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Terrified to tell my partner I'm in debt

(43 Posts)
moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 21:07:18

I am in debt, not a huge amount - maybe 7k, and I'm terrified to tell my other half as he is very sensible with money and would be horrified.

I didn't mean to get into debt. I was just spending slightly too much each month and it's accrued. I then took out payday loans as my repayments were leaving me short of money and we all know what a bad idea that is. Well at least I do now.

It all got too much and I cancelled my debit card and basically buried my head in the sand and ignored the letters.

I now have letters saying that companies are considering taking me to court and I'm panicking.

My credit rating is now shocking and this panics me as well as my partner (who owns our home himself) says that when the fixed rate period comes up on his mortgage he'd like to add me on to the mortgage and make the house 'ours'. This is amazing but obviously I know he'll then find out about my credit rating and effectively my debts.

I earn a good salary but don't have any spare cash each month and now don't spend on myself really at all. All my money goes into our home and our life.

I just don't know what to do. I just want the debts off my credit rating asap so they are hopefully disappeared by the time the mortgage comes up.

It sounds cowardly but I've considered asking my mum to take out a loan for me which I'll pay back as that way my partner would never find out and my credit rating can start to get better. But I'm even terrified to tell my mum as my family is a good family that would be horrified if they knew I'd messed up like this. I don't want to disappoint my family.

My biggest fear is losing or disappointing my partner. I love him and our life so much.

Please help. I'm a good person that's just made a mistake sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 13-Sep-13 09:42:51

Start with 'I have a problem'. If he cares about you, he'll listen. If he's good with money, he'll help you fix the problem. If his reaction is so furious with you about your debts that he ends the relationship, surely it's better to face up to that now rather than keep hiding this from him, get a ring on your finger and then tell him he married a liar?

WipsGlitter Fri 13-Sep-13 10:28:30

I agree with cognito. DP was utterly, utterly horrified at what had happened, he HATES being in debt, but he knew we had to work through it together.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 13-Sep-13 11:15:20

"This is amazing but obviously I know he'll then find out about my credit rating and effectively my debts."

On this one.... it probably won't wait until he's trying to remortgage the property before he finds out about the poor credit score. If he needs anything like an overdraft, loan, new credit card or an HP agreement in the near future the chances are that he'll start experiencing problems because you're at the same address.

So, even if you haven't said anything to him yet, what could you constructively do to deal with the debt? You could help yourself quite a lot if you got in touch with CAB or one of the other free debt advisory services and at least got some options on the table.

It always sounds better to say to someone 'I have a problem, I've done X, Y and Z to try to fix it but I need your support'.... rather than to say... 'I have a problem, I've done nothing about it, and you're going to suffer as a result'.

nic386 Fri 13-Sep-13 12:04:05

Hi, I just had to reply to this. I have been in your partner's position and was blissfully unaware that my OH was racking up debts. He wasn't spending on anything in particular. It was just a case of spending more than he earned. He was also terrified of telling me in case I left.
Anyway, one day, the stress just got too much and he cracked. He had offered to cook dinner for us all (we were visiting his parents' for the week) when we realised he was no longer in the house. After several calls, I received a text saying he'd effed up with the accounts, and he didn't physically know where he was. He'd just walked aimlessly. I eventually found him and it turned out he owed about £8k. He had got loans to cover the difference between our spending and earning, and was only paying back minimum repayments.
I'll admit I felt devastated. I was gutted about the money, I hate debt, but it was also a major trust issue for us. We only had a joint account, and I'd let him control all of our funds since I was a stay at home mum.
But as soon as he told me, I then took charge. I consolidated his loans into as few as possible with the least interest. I searched the house for anything that could be sold. Things like old mobile phones, OH had won a games console in a raffle, old clothes etc. I also cut back drastically. Even our food shopping consisted of the cheapest items. Instead of having a coffee out with friends, I took a bottle which I kept filling up with water. We even got cheaper tariffs on our phone contracts. I made sure our funds were directed towards paying off the higher interest loans first, and then when they were paid, the money automatically went to the next loan. Absolutely every penny had to be accounted for.
It is hard, but it's do-able. As for your relationship... You need to tell him. They'll never be a good time, but if he is as amazing as you say, then he'll support you. Be prepared as there may be some strain between you for a while. Hopefully the fact that you've been taking sensible steps to get this sorted will help. Best of luck x

moneyworried Fri 13-Sep-13 12:16:58

Thank you both. It's really helpful to hear other people's experiences and advice.

At least I've got a couple of weeks whilst he is away to get something in place to speak to him.

sherbetpips Fri 13-Sep-13 12:26:07

One thing is for sure, in marriage you will come across challenges like this and it's the couples that face them and deal with them that get through it. I have watched friends go through this and seen them come out far stronger. He probably knows something is wrong and will be worrying already about it.

A colleague of mine at work had no idea of her husbands debt problems, they had a lovely marriage but then one day he just dissapeared. He turned up two weeks later asking for a divorce, she was devastated. It was only 6 months later that her step son admitted that he had got into a lot of debt £25k+ and his father had paid it off by getting a loan of his own. He had then been made redundant and couldn't pay it back. Rather than ask his wife he simply decided to run away. The marriage never recovered.

bodybuddy Fri 13-Sep-13 12:33:24

Hi, I have had to admit to much higher debts to my DH. We didn't have joint finances at the time, so in a way it was easier as there was no agreement to share details of our finances at that stage. DH was brilliant about it, it was just before we got married and I knew then that I had to tell him as it meant that we couldn't share finances equally.

I think it's important to take control of the situation and look into ways of dealing with the debt without expecting too much from your DP. In many ways this can be an advantage to both of you - in my case it has kept DH's credit record clean so we can access cheap mortgages etc, while allowing me the freedom to have my debts cleared without worrying about the impact of my bad credit. There are options like debt repayment plans, full/final settlements, IVAs or DROs - as my debt was quite high, I was recommended bankruptcy which has been a massive relief as it simply cleared my debts, and had very little impact on my lifestyle as DH pays the full mortgage and bills. As I was on a low wage and they only considered my own income, I didn't have to make any repayments at all and it hasn't affected my job (although if you work in management you might have to tell your employer).

So do try to get in touch with organisations like Stepchange or Christians Against Poverty as they can offer advice on the best solution for your situation. CAB weren't a great help to me as they are massively in demand in our area so it was impossible to get an appointment, so I'd recommend going for specialist debt advice as they will only be dealing with debt and not other issues. Have a look at MoneySavingExpert, especially their forums, as it gives you an idea of other people's experiences which is not always the same as the official line from the debt advice agencies.

Dealing with all the letters and calls can be a pain, but doesn't have to be stressful. I just put the letters in a big file (it's important to keep track of all your paperwork when dealing with debt solutions) and used an app on my phone to block calls from certain numbers (I just let unfamiliar numbers go to voicemail and then I'd Google the phone number to find out if it was a debt collection agency - if it was, I'd add them to the blacklist). There are also template letters online which you can send to your creditors to give you time to seek advice - most of them will agree not to contact you again for a month while you're getting advice.

I had letters telling me that they might make visits in person, but as we have a secure intercom none of them made it past the main communal door - they have no right to enter your property. Always use a chain/security viewer when you're opening the door, even if you're expecting visitors. All of this harrassment should stop once you've entered an agreement to sort the debt anyway, so the sooner you start to deal with it, the less likely it is that that they will send people around.

On the bright side, DH hasn't had any issues with credit scoring even after I went bankrupt - it is all based on your individual name and not on others who share the same address (but I kept my maiden name, not sure if it might affect it if I'd changed my name to his).

woozlebear Fri 13-Sep-13 12:41:52

I don't think I have anything helpful to add on the debt issues that other people haven't said already.

Just wanted to say about the house - you need to make sure you don't just get 'added' to the mortgage but still don't actually own the house. You will need to deal with a solicitor and/or land registry, I think, to make sure your name is actually on the deeds.

moneyworried Fri 13-Sep-13 15:48:54

Wow. I'm really touched by everyone's input and support. Thank you. I am feeling stronger with every message I read smile

Stubbed Fri 13-Sep-13 15:55:20

My husband had some debt he had never told me about, from before we met - finally I dragged it out of him, basically he's not brilliant with money and had tried to sort it out himself, but as our finances were joint it was tricky for him to pay it off.

I was horrified at the amount I'd been spending when we could have paid it off so much earlier.

But in the long term we agreed to play to our strengths - I manage money and he does other stuff (lawns? Cars?) so now we both know where we are and it won't happen again.

bodybuddy Fri 13-Sep-13 16:03:45

Glad to hear you are feeling better about things OP smile.

It wouldn't have been wise for me to get added onto the deeds for our house as then it could have been claimed as an asset, so do be careful about that. I got legal advice that it made no difference to my security as we were married. Even if you have unsecured debts, creditors can put a charging order against a property you own, putting the property at risk - but if you don't have assets in your name then they are quite powerless in what they can actually do. Seek legal/financial advice before making any changes like this.

JennCo76 Tue 17-Sep-13 20:42:16

Try not to worry too much!
I have worked at various Solicitors firms, in litigation on behalf of banks and now work recovering debt (don't hate me - it pays the bills!) so I know what I'm talking about.
The best thing to do is to contact the Companies you owe debts to and explain that you are struggling financially. If this is too daunting a task contact Stepchange - a free debt advice service. There are also several other free services you can get in touch with who will help you - do not use debt management companies as they will charge you, you don't need them.
I don't know what the debt is but most companies have some sort of codes of practice/laws that they are obliged to adhere to when a customer is having financial difficulties. Most companies will lower your repayments if you can prove that you are struggling. DO NOT TAKE OUT ANY FURTHER LENDING!!
Please let me know if you have any questions, good luck!

tinxibelle Fri 14-Mar-14 09:18:08

Same thing I was a single mother for 9 years worked the whole of it got one debt to pay another gave my daughter far to much to compensate for her dad not being intrested plus didn't want the playground bulling so spent far more than I had no holidays aboard or anything she just got everything she wanted. Met an amazing man thought I'd somehow be able to wave a wand not tell him well 3 years on a baby together and one on the way I've told him via email as my 12 year old is always around and wait the rubbish hitting the fan luckily he's a very calm man so no he won't scream and shout just hope we can stay together and he supports me not financially as I want to do it myself. More to teach myself a lesson not to do it ever again or pretend that anything will go away as it won't !!!! Here hoping I keep my lush fella x

moneyworried Fri 01-Aug-14 11:45:17

Hello all

I just want to update on this post - as when I was looking for support i found it really frustrating when I came across someone in the same situation and you never find out what happened in the end.

So... following on from my original post I continued to be a coward and didn't tell my other half for months and months.

Then finally about 4 months ago it all came to a head for me and I blurted the whole thing out to him.

He was initially very calm and to prevent any further damage, he instantly paid off everything I owed to all my creditors. Unfortunately then he became very angry with me and to see disappointment in his face was the worst thing that could have happened to me.

But, after a few days of talking it through we were fine again and things are now as good as they ever were. I'm paying him back slowly and surely for the debt he cleared for me, and in about a year it will all be gone. In the mean time I can now concentrate on repairing my credit file with his help and guidance.

My advice to anyone who is in the position I was? Open up to your other half straight away. It's not easy I know - but just do it.
I now wish I had done it years ago. My other half has said it wasn't the debt that upset him as much as the lies and keeping things from him.
Be brave, suck it up and just get it out - there is nothing that can be as bad as living a lie.

XX

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 02-Aug-14 10:04:04

Well done, I'm glad it's worked out for you both.

PenelopePitstops Sat 02-Aug-14 10:13:40

Well done you, my dp was in a similar situation.

I was initially shocked but supported him in a plan to pay it all off.

afterthought Sat 02-Aug-14 12:55:19

I am glad that it all worked out for you. I am in the same situation, loads of debt (3 x what you had) and too scared to tell DP. The only difference is that I am making the repayments and my credit score is excellent. I can repay within 2 years so I'm hoping I can just chip away at it. I wish I could find the strength to tell him but I'm really scared that it would be the end for us. I've led him to believe that I'm overpaying my student loan to clear it in 2 years so he doesn't wonder why I have no savings - it will be cleared in 2 years anyway.

I know I should do what you did but at the moment I have no reason to if that makes sense, we are not financially linked and have no plans to become linked at the moment. Obviously if that changed I would have to come clean.

TalkinPeace Mon 04-Aug-14 15:49:07

Well done on doing the right thing.

and for those considering, thinking about maybe, possibly sorting their debt problems out tomorrow, or the day after

come and join this thread
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/legal_money_matters/2142758-Debt-mutual-support-thread-number-4-every-journey-starts-with-the-hardest-first-step?

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