“ I got 5,000 euros back on my own account.

Photo: Getty Images

No, of course Sabrina never wanted to lie to her boyfriend. But sometimes you have to force equality a little bit. Therefore, it sometimes overshadows unexpected financial gains. “And then I don’t make a fuss about his extravagant attachment.”

Sabrina (39): “Honestly, we’ll share everything. Some things separate me and my friend Herald more fairly than others. I kind of crept in after we had our kids, now six and nine years old.”

When we moved in together and opened a joint account for fixed expenses and groceries, we agreed to pay a fixed amount per month pro rata. In practice, this meant that I contributed €400 more than he did, because I work full time and earn more. The Herald works 28 hours and has been taking more care of the kids since we became parents—even though his pay was already lower than before then.

Shared messages

With co-shopping, we understood everything related to baby expenses, food, and household essentials. But soon the Herald also deducted his cigarette packs of about fifty euros a week, hairdresser’s appointments, nights out with his friends, drinks after sports and taxis after those nights out of our joint account. Total amount per month: at least 300 euros.

At first I thought it was still unacceptable to say something about it. We could just miss it. But when it became a pattern, I told him that if we wanted to pay for that kind of personal stuff from the joint account, we would both have to put in extra money on top of what we already transferred monthly.


I work our management, Herald don’t care. “I’m especially good at not paying the bills,” he laughed when we first moved in together. “You arranged it, Betji, exactly.” Reasonable construction, for the Herald had nothing but debts at that time, and it was all due to lax handling of his money and bills. By the way, he still pays the ransom himself.

I verbally briefed him on what was going on in our financial lives. When is it best for us to switch to another health insurance company, for example. Certain premiums would be increased and we got the tax money. He would always answer: “Sure, do it.” And so money became a topic that we didn’t talk about at all. Until his personal expenses ran out of our joint account.

additional amount

Point being: I never go to a hairdresser, I cut my long, straight hair myself. I don’t smoke, I don’t go to beauticians, I never clean my nails and I rarely go out with my friends since I’m a mom. I usually meet at home. It costs me two bottles of wine and some snacks, which I also pay from the joint account, but these costs do not outweigh the Herald evenings in the pub. The only personal expenses I pay with our co-branded card are tampon packets and sanitary pads.

“I already paid more, and now it’s more so he can spend more.”

The Herald initially agreed to transfer an extra €200 each month, a reluctant compromise on my part. But this amount on my part felt unreasonable. You already paid more, and now it’s more so he can spend more. She wasn’t good with me.

far trip

And suddenly the letter came from the IRS two years ago. It was calculated over a number of years, and we received a large sum, 5,000 Euros, which, though it was ours together, would be credited to my personal account. I wanted to cheer up when I opened the letter. After the Corona pandemic, which was in full swing at that time, we can take a long trip with the family!

But I thought the same second: I could also put the money separately into my savings account. A nest egg that the Herald and the kids would no doubt enjoy at the end, but it was mine for the time being. I decided to settle everything my boyfriend consumed for himself. If we really needed money as a family, I would conjure it up again.

con man

I didn’t feel guilty about it for a moment. In fact, I’ve been doing it a lot since then. The $200 my parents gave me for Christmas? It has been uploaded to my account. And for the two times the 190 euros we received from the energy supplier to compensate for the higher energy costs, I even temporarily adjusted our account number. After the money was in my account, I changed the number back to the common pot. Yes, fraudulent. But the Herald also doesn’t tell us where all the proven amounts from our account go. Not for kids and me anyway.

“If we lie about this at all, we might lie about other things, too.”

It is, of course, the slippery ice we walk on. Because if we lie about this at all, what are the odds that we’ll lie about other things later? Hiding money is as infidelity as having sex with someone else. And once you start doing that, that’s the recipe for getting away from each other. It’s actually a big middle finger to each other: You don’t do what I say, well, and then I secretly arrange that for my own good, right?

Also read – “In two years, I secretly spent forty thousand euros through him.”>

steal money

The trick regarding energy costs does not suit me. Withholding a windfall every now and then is different from deliberate fraud. At the same time, I will never forget how the Herald caught her turn – the children were still small

To return the money that belonged to us.

Every month we buy a lottery ticket. This then hangs in the fridge for weeks and we usually forget about it, until we discover that five euros have fallen on it, or ten, and we exchange it for a new ticket. This time, fate suddenly disappeared one day. “Damn it, this didn’t end with the old paper, did it?” I asked the Herald. Did he actually check to see if he signed any money on him? I could see from his facial expressions that fate was not lost like that. “Yes, 250 euros,” he stammered, “I wanted to tell you.” What a shoddy job, I threw it in his face. A week-long battle.

It wasn’t even about the money, it was about booking. The lie. I felt like he was stealing from me and the kids. And where did the money go? No idea. The Herald stated that she was lost in her daily shopping. And I just had to deal with that.

Talk about money

Looking back, I think this is where the first cracks in our relationship started to appear. The expensive installation of our joint account that followed, cash withdrawals. Withholding the tax break was part of my medication that I needed to keep our finances even, but it symbolized an entirely different problem: The Herald and I weren’t honest with each other and didn’t seem to want to share everything.

Talking about money is something none of us are good at, while a good talk about it might solve everything. My parents raised me with the mantra: You don’t talk about money and politics. I have no idea what my parents earned, if I will inherit anything when they die and what the status of the mortgage is. I don’t know who to vote for.

“I learned from my parents: Don’t talk about money and politics.”

When I got my first real job at 22 and exclaimed excitedly that I would earn “up to 2,200 euros a month,” my mother made a soothing nod and said: “Well, it can be done again, of course. You won’t work there. No, it didn’t work.” It’s also, but I was proud that I made it in. Then I thought it was a shame, and it wasn’t fair that I was financially sound.

This is how my desire to provide financial support to partners began, because Herald wasn’t the first financially unhealthy man I’d helped. In the Herald, money wasn’t an issue upbringing either, but more so because it was never there. He was not in a sports club, often went to school without breakfast, his father was on unemployment benefits at the age of 50 and could not go out, while his mother worked in a supermarket. I also understand that he was okay with the fact that he earns more through a part time job than his parents made in his youth.

financial assistance

Apart from finances, we are having a great time as a family. Our children feel none of our harassment about money. They have new clothes every season, horse and ballet rides, there’s always healthy food in the fridge and the mortgage is paid. Every month we put an amount in their bills, so that they can study later, or put towards furnishing, or buy a house.

At home, the Herald and I divided the duties fairly, and as a father he is as involved with our children as I am. I leave them with him for days without instructions when I’m away on a business or a friend’s trip and know I’ll find them radiant when I get home, without the house in ruins.

“If we do not want to lose each other, we must openly and honestly solve financial difficulties.”

We still find each other attractive, we laugh together and the sex is still good. He gets along with my friends and I with him, life is generally fun. This makes me realize: if we don’t want to get rid of it, we have to openly and honestly solve financial difficulties once and for all.

So I decided we needed to see a financial advisor. And then our finances will be fully determined and the Herald will be as knowledgeable as I am. Yes, then maybe 5,000 euros will also appear in my savings account. But the fact that I put them away for a while to prevent them from disappearing into the Herald’s dark pin practices seems excuse enough to me. Perhaps couples therapy then would not be so unwise. Because apparently neither of us feel secure enough in our relationship to be honest about money.”

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