For many women from the post-Soviet space, economic negotiations with her husband are a nightmare. It often happens that a woman does not have experience in family negotiations, or this experience was negative. Modern media, films and books about love are of no help, as they usually show only the drama of love relationships, completely ignoring the drama of family economic issues. Way out and advice offered by Nelly Hjelm, author of the magazine “In the abroad".
Critical Immigration Period
Women marry foreigners and leave to build a family in their husband's country - this is the reality of the modern world. In the 75st century, XNUMX% of all immigrants in the world (non-refugees) are women. I want to immediately warn the reader that this article will deal exclusively with the period of time that begins with the dismissal of a woman from her job in her country, and until the moment when she finds a stable job in the country of residence of her foreign husband. Between these two events, she moves to a new country, learns a new language for her, adapts to the conditions of an unfamiliar labor market, and possibly a forced change of profession. This article does not consider economic relations between spouses, when a woman has so much free financial resources that she does not feel economic changes in her position due to immigration.
Meet Maria Ivanova, 28 years, an engineer with a specialization in molecular biology, working as a leading specialist in the institute who studies cryogenic technology. She wants to find a way to freeze sick molecules in the human body to slow down the disease and prolong people's lives. Maria's path to science was not fast and not easy - she graduated from the most complex faculty of the university, for several years she worked 12-14 hours a day. Now Maria Ivanova gets a decent salary, pays for an apartment bought on 30 for years, travels with friends all over the world, enjoys surfing, and she still has enough money to save monthly to the retirement fund and help elderly parents a little. Because Maria Ivanova is a sensible girl and takes herself seriously in this life.
But then one day Maria receives a letter from abroad from a microbiologist unknown to anyone, who invites her to work in his small laboratory in the tiny provincial town of Boring Hill, in a certain country of Happinessland. He honestly admitted in his letter that her work would be rather monotonous, even unworthy of her scientific level - well, the jars would have to be washed there, and the floor would be sterilized. And he will not pay her a salary - he does not have the funds for this.
In addition, in his country, everyone speaks an unknown language of happiness. Therefore, in order to work in his laboratory and live in his country, Maria must first learn this language and pass the exam. At your own expense, by the way. And that she will apparently have to sell her mortgage apartment, since she will no longer be able to pay for it. And she will no longer have to deduct pension savings, since she will have to work for this worthy man in all other respects solely because of her love for microbiology, that is, for free. And with friends to travel no more, because there is nothing. Yes, and she has friends, it is not yet known whether they will appear, because the country is someone else's.
What do you think our sensible Maria Ivanova will respond to such a proposal?
That's right - she will either refuse, or set the condition that her salary should be no less than now, and that she will not wash bottles, but will do science, for which she studied for so many years.
And if Maria Ivanova agreed to this strange offer, then we would find her flew off the coils, and her loyal friends would pay her for the treatment of an expensive psychiatrist. Is not it?
"Aggressive Utopian Romanticism"
However, our attitude to such an insane act of Maria Ivanova would be completely different if, instead of working, this microbiologist would have offered her hand and heart. Moreover, under the same conditions - moving to another country, an unknown language, rejection of interesting work and a successful career, separation from friends and family, lack of own funds for life for some time, inability to help parents and save for retirement. Yes, and without their own homes. Because marriage is holy, it is love, it is romance, there can be no question of a psychiatrist. And if Maria Ivanova demanded from her husband to pay her a certain amount for personal expenses, while she was learning a new language for her and settling in a foreign country, some of us would have condemned Maria, and would say that she is mercantile, and “wants to sit for her husband on the neck".
And who should consult a psychiatrist in this case? Yes, we are with you - those who think so. But some of us also do the same: "I will never sit on my husband's neck, I am a proud, independent woman." A friend of mine calls this philosophy of life "aggressive utopian romanticism", and it is characteristic, with rare exceptions, for some reason only to women.
This mysterious philosophy has not been studied by anyone, but there are different opinions among lawyers regarding its origin. One of my lawyers noted that in the post-Soviet space, discussing economic issues at the time of marriage is still taboo. You can discuss everything - even sexual perversions between future spouses. But not economic relations.
The exception is the valiant oligarchs. Here everything is put legally correct and clear. Apparently, the amount of possible losses from marriage is in the nature of investment risks, and this is taken care of in advance. But for our Maria Ivanova, the volume of economic losses in the event of a marriage with a poor microbiologist from the country of Schastjeland will be as destructive as for the oligarch, if he does not conclude a marriage contract with the bride in time for the security of her capital.
Pitfalls and reefs of the family economy
Therefore, the question is: what can Maria Ivanova do so that her new life in the town of Boring Hill with her favorite microbiologist does not become a disaster for her? You don't like the word "catastrophe"? However, I guarantee it to you, since “with a sweet paradise and in a hut” is just a line from a poem by a romantic poet of the early XNUMXth century, and not a real recipe for family well-being in the XNUMXst century. In my many years of legal practice, I come across women who, with their own hands, turned their life in a lovely Abroad into a living hell. They, with naive narcissism and stubborn masochism, sacrificed their lives to new husbands. And with the same naive narcissism, they did not even try to start a conversation about what they would live on in the new country until they got back on their own economic feet.
Let me give you a very recent example. Last week a woman approached me for a free consultation (I sometimes provide) on how to open a bank account in the country where she lives with a foreign husband and a small child. During the consultation, an unsightly, in my opinion, picture became clear.
A woman, a Russian woman, has been living in her husband's country for 2 years, the child is 5 months old. And all this time her husband assured her that if she did not have a job in this country, then they would not open a bank account for her. At the beginning of each week, he left her a certain amount for food and cleaning supplies for the family.
To my question about how she pays for her own personal needs (hairdresser, clothes, shoes, cosmetics, personal hygiene products), the woman answered me with a sad sigh: “I’m now sitting at home with a child, my husband says that I don’t have any of this. necessary". By the way, the husband, by the way, also received the compulsory child allowance from the state to his bank account, assuring his wife that she was supposedly not supposed to.
As a rule, everything is sweet-cute-romantic for the first few months after moving to a new country - the husband comes home, and there is a delicious dinner on the table, the house is clean, the shirts are ironed, the beauty is in bed. A woman feels needed, significant and loved. And then the next stage inevitably comes - a woman wants to go out to a cafe and to the cinema with new friends, even buy a new thing, do a manicure and pedicure.
And her husband answers her month after month, they say, now there is no money, business is going badly, be patient, my love. Or he assures that his wife does not even need money for a hairdresser, because she “sits at home anyway, and he loves her anyway.” A woman first believes and is touched, then she believes, but is surprised, then turns on her head, then analyzes, then draws conclusions and eventually begins to hate her husband. And how else can you relate to a person who uses you as a free slave in the house? Naturally hate. And consider yourself a victim.
But what can our clever Maria Ivanova do, so as not to turn into a bitch a year after the wedding, not to hate Abroad, and at the same time all the men on earth?
One question - many answers
There is no one universal answer to this question. But there are many possibilities. And if you are reading this article, then most likely you are going to or have just taken this decisive step - you have emigrated to your husband's country. What is the situation of your spouse, what is his income, what are his expenses, how many obligations does he have to children from a previous marriage and to a previous wife - I do not know. But you will have to ask your husband about it.
This is a prerequisite if you want to build your family life on respect for both each other and yourself. You are now a family and should have full economic clarity about your family's position.
For many women from the post-Soviet space, economic negotiations with a husband are worse than torture. It often happens that a woman does not have experience in family negotiations or this experience was unsuccessful. Modern media play their negative role in this difficult process. Films and books about love, as a rule, show only the drama of love relationships, completely ignoring the drama of family economic issues. Even the TV series “Sex and the City”, so beloved by all of us, bypasses this difficult issue with its attention in advance, making all the heroines successful in their careers and thus economically independent of their life partners.
So, suppose you still honestly and openly sorted out this issue and see that your husband has a certain amount left after all the mandatory monthly payments. From this amount, you and your husband allocate some funds for general family expenses - food, travel, entertainment, treatment. In my opinion, the easiest way to run a home economy in practice is to open a special account with two cards - for husband and wife, with both access to Internet banking. Another way is to allocate cash for family expenses and keep receipts for expenses for each spouse. The third, and surprisingly very common way, is when the husband completely entrusts all the issues of running the home economy to his wife, leaving behind the solution of more global economic issues - buying a house, a car, investing in pension funds.
An important point is your expenses for yourself.
Thus, you have only one, but a very important point left unregulated - your expenses for yourself. Believe me, after you have managed to convince your husband that the economy of the family budget and expenses is a completely solvable issue, it will be much easier for you to solve the issue of paying for your own needs. I advise you to prepare for such a conversation in advance, determine for yourself the amount that you need monthly, what will be included in this amount - yoga or fitness classes, manicure and pedicure, beautician, physiotherapist for your dog, help for your parents, clothing costs and shoes - it's entirely up to you. But only by determining your needs, you can calculate the amount that you need. Only after that start negotiations with your husband.
What will be the form of payment for your personal needs by your husband, in cash or by transfer to your bank account - the question is no longer so important. You can try both, and also find out what specifically is most convenient for the two of you.
I had a client whose husband left money on the bedside table on Mondays. The woman felt humiliated and suggested that her husband transfer money to her bank account, which he began to do without any hesitation. It never occurred to him that “money on the nightstand” could offend his wife. Another client of mine used the moment of putting money on the bedside table as an additional way to diversify her erotic relationship with her husband - why not?
In very many families, the spouses agree in advance on a certain amount that the husband will pay annually to the foreign wife as compensation for the economic losses she incurs in connection with emigration from her home country to her husband’s home country.
In different countries, this type of arrangement is called and concluded in different ways. This can be either a prenuptial agreement or a Letter of Gift, where the gift is a certain amount of money. In some countries, such contracts are drawn up and certified by a notary, in others - by a lawyer or court.
Many of my clients resort to another worthy way to ensure the financial independence of a foreign spouse - this is hiring in her husband's company. As a rule, this requires the presence of his own business. But often spouses enter into a contract of employment with each other as a personal administrator, housekeeper, governess. I like this method, as it not only provides the foreign wife with a regular income, but also provides her with a “pass” to the labor market with its social guarantees, such as unemployment insurance.
In conclusion, I want to once again emphasize the importance of resolving all economic issues between spouses before (!) moving. Do not be afraid that this will ruin your relationship. Practice shows that the solution of economic issues only strengthens relations, increases the level of trust between people and responsibility for each other. Of course, provided that these are the relationships that both of you want to strengthen, develop and maintain.