Communication and Trust Problems - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 06:17 AM Thread Starter
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Communication and Trust Problems

Brief Bio: Partner and I are both late 30's. Both had previous marriages, she has two teenage sons but no children on my end. Both have decent savings in separate accounts but I am new to the US (originally from England) and so this month we've been talking about finances in preparation for marriage this summer.

I knew from the onset that I'd be paying for things for her sons. I honestly have no problem with things like grocery bills, clothes, school equipment, vacations and anything else that may arise through normal life. I've always figured that if I am to be a part of their family, then I need to contribute too and I'm committed to that, not that she has ever asked or expected me to pay for things.

However recently she told me that she intends to use her savings to put her boys through college. This is understandable (and I too will contribute where I can) but part of me wishes she would tell me this before she's set the decision in stone. She's smart enough with money for things not to get out of hand but in her eyes: her money, her sons and I don't need to know. Am I being unreasonable in thinking I do need to know? (if I didn't ask, I'd still not know) That it could end up effecting our household and as a result some warning would be welcome?

Likewise questions from me resulted in her telling me she'd declared bankruptcy some years ago. I truly can sympathise with the situation that led to it, so I'm not seeing it as a slight against her person (and have told her this) but really, who doesn't tell something so big to the person they intend to spend their lives with? I got the usual "its not a secret, you just didn't ask" response from her which I find incredibly childish.

I just find this lack of communication so close to marriage to be a huge warning sign. Especially at our age where we can't be the nave newly weds anymore. It's really shaken my trust in her and part of me is worried of what other skeletons will fall out of the closet if I'm ever 'lucky' enough to ask the right question.

Where would you guys go from here?

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 06:44 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

to see a lawyer
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 07:02 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

This situation of not revealing things to you because you "never asked" is a major red flag.There are certain things in any relationship that is moving towards marriage that have to be discussed and it is very passive aggressive to say you didn't ask as a reason not to reveal pertinent information.There was a case in point a few months ago when a documentary team interviewed some women who had taken part in another documentary ten years previously about working in a brothel(legal) and one woman who took part had never told her husband about her previous career as a prostitute.This may seem far fetched but I use it solely as an example.On another forum I read about a guy and his gf who split up for a week,got back together and married.He asked her had she had sex with any other men while they were broke up and she laughed and said just some threesomes.Problem was after they were married some video emerged of her having threesomes and her reply to him was he knew because she had told him.You need to know a lot more about this woman before tying yourself financially or emotionally to her and my advice is proceed with care.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 07:16 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

You didn't state how long you've been dating but obviously, you both have some ironing out to do before getting married. Discussing all finances is one of them. Who has what, what each person earns, how are savings obtained/what % of the paycheck goes into savings & retirement, spending habits, etc. Perhaps you guys need to get to know each other a little better.

You could always come up with a list of things you should ask: do you have an STD, have you ever been arrested, are you exclusive in our relationship, are you an alcoholic, have you ever used drugs? (a little sarcasm here)

It's ridiculous to have to ask about things in order for her to tell you. I'd be concerned too. Have you noticed any other passive aggressive behavior?

"Life always offers you a second chance. It's called tomorrow."
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 07:33 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

Was this a long distance relationship? Are you two living together?

Regardless keep in mind dating/engagement is nothing more than a trial period, if you don't like the way things are panning out now is when you put the brakes on.

I have no issue with keeping separate what assets you bring into the marriage, you two aren't young kids trying to get established in life you should have a solid foundation under you by now and deserve to protect what you have. The question is what would she can bring to the table once married, if all she has is a savings and not much potential to generate income during the marriage than her and her kids will be a financial drain on you, and that's not fair.

The bankruptcy is an issue though in my eyes. Your comment of her being "smart with money" needs to be reconsidered. I would have lots of questions and would be very apprehensive of tying up my finances with anyone who has gone thru a bankruptcy. Her not being forthcoming earlier is a red flag, you need to be very very careful there are no more secrets. Deceit by omission can ruin your relationship and your life, if you don't trust her do not marry her.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 07:45 AM
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Cool Re: Communication and Trust Problems

Trust ... but always verify!

If she cannot adequately answer any of your serious pointed questions, then you certainly cannot say "I do" to her!

"To love another person is to see the face of God!" - Jean Valjean from Les Miserables

My Story! http://talkaboutmarriage.com/going-t...andonment.html
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 08:47 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

You need a watertight pre up in place,go and see a good divorce lawyer.This bankruptcy is a worry and you need to forget this idea that she is good with money,she's not.If I'm understanding this correctly she intends paying both her sons way through college and you are expected to contribute.Have you any idea how much college in the US costs compared to Britain,and I'm not talking about Oxford or Cambridge here just any middle ranking college.Whether you contribute directly or you pay for all other expenses then you need a good six figure income t put two kids through college.
Be honest,is this an attempt at getting a green card or is this true love because you need to get your eyes opened fairly quickly.This could end up with her in massive dept and you as her husband liable for some or all of it.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 08:51 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

There should be a comprehensive list of questions somewhere on the internet or at the bookstore to ask before getting married.

Do you get the feeling she was hiding from you? Or is she just somewhat random and not very expressive?

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 08:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

Thank you for everyone's advice and feedback. I think what makes this more irritating is that it comes after a period where I did ask her to be honest with me about her past and where she claimed there were no big bombshells and yet this happens. In truth I don't need to know every aspect of her life prior to meeting me but I would put bankruptcy up there with some of the more essential aspects a person should share.

I don't consider her financially irresponsible now. She has a great job and has made an amazing home for the kids and herself and I really admire her for what she's done but this selective truth just feels like a big betrayal of trust for me. As many of you have said; not revealing things because I never asked sounds very passive aggressive and is no ground to build a trusting relationship on. I have asked her other questions of what I deem deal breakers and she answered them fine but now I'm more afraid of what I haven't asked or what surprises could be waiting to rock the boat later on.

This has been a long distance relationship and we are in the process of starting to live together. Do you think that some pre-marriage counselling would help or is it a case of just needing more time?

EDIT: She doesn't expect any contributions from me in regard to her sons. I'm the one who wants to help in that regard. Not pay for everything outright but contribute where I can and how much I can.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 09:05 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

I would have an honest conversation with her about anything else she hasn't shared with you. I would be worried that there more "secrets" that are coming. It was things that I found out after we got married that basically killed our marriage.

I'd also tell her it's much more common these days to only help her sons with tuition and expect them to get loans to pay for part of it. That's what I did with my three. There's no way I'd be able to finance all three tuitions. I've heard that kids without anything at all invested in their college education sometimes feel they have no obligation to do well.


"I've paid double for every transgression I've ever made and that motel and that boat are little to ask for"
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 09:45 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celtic View Post
Brief Bio: Partner and I are both late 30's. Both had previous marriages, she has two teenage sons but no children on my end. Both have decent savings in separate accounts but I am new to the US (originally from England) and so this month we've been talking about finances in preparation for marriage this summer.

I knew from the onset that I'd be paying for things for her sons. I honestly have no problem with things like grocery bills, clothes, school equipment, vacations and anything else that may arise through normal life. I've always figured that if I am to be a part of their family, then I need to contribute too and I'm committed to that, not that she has ever asked or expected me to pay for things.

I think this is admirable.

However recently she told me that she intends to use her savings to put her boys through college. This is understandable (and I too will contribute where I can) but part of me wishes she would tell me this before she's set the decision in stone. She's smart enough with money for things not to get out of hand but in her eyes: her money, her sons and I don't need to know. Am I being unreasonable in thinking I do need to know? (if I didn't ask, I'd still not know) That it could end up effecting our household and as a result some warning would be welcome?

Not unreasonable at all. In marriage, couples should be open and honest about their plans, including financial.
Likewise questions from me resulted in her telling me she'd declared bankruptcy some years ago. I truly can sympathise with the situation that led to it, so I'm not seeing it as a slight against her person (and have told her this) but really, who doesn't tell something so big to the person they intend to spend their lives with? I got the usual "its not a secret, you just didn't ask" response from her which I find incredibly childish.

She may have been embarrassed. Still, that's no excuse. She needed to tell you this as if does affect you since her credit has taken a hit.
I just find this lack of communication so close to marriage to be a huge warning sign. Especially at our age where we can't be the nave newly weds anymore. It's really shaken my trust in her and part of me is worried of what other skeletons will fall out of the closet if I'm ever 'lucky' enough to ask the right question.

I'd use it as an opportunity to let her know that you expect full financial transparency in your relationship with her, and lies of omission are a sign of lack of openness and honesty. I'd make it very clear to her that this will not fly in your marriage. Let her know that now is the time to tell you anything else you need to know, and that in order to trust her fully, you need all the info.
Where would you guys go from here?
I'd have the talk with her. If you're in love with her and satisfied that she is going to be more open with you going forward, I would not let it deter me from getting married, if she is in fact the one.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 11:11 AM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

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Originally Posted by Celtic View Post
Thank you for everyone's advice and feedback. I think what makes this more irritating is that it comes after a period where I did ask her to be honest with me about her past and where she claimed there were no big bombshells and yet this happens. In truth I don't need to know every aspect of her life prior to meeting me but I would put bankruptcy up there with some of the more essential aspects a person should share.

I don't consider her financially irresponsible now. She has a great job and has made an amazing home for the kids and herself and I really admire her for what she's done but this selective truth just feels like a big betrayal of trust for me. As many of you have said; not revealing things because I never asked sounds very passive aggressive and is no ground to build a trusting relationship on. I have asked her other questions of what I deem deal breakers and she answered them fine but now I'm more afraid of what I haven't asked or what surprises could be waiting to rock the boat later on.

This has been a long distance relationship and we are in the process of starting to live together. Do you think that some pre-marriage counselling would help or is it a case of just needing more time?

EDIT: She doesn't expect any contributions from me in regard to her sons. I'm the one who wants to help in that regard. Not pay for everything outright but contribute where I can and how much I can.
Bottom line is you do not know her. Even if you have been together for a couple weeks here and there you still don't know her. All those dreams and gushy things you write to each other over the internet mean nothing when it comes to living together day to day. Do not rush into marrying her, spend a year or more getting to know her, that would be the sensible thing.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 03:54 PM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

Color me confused, but don't most parents try to sock away money while their kids are growing up, in anticipation of being able to send them to college one day? You can't count on them getting scholarships and there's no guarantee they'll be eligible for funding for lower income families.

So the OBVIOUS answer is that parents try to save what they can to provide a college education for their kids.

Why is this such a "surprise" that she's been saving for their college? She probably didn't mention it because she doesn't see it as 'her' money as it's earmarked for her kids.

How did you THINK her kids were getting to college - the College Fairy?

You're acting like she has this big, secret 'slush fund' and she's holding out on you or something. Jeez.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 04:03 PM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

After 20 something years of marriage, here is my advice regarding finances for anyone getting married. Especially, when people have different financial goals and habits.

Go see a financial planner. Take all your statements. Write down your goals. Both of you get the opportunity to speak with someone who has no emotional ties to the situation. You may need more than one meeting to work things out. But it's essential that you are both on the same page.

I have given this advice to my kids. It took us years to understand our financial habits when we first got married.
Better to pay a few dollars upfront and save yourself years of disagreements and hurt feelings.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 04:08 PM
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Re: Communication and Trust Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
Bottom line is you do not know her. Even if you have been together for a couple weeks here and there you still don't know her. All those dreams and gushy things you write to each other over the internet mean nothing when it comes to living together day to day. Do not rush into marrying her, spend a year or more getting to know her, that would be the sensible thing.
I second what Cooper said.
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