Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Husband Is Buying Us a House and Won’t Let Me See It First”

My husband of three years, “Todd,” told me that we should try to buy a house instead of continuing to rent. I told him that sounded wonderful. I have a lot of issues with him, so his behavior during this buying-a-house process should, unfortunately, not surprise me, but he has really crossed some big boundaries lately. He has found a house and has a realtor, but he will not take me to any of the meetings with the realtor and he will not even take me to see the house.

I feel he is being very unfair and hurtful to me. I am now feeling that maybe I should consider divorcing him if he is unable to treat me like I matter during the process of buying our first home. Buying a home should be a journey that we do together. He is deliberately keeping me from being involved in this special process. It’s like he’s part of the big event and I’m being left on the sidelines. The house he’s selected is beautiful, but I feel like he is treating me very poorly. Should I walk away from this very hurtful situation? I have tried to express to him my feelings and concerns, but he doesn’t seem to care. He actually already took his mother to see the house, but he has yet to take me and I’m his wife. This does not seem normal or appropriate in any way. — House Wife


First: DO NOT BUY A HOUSE WITH THIS MAN. Since Todd’s behavior during this process is reflective of how he’s treated you for a while, and since you have a lot of issues with him prior to this process, and since he doesn’t care about your feelings and concerns that you’ve expressed to him, I am going to say that yes, you should probably walk away from this hurtful situation. Obviously, talk with an attorney, be smart about protecting yourself financially, and if you have children, work carefully to prioritize them and create as harmonious a co-parenting relationship with your husband as possible. And whatever you do, don’t buy a house with Todd or do anything else to make yourself more entangled, financially and emotionally, with this person who seems to have so little regard for you.

From the forums:

My ex, “Brian,” and I are both in college — he’s a junior and I’m a senior. We started dating around Halloween, 2019 but ended it at the end of the semester. I was going to study in London, and it didn’t make sense to pursue things long-distance since we had been together such a short amount of time and we weren’t going to be in the same place at the same time very long. But then the world as we knew it came crashing down, and travel is a no-go for who knows how long.

Now we are both back at school, and he is in one of my classes. It’s bringing these feeling back up, but I’m conflicted. When things ended, I felt confident that what we had was nice, but I had no need to pursue it further. There were things about him I found cute and charming, but there were other things that were weird and … not so charming. But now I can’t get him out of my head. The idea of reconnecting with him feels so tempting. The rules at school are really strict – all there is to do is eat, sleep, study, and go to class. No parties, OF COURSE (I wouldn’t even think of going to one right now). But that means no way to meet people, and I’m kinda lonely.

I know these all seem like the wrong reasons to reconnect – I’m lonely, bored, have no way to meet people – but is that so wrong in a time like this? He’s a really nice guy, he’s a genuinely good person, I like him, and, with the world so fucked up, the idea seems comforting. My friend advised me: “If you feel like you want someone to talk to during this crazy time, go for it!!” Should I? Should I go for it again? Is it so wrong to just want a friend to ride out the end of the world with? In a crazy apocalyptic way it kinda seems romantic. What do you think? Should I reconnect? — It’s the End of the World as We Know It

 
Well, this isn’t the end of the world, even if it feels like it right now. And there’s really nothing romantic about an apocalypse anyway, especially when you’re talking about riding it out with a guy you might not have (re-)connected with if you didn’t think the world was ending. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t re-connect. But I’m not convinced you should, either. What’s most important here is why you found Brian weird and not-so-charming. Was it because he had a sock drawer full of little doll heads, or because he ate sushi with a fork? If it’s the former, no. If it’s the latter, still a no but less so. If the only reason you found him weird is some silly superficial thing that you used to soften whatever blow you might have felt about ending a relationship you were enjoying, then it’s certainly worth exploring a reconnection (at least as friends, anyway!). But if something about his actual character gave you pause, or if you recognized signs that you didn’t share the same values, or if he in anyway demeaned or disrespected you, move on. No amount of boredom or loneliness would justify putting up with any of that.

If you do decide to reach out to Brian, I would advise framing it as catching up with a friend rather than getting back together. Ask if he’d like to go for a walk after class or get a coffee or whatever seems reasonable and safe within the current restrictions of your college campus and community (and your comfort level!). Pay attention to your intuition, how he responds to you, and whether or not there’s chemistry between you. And then go from there. After a few times in his company, you should have a pretty good idea what your feelings for him are and whether he feels similarly.

Regardless whether you pursue anything with Brian or not, it’s important to build some kind of friend/support group for yourself. I understand the restrictions you’re under and won’t pretend to know what that feels like within the context of college life. It seems so unfair that, during what should be a social, fun period, your avenues of socializing are so impaired. But surely there are ways to still meet people – classes, study groups, the dining halls, residential living, any kind of extra-curricular activities that might still be allowed. What about friends you have made prior to this year? Even if you’ve drifted apart, now could be a good time to reconnect to them instead of some guy you dated for a few weeks and think is kind of weird, no? After all, like the saying goes: If you’re going to ride out the end of the world with a person, better that person be of the variety you actually like rather than someone who collects tiny doll heads in his drawer. Or … you know, something like that.

***************Follow along on Facebook,  and Instagram. If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

19 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Moe August 31, 2020, 11:54 am

    One question I gave for the first writer, is “Todd” Buying this house independently or are you both financially investing? Of course as a married couple, your finances are legally intertwined, but if he expects you to invest your money in a house you’ve never seen, that’s crazy! I’d wonder if there are shady financial dealings going on either way.

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    • avatar

      charo September 7, 2020, 2:56 pm

      How do you KNOW it’s “beautiful” if you haven’t seen it? Cause he TOLD you? Don’t trust him and don’t be married to him.

      This is very suspect. Resolve the other “issues” before you stay w/him.

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  • avatar

    Rebecca August 31, 2020, 12:17 pm

    LW1, if you don’t have flashing red lights and sirens going off in your head every time he does something like this, yeet thyself into therapy and don’t leave until your sense of “normal” has been restored to something closer to 2020 instead of 1950.

    He must not buy a house without your approval. He must not make huge financial decisions for the two of you without your full buy in and oversight. He must NOT treat you like you do not matter in this relationship that you are both a part of.

    Run far, and run fast, and don’t stop running until you get out of this relationship. If for some reason you don’t do that, do not buy a house or have children with this person.

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  • avatar

    ron August 31, 2020, 12:54 pm

    Moe — any money either of them earn from the moment they married belongs to both of them. Any debt he takes on to buy this house belongs to both of them. This is a huge red flag and she needs to talk to a (divorce) attorney yesterday. She needs to sever her financial partnership, because his bad behavior can take her down with him. Plus, who wants to live in a house that he selected and bought without her input. Plus who wants to be married to someone who puts their mother’s opinion above their opinion, and doesn’t even pretend otherwise, rubbing it in their face. LW is not an equal (even not a real) part of this family — nuclear or extended.

    Depending upon the circumstances, the financial risk to LW can be enormous. We were friends with a couple, where she had a steady job as a professional with a fixed paycheck and he couldn’t stand working for anyone, so quit multiple jobs and became an entrepreneur. He spent so much money on his mistress, that he fell way behind on his payroll and business taxes and the IRS came after him. Since he didn’t have a steady, predictable income, guess whom the IRS expected to pay the whole debt? Yes, the wife with the steady job. They were going to garnish almost all of her paycheck, leaving her just enough to survive in penury, but so little that the husband could have obtained custody of their daughter.

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    • avatar

      Cheryl September 7, 2020, 2:30 pm

      Quite the contrary. You can be married and live in a community property state, and still be autonomous. People are under the miscommunication that everything is together, especially in community property stated, and that’s not the case. HOWEVER… To keep things separate, you have to make sure your name and the other person’s name, is NOT listed together as being joint.
      Lol… I should know. I was the one that didn’t want my name anywhere on the contract for this house. Just like he’s not on my credit cards. Neither credit bureaus know about the other. We keep things separate. It’s so much easier.

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  • avatar

    BessMarvin August 31, 2020, 12:55 pm

    Thanks for this — I totally laughed out loud: “Was it because he had a sock drawer full of little doll heads, or because he ate sushi with a fork? If it’s the former, no. If it’s the latter, still a no but less so.”

    LW1: This is SO ODD. I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t be very involved in this major life decision. I agree totally with Wendy: Do not buy a house you have never seen.

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  • avatar

    ron August 31, 2020, 1:02 pm

    It’s possible his parents are essentially setting him up in the house — making a large down payment and co-signing the loan, with stipulation that the deed be in their son’s name only or their’s and son’s. Differing people have different views on how badly they want a house right now, but I would not care to stay in a marriage with a spouse who went along with such a plan. That would certainly make LW a second-class participant in own marriage, possibly cut her out of any appreciation of the house’s value, and leave her vulnerable to being controlled (possibly through husband) and lorded over by in-laws. Nope! Not a good basis for a marriage. Your equals or your not. And once you start out accepting unequal, it must be very hard to do a future rebalancing of the scales.

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    • avatar

      Jolie Moore August 31, 2020, 3:23 pm

      Yup. *nods* – then you know what happens 2, 5, 10 years later? The H and parents are in divorce court claiming the house you (W) have partially paid for because they between the three of them have the greater interest. I was a divorce attorney at one time and even beyond that, have seen it among friends – even right now it’s going on with a friend – only it’s him and his parents claiming the house after 20+ years. It’s not fair, but they will exclude and exhaust you in exactly the same way they’re doing it now.

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  • avatar

    Part-time Lurker August 31, 2020, 1:35 pm

    No no no no no no NO! Do NOT buy a house with this man. Everything he is doing is shady, wrong and disrespectful. Honestly, it almost sounds like he’s planning to use your income to get the loan and then leave you and keep the house.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant August 31, 2020, 5:21 pm

    LW1 – How is this even a question?

    No it is not okay or healthy that your husband wants to pick where you live and spend your money while totally excluding you from the process of searching from home.

    Let’s forget about how it’s a fun experience that should be shared, it’s crazy bananas controlling and bizarre what he’s doing, and very frightening, and it’s even scarier that you are questioning whether or not there’s a problem.

    There very much is.

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    • avatar

      bondgirl September 1, 2020, 9:22 am

      Honestly, nothing about the house buying process to me was fun. I want to say how our experience was pure hell…..but I think that’s a universal experience for every home buyer. I’m pretty sure most of us, with the exception of maybe some military spouses, have all shopped for and purchased a house with our significant other’s full participation every step of the way. LW1’s situation is pure bizarro world (and not just because it’s 2020) and she needs to GTFO yesterday.

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  • avatar

    Alison August 31, 2020, 8:55 pm

    My fiance and I are currently saving for a house. We have both discussed what are prioroties are for when we buy. We both will look at the house together and decide together if we buy. It is OUR life together not just mine with him being along for the ride. It’s called a partnership and this LW clearly doesn’t have one.

    Remember: actions mean more than words!! and his actions are screaming your input/opinion mean nothing.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 1, 2020, 9:17 am

    LW1) Hmmm, the house he selected is “gorgeous” eh? Do you have bad taste, typically? I kid, I kid. But seriously, this is seriously OFF behavior on his part. I’d do more than “consider” divorce. Although Ron’s parents footing the bill angle could be an explanation. My advice to anybody who’s parents want to help you buy a house? LET THEM!! Otherwise you could end up like me where — really — the only residence You can afford is a shitty pine box.

    LW2: Why are some people so afraid of being alone that they date people they find annoying. Sorry — I simply don’t get this. At all. MOA.

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  • avatar

    Karebear1813 September 2, 2020, 12:34 pm

    LW1. You should consult with an attorney and file for divorce. This isnt a marriage.

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  • avatar

    katmich15 September 2, 2020, 1:41 pm

    I am now dizzy from banging my head on my keyboard. WTF??? I thought this had to be a joke when I saw the caption LW1, NO NO NO NO. I don’t care who is paying for the house, you should absolutely have a say in where you are going to LIVE. The scariest thing you said is that this behavior should not surprise you, that’s not good. When someone doesn’t care how you feel it’s time to leave.

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  • avatar

    GuyWithAWarning September 7, 2020, 10:25 am

    LW1 – Do not walk away. RUN! This is how things started with my (now) ex-wife. She always had excuses that made sense at the time. Things ended with me realizing I had been financially abused for ~13 years and having little/no stake in everything I had helped her pay for and the life we had built. She got the house, car, furniture, etc. etc. and to keep the life we had built up. I got the kids that I somehow have to figure out how to feed, clothe, and house while starting my life over from 0; or less than 0 really since I have ~13 years of nothing in my name, which creditors, landlords, etc. find suspect.

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  • avatar

    Laura Lister September 7, 2020, 1:23 pm

    Todd is not buying a house for the 2 of you. He’s leaving you & his mom is helping him. Get an attorney.

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  • avatar

    Sarah September 7, 2020, 2:00 pm

    Why don’t you seem suspicious of his secrecy? You feel hurt and excluded because he won’t show you the house, but don’t seem to wonder *why* he won’t show you the house. Aside from being a jacka**, this guy is super shady and creepy and I hope you can see that if you stay in this marriage or go along with this cagey deal you’re going to end up on Dateline.

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  • avatar

    Thunder September 7, 2020, 2:15 pm

    Something is not adding up here. How do you know the house is “beautiful” if you have not seen it? Is it possible he is shielding you from some unsavory aspect of the real estate deal? If you are not financial contributing to the purchase and mortgage, maybe he feels you trust him enough to handle it alone? Communication seem pretty key here. Running away after a 3 year commitment seem hasty. Sit down with him and calmly explain your feelings to him on the matter and you might find the answers you seek. It’s possible he may have your best interests at heart.

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