A week ago, my wife went on a trip to Las Vegas with a few of her friends. Things were a little tight for us financially, but I wanted her to have a good time. So in addition to working out the costs for food and lodging, we worked out what I thought was a reasonable gambling budget for the five days she would be spending there. But when she got there, under the influence of her friends (and, I presume, alcohol), she not only blew through her gambling allowance in a just a few hours, but she maxed out one of our credit cards in cash advances to continue feeding the machines! This credit card was intended for emergencies only! I only found out about this when I got an alert from our bank. It took hours for her to answer her phone, and when I finally reached her and confronted her about her spending, she got defensive and said I was ruining her vacation. I shot back that she was ruining our finances. She hung up on me before we could finish the conversation. She gave me a feeble apology when she got home, but I was not in a forgiving mood, and I loudly told her so. We have hardly said a word to each other since.
Abby, I am angry as can be, but more importantly, hurt that she would disrespect me and break my trust so quickly and completely. It’s going to take at least two or three months to “right the ship” with our bills. The woman I married is just not this inconsiderate and irresponsible. Did I do something wrong? Or am I justified in having these feelings?
Seething in Seattle
We love living here in Las Vegas. There is a lot to do and people come to visit from all over. Dad has told me stories about how Las Vegas has changed over the years, but he says that there is one thing that never changed, and that is the nick-name, “Sin City.” Dogs do not understand sin, but dad says this means that people can drink, eat, and gamble 24 hours a day here and they are not allowed to at home. For most people, this is not a big deal. For others, though, it can be a huge problem. Mom says that there are some people who have what she calls addictive personalities. She says it means that some people get so excited at the possibility of “winning big” that they spend more money than they should. Winning, for some people, is very similar to drugs or drinking, or eating too much, so you can see how some people should not be surrounded by all three.
This reminds me of my cat, Max. He is really smart and my best friend. He goes on walks with me, plays with me, and he talks. A lot. Mom and dad say that he is a very good kitty. I think so too. But, there is something I have seen Max do over and over that is not a good kitty. He will eat too much, too fast. When mom or dad gives him a scoop of wet cat food, he will plow into it and then do what mom calls the, “Yak/Blep” all over the carpet. Even though he does not like doing the Yak/Blep, he still wants to eat some more right afterwards! Mom and dad always tell him no. Since Max is not very good at controlling himself, mom and dad have learned to only give Max a teeny, tiny bit at a time — enough to make him happy, but not enough to make him sick. They do not mention this to Max so that he does not get embarrassed. This may be what your wife needs.
In your letter, you did not mention if your wife had ever been Sin City before. Maybe it overwhelmed her, like if someone put out an entire can of wet food for Max. She may have liked it so much that she could not stop. It could be that she is one of the personalities mom was talking about, or it could be that she just lost control this one time. I believe that she is feeling ashamed for what she did, but when people (or cats) are confronted, they will sometimes lash out. You wrote that you called her while she was in the middle of her vacation. Can you imagine what would happen if you tried to take a meal away from a tiger while he was eating it? Max thinks he is a tiger, and he acts just like you would expect a tiger to when it comes to food. I think your wife did the same thing. She did a Yak/Blep of her budget, and then came back for the credit card. It would have been easier to quietly cancel the card and then talk to her when she returned, not when she was in the middle of it and could not stop. She dug her claws in like any tiger would do.
In your letter, you sounded surprised by your wife’s actions, and this is a good thing. This means that what happened was out of character and most likely will not happen again. Be honest with her and voice your concerns without being mean or accusative. Then, LISTEN CAREFULLY to what she has to say, and do not interrupt her. Max has a tendency to interrupt people, but mom says that is a cat thing, so people can do better. Your wife will need to get everything out, so let her. Then, and only then, will you be able to work things out. If this is a problem that she knows she has, then she should not do it anymore, or, she should only be allowed a teeny, tiny bit at a time so that she does not Yak/Blep again.