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Woman's husband finds her secret savings account, 'You COMPLETELY betrayed me.' AITA?

Woman's husband finds her secret savings account, 'You COMPLETELY betrayed me.' AITA?


When this woman is scared she may have ruined her marriage, she asks the internet:

"AITA For hiding a savings account from my husband?"

My husband (31M) and I (29F) have been married for 2 years. We don't have kids yet and live in a 2-bedroom apartment.

We are both sick of renting and are in the early stages of buying a house. We still have separate finances except for shared bills and rent. He makes about 2X what I do so he covers the majority of our fun and discretionary spending.

When we got engaged, my mom, aunt, and grandmother had a talk with me about stashing money away "just in case." Both my aunt and grandma were in bad marriages in their youth and gave me advice so that I didn't end up feeling trapped like they did.

They even gave me some money to get the account started. I put a little bit into that account every month.

Now that my husband and I are starting to think about buying a house, our first priority is saving money for a down payment. Both our credit scores are in good shape and neither of us has a lot of debt so the down payment is our biggest hurdle.

A couple weeks ago my husband asked if we could go over our finances so that he can get a better grasp of how much more we would need to save and to figure out what our price range/budget should be.

He pulled up his banking information and showed me exactly how much he had saved up. Then, he asked me to do the same.

I absent-mindedly pulled up the savings account that my aunt and grandma helped set up for me. My husband made a comment about how he didn't know I had an account with that bank and he was surprised by how much money was in there.

He then said that he thought all my banking was done through another bank because that's where my checking account is. He asked to see how much I have in checking to see if it's worth transferring some of that into savings.

At this point, I knew I either had to lie to him or come clean. So, I came clean and told him the truth. He was quiet while I told him about everything and explained that this was a "worst-case" type of thing and not in any way an indictment on our relationship or a judgement against him in any way.

When I finished, he told me that he needs some time and he left. I panicked and called my mom and told her what happened.

She tried to talk me down but I was freaking out. I sent my husband a bunch of texts practically begging him to come home and talk to me about it but he ignored me and didn't come home until late that night.

The next day I tried to bring it up to him and he refused to discuss it. He said he still needs to process all of this because he has a lot of feelings about it. When he finally felt like talking he basically accused me of thinking the worst of him and that he feels betrayed and lied to.

He said he feels like his trust in me is gone and is now wondering what else I might be hiding from him. He also said he doesn't even know if he still wants to buy a house with me because of this. Now I'm freaking out that this is going to ruin our marriage. AITA?

Let's see what readers thought:

gravvvvita writes:

NAH - you followed advice by people who had your best interest in mind. And the advice itself wasn't bad, just the exact method didn't fit your situation. You and your husband still have separate finances.

There really is no need for a specific "run away fund", especially in secret. It should have been covered by your regular 3-6 month emergency fund. That your partner should/can know about but still wouldn't have access to.

Whenever you two decided to put together your finances, then it would be time to talk about each of you keeping your own emergency fund. Having an emergency fund is important and any sensible partner should be fine with that.

The stashing away money in secret is necessary if your finances are already merged and you do not have an emergency fund. Especially if one partner is in controll of the finances. Something that used to be way more common in the past but unfortunately is still happening today.

But that isn't the case here and I totally get that your husband is hurt by you saving money for the specific reason of leaving him.

dumpstacat writes:

Honestly, I hesitate to agree with a N A H vote without knowing how much is actually in the savings account and how much of OP's income is going there every paycheck.

It's an important fund to have and as a woman I 100% understand the necessity and reassurance/security of having that safety net.

But there's a pretty huge difference between having $10-15k saved in case of private emergency--amounts that would safely, if not comfortably, cover individual rent, bills, groceries, etc.

for a few months if you had to bail out of a dangerous domestic situation quickly--and having $25k+ saved just for yourself while you as a couple are trying to, say, save up for a down payment on a house together.

Especially when OP isn't a SAHW/SAHM totally dependent on her husband's income and has steady income of her own.

An emergency fund, be it a potential "runaway" fund or just a general safety net of savings, isn't meant to keep you living comfortably for years.

It's meant to cover emergency medical bills, a few months of unemployment, a few months of cheap rent and groceries, etc. The fact that OP's husband was so surprised by the amount is a bit of a red flag here, because that to me indicates it was a fairly high amount.

At a certain point, especially when you have your own steady income and aren't financially dependent on your spouse, it stops realistically being an emergency getaway fund and starts becoming just a personal savings account.

Which is fine--but if you've got tens of thousands of dollars secretly saved up for just your own use/security, regardless of the reason behind it,

while your partner is exclusively or even just primarily spending and saving their own money for joint purchases, expenses, and endeavors (like a house), that starts to become much more unfair and selfish rather than prepared and cautious.

ETA: OP has also revealed in comments that her husband consistently pays more towards shared expenses than she does due to splitting those expenses based on income. He also covers the costs of most of their shared fun and discretionary expenses, which was in the main post but I managed to miss on my read-through. There's also this:

Here's what OP said in the comments:

He's also mad about some major expenses we had that he put a lot more money than I did towards. He said the reason he took so much time to think about it is because he was running through every major expense in his head, wondering if I was lying to him about my money situation so that he'd pay more and I could hide more money from him.

dumpstacat continues:

Again: this leads me to believe that OP's "safety net fund" was an amount of money high enough that, in her current situation (securely employed & not financially dependent on her spouse), was actually inappropriate for just an "emergency getaway" fund (i.e., more than just a few thousand to cover travel/moving costs, budget necessities, and basic expenses for a few months).

Again, this also emphasizes the issue of one spouse having a secret personal savings account while the other contributes the majority, if not all, of their own savings to joint expenses. That is a betrayal and it is unfair.

Without knowing details about the amounts of money in question and the percentage of OP's income going into the secret savings account, it's difficult to reach a completely fair judgement. But with what info is available, especially the added info from OP's comments, I'm now leaning much more towards YTA.

philsfandrew writes:

Exactly. It's not the mere presence of the account. It's the secrecy behind the account and the fact that OP is continuing to sock away money while her husband is expected to take his extra income and pay for the bulk of their discretionary spending.

There is no other way to look at this other than, "His money is our money, and my money is my money." Even if OP is contributing to the apt and other utilities, it's only her portion of what she's using which isn't really contributing financially to the growth of the relationship. She is however contributing to being able to leave the relationship.

aggresivemind writes:

YTA. So you took his money and let him pay for you pretending you had less money, while hiding money from him - he shared everything, and you hid your savings and took HIS money. He effectively paid for those savings.

"Now I'm freaking out that this is going to ruin our marriage." .. he has learned that all of your relationship and your financial discussions were based on lies from your side. He does not know what else you are lying about. He just knows you can not be trusted. THAT relationship is unlikely to be salvageable.

densepassion writes:

NAH i don’t see why you couldn’t just explain that you feel most comfortable having an independent, just for you, “just in case” savings account. And to be clear i mean just in case of any curveball life throws your way.

If something happens to him, if you want to invest in a fun surprise as a gift, or a worst case scenario escape fund as your mother suggested and everything in between.

My husband knows that due to witnessing my mother experience financial abuse growing up that I just feel most comfortable with my own nest egg savings account in addition to our shared.

He understands and respects that that’s about personal security and peace of mind and not about him. I am also in therapy working through the trauma. But he supports me in funding this account and together we factor it in when discussing savings and expenses.

misshonest writes:

NTA, It's like the choice between bear and men. He is not the problem, you are afraid of a bad situation, which is totally normal for a woman and even more normal considering your family.

He needs to understand that it is to protect yourself, not protect yourself against him. And even that, every relation can become toxic after some time, you never know.

You're following a safe rule in your family that is perfectly logical, he shouldnt take it personally.

spraxisdratgg writes:

NTA. Every woman with a lick of sense knows you should always have a little money of your own stashed away. It’s not “all men are evil” (FFS Reddit get over yourselves), it’s “you never know what the future may hold”.

All sorts of shit can happen during the course of a long marriage — and if a husband’s financial support suddenly becomes unavailable, for whatever reason, who’s left, quite literally, holding the baby?

I’ve seen the “but that means YoU don’t TrUsT me!!” response on Reddit a few times and it really gets on my tits. Way to make it all about yourself, dude. Read up on the stats about how women and children end up in poverty and take a good hard look at yourself.

Been married 25 years btw, and my husband would co-sign this.

anona writes:

YTA. No question about it. For two reasons. The first being purely financial. You are lucky enough that he makes 2x what you do and he pays for all your discretionary spending.

If you want to have separate finances thats your choice but you cant do that, have him pay more than you do, and then on top of that decide “no i still want more of his money so im gonna tuck some of my own aside and hide it from him so i have less so he pays more for example on a down payment”.

If you were the one making 2x his salary it would be a different story because you could each contribute equally and then you could take some of your leftover money and tuck it aside, but thats not the case.

The second reason is you shattered his trust. You are willing to listen to other people and do something against your husband in a heartbeat is what this shows and he sees it, hence why he is questioning things now

newcomment6 writes:

NTA. While I do understand your husband's feelings, historically women have been on the losing end if they end up with an abusive spouse. You did not start this account maliciously, nor did you continue it in a malicious fashion.

cleveloandwombie writes:

YTA. You are perfectly entitled to organise your finances any way that you want. My unease is that you hid your escape account even though you already had at least one personal account solely in your own name.

As a husband, I would be offended thus; Being painted as a potential abuser because a small (but still unacceptably significant) number of men are complete bastards. It must have hurt him to find his wife had him potentially joining their ranks.

That the wife is already planning a divorce; because he would assume that this account would not find its way into the 50/50 financial split. Why else keep it secret?

That in buying the house, husband stretches his finances to the limit, but wife steps up only 90% (I'm trying to be reasonable) in order to be able to get away from him if the need arises.

I understand that you were advised by two women with bad experiences; the overall advice was sound. The specific advice to keep it secret from the man you were marrying had a built-in risk of self realising expectation. You made a plan for your husband leaving you and, now he knows your opinion of him, he's thinking about it.

The account wasn't the problem; the deceit was. Other commenters can criticise all they like. They can justify the behaviour any way they want. This outcome was always a possibility though, and it was the deceit that triggered it, not abusive male behaviour.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Is she TA or not?

Sources: Reddit
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