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Idiot4Life09 posted 3/18/2013 05:45 AM

Hi all. I have a problem that I would like people to weigh in on. It has always been a problem in our 19 years of marriage. My wife will not involve herself in the household finances. Plus she is hiding her own credit card debt. From doing it for such a long time, I'm pretty good at budgeting and making making sound financial decisions.

I asked for 6 months for the amount of debt that she is running up. She is in the $12K range. Put it this way, her credit is so bad that to re-finance our home last year, we could not use her credit otherwise we would have gotten a higher rate. So in the end, I have 100% finiancial responsibility and she is a full owner in the house without any responiblilty to pay the mortgage. Not a bad deal if you can get it, right?!

Her hiding that info is a form of a lie,right? Don't I have a right to be upset because this is forming a wall bewteen us that she will not deal with.

I have tried to involve her in the household finiances that I have been doing since 1993. She won't even look at them. My problem there is that if something happens to me, she will have no clue how to pay anything and now that impacts my children.

I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. And I am increasinly growing more and more upset over this.

What do others think? Thanks!

[This message edited by Idiot4Life09 at 5:46 AM, March 18th (Monday)]

redrock posted 3/18/2013 07:13 AM

Her hiding that info is a form of a lie,right? Don't I have a right to be upset because this is forming a wall bewteen us that she will not deal with.

Lying is damaging to your marriage. She has engaged in lies about her spending for years. She refuses to face the damage by budgeting and being honest. I would say that is a serious problem.

What have you two done to work on your marriage since dday?

I ask because I wonder if you knowlingly or unknowingly struck a rugsweeping bargain together. She ignores your A, you ingnore her spending and move into the future.

I apologize if I am off track.

beforeandafter posted 3/18/2013 09:01 AM

Unless there is a clear understanding that finances of one are finances of the M, then I believe that you don't really have any room to be upset about her lack of financial accumen.

My WS and I also had a bit of a revelation about communication revolving around finances. That revelation was that we didn't communicate. Although she knew I hated credit cards, never wanted to sign up for them, etc., I never said she could not have them. She drew a line in her mind that she was entitled to purchasing things instantly, entitled to these things and also entitled to ignoring credit card bills. Yah not a good combination. So now after her A, I realize that our lack of communication about finances greatly contributed to the walls leading to her A. I think she is frustrated by my draconian (think Dave Ramsey) response to her hidden debt, but we paid off the highest card and now are working on the card I had to open to consolodate her multitude of cards from department stores and bottom feeder offers for annual fee $250 cards that charged 30% interest.

Now we have everything together. No seperate accounts, no hiding any expenditures. It helps me with the feeling safe part, just knowing that I have a way to see exactly where the money is going, but I generally let her take care of the bill paying, etc. For the first time in our M, we are seeing where our joint money goes, instead of simply "Hey babe I'm short can you pay the electric?" Sharing this completely has brought us closer, and made us partners in a new way.

Maybe angle it that way in terms of her learning your finances. In my case the WS was putting a wall up with finances, but in yours it seems that the BS is.

BaxtersBFF posted 3/18/2013 09:23 AM

I'm all for sharing finances, but there has to be good communication in the M before things start to work well.

If she is hiding debt, that is a problem. So, just curious, how do you approach her when you ask? Is it this cyclical "I've spent money but I don't want to tell you/You've spent money and I need to know" spiral which is maintained because of other fears or FOO issues? How well do you communicate about the rest of the M?

We're fans of Dave Ramsey. It was the one book I read that made the light bulb go on. Super quick read, easy concepts, and relatively easy to do when both partners buy in to that thinking. But we couldn't have done it if we weren't able to communicate. Funnily enough, we did that program before my A, so not sure what that says about communication on my part in other parts of our M...

Maybe this is an MC issue.

As far as you doing the finances forever and her not wanting to know anything about them...again it comes back to communication. My wife is like you, while I'm like your wife. I just don't really have a head for keeping up on the finances, but I can keep within a budget (usually ) when told what the parameters are. On the flip side of that, if I want something that is a bit larger purchase than what I know BW would be comfortable with, I have learned to wait and talk with her about it first. She usually is okay with it eventually, but she wants to put it into the budget to make sure everything else is okay before I can get it. Same thing for her when she wants something larger. We talk about it.

The small stuff can add up quickly though, so I'm pretty much on an allowance, which again I "mostly" stick too...

I doubt seriously if your wife will ever look at the budget you put together in the same way you do. While it may not seem fair to you, it may not be fair to her to expect something she is not going to be capable of. But, both of you could adjust a bit and learn to listen to each other.

My suggestion (for what it's worth...) is to not make it about the money. Find another way to talk about it.

thecaves posted 3/18/2013 10:16 AM


Unfortunately I don't have a bunch of background about you or your M but I toss in my opinion in general.

I think that any married couple must truly see all finances as joint finances and should not keep anything separate. Your financial goals should be a family goal and not individual. Unless you plan that later in life you would divorce and retire separately I see no reason to keep individual accounts.

I highly suggest you take advantage of getting a free annual credit report as well from all the major agencies on both you and your spouse. Make sure you use the official site for this so you don't get charged.

Look into using MINT.COM to have a single point that you can go to to view activity on ALL of our accounts. This way you both have full access to keep an eye on the JOINT finances.

uncertainone posted 3/18/2013 10:30 AM

Her hiding that info is a form of a lie,right?

Yep, it's financial infidelity. It can ruin a family and the future. You already had to refinance to deal with her unilateral choices.

It's infidelity just not outsourced, so she's fucking you over instead of fucking someone else.

Not fair to expect her to do something she isn't capable of doing? Seriously? She's an adult and if she's "capable" of blowing the money she sure as shit is capable of figuring out how to pay for that shit.

I'd tell her she either gets help for her spending issues or she finds a new parent. That's complete bullshit.

Let her tell the kids why college ain't happening.

BaxtersBFF posted 3/18/2013 10:46 AM

Yes. Seriously.

To expect his BW to get on board with finances to the same extent that he has maintained control is a pipe dream.



[This message edited by BaxtersBFF at 10:52 AM, March 18th (Monday)]

tired girl posted 3/18/2013 11:19 AM

I must be missing something here Bax, why can't you expect your partner to get on board with finances?

In our M, Hlessons is the one who keeps the budget, he is better with saving, very practical, me not so much, I go along with what he sets out. I trust his financial plan, I don't mess with it. I would expect if I was going behind his back, I should either fix it or get out, he isn't responsible for my mess.

MissesJai posted 3/18/2013 11:25 AM

I have to agree with TG. It's the same with INAB & I. I follow his lead and trust him with our finances.

I would expect if I was going behind his back, I should either fix it or get out, he isn't responsible for my mess.
ditto. And believe me, there was a time where I made him responsible for my messes and it wreaked havoc on our relationship. There was a HUGE wedge and he resented me for a very long time. In getting healthy, I realized that I was responsible for my messes and if the shit was reversed, I'd kick his ass out.

BaxtersBFF posted 3/18/2013 11:35 AM

I believe that most spouses who don't have some sort of agreement in place regarding finances, like the OP is talking about, often expect the financially wayward spouse to "get it" the same way as the financially responsible spouse "gets it" and that just happens so rarely.

You both have some level of trust (me too) in how our spouses plan things out, and we can get on board with them. Can you manage it and understand it as well as your spouses would like you to sometimes? I'm guessing not.

This is all about communication in the OP's post, but the next, maybe simultaneous, step is some reasonable expectations of what the OP's BW is going to be able to do.

In my case, I've tried multiple times to "get it" like gerrygirl gets it. I failed. My mind does not think like hers and I will never fully understand her system. We're fine with that, the same way as you both are fine with your situations.

From the seriousness of idiot4life09's situation, there is a ton of work to do. I doubt seriously that his BW can do it to the same level as idiot4life09 does it. Can she learn some different ways to make changes to not be financially irresponsible? Sure. That's entirely different than what I think the OP is expecting. Maybe I'm misreading something?

NikkiD posted 3/18/2013 11:43 AM

Ok, now, dealing with a grandparent who didnt know jack when my grandpa died is still a mess FOUR YEARS LATER. so she needs to know.

As for her hiding it, yeah, thats a problem. College dont take debt into consideration so when FASFA sees two parents, they see two incomes...not that you can only afford so much because you got a $12k credit card bill.

uncertainone posted 3/18/2013 11:55 AM

The OP's post wasn't about not being a financial wizard, to me. It was a blatant refusal to even work with him as an adult partner in managing the family, continuing destructive behavior and lying about it.

You know, affair behavior without the other person.

She doesn't need to be a CPA to get if she runs up credit card debt it's gonna need to be covered from a limited pool that also needs to pay the necessary bills as well as provide for the financial future of her children.

She does need to be a responsible adult, though.

HopeImOverIt posted 3/18/2013 11:55 AM

If you're posting here, you're presumably a WS. How long ago was your D-Day? This has been going on for 19 years, but now you are really upset about it? Could she see this as an attempt on your part to divert attention from your A?

I guess you have joint finances? You share the income that one or both of you earn as well as the expenses? In this case, whether her name is on the mortgage or not, she IS jointly paying for it out of pooled marital money. What am I missing? How does her name not being on the mortgage impact you?

Her hiding that info is a form of a lie,right?

If my partner ran up debt and didn't tell me I'd have a huge issue with it. HUGE. But as huge as cheating? Not even close. Are you "right" to be upset about it? Sure. Is this the right time to make an issue of it? Not so sure.

Again, when was D-Day and how far along are you in recovery? Something about your presentation of the issue comes across to me as blame-shifting. Also, the fact that you are bringing this up to us make me think you aren't in MC. I think you should be.

tired girl posted 3/18/2013 12:12 PM

Something about your presentation of the issue comes across to me as blame-shifting


Cause why is it ok for a BS to lie about shit in a marriage? It isn't. You don't get to lay everything at the doorstep of blameshifting.

MissesJai posted 3/18/2013 12:29 PM

Something about your presentation of the issue comes across to me as blame-shifting.
He wants his wife to take an active role in their finances. How is that blameshifting?

uncertainone posted 3/18/2013 12:33 PM

Blameshifting? So placing the blame exactly where it belongs is blame shifting?

There isn't mitigation for others choices. To state it's HUGE but not even close to an affair is blameshifting, in my opinion.

His affair, his to own. None of her actions caused it.

Her financial infidelity hers to own. He's posting about that and asking if it's ok for her to lie. Nope. Never is. Never will be...regardless.

HopeImOverIt posted 3/18/2013 13:03 PM

TO ME his presentation of the issue came across as possibly an attempt to divert attention from his lying.

Also from the original post:

Don't I have a right to be upset because this is forming a wall bewteen us that she will not deal with.

TO ME, this could be interpeted as blaming the spouse for a relationship breakdown, which then just happened to lead to the A.

Look, I come from a family where people pay off 100% of their credit card 100% of the time. I have never had, and hopefully never will have ANY credit card debt. I do not even borrow to buy a car unless they offer me 0% financing. So I would find his spouse's behavior maddening beyond belief.

But neither would I wait 19 years to say something about it. I wouldn't wait 6 months. So why is he bringing it up now? Is this really about her extreme financial irresponsibility? Or is it an attempt to throw a little blame around?

If the OP is 3 years out from D-Day then I'm way off the mark and please forget I brought it up.

aesir posted 3/18/2013 13:46 PM

I do not even borrow to buy a car unless they offer me 0% financing.
You know they adjust the price so that the monthly payment is the same as if you were paying the real interest rate. In fact, you are probably better off financing through the dealer at 29% with the same monthly payment as they will drop the sticker price down and you save on the sales tax.

I would not be so worried about how involved one is in the household finances, as long as they are aware of what kind of bills there are. Some people are actually rather phobic about math and money. Hell, some people are even stupid about money. Taking 6 months to answer how much credit card debt there is by itself is cause for concern. Most people can find out by the end of the month when the statements come.

The real issue is that this was a secret credit card debt. $12K of credit card debt is not even conclusive evidence of a spending problem. Money management yes, but not necessarily a spending problem. Had these credit cards existence been revealed, it may have been a very simple matter to keep it all under control, and it may all have been legitimate purchases, but when it is kept hidden, then the payments are not managed, suddenly only minimum payments are being made, then you are late with one or chose a poor card and the interest rate is up to 29%, and you suddenly have a huge hole that you inform your spouse after it has swallowed a car.

I see this as a very real issue, and not one of blameshifting or diverting attention. And apparently I do have the proper credentials here to say so.

I don't have an issue with being afraid of handling finances, or even being stupid about money, but being so secretive about it is a huge problem, not unlike passing an STD to your spouse because you didn't tell them what else you were up to.

cdnmommy posted 3/18/2013 17:57 PM

There is a big difference between blameshifting ("Yeah, I cheated but she was financially irresponsible and don''t I have a right to be angry about that?" ) and what sounds like a legitimate complaint within a marriage. I don''t know I4L''s whole story, but I would hope, maybe too optimistically, that at 2.5 years after his join date they have moved far enough into R to address other issues in the M.

As a BS, I would hope that if my FWH had issues with something in our M, whether it was a pre- or post- DDay issue, that he would bring them up so we could address them together.

I4L, have you addressed this at all in marriage counseling? If your BW is struggling with feeling like it is blameshifting (whether because of how you have worded it, or because she feels entitled or unsure of how to change) then an MC could help guide the discussion to get to a good outcome.

[This message edited by cdnmommy at 6:22 PM, March 18th, 2013 (Monday)]

UnexpectedSong posted 3/18/2013 18:20 PM

and didn't tell me I'd have a huge issue with it. HUGE. But as huge as cheating? Not even close.

Money is one of the top reasons people separate. This is legitimately huge, probably as huge as cheating.

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