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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

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 21:14:14

In addition to what I've said, my partner wants us to get married and wants children together. We've been together 5 years.

He is an amazing wonderful man that I love dearly.

I ask myself daily why I let myself get into this situation. It's not who I am and I'm so angry with myself.

LIZS Thu 12-Sep-13 21:16:05

Definitely don't take out other finance to service the loan . You need to face up to it and address your overspending issue . If you have no housing costs and earn a decent wage exactly where does it go ? Start by accounting for every cash withdrawal and transaction then sit down and assess what was essential. Take back anything you don't need If you can demonstrate a willingness to address this hopefully your dp will feel able to support you and keep trust. CAB can help you with the legalities and budgeting to offer a repayment plan that you can stick to. Meanwhile you have to stop spending on credit, taking out loans and cut up any remaining cards etc. You have the opportunity to stop this now , if you don't you stand to lose it all.

WipsGlitter Thu 12-Sep-13 21:20:10

I got into a terrible debt situation and hid it from DP. He was horrified to find out and tbh it nearly split us up. (It was a lot more than 7k). He helped me sort it and I began to track everything I spent. I'm still chipping away at the debt itself and should have it paid soon.

I totally understand. But you do need to work out where your money is going. x

Ok hun. Been here. It's shit. However shit really happens to the loveliest people.....

Do you know the real figure in £ and p? No maybe. Don't need to say. But maybe you see ain't good.

Your it in his name? You pay bills but not married? There's a form on land registry to register your interests in the house so it cannot be sold from under you. Someone will know. This needs submitting regardless. You are invested in the house. Protect yourself properly fgs.

The debt... No one likes to be in the dark. My advice is fess up. I would advise getting ALL letters together. Put in spreadsheet. Put in a line stating what you pay into house. Your salary. What's left. What else can you do? Sell a car? A bike? Essentially think coldly about what can you do. A second job? Put rough plan together. Then deep deep breath and say 'I have done this. I'm sorry. I have a few ideas to get me out. I NEED your help and input. What else can I do?'

People tend to respond better to solutions than just problems. But don't assume to have all answers. He has to be able to make suggestions.

Makes it sound so reasonable eh? There will be a bit of 'you did what?!?!!' If he loves you you will both triumph. It's fucking hard though. And a few dreams in short term might alter.

Good luck

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 21:30:36

Thank you all for your replies.

About a year ago I sat down and worked out my monthly budget (still ignoring debt) and now manage my money well each month. I don't have any spending issues now I just don't know how to clear the debt and keep the love of my life!

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 21:32:33

But I barely have any money to myself and don't know how to clear the debt

LittleMilla Thu 12-Sep-13 21:32:52

Another one that's been there - my only advice is to fess up. My DH (Boyf at the time) was/is an accountant. Amazing with money, never in debt etc etc.

Once I managed to come clean he actually helped me organise repayment. And then proposed once my loan was laid off grin.

The guilt and everything else is horrid. And if your relationship is as fab as it sounds, I'm sure he'll support you and you'll work it out together.

WipsGlitter Thu 12-Sep-13 21:33:49

Speak to CAB.

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 21:35:57

I really hope so. I don't know how to brouch the subject. He's asked me a few times if I'm OK financially (he knows me too well clearly and can read my mind!) and I've said I'm fine. I don't want to disappoint him. That's worse than him being angry with me

vix206 Thu 12-Sep-13 21:42:35

OP I was in your position 7 years ago except it was more like £10k. DH had no idea and is very sensible with money. It's the only thing I ever kept from him and it was absolute hell. I tried so hard to pay it off myself but was getting nowhere fast.

I told him in the end because we were thinking of buying a house, and obviously I didn't want to lie on the form so I had to confess. I was terrified, he was very shocked but not angry. More sad that I had shouldered it all without him and felt unable to go to him. The debt had built up over a 6 year period, none of it frivolous spending but stuff I should've told him about at the time rather than trying to hide to protect him (I supported him through uni and didn't like to stress him out with money problems...)

I basically told him about the debt, and that I felt incapable of looking after my finances, and that I wanted to hand over all decisions and plans to him. Sounds pathetic maybe but I was in a terrible mess. He helped me (financially and by budgeting for me) to pay off the debt over the next 5 years and since then we've been debt free and have no secrets. It made us stronger.

I'm sure if you sit down with your partner and show him how devastated you are about this, and ask for his help and understanding, that he will support you. Would you love him any less if it was the other way round? That's what I asked myself and the answer was 'no way!!!'

I really feel for you - I hope you can sort it all out.

vix206 Thu 12-Sep-13 21:45:23

OP just read your recent post. My DH also asked me if I was ok several times, and I always said yes. There is no good time to tell him, other than a time when you have a day together and nothing important planned as he will be shocked and you will be upset. But the relief from letting go of the secret is immense. If he loves you (as I'm sure he does) this wont affect that. And as long as he sees how sorry you are, I don't think he will be disappointed in you.

What is the alternative?

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 21:46:52

Thank you Vix.

Just need to find the courage from somewhere

sleepyhead Thu 12-Sep-13 21:48:37

You can't have this sort of secret from your partner in a healthy relationship. You're already lying to him when he asks about money - not good.

I've been on the other side of this. Making plans based on what I thought our financial situation was. Feeling like an idiot when I found out the truth.

My partner didn't tell me himself. I found out via the endless debt chasing calls and the pile of final demands hidden in a drawer. Please have the respect for him to tell him yourself.

We got through it. I was angry and disappointed but we sorted it out together. Money problems aren't the end of the world but lies and deceit are corrosive to the best relationship.

DO NOT get your mum to take out a loan for you. That's head burying stuff.

vix206 Thu 12-Sep-13 21:50:44

I really think if you can be as sincere as you have been with us 'it's not me a s I'm so angry with myself' he will see that you need his help.

In the great scheme of things it isn't a massive amount, and the damage you're doing to yourself now with all the guilt and self loathing is (IME) 1000 times worse than having that difficult conversation.

I remember my DH actually being relieved because I went to him in the morning and was crying saying I had to tell him something. He thought I was going to leave him!! So when I said I had debt he was shocked but relieved. smile

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 21:54:05

He's working abroad for the next two weeks so I can't really do anything.

Our relationship has really got so much more amazing lately (talking of proposals etc) and selfishy I don't want to ruin any of that. I've been desperate for a proposal from him for years. sad

I know this doesn't seem like my priority right now.

Just wish I could click my fingers and make it all go away. I don't want to be rich, I don't want loads of material items in life. I just want me and my other half and our life.

vix206 Thu 12-Sep-13 21:56:34

Well I really think it sounds like you've got a very good, happy and strong relationship. You just need to find the strength to get this out in the open and then you can properly look to the future.

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 21:57:20

Thank you Vix

Pontouf Thu 12-Sep-13 21:59:28

I've been in a very similar situation. Racked up a load of debt on high interest credit cards whule kn mat leave the first tome round and then the monthly payments were clearing me out. I got a loan to pay the cards off (at a much better rate) but didn't tell DH about it. We are now at a point where we have come to the end of our fixed term mortgage so need to remortgage and I was bricking it that it'd come out so I told him. He was disappointed but glad I told him. He has been really good about it to be honest and I feel so much better now the weight has lifted. It was better i think because I had a solution and am paying it off without getting into more debt so I'd try to get something sorted first, before you tell him. Maybe the CAB could help?

Pontouf Thu 12-Sep-13 22:01:49

Sorry for all the typos, seem to have enormously fat fingers tonight!

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 22:04:57

I'm really glad I'm not the only one.

It's awful and the stress and guilt has changed my personality, for good I think. I can't cope with stress at work as I used to be able to and I'm in a management position. I don't sleep as well.

I'm terrified someone will knock on our door.


I think part of me decided at some point I'd get a chunk of money from somewhere and it would be OK.

It really is healing writing all this down and getting so much help and support from others

vix206 Thu 12-Sep-13 22:09:37

I also always thought something would happen to enable me to pay all or most of it off. I was lucky in that I never got into any trouble so never had threatening letters etc. I can imagine how much more stressful that would be confused

You will come out of this though, and it will change you for the better eventually.

I'm signing off now as I've an early rising DS smile but will keep an eye on this thread and do feel free to PM me if you need a sympathetic hand to hold!

Don't get your mum to take out a loan for you - if you can't service your debt now another loan would add to your stress not diminish it.

You need to tell him. It won't be fun, but the pressure of lying being lifted off your shoulders will be immense.

ThisIsMummyPig Thu 12-Sep-13 22:27:44

I have been on this from the other side. My then BF had racked up debts before we met, and never told me (they were mostly to buy cars so he could get to work, nothing extravagant). Every month I paid what I could for everything and could not understand why we never had any money. Then I found out he was repaying £350 a month, which was a huge amount to us.

If I had known, I could have budgeted for it. It was the not knowing that hurt me.

It wasn't what split us up, btw

moneyworried Thu 12-Sep-13 22:38:29

I know I'm going to have to tell him now. I just need to work out how

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.


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

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