“So, I’m hiding something from my husband….”

Okay, so my wife has been reading all these baby message boards lately, and usually nothing exciting is ever going on in there. At least to me – a guy – who hasn’t a clue about the female body and all its twists and turns it goes through to produce such amazing little angels in the end. (Now I’m a *master* of the body BEFORE the pregnancy starts, of course (ow ow!), but I never pretend to understand what she’s going through afterwards. And for good measure ;))

Despite this, the wife still likes to send me snippets of gossip going on in those places and half the time I just smile and nod and say things like “Wowwww, that’s crazy!” or “Awwwww, so sad :(” Or even, “That bastard! I’d never tell you you’re fat, guys can be so mean!” Etc etc.

That was, until she forwarded me THIS:

“So, I’m hiding something from my husband…. I have $18,000 in debt.

I went crazy with credit cards, making so many mistakes, and I’ve never told him anything. I’m responsible for all our money and everything in the household, but we just weren’t making enough. I’ve paid rent late a few times and he’s never noticed. I’ve kept everything to myself.

I feel horrible. He thinks we have some money saved up, but we don’t.  I wish there was a way out of this before our baby is born. Anyone else dealing with massive debt? I’m so scared.”

DANNNNNNNG!!!! $18,000 in debt and the husband has no idea?? O.M.G. How is she going to fix this?? And HOW does the husband not know?? Does he not pay attention to anything??? What’s he going to do when he finds out?? Aghhhhhhhhhh!!!

And just like that I’m sucked in, haha… And really started thinking about what I would do too, if in her shoes. How the heck could I tell my wife – who I’m now about to have a baby with – that we’re being crushed with debt??? And can barely afford to pay rent?? And in a way where she won’t go and do something drastic now that she knows this horrible truth?? (I don’t think it’s unfair to say that hormones during pregnancy can be incredibly off the chain. Rule #1 is that you never mess with a pregnant woman!)

All kidding aside though, it’s a horrible, horrible situation to be in. And one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. ‘Cuz not only do you obviously have money/budgeting issues you’re dealing with, but you also have problems with communication and more than likely *trust* too. Which is never good when you’re about to start a growing family together :(

BUT, all that being said, it IS fixable! (Hooray!) It’s just a matter of finally letting the cat out of the bag and then *dealing with it* once and for all. You get it out there, allow time for calming down and sinking in, and then you *both* work on FIXING IT. Together.

I know, I know – as if it were that easy.

It’s not. And who know what will come of it once the truth’s finally set free, but I guarantee it’ll be a lot better than keeping it inside and eating you up 24/7. That’s no way to live either, and you know damn well it’s just a matter of time until it’ll come out anyways. So you rip off that band-aid as fast as you can, and then you prepare for the hell (and work) that’ll soon follow.

Going back to what I’d do though… And I sure ain’t no therapist:

  1. Come up with ideas on ways to FIX IT before I even deliver the news. Maybe 2 or 3 game plans or ideas so that when the news IS out of the bag, at least there’s somewhere to go next with the talks. The worst is getting bad news with no bright future to look forward to – however far away.
  2. Tell my wife I have something super important to tell her when she has the time, and that it’s not something good. This would hopefully a) give her time to prepare for the whopper, and B) get her thinking it’s possibly something worse than it really is. That could lean on the mean side, I’m not too sure (any therapists reading this?), but I feel like it would help soften the blow a little, or at least get her thinking about all the possibilities first so it’s not quite a shock when she finally learns the truth.
  3. Put on my patient pants and get ready for the blast of emotions! The anger, the tears, the frustration, the loss of hope, the bad words she’ll later take back, etc.
  4. Hug/kiss/love the crap out of her as soon as it’s safe to do so. This is an important one, and I stress again *when it’s safe to do so.* Everyone reacts differently, and needs different amounts of time to calm down/get their heads wrapped around everything, but once appropriate you remind the other person as fast as you can how much you love them and why you guys are together to begin with. There will be tons of problems in your lives, but love is supposed to conquer all :)

That’s what I’d do anyways. Again, no expert here… (Nor have I ever BEEN in a similar situation). In a way though, I feel like it may be easier to deliver the bad news that it is to receive it? If only for the ability to prepare beforehand? Of course it’s worse to be the one *at fault* too for such bad news – a double whammy – but at least you have the chance to think before you react. And again – it seems to me there’s some fault on the husband’s side here too, unless she’s been lying to him straight out the entire time when he *does* ask about the finances? THAT would even make it worse!

I don’t know what will happen with this new mother and her family, but I wish them all the luck in the world and pray it works out in the end. If my wife keeps me in the loop, I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it ends :) And something tells me she will, considering my immediate attention to her baby boards now, haha… What can I say, if it has to do with money it has to do with me!

What would you guys do in her situation? Have you ever *been* in a similar one before? Are you hiding something right NOW from your significant other??

Tell us in the comments below, and hopefully this will help everyone else reading this too who’s going through similar situations. This soon-to-be mom isn’t the first person to make a mistake, and she won’t be the last either. So spill your thoughts, and pray everyone who’s looking for it gets some help!

[Photo cred: Suus Wansink]

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  1. Phil Maguire November 18, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    The problem here is not the debt; it’s whatever caused the debt. That could be something really serious like a gambling addiction or substance abuse or something less serious but still painfull like comfort spending. The debt is just a sympton and there is absolutely no point trying to deal with the debt problem if you haven’t solved the underlying problem. All that’s going to happen is that the debt will come back. I’ve seen this so many times by so many people in different sitation. I’ve seen people get out of debt or lose weight or stop smoking only to see the problem return because they didn’t deal with why they spend money or over-eat or smoke.

    The good news is that once this couple have dealt with the problem that caused the debt, the debt will just fade away. And the really great news is that it will never come back.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      Good good point. You sir, are a smarty ;)

  2. Matt Becker November 18, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    Wow, what a tough spot. I like your advice with the warning that I wouldn’t spend too much time on that first step of trying to come up with solutions. Yes that could be helpful but my guess is that part of the reason the situation has gotten so bad is that she’s always thought she’d come up with a solution soon. The most important thing is to just get the problem out there in the open so that you can handle it together. I think this is also a great reminder of how important it is for BOTH spouses to know what’s going on financially, even if only one is in charge of managing most of it. Money is a team effort and really should never be left 100% to one person.

  3. Holly@ClubThrifty November 18, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    That is insane. First of all, her husband must be clueless. Mine notices if I buy a pair of jeans…how does hers not notice 18K being spent. She had to buy something!

    Poor thing….that really is sad. I hope that she gets it worked out and stops adding more debt to the situation.

  4. Brian@ Debt Discipline November 18, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    Ouch! I think the sooner you get this out in the open and work on it together the better. Then get the scissors out and cut up the cards.

  5. Brit November 18, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    Wow going through all these and pregnant I’m surprise the stress alone hasn’t caused her any healthy issues. When I was pregnant with my first son, being broke and work caused me an early delivery. Hope everything goes well for her.
    To answer your questions I have never been in her situation nor am I hiding money from my significant other, yet! ;)

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      Haha… And what would cause this “yet” to finally occur, my dear girl? :)

  6. Scooze November 18, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    She needs to say they need counseling. She needs to say that she is feeling overwhelmed by their crush of debt and that they need to figure out how to fix it together with the help of a professional. This is not sll her fault – he gave her the financial responsibility of the household without helping her figure out how to make it work when tgey were clearly living outside their means. He’s been putting his head in the sand while she has been too afraid of his reaction to say something earlier.

    1. Scooze November 18, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      I mean that he’s just as much at fault as she is and needs to own his part in getting them to this point. She didn’t get them there alone and can’t fix it alone.

      1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        Agreed – this is a “team” issue here, so hopefully she musters up enough courage to finally bring it to the fore front before it gets worse!

  7. Kali @CommonSenseMillennial November 18, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Yikes. I have no idea how people get into these situations – not passing negative judgment or anything, I just cannot imagine A. racking up that much credit card debt and B. hiding it from my husband. Even if I wanted to hide it, I happen to be a HORRIBLE liar and have the world’s worst poker face. I think that you made a good point – she needs to come up with a constructive plan to deal with this issue first, and then tell her husband immediately afterward. This way, she’ll not only be able to clue him in to the reality of their financial situation, but also present a plan to solve the problem and get back on track. That should soften the blow, for her to actively show she’s ready and willing to fix her mistakes. But regardless.. just yikes. I feel for her and I hope they can get their situation worked out very soon.

  8. Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle November 18, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    My girlfriend ran up a department store credit card and hid the bills and the purchases from her husband. She cashed in an RRSP to pay off the bill and thought she was free and clear.

    When tax time rolled around and she had to pay instead of getting a refund. The entire situation was revealed at the H&R Block cubicle when she and her husband came in to sign their returns. She had not planned on the tax penalty when she withdrew the cash.

    This was several years ago and she is still being punished for her mistake. He controls the money and gives her an allowance because he sees her as untrustworthy. She now has to get his permission for any purchase that is not from her grocery budget.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      Oh wow…. now THAT is the worst possible outcome for sure – messing with trust and your relationship for years down the road, ugh… And double ugh she pulled from the RRSP too! Haha… though that pales in comparison ;)

  9. jennydecki November 18, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Okay, I take care of all the finances in our house and could easily rack up loads of debt without my husband noticing. I don’t, however, because to me making financial purchases behind his back would be a form of cheating. Not cheating in the “having sex with someone in the Burger King bathroom” sense, but not playing by the rules you agreed to when you got married.

    I think this is a sign of a much deeper problem within the relationship. It probably won’t come to light even after she sucks it up and tells him what’s really going on with the finances. Here’s hoping marriage counseling is on the table in addition to labor and delivery.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      Burger King bathroom??? Why there out of all the places? Haha… is there something you need to tell us? ;)

  10. Debt and the Girl November 18, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Thats awful. The poor husband! I have heard stories like this all the time and I find it so scary to even think about being in this situation. Hopefully she can find a way to tell him so they can work on paying down the debt together.

  11. Fern Miller (@Fernwise) November 18, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    I think that the couple is also going to need counseling – maybe marriage counseling (I think we can agree that there are communication and teamwork issues), certainly she’s going to need counseling for the spending problem.

    We had similar issues – not that I hid debt! but that I spent thru’ most of my savings to support us when our business wasn’t doing well. I had problems telling/explaining/confronting my husband that he wasn’t focused on the income side of our business, instead he was too focused on the ‘developing products for the future’ side of our business. Part of it was not wanting to hurt his feelings about what he was earning. Part of it was that when I DID bring it up (rather too subtly, apparently) he blew me off which frustrated me.

    I don’t know how far along she is in the pregnancy, but if possible (and assuming she’s not working already) she needs to get a job. Restaurants and fast food places hire folks who are pregnant (the one I’m working at to help our finances just hired a visibly pregnant waitress, and a friend worked while HUGELY pregnant at Burger King). It’s not great money, but it will help and give her something to do other than spend or worry.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:17 PM

      Running a business already has its set of problems, so having it meddle with a relationship is even worse :( Sorry to hear. But hopefully all is kosher again and the business is thriving! Or at least shut down and a new (more income-heavy one) has replaced it ;)

  12. John S @ Frugal Rules November 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Wow, I feel for both of them. The husband has no clue and the wife is pregnant on top of dealing with this internally. Money is such a HUGE issue when it comes to relationships and I would think they were not on the same page to begin with to run into something like this. That said, I like your suggestions, especially #1. I think for many that should help soften the blow a bit.

  13. Broke Millennial November 18, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    When my boyfriend and I first started talking about debt he lied about how deep in debt he was. Each time the conversation happened I noticed his debt amount (all student loans) increased by a pretty big number. It can certainly be a hard conversation to have, but it’s always best to be honest so you can both tackle it head on (if you’re married or engaged and your finances will be merged).

    Obviously, I agree with you that it’s important to disclose your debt to your finance or spouse. Perhaps she could come to him with some semblance of a plan to fix the situation, just to appease his brain when it spirals out of control.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      Oh wow – sneaky! Haha… I guess over time he would have finally blurted out the correct figure and then from that point forward just kept it level ;) He didn’t realize he was dealing with a money pro though! Haha…

  14. Mark November 18, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Wow! I am sure you guys will fix this but I also want to advice that you make sure you lay a plan for this to never happen again!

  15. liz November 18, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    To me this just sounds like a symptom of something more serious. If you go into a marriage with that kind of secret it sounds like you may have underlying issues.

  16. Martin November 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    I would get another job (weekends) and hustle until I paid this off. Not fun, but needs to be done.

  17. Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) November 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Oh lawd! I’m in a pregnancy group too and there are some cray cray things that go down on there. There was one woman who just left her husband and she is pregnant with twins. It was/is really sad. It’s kind of like reality TV on there…. All that being said I think you offered some good advice. I wish that family the very best!

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      I know right??? Mom groups alone have a certain level of cray in them, but you throw in PREGNANT ones and it turns up the levels to the max :) At least there’s a lot more people giving support/love in there than the opposite.

  18. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel November 18, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Hopefully he realizes that he’s an accomplice by disassociation. Sure, she made the purchases, but had he shown more initiative to be involved in their finances, it probably wouldn’t have gone very far. Some would see this as following the same vein of “blaming the victim”, but in a marriage, both spouses have to be on the same page financially. To do otherwise is, like in this case, a recipe for disaster.

  19. Joe November 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Oh man. That’s why divorces happen. If you can’t trust your wife, who can you trust.
    She has got to come clean and they can both work together on it.
    Good luck, but it’s going to be tough.

  20. C The Writer November 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I’m probably in the minority here, but it’s HER debt. In my opinion, as long as I’m paying my debt and it’s not affecting my marriage, it’s not really my spouse’s business (hypothetically–I don’t have a spouse). My debt is my debt, and I feel like people are responsible for their own debt. It’s only when I can’t hold up my end up paying shared bills or my spouse starts to pay the debt for me that it becomes an issue.

    1. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel November 18, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      It’s her debt unless his name is on the card. Then it’s his debt. And if she can’t repay or if something bad happens to her, guess who’s going to get chased by the creditors.

      1. Aimee November 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        We don’t have enough details to know it was solely her debt. Perhaps she charged things on the card because her husband spends all of the cash? It’s possible that the husband knows she’s bad with money and charged her with these duties because he doesn’t want to deal with them. Also even if it’s just her name on the card it will show up on his credit report. My mom has a history of hiding debt and money things from my dad so I’ve seen these things first hand. My mom is the spender and was bad with money when they met so when things come to light I believe he is just as much to blame. It takes 2!

        1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:26 PM

          Yeah, lots of empty variables here to really figure out what’s going on… At the end of the day it just all SUCKS so hopefully they start working on it ASAP.

    2. Michelle @fitisthenewpoor November 23, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      I am on the same page. It’s her debt unless she used his income or credit score to obtain that debt. While we have no idea what the situation is, I think that this is her time to get real and figure out her own way of paying it off without burdening her husband.

  21. Mom @ Three is Plenty November 18, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    My mother was indirectly on the receiving end of such news (and I was unfortunately the bearer of the news, although not the cause). My father had just passed away, and I was going through his papers to find out what needed canceled, who needed a copy of the death certificate, etc. And I found credit card statements that had my parents almost 25k in debt. My mom had had no idea (neither did I, my dad was an accountant, taught me how to pay bills by letting me sit with him while he paid them, etc…). Luckily, we later found his life insurance policy information and it was more than enough to cover the debt, and leave my mom in a good place.

    But telling my mom was really hard. I had to sit her down (while she’s still grieving) and tell her what I had found – I hadn’t found the insurance paperwork at the time. She understandably freaked out, and decided to just not deal with it for a week or two since the bill wasn’t due yet. I had control of her finances at the time until I could teach her how to take care of them, and so I just made sure the minimums were paid until she made a decision.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      Oh. My. Gosh. That is so tough on everyone!! And strange too, considering your dad was an accountant? Maybe it was in the game plan though that the insurance would cover it in the event he couldn’t wipe it away faster?

      Of course there’s more to life than just money so there could be a number of reasons why that debt piled up (maybe he wanted to treat your mother well all these years, or never wanted her to worry cuz he loved her so much?) but I am glad to hear that it wasn’t a worry for far too long. A scary thing to find though :( Thanks for sharing.

  22. Steve A. November 18, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    That’s exactly what my ex-wife did. She kept $18,000 in credit card debt hidden from me for the entirety of our marriage and it was a major reason why I divorced her. She said she knew that I’d never ask her to get married if I knew she was so financially irresponsible.

    I didn’t find out about the debt until getting a financial report back about refinancing my house. My ex wanted to be added to the mortgage, and forgot to mention that she was up to her eyes in debt and had only been making the minimum payments (on 28% annual interest!!) for the past 4-years. Even worse, she spent the money on crap that she didn’t need, like high-end purses, shoes and clothes.

    It’s sad to say, but getting a credit check on your future spouse isn’t a bad idea.

    1. C The Writer November 18, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Now THAT is romantic.

      1. Freckles November 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        To C the Writer:

        Marriage isn’t just a romance my friend, it’s a business, communication, and trust decision.

        And a marriage is always full of more romance if the business component is in harmony with both partners in either a “we are BOTH okay with little money” or “we are BOTH okay with lotsa money”.

        1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:32 PM

          Wowwwww…. scary!!!! And honestly that’s the WORST way to find out too – from a place that was not your wife’s. Makes everything incredibly more difficult/frustrating to work out. Just like with cheating in general – you never want to hear that from anyone’s mouth out there outside your significant other’s. Or even theirs, obviously! ;)

  23. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life November 18, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    I don’t know that I would say “I have big, bad news”… that is just plain scary. Not that $18,000 of debt isn’t scary, but it’s worse than the anticipation. I just think it’s incredibly unfair that partners who are LEGALLY BOUND do this to one another.

  24. Sarah November 18, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Whoa folks! This is not the worst thing in the world. Marriage and raising kids is much harder than dealing with $18000 of hidden CC debt.

    Here’s my two cents for the mama-to-be: the first step is the hardest. Admitting there is a problem, and sharing this with your spouse. You are brave to admit you need help, and I’m confident you AND your husband can get through this. Trust me, life gets harder. Kids are so hard!! So this budgeting ‘snaffoo’ (I’ll be kind) will teach you, and educate you, and also humble you and make you a better/smarter person. In the end, it’s a tough situation, but it will help you become a super-star-budgeting-mama. How else do we learn, except through mistakes? I wish we could just heed advice from blogs and parents and whatnot, but sometimes we just have to fall down, suffer the pain, and get back up and try again. Know what I mean? And no matter who spent that $$, it’s your responsibility TOGETHER to fix it. You are a team.

    Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP. Don’t think you are worthless or stupid or not trustworthy. You are an adult. You made mistakes. We all do. Especially with money. It’s not the worst thing in the world that your baby will be born with broke parents. Far better to be poor with a baby, then with a teenager who needs braces, and car insurance. Set a 5 year plan. By the time your child starts kindergarten you guys can EASILY be out of this debt, and have an emergency fund set up. 5 years. $18000, plus interest. Totally doable.

    I also highly recommend doing a cash allowance each week. For all groceries, household supplies, clothes, eating out, etc. You and your husband. Way easier to deal with cash on a weekly basis, than tracking every single expense if you are a newbie to budgeting. If you have cash left over on Friday after groceries and supplies, then hit up the thrift store that weekend to look for baby gear. If not, WAIT until next week. Rinse, repeat. Five years. You got this!

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Where’s the +1 button when you need it? :) Excellent, excellent advice for sure. Thank you so much for spending the time to share it with everyone – means a lot. So *positive* feeling too – I love it!

  25. Michelle November 18, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    She definitely needs to tell her husband immediately. It would be hard for any positive financial changes to happen if he has no idea.

  26. Aimee November 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    So J, are you going to post a link to this blog on the pregnancy page where you guys found this lady? Also, has your wife found any forums where pregnant women post pictures of their baby shower outfits? My sister just had a baby and she was telling me about those… HILARIOUS! One woman wore a tight yellow full body jump suit and then got upset when people made fun of her. It isn’t right to be mean, but come on!

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      Haha… I’m sure they DO post those kinds of pictures in there, cuz my wife is cracking up ALL the time reading posts people leave ;) Especially the name ones they do – it’s amazing what people do to their children (and it’s definitely a “do” – some of these parents are just setting their kids up to be made fun of :().

  27. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen November 18, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I would hate to be in her situation, she must feel so stressed out and overwhelmed. If I were her I would just tell my husband right away and ask him to help. She’s already dealing with so much with a baby on the way and the two of them have enough debt that he needs to stand up and help too.

    No matter what marriage is two people. That means all responsibilities fall on both people. If one person is better at one thing then it’s great that they can do most of it. But, the other person can always check to see if they need help.

    Let it out and together you can fix it! It’ll be a long road of course with a baby! But, now is the best time to do it! Good luck!

  28. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living November 18, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    my step mother didn’t have it hidden anymore, but she rang up $7,000 before telling my dad! He was unemployed during that time for 9 months hence the large amount but she still had it years later! it’s like, come on, pay that down while he’s got a job! They have since paid it off but it still bothers me to this day (not my step mom, I love her, but keeping things from a spouse).

    As such, I’m very open with my husband and I tell him I expect he is with me too. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where one of us has a secret gambling addition or owes money to the mob or something.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      yes, dealing with the mob would certainly be even worse, haha…

  29. One Frugal Girl November 18, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    These types of stories make me so sad. There is something wrong with your relationship when you can’t tell your husband that the two of you aren’t making enough money to pay the bills. The truth will always set you free. Had she spoken up when she first noticed the income didn’t match up with the funds going out every month she wouldn’t be facing $18,000 worth of debt alone. Also if she said something when they were just a few thousand in debt it would have been a much easier problem to solve. The stresses of a new baby are tough enough on a marriage, she should get this out in the open as soon as possible so they can repair their troubles, or be on a path to repairing them before the baby arrives.

  30. Brian @ Stocks and Cents November 18, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    That’s seriously horrifying. I don’t know what I’d do if that were me. It always kills me to see these stories and to be honest, I’ve lived through them as the child of someone who frequently did this (and they would declare bankruptcy for fun it seemed). Communication is so important in a relationship, especially when it comes to finances.

    I hope she manages to figure things out :(

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Oh wow, multiple bankruptcies? Not a good lesson to be passing down :( Looks like it skipped over you though! :)

  31. Travis @Debtchronicles November 18, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Oh boy, I know that feeling all too well. The right game plan will definitely depend upon the person, but for me…..

    #1 wasn’t possible for me, although I tried really ,really hard. It took Vonnie and I a LOT of work together to find our solution.

    #2 wouldn’t have worked for me at all….the minute I tell her I’ve got bad news to tell her the world STOPS in its tracks until we have the discussion.

    #3 is an understatement. I needed a complete patience wardrobe.

    #4….oh boy – that would have been like trying to enter a warzone Not smart…not at all.

    But in the end it IS fixable – even if it takes a long time to get there…I’ll tell you what that feels like in February. :)

  32. Kathy November 18, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    Until recently, I had a secret from my hubby, but it was a happier secret. I had been saving a little stash of cash that I added to with rebates, coupon savings etc. My purpose was that if we had a need for some cash on the weekend or when banks weren’t open, I’d pull it out of my stash. Of if we wanted to go out to eat an extra time outside of our budget, the money was there. My husband was an accountant and tracks every penny of our income and expenses so I wasn’t able to do this with large amounts. However, he recently learned about my cash stash so now he is tracking that as well! If we are counting it and it isn’t as much as the last time we checked, he wants to know why. It has kind of taken the joy out of having it.

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      Awwww, haha… such a cute idea though :) And a world of a difference of the *bad* way to hide a secret! Hopefully he at least appreciates the thought behind it – you are too sweet :)

  33. Micro November 18, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    Wow, that is a serious chunk of change. It isn’t impossible though but she does need to mention something to her spouse. I think they will be able to get out of the debt much faster if they can attack it together. Otherwise she has to try and play off why they can’t do simple things like go out to dinner. If he knows though, they can both focus on staying frugal until they get it eliminated.

  34. Tiff November 19, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    My friend just learned of massive debt that her husband had accrued and lied about as well. I can’t say that I was shocked as she didn’t work and wanted a particular lifestyle (3CT engagement ring, lavish Mexican honeymoon, house), which he provided (via credit card). It is now causing issues in their marriage but I understand both sides – her anger at his lying, and his desire to provide for her. I think the communication issue should be more of a concern than the actual debt, especially with a baby on the way. We read stories of paying off that kind of debt in months to years, but The lying…sigh. I can’t imagine not letting my husband know about my debt (my student loans make 18k look like nothing).

    1. J. Money November 19, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Lying is def. no good :( You’re def. right – it’s all about communication with this stuff. A lot easier to say, than to do, but it’s still the truth when it comes down to it… Hope your friends talk it out!

  35. Sassy Mamaw November 23, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    I’ve been in this type of situation. I knew my hub wasn’t very good with money when we got married. I thought I was being smart to insist on separate accounts, and I even swapped credit reports. About three years later, they announced furloughs at our place of work. He came to me and said he couldn’t pay his bills. I tend to be pretty practical, so I wasn’t surprised, until I sat down with him and asked for all the bills. He was paying a lot of them online, so I didn’t see them in the mail. He thought he had them all, and then a month later a couple more showed up. He had a total of nearly $75,000 in credit card debt. I tried to set up an account at a Consumer Credit Counseling place. They replied that we didn’t have enough income to make the payments we would owe. We talked to a lawyer about bankruptcy. But in the end, we were able to negotiate with the credit card companies on our own, and I also took a loan against my 401k. So, keeping the money separate wasn’t so smart after all. It’s been nearly 5 years, and we have 90% of it paid off. It’s a process, but we are getting there. BTW, I handle the finances now.

    With the amount of debt the people in your story have I would recommend Consumer Credit Counseling. The wife could contact them and get information before she even talks to her husband about it. One small thing in the wife’s defense. Sometimes, the other partner doesn’t care about finances – at all – really. I know a few people like that. They know they should care, but they just don’t.

    1. J. Money November 26, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      Wowww, congrats on getting on top of those and almost KILLING them all!!! That’s huge!!! $75k is no joke at all – good for you :) I’m glad there was a happy ending here.

  36. Dear Debt November 23, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Yikes. Couples need to know what is going on! You can’t have one person taking care of all of it, man or woman. I feel so sad for both of them. I am a terrible liar, so I wouldn’t do well in this situation. She needs to let this one out asap and resolve it before baby comes! And come up with a plan, stat.

  37. Debters spouse August 3, 2016 at 1:14 PM

    Would u stay if happens again n again n bigger n bigger. 7 years down n now thinking of an exit from the marriage.
    Of course he says it wont happen again

    1. J. Money August 3, 2016 at 4:19 PM

      That sucks, I’m so sorry :(

      I can’t even imagine going through it so not sure what I’d do! Is it affecting all other areas of your life too? If it’s making everything miserable and I’m falling out of love with my partner I’m sure I’d be thinking about all options. Especially if they’ve promised to change over and over again and still hasn’t. I wish you nothing but support and clarity over there!

  38. Debted cochina March 19, 2020 at 12:15 AM

    I know this is a super old thread but wanted to comment anyways. I am this woman. But instead of 18k it’s more like 20k . It’s from a credit card I started before we were married and I always payed it online. There was a period of time he was out of work and I had to rack it up to cover bills minus what he was getting from disability. Then he went aback and we were good for a long time. I had it halfway paid off even. Then I was laid off from my job a year and a half ago and have since been unable to replace it and now the cards maxed out. The bills, mortgage, and everything except his loans and credit cards are in my name so ive always dealt with the majority of finances. Well, this morning I had to come clean about the debt thanks to debt consolidation letters in the mail and he is beyond angry (rightfully so). I hope we can move past all this though. I don’t ever want to go through something like this again.

    1. J. Money March 19, 2020 at 7:40 AM

      Hope it only brings you two closer in the end!! Racking up debt due to job loss is a lot different than random “wants”, but either way the hidden stuff always comes out at some point :( Will you keep us updated over time and let us know how it all worked out? Sending you positive vibes over there!!

  39. Debted cochina April 22, 2020 at 7:57 PM

    Update! So it’s been a little over a month and we’re good. For about 4 days he barely spoke to me, and I did my best to stress to him my bad credit card won’t affect him in any way (since it’s only in my name and started before we were married, it only affects me from what I understand), and that I would figure out how to make it right. He also realized and understood why I kept it from him and said he’d be more approachable for money things from here on. One thing I didn’t add was when I posted this we were in our first days of shelter in place orders for our state and we have two young boys at home too. So my sons had to see some of the awkwardness, though I did my best to keep what/why from them. I think after a few days of him thinking about everything (especially since he is definitely not without credit sin himself in the past), that for now we would put it behind us and figure out how to deal with all of this after the virus crap is done.
    Thank you for this forum and giving me an open place to say my side. Helped me more than you know!

    1. J. Money April 23, 2020 at 7:11 AM

      So glad to hear!!!

      It’s a tough enough problem on its own, no less mixed with Covid! So i’m glad y’all are moving forward and most importantly staying healthy!! :)