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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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Old 05-02-2012, 11:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default forest for trees

Hi..

My husband and I have always always fought about finances. We are climbing out of 15,000 in credit card debt and have moved on after I discovered he had a gambling problem about 5 years ago. I have put us on a payment plan/budget to get our finances under control, which he has gone along with.

Problem is...we still argue and it is still driving a big wedge between us.

He was hospitalized last year in November for a few days. Since our insurance plan dictates that we pay 20% of all medical costs, we have received many bills for his hospital stay. I take care of almost all of our bills and all medical bills for myself and our two sons. I have asked him at least 4-5 times to please call/make a payment plan do something regarding his own medical bills, as we get 3-4 bills a week.

Every time I bring it up, he says "I don't have time but I will get to it". Well the other morning he mentioned something about one of the bills...so I asked him to please take his other bills (which are sitting by the computer in a stack) and call about them. He started giving me the same song and dance. Out of frustration I told him that I would take care of it because if I waited for him it would never happen.

He went to work and then in an email, told me I was criticizing him and demeaning him.

Really? How about you just take care of your responsibilities instead of putting me in the position to have to nag you about it or just giving up and doing it myself? Then he proceeded to tell me that medical bills won't affect our credit anyway, so it makes no difference when he gets around to paying them. ???

We have been to counseling numerous times...

I just don't think he gets it or will ever get it.

If I just ignore this and let things happen, I screw myself because it WILL affect our credit. If I bug him, I'm a nag. If I do it myself I get resentful.

What am I doing wrong, because I cannot argue with him about this...it gets us nowhere.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: forest for trees

I dont think there's any way to feel OK in this situation. It also doesn't sound like there's much you can do other then pay the bills. He's irresponsible with money and it doesnt sound like he's willing to change.

Individuals who do not take care of their finances really bother me. It's not complicated to simply pay the bills. The impact of financial negligence can be much worse then emotional problems, IMO.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: forest for trees

That must be very frustrating. I would probably just take care of it all myself. Resentment will build up but I can deal with that easier than the stress of not knowing if the bills are taken care of.

I do feel your pain. Hang in there and best of luck.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: forest for trees

Thanks Blanca..and Colotnk. I feel the same way. It bothers me greatly that he just doesn't care about or feel that he needs to take care of financial stuff. I just don't get it. Why do you go to work every day and then not take any interest in taking care of your money?

Just in the past month we had two separate charges on check card for about 70.00 each. when I asked what they were...one was for a discount ticket program that he had signed up for last year and then forgot to cancel after he used it, so they auto signed him up for this year and the other was for some $1.99 program he downloaded that "OOPS" forgot to read the fine print...after 7 days they charge you 70.00 for.

It drives me crazy. I don't know what I am going to do to resolve our differences in this area. Any coping skills anyone who has been there done that would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: forest for trees

Depression can impact the ability to pay bills, even depression from spending too much!

Could this be a factor?
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: forest for trees

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Depression can impact the ability to pay bills, even depression from spending too much!

Could this be a factor?
Unless he has been depressed for the past 12 years...!! He has never been good at paying bills. I let him take care of the bills when we first got married and it was a total mess...credit cards at 30% interest, bounced checks, etc. taxes not filed in 3 years....
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: forest for trees

It does sound like something he just won't ever be able to do at the level you would like. Not sure if there is any correlation but my dad has a severe gambling addiction (literally gambled away millions over the years ... he is 88 now and broke) He would stack bills and over the years there were literally stacks of bills everywhere! He would open them, date them, stamp them, etc. but never pay them (even when he had the means) ... just bizarre to me as I am the complete opposite. Over the years I have had creditors call my house asking for him and I just say I never heard of that person... Sad really. He will gamble his rent and food money so we are at the point now that we have multiple bank accounts set up for him and he only has access to 1 where we put 'spending money' for him ... it's the only way to guarantee he has a roof over his head and food in his fridge.

I think during the times where he could not pay the bills he must have been so overwhelmed by it that he just ignored them altogether (he was also hiding his gambling addiction from my mom...still has not admitted to it to this day)
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Old 05-19-2012, 03:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It does sound like something he just won't ever be able to do at the level you would like. Not sure if there is any correlation but my dad has a severe gambling addiction (literally gambled away millions over the years ... he is 88 now and broke) He would stack bills and over the years there were literally stacks of bills everywhere! He would open them, date them, stamp them, etc. but never pay them (even when he had the means) ... just bizarre to me as I am the complete opposite. Over the years I have had creditors call my house asking for him and I just say I never heard of that person... Sad really. He will gamble his rent and food money so we are at the point now that we have multiple bank accounts set up for him and he only has access to 1 where we put 'spending money' for him ... it's the only way to guarantee he has a roof over his head and food in his fridge.

I think during the times where he could not pay the bills he must have been so overwhelmed by it that he just ignored them altogether (he was also hiding his gambling addiction from my mom...still has not admitted to it to this day)
You are right Swedish...he will never handle finances at a level that I would be comfortable with, and I have accepted that and will take care of our finances. I guess I'm just looking for him to work WITH me on this instead of against me. Just throw me a bone once in awhile.

Very sad about your father. I'm sorry...and yes I'm with you..complete opposite. I just don't understand why people want to bury their head in the sand and ignore the bills.

Funny thing too is that one of the reasons I think I still struggle with my husband is that I feel like he has never held himself accountable for what he has done. Admitted it, yeah, sort of..it was more along the lines of "well I was trying to make extra money to pay the bills." (meaning with the gambling). To me, that is not owning up.
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: forest for trees

I agree this would be frustrating, but:

1) He might simply be overwhelmed (especially if he is not good at this sort of thing). I once asked for a bill for my child's fairly short hospital stay and I got a big multipage document. He might also not have the means to pay, which brings me to:

2) Why do you have his and her medical bills? I can see segregating spending money or splitting regular bills according to some formula that makes sure expenditures are equitable.

IMO medical bills can be so high and sudden that they should be a joint expenditure. Your insurance pays 80%. Is that 80% of everything or 80% of charges the insurer deems reasonable? Is there any annual cap on out of pocket expenses?

Not sure if you've been hospitalized (more than the one or two days for having a kid). I was used to paying anywhere from $10 to $40 for medications and office visits and was shocked at how high the bills were. My son's care averaged from $10,000 to $15,000 per day before insurer discounts.

You need to go through the bills and make sure you are being charged appropriately as best you can. Then you need to work on a way to pay the debt together. I'm not sure you want a dynamic where he is struggling to pay debt while you go on about your life.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree this would be frustrating, but:

1) He might simply be overwhelmed (especially if he is not good at this sort of thing). I once asked for a bill for my child's fairly short hospital stay and I got a big multipage document. He might also not have the means to pay, which brings me to:

2) Why do you have his and her medical bills? I can see segregating spending money or splitting regular bills according to some formula that makes sure expenditures are equitable.

IMO medical bills can be so high and sudden that they should be a joint expenditure. Your insurance pays 80%. Is that 80% of everything or 80% of charges the insurer deems reasonable? Is there any annual cap on out of pocket expenses?

Not sure if you've been hospitalized (more than the one or two days for having a kid). I was used to paying anywhere from $10 to $40 for medications and office visits and was shocked at how high the bills were. My son's care averaged from $10,000 to $15,000 per day before insurer discounts.

You need to go through the bills and make sure you are being charged appropriately as best you can. Then you need to work on a way to pay the debt together. I'm not sure you want a dynamic where he is struggling to pay debt while you go on about your life.
DTO...I didn't mean that he pays his medical bills alone...we both pay for all the bills together. I work and he works; he makes more than I do but we pool our money and pay all our bills out of that. Sorry for the confusion. What I mean was that I asked him to take care of his medical bills...as in it's been 6 months since the bill came...can you please look at it...at least call them and set up a payment plan. I do this for medical bills for me and the kids, I was just asking him to please take care of making sure his medical bills got paid out of our money.

I usually handle paying most of the bills since I found out about the gambling, etc. I believe that we are being charged 20% of what is deemed reasonable, but I will look at them again...and yes there is a cap on expenses but it is pretty high. Our insurance plan is not the best, but at least we have one!
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: forest for trees

There are some medical conditions that permanently affect math ability, and the ability to equate numbers on paper with the meaning of currency. One of these is having been lead poisoned as a child, another is being a diabetic, and a third is having ever been a brain injury patient, yet another is having been someone with a lung/breathing problem.

As for medical bills, if you are of modest means, you might apply to the hospital and affiliates not only for a payment plan, but also forgiveness either in part or in whole.

As for the charges on the credit cards, consider a pre-paid card with a limit, that can be re-charged each pay period with his agreed-upon spending allowance. You can also use a credit service to put a stop alert on any new credit applications.

Take his name off of the other cards and accounts, and get a power of attorney signed that allows you specifically to take care of any and all bills in his name.

Finally, go a step further and set up a joint account with someone you trust to take care of your family's finances should you become unable to do so. Create a contingent power of attorney for this person. The last thing you need to worry about if you should go 'down' is finances.

If you have children, you might also think about setting up a trust with a trustee to manage funds so that they can be provided for and secure as you would do if you were around and able.

It is worth the effort. Murphy's Law applies.

I applied for relief for my ER visit that still had 4K on the account, it was for my allergic anaphylaxis, they gave me a CT scan, pregnancy test, psych eval, an EKG, checked my blood for electrolytes and thyroid etc. and finally tested me for street drugs, before discharging me with no clue what was wrong with me other than I must just be histrionic. I gathered together all the paperwork and asked for a decision for financial aid, and within a week, voila, 4K less in debt and feeling better about the misdiagnosis. Medical bills are horrible, especially when you are struggling already on account of finances, and then when someone in your family is obviously ill.

You don't say what your husband's medical condition was/is but honestly, some medical conditions and there are more than what I mentioned, can really affect your ability to 'connect' with numbers, or time. I put off balancing my checkbook for three months, because of lingering effects from oxygen deprivation I had two years ago. Just the thought of dealing with numbers made the front part of my brain jump up and down and made me nauseous and confused. It's embarassing, because I used to be a statistician. Now I keep my register on big 8.5 x 11 paper and make sure I don't let it go. I also keep track of expenses and will force myself at the end of the month to tally up categories and make sure I am not running into trouble. I have other coping mechanisms for time management as computing time is difficult, I figure out how long I can do an activity before I need to start the next thing. Sometimes I miss an hour in the morning altogether and have to scramble. lol. I would bet that your husband's issues are partly due to a medical condition. I never used to be like I am now. I have to struggle to make sure I don't mess up. For me there is nobody to take up the slack if I do.

His lack of impulse control could also be a by-product of whatever his illness was. Trust me, there are drugs that can deal with what is known as 'lability' and 'impulsivity'. I have a fair amount of impulsivity now which I enjoy. It is within normal limits. Trust me, before I had a brain injury I stuck to my rules, I was an unfun person. :-) But too much is not okay, it can ruin a life. If he has had any kind of illness that would have possibly affected rational thought and follow through, he might want to talk to a care provider about it and get some treatment. Anything that would have caused lack of oxygen to the brain or too much adrenaline to the brain or any kind of brain chemistry change could be the culprit. Diabetes is really a big one when it comes to math and time and impulse control. That is, *uncontrolled* diabetes, not to cast a shadow on diabetics who manage their condition to keep their blood sugar in normal limits.

Last edited by Homemaker_Numero_Uno; 05-21-2012 at 08:51 PM.
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