Lying about our finances for a year - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Lying about our finances for a year

I found out yesterday that we are over three grand in debt on a credit card. I checked the mail yesterday and there was an envelope for my husband. I opened it thinking it was a confirmation letter from our bank about my (newborn) daughter's education fund we just opened. They messed up the spelling of her name and had fixed it and I was expecting them to resend it. But behold, a statement saying the card is maxed out and minimum payments haven't been made even. As far as I knew we had nothing charged to the card, and in fact cancelled it because we are changing banks. Well, that's what I thought and that's what my husband told me. He's been taking care of our finances when it comes to the day to day banking, paying bills etc. We both work full time, but I'm on my fourth month of mat leave, so my income is only 55% of what it was, but this is still enough to cover our mortgage while my husband's income is plenty to cover our monthly expenses and bills.

We've been married five years, and have had credit card debt post-wedding but worked our asses off to pay it off and start saving. We both agreed that we cannot let this happen again. But here I am staring at a maxed out credit card and I think it might have been stolen. I confronted my husband about it over the phone, and he said "it's real". This means that over the past year, every single time I asked him about our savings or said "oh we can use our savings for that purchase", or working in a budget every week in terms of groceries and expenses, assuming that there was nothing charged to our card because I never once used it and assumed he wasn't either, or asked him ANYTHING about our finances, he lied. Now there is armageddon going on in my brain and I can't even wrap my mind around this. I started this year in the hospital for a month with a collapsed lung - at the time in my first trimester - and went back to work cutting my recovery time short so I could work enough hours to qualify for mat leave. While working I made double what was needed to cover our mortgage and that's what my pay check is for, the rest just stays there for a rainy day fund. But now we have none of that rainy day fund and a maxed card. Had I never opened the envelope he would have never told me. He would have continued digging us deeper and lying to me about it. What's worse is he tried to blame my being in the hospital then taking mat leave as the reason why he "had" to do this.

Here's where my head is at. The amount on the card could be a hell of a lot worse, and it's doable for us to pay it off if we really budget and basically skip Christmas this year. But it's the fact that he lied to my face about this for so long that absolutely kills me and leaves me not having a clue about what to do. I've already taken all of his cards, including his debit and he can ask me for cash if he needs gas basically. Otherwise I've changed the passwords to our online banking and he can no longer have anything to do with it - which he is on board with. And while I have a plan to pay this off and get us back on track, what's left is my marriage. He let me use my birthday cash to buy christmas gifts, I insisted because I don't really need anything and thought it would save use a couple hundred from savings if I use that money on him and my daughter instead. But after finding this out, I can't look at him the same. How could he let me spend it on him? And not say anything about the debt he was racking up? He bought us a fake christmas tree two weeks ago which I thought was a nice surprise because our daughter is at the grabby stage and a real tree didn't seem like a good idea. I was so angry and hurt after this that I undressed the tree, put everything back, found the receipt and returned it. Was that a step too far? I wish I had any of the receipts from his gifts but I don't so there's nothing I can do about that. He's insisting on still buying me gifts but I don't want anything from him, I don't even want to look at him. I'm just at a loss and need some advice. We've been together for ten years, have had our rough patches of course, but he's my best friend and I feel so betrayed by all this lying I don't even know how to process it. Especially because we had been through it together before and vowed to be more financially sound. He was there, he saw what that debt did to us. I can't believe he did this.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 04:10 PM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

Did you look through the statements?

Were the purchases frivolous? I'm not trying to suggest that what he did wasn't wrong but maybe he's just really bad at managing the bills and was using the credit card to meet a monthly deficit. When you have new babies, the financial changes can be unexpected and maybe he just didn't handle it well. Also, consider that if you were sick, he was probably trying not to heap financial troubles onto your worries...which shows that he cares about your health and his priority was that you got better and not worrying about money.

In my opinion, unless he did something really immoral with the money (ie, hookers and blow), he used the money as an overdraft throughout the year and it just means that he's not that good with managing the money and needs some assistance...which it sounds like he's fine with.

Maybe he felt overwhelmed because of all the stuff that was going on with your health...with a new baby...and with work and just wasn't as diligent as he should be. I know my husband would be freaking out and money would be the last thing on his mind if I was ill.

My advice...its 3k which isn't an amount that you can't recover from. So take a deep breath and relax a bit. You should definitely not blow up Christmas because of this. You'll remember these young Christmases with your kids far, far longer than the 3k you need to pay back.

I'd relax and recognize that your husband isn't perfect and so what? Not everyone has the immediate skill set to handle finances but if you sit down together and work on it, you two can figure this out. Marriage isn't perfect and as far as financial troubles go...to me, this one isn't that bad.

Maybe you should see this as an opportunity instead of a curse. It will give you and your husband to discuss expectations...about finances, about honesty/disclosure....and it will give you and opportunity to work together to fix a problem. Problem solving skills are key to a good marriage. Stuff happens...and you'll make mistakes too...forgive him and work with him to make it better. He already sounds contrite and sorry to me. Don't pound the crap out of him once he admits he did something wrong...he doesn't need a battle axe, he needs a wife who have his back when something goes wrong. Be that woman and see if there's a way that you can work it out. Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill. And believe me, when you do something wrong, he'll remember how you handled this and give you the same deference.

And please enjoy a lovely holiday with your kids and husband. You guys deserve that. Best wishes!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 04:23 PM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

My advice (I have been through financial stuff like this with my husband) is that you BOTH need to be involved in the day to day finances, paying bills, etc. All accounts should be accessible by both of you and no hidden credit cards, etc.

When you don't involve yourself in the finances...you have no clue what is going on. Believe me, I wasn't involved either when we were first married and it was a BIG mistake. You take some of the bills and pay them and he can pay some of them. You can take turns balancing the checkbook. Sit down once a month and discuss your budget, discuss how things are going, etc. Let each other know when you are going to be making a large purchase, whatever you determine that amount to be.

It may not be a HUGE amount of money, but I would be upset that he didn't let you know he was using the card. See if you can talk it out calmly and work out a deal between the two of you so this doesn't happen again.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 04:57 PM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

Find out where he was spending this money and why he thinks it was OK to commit financial infidelity, because that is what he did. You need to work that out otherwise it may happen again.

I would look into the return policies of the stores where you got his gifts, if you used a debit or credit card they might be able to look your purchase up with that card. I wouldn't give him a gift if I were you, but I am a little spiteful when it comes to stuff like this.

You should also run a credit report with all three agencies right away to make sure there isn't more that he is hiding. Also seriously consider putting a "fraud alert" on file with the credit agencies so he can't open new credit easily.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 05:11 AM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

The biggest issue IMO is, what did he spend it on?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 06:21 AM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

I did the same thing as your husband. But mine was a gambling debt. My wife said she could get over a lie, but lying for a year was a dealbreaker. So im in the middle of a divorce now as a result.

Once i had lied, it became harder and harder to be honest, as by then i had lied over and over.

The critical question is where did the money go? Why did he feel he needed to lie?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 07:06 AM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

"Why did he feel he needed to lie?"

Why did you feel the need to lie? To CYA of course. Some liars lie just because they're liars, or for the fun of it but mostly to not have to suffer the consequences of their actions.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

Thank you for your very well-worded response. I guess I felt I "should" punish him more for it (which is not really my style), but once we talked about it further he admitted his fears about my health and then adding stress on top of that wasn't something he wanted to bring to light at the time. Rather than talking to me about it, he kept it bottled up because that's how he was raised and communication suffers as a result. He is terrible at managing money, and I now see I'm partially responsible for leaving all of that on him and not getting involved myself. I hate dealing with day-to-day finances so I left that all to him but I have to step up to the plate too.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

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It may not be a HUGE amount of money, but I would be upset that he didn't let you know he was using the card. See if you can talk it out calmly and work out a deal between the two of you so this doesn't happen again.
We've done just that. Well, there was some quiet yelling, but we worked out a plan. I was able to get more answers out of him and he was just trying to keep us afloat for the time being, and when he didn't need to anymore he was having a hard time now starting to pay it off. He feels terrible, I could see this was eating him alive. But I don't want this to ruin our holiday, especially after the crazy year we've had. He certainly isn't cheating or spending it on hookers/cocaine. He thought he was doing the right thing by not letting me stress about it when I was in the hospital, etc. This I can understand. And you're right, it's not a huge amount of money.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 08:44 AM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

The good signs are that he is remorseful and he is trying to work with you. Best of luck to you guys, and start getting involved with your finances asap.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 10:56 AM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

I think you need to see a qualified marriage therapist who is experienced with infidelity. As you have said, this isn't so much about the money, it is all about the lying. It is a breaking of the marriage vows.

Don't rug sweep this!

Paying off the card is not the end of it. And be sure you are seeing true remorse from him for two things, using the card and lying to you about it. He might be sorry he got caught, but that isn't the same as him understanding why he did this. And I don't mean because he was worried about your health and didn't want to worry you. That sounds like avoidance of the truth. What is broken in him that he could deceive you repeatedly for a year? Even if he knew it was wrong, he kept doing it. He did it and didn't think he'd get caught, so it ended up being ok to do even though he knew you would not be ok with it.

That is a betrayal of your trust.

Financial infidelity is a leading cause of divorce. The loss of trust is the problem Your husband has to prove to you that he is worthy of your trust in the future. This is a process not an instantaneous thing. He has to prove he understands why he did it, and that something has changed so that he will never do it again.

Search the forums here for "true remorse" and "false reconciliation". Some of the details may be different given that this is not a sexual infidelity, but the principles apply.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-06-2015, 09:34 PM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

This is a sad situation , my story is far worse but I did not divorce my wife over her spending irresponsibility as she was diagnosed with BPD type 2 .......... The only similarity is that both our spouses lied to us !!! I chose to forgive my wife and stay to help her , many would have cut and run ......... I hope you can get your problems worked out and don't be naive in the process
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-07-2016, 11:16 AM
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Re: Lying about our finances for a year

My husband has lied about finances for our whole relationship (4 years) and it doesn't get any better. They don't want to upset you, so they lie and try to fix it on their own when that's not a reality. My dad did the same thing to my mom as your husband did to you but much worse. She doesn't treat him like a husband anymore, just a roomate, and he still hasn't changed. Men want to be respected and looked up to, even when they don't deserve it and unfortunately, if you cant give them that, they'll draw away even further and become worse than they even were in the first place. I handle all of our finances and give my husband money or the card when he asks, but he still takes the grocery card and to be sneaky takes cash back from the machine and buys whatever he wants with it, all while bringing in 15k a year for our 2 sons and me and letting me pay his 6k lawyer fees and 2k dental work. With that said, he doesn't deserve financial responsibility, but hates that I immasculate him even though he's handed the responsibility over to me. I worry your husband will be the same. Men don't respond well being under their wives in any area and it can create bitterness and resentment. Good luck
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