emotionally. In the beginning, my husband was very positive about his prospects of finding a new job. But as time passes, he is more despondent. A group of his friends suggested a trip to Atlantic City to cheer him up. Of course, they’re not paying for him; they just think it’s a great idea. This trip is completely unaffordable for us right now. We are behind on every bill and have cut back on nearly everything just to buy groceries. My husband plans on going to Atlantic City and will put everything on a credit card. Uh, hello? We’re going to go further in this hole! Maybe it’s the anger talking, but I’m considering divorce. What can I do to resolve this?

Signed:

Unlucky In Utah

Dear Unlucky In Utah,

Oh, this is a tough one.

On the one hand, you can handle this by just not agreeing, which is tricky in a marriage. Relationships need to have compromise as part of its make-up. But I think there’s an added layer in this situation–your husband’s job loss. As someone who has lost a job, I can tell you it’s about more than that; it’s also like losing your moorings. As difficult as it is for a woman, I’ve heard it’s even more so for a man. As you can see (and already know), there’s a lot going on here.

The question is how to handle it? So, here’s what I would do if I were you.

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TELL HIM YOU UNDERSTAND…
SORT OF

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I know you’re hurting. I can imagine you’re tired and scared, too. But my fear, if you tell him he can’t go, is that he begins to see you as just another person standing in line to beat him up. Tell him you want to talk about it, then explain that while you understand why he feels he needs this trip, it just doesn’t seem the most prudent time to be spending carelessly. If you do it with compassion, explaining that you see his position, maybe he’ll be compassionate and see yours, too.

Read more: What’s Love Got To Do With It? 19 Lessons From 19 Years Of Marriage

LEAVE ALL THE PLASTIC AT HOME

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Let me make this VERY clear. Financing this trip on plastic makes NO DAMN SENSE AT ALL and, frankly, is dangerous. So, if your husband feels he needs this–that his life won’t be complete without it–he needs to come up with a way to make it happen without using credit cards and without significantly impacting the family. In other words, this trip must be scrapped if it means your kids go hungry or cold because the money for heat was placed on 22-black.

Read more: Why Reinvention ROCKS!

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

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I really feel for you on this one. You, your husband, and your relationship are all under an inordinate amount of stress. I would hope that after this little getaway, your husband might feel renewed and refreshed. The problem is if he loses a bunch of money, he’s going to be under even more stress which, in turn, will take a further toll on your  marriage.
Maybe there are some other options, like the two of you getting away for just an evening using loyalty rewards points (if you have them) or taking a road trip for the day. It may not be the raucous good time your husband was hoping for, but there are few things less enjoyable than extreme financial pressure.

Read more: The Gem Debate: Do You Have A Handle On Your Family Finances?

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Along with those things, I might also add this could be the right time to see a counselor. It sounds like there could be other things going on (hence the divorce comment) that are or will be exacerbated by this trip.

That’s what I would suggest. What say you GEMnation? What would you tell this woman?

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