Sunday 26 May 2019

Dear Mary: My husband keeps treating his kids but I get nothing

I talk to him about him being stingy with me but he changes nothing
I talk to him about him being stingy with me but he changes nothing

Mary O’Conor

I married a man who has kids.

His kids are 30, 28 and 25, and I am 34. My husband is in his mid-fifties and is stingy with me but he always gives his kids money or buys them things like cars.   

However he never buys me anything.

What should I do? Should I divorce him? I talk to him about him being stingy with me but he changes nothing.

Mary replies: Obviously your husband is fairly wealthy if he still gives money and expensive gifts to his adult children. As a result you feel pretty left out when he doesn't give you any gifts and is pretty tight with his money.

You don't say how long you have been married but he has had his children in his life far longer than he has had you and he is perfectly entitled to give them whatever he wants. However money issues can cause lots of problems in a marriage, and meanness is very hard to accept - particularly when you know there is plenty of money available.

Explain once more to your husband that you feel quite isolated when he appears to have one rule for you and another for his children. It may be that he feels guilty because he is no longer with their mother and so compensates with gifts - who knows? Then suggest couple-counselling as you are not feeling heard by him and you really want him to know how things are from your perspective.

I'm presuming you do not have a prenuptial agreement because you would have mentioned it. Divorce seems a very severe solution if it is on purely monetary grounds.

You don't say anything at all about love - I really hope that it's not all about his money.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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