Again, abbreviated response

His tantrums are childish but his desire to have some say in the $$ is valid. Love Jan’s & Kimberly’s comments. Give him “some” control, not 100% and not 0%, but some, and let him help shape the spending. Some consolation: my DH and I have some of those same issues, and we’ll be having our own such meeting Sun. Hang in there.

Use it as a time

for him to come up with acceptable solutions to paying the bills. Lay ground rules such as “rent must be paid on time”, same for utilities, insurances and credit card minimums. Household items such as food (the average of the past 2 months) have to be done first. Gas for getting around, etc.
After the ground rules are agreed to, he might have some creative ideas to keep his entertainment and juicing. Listen to his ideas, try to incorporate them. Let him know that this is a solutions only conversation, not a gripe session, not a “it’s broke, lets fix it”, but rather improvement on what is already slowly working.

I will take a deep breath and do as Jan suggests

You’re right, I do get defensive because we have 18 years of history with these kinds of temper tantrums, and I am very leery of giving him control over anything. The last time I let him “take control” over our finances, it took me 6 months to dig us out and put us back on an even keel….his view is: if there’s money in the bank, that means I’m free to spend it (and yes, this is not his first rodeo, and yes, his first marriage broke up in part due to this attitude.) That includes groceries….yes there were times in the past when MY kids didn’t have food on the table because HE had to buy some fricking gadget or spend $20 on diet pepsi from the gas station because “he needed it.” So there’s a lot of baggage, which is why I’m just looking for my half and ways for ME to take the emotion out of it.
I emailed him a copy of this paycheck’s budget. He has backed off the tirade some when he saw that not only had we spent close to $1000 in the past two weeks for DD16 medical bills, but another $250 that I wrote a check for which they were holding until today. I already had to call and cancel her appointment for Tuesday and put it off until the next paycheck in two weeks (she really is much, much better….so cancelling is not nearly as bad as it sounds.) Then we will just budget for her to go in every two weeks around paychecks, unless he wants to start giving us a discount.
It just pushes my buttons when nerd that I am, I am doing everything to keep us afloat, juggle stuff around so everyone is happy, and I get whining because he doesn’t want to delay gratification.