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Woman refuses to allow husband to buy a $260 shirt for a 'Palm Springs'-themed wedding. AITA?

Woman refuses to allow husband to buy a $260 shirt for a 'Palm Springs'-themed wedding. AITA?


"AITA for not letting my husband buy a $260 shirt for a wedding?"

We're going to a good friend's wedding in June and the theme is "Palm Springs." It's a small and casual wedding in their backyard. We just moved so it would take us 5 hours to drive there so we're going to make a weekend out of it and stay a couple of nights and catch up with old friends. We have a baby so a good friend of ours is really looking forward to seeing him.

My husband (33) wants to buy himself a new outfit specifically for the wedding, which is fair enough, but he's looking at this $260 luxury shirt. He was also looking at some $200 loafers, and a new pair of trousers. He already has his Panama hat so he'd be saving money there, he says. Are you rolling your eyes yet?

I (34) can't fathom paying that amount of money for one item of clothing, especially for a wedding that isn't my own and a wedding that is going to be very casual. It doesn't make sense to me. He would be the most well dressed person there, more so than the bride and groom, which I feel could be embarrassing.

He says that he doesn't have anything in his wardrobe currently that fits the Palm Springs theme and that if he can't buy the shirt then he doesn't want to go anymore and that I should go by myself. This would be quite challenging as our baby is still very young, it is really helpful having him there to help with the driving and simple stuff like keeping the baby occupied whilst I have a shower y'know.

His logic is that if we can't afford that shirt then why are we able to afford the hotel and the gas to get there? My argument is that I'm sure there are plenty of more affordable shirts on the internet that he would find appropriate, of course there is. It's the all or nothing childish approach that really bothers me.

For a bit more context, we just bought a new house and now have a bigger mortgage. I'm feeling extra aware of our outgoings and want to be more frugal with our spending over the next few months. I'm the "bread winner" and he's staying home to look after the baby, which is amazing. We have a joint bank account only, no individual accounts.

Anyway, this dumb conversation meant he decided to sleep on the coach and I feel like I'm the ahole for controlling his spending habits and telling him what he can and can't buy. AITA?

Later, OP edited the post to provide more context:

Yes we can afford it but I would rather the money would go towards something else we need more right now. We still need to furnish parts of the house so I'd rather he bought a $260 piece of furniture instead.

Since we moved here about a month ago he has been spending a lot more than usual. For example, this would be the 4th pair of shoes he has bought this month alone and I feel they were all unnecessary purchases. Things are getting a bit out of control. This is making me feel financially unstable and question whether I can support his spending habits.

We're quite different when it comes to clothes and I guess that's also part of the issue. I'm quite minimalist and only replace things when they're completely worn out, but he only wears things for a short time and then throws them out (thrift shop). So my concern is that it will be money wasted if he doesn't wear it more than once.

He already has lots of very nice clothes to choose from, he has great taste in fashion. There's definitely something in his wardrobe that would work great but the occasion has sparked the purchase idea. He's a golfer so I feel he could even just wear one of his more flamboyant golf tops and then he'd be just fine, it's a chill wedding. That suggestion didn't go down very well.

Thank you to those who commented that it's not about the shirt. You're right that he needs some reassurance and we need to have some more open discussions about what we're both comfortable with for spending decisions right now.

He golfs three times a week and has lots of new friends. He's very active, runs 5 times a week too. He has lots of outlets and alone time outside of looking after the baby, especially in the evenings when I'm getting the baby to bed he's sat on his laptop doing online shopping.

He insisted on the joint bank account because his logic is that we're married and should share everything. I'd rather have both our own accounts and a joint account for the mortgage and household bills. From all the comments I've read, him and I need to seriously chat about this so it should really be a non-issue.

The baby is 12 months old and still breastfeeding. I wouldn't be comfortable leaving my husband solo with him for a weekend and me being so far away. Maybe with a lot of planning we could do it but we're not there yet, it would be hard on both of them. Plus I'd really miss him both of them. The baby doesn't sleep through the night without waking several times.

I run my own business that is doing well. I choose what my salary is so one of his comments is why don't I pay myself more so he can then afford whatever he likes? It's not so easy to just do that as the business needs to save and have its own financial stability and growth.

He does have a spending addition. He loves online shopping and anticipating things coming in the mail, but then he forgets quickly and moves on to the next purchase. Budgeting has been really challenging as he just keeps using the credit card even if I say we've met our monthly budget for clothes etc.

He doesn't want to be limited. He doesn't understand that eventually there would be no money to pay that credit card off. He then thinks my business is failing, which it isn't, but in his eyes it must be failing if it can't support his lifestyle.

My outfit cost $70 and is a dress. I'm going to wear a pair of shoes I already own and yeh I'll get a haircut too that'll cost $85. He's also going to get his haircut, $30. Thank you so much everyone for your very honest feedback. You are all right, I should not be using language like "letting'" him, it's very controlling and condescending.

I regret my use of that kind of language. He should have his own bank account where he can choose what to spend his money on and then this becomes a non-issue. I'll have a chat with him and let everyone know what we decide. I really love him and want him to feel great and look great, but not if it means we're in debt.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

ArsenalSeven said:

NTA - the loafers are one thing but $260 for a shirt? He’s a big baby for throwing a tantrum about it. “If I don’t get what u want, then I won’t go at all”. Leave the baby with him and go by yourself.

MoulanRougeFae said:

ESH. His spending is getting a bit much. That said, your language around money needs changing. You don't "let" a partner spend. They aren't a child. Pay bills first, including groceries and a small date night allowance budgeted in this grouping.

Next take what's left and divide it equally into thirds, one for savings, one for your free spend allowance and one for his free spend allowance. Neither person can dictate what the other does with their free spend account. So if he wants to drop $300+ on an outfit it comes from his free spend account. If you want something for yourself it comes from your free spend account.

And nobody dictates anything. Nobody is made to feel unequal in the money spending. Nobody is treated like a child with phrases like "let them buy." This is basic and easy to figure out the solution. Why haven't you guys talked about this before and figured your sh%t out?

International-Fee255 said:

NTA Is this going to be a family shirt, because it's a family trip and they are the same thing right? Might be time to have a look at finances again because he's not really understanding that this is a huge expense for a one time item. Time to get an individual account do that he doesn't spend the mortgage money on shirts.

MotherofCats9258 said:

NTA that's far too much to spend on a shirt. Also, who buys 4 pairs of shoes in a month?

annaliese_sora said:

ESH. This isn’t really about the shirt, it’s about you and your husband not valuing the same things. Just because YOU think something is frivolous or ridiculous doesn’t make it so. You have clearly stated that you can afford it, so this seems more about control.

However, your husband’s attitude of “well if I can’t have the shirt, I don’t want to go” is awful as well. Surely two grown adults with a new child can come to a reasonable compromise over a shirt and some shoes. You two need to work on your communication and, apparently, your budget.

Secret-phoenix88 said:

NTA. However, do you think he is feeling lonely or isolated from his village and doing retail therapy to compensate? Might be worth having a sit down.

Simple-Plankton4436 said:

YTA kind of. He is an adult and he can do what he wants with his money. Also he can afford it so why are you trying to dictate what an adult can do what with his own money? Sometimes we want to splurge on ourselves and that is fine.

He wants to feel nice, and he can use that shirt during the summer so it wouldn’t be a one day thing. You also mentioned that he has a great taste in fashion and you are minimalist. Let him be who he is. Just because you don’t like to shop and buy fashion doesn’t mean he can’t do it.

While the opinions were slightly divided for this one, most people were on OP's side. What's your advice for this wedding drama?

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