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Wife is in so much debt

(180 Posts)
DesperatSte Fri 22-Feb-19 10:29:37

I've just found out, that via a number of credit cards and loans on items, my wife has nearly £40,000 of debt I didn't know about.

I was led to believe the cards were under control, paid off and generating cash back.

It turns out that after the money we share for joint expenses, everything each month goes to making the minimum payments and more is constantly being borrowed to do this - her monthly take home pay is less than what is needed to clear this.

I have inadvertently been paying for food and treats for both of us for weeks, which is how I I found out about this when she could not take it in turns or split costs. There is nothing in her current account and she has had to take built up cash (more than she contributed herself) from the account we pay our bills from to cover charges made by her bank.

I have some savings and she's talked about using these to pay things down so that the interest is not as high. Am I selfish not to want to do this? I can see it being swallowed up and if the spending continues, we will be worse off. I'll also need it, as it seems she has no income left and I'll be subsidising her living.

LellowYedbetter Fri 22-Feb-19 10:32:28

I could t live with all that debt personally and she’s been dishonest with you about it which makes it even worse. I’d LTB

userschmoozer Fri 22-Feb-19 10:32:45

Yanbu to want to keep your savings but the way you talk about money and subsidising her is weird.

You need some urgent debt management advice and you need to do that as a couple. People need to learn to manage money. It isn't an innate skill and its not taught in schools.

Forgotmycoat Fri 22-Feb-19 10:33:29

What has she been spending on? The deceit would be the dealbreaker for me.

Yanbu to not want to use savings to pay off her debts. My stbxh had huge debts and i helped pay them off for years. I'm so glad to be free of him and his debts.

lifebegins50 Fri 22-Feb-19 10:36:21

There is a saying "you don't fix money issues, with money"..o don't pay off the loans without her taking responsibility.

How is your wife reacting to her debt? It would be a deal breaker for many people since it's the loss of trust and lying that must have been happening in the background.

She needs to take ownership for the resolution, there are free debt advice companies and also moneysavingexpert has forums to give advice.

There are 2 strands when you discover this extent of debt. Practical for clearing the debt but also rebuilding the relationship (if possible) from this level of deceit.

MRex Fri 22-Feb-19 10:36:22

How on earth did she get into £40k of debt? She sounds utterly irresponsible, I'd struggle to share my life with somebody like that. At the very least she needs to understand how much she's fucked up, be planning to pay it all off and saying unprompted that she doesn't ever want to borrow money again after that.

I'm sorry for you, because either way you're about to lose your savings. Long term you're better to cut and run now than see how much debt she'll run up next year after you've paid off this lot.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Fri 22-Feb-19 10:38:00

You must have realised you were both were living a lifestyle that couldnt be accounted for.

I'll be subsidising her living. thats what married couples do

DesperatSte Fri 22-Feb-19 10:41:10


What do you mean it's weird? I agree I'd rather not be doing it, but really can't see an alternative. From looking at the numbers, absolutely everything is spent paying minimum costs on the cards. It has got to the point that she has absolutely nothing to spend on our household, which simply means I have to pay for it all and share.


I can't see exactly where it's gone! Lots of general clutter and clothing.

LellowYedbetter Fri 22-Feb-19 10:42:02

If this was a woman saying her husband had ran up £40k of debt and lied about it leaving the wife to subsidise him everyone would be calling him all the bastards under the sun and asking “have you left him yet?” Etc

Widowodiw Fri 22-Feb-19 10:42:27

Erm no you need to keep your savings for emergencies.
This is not an emergency this is something that she got herself into. She needs to commit to cutting up all cards straight away.

What has she spent it on? Did you not notice?

Isleepinahedgefund Fri 22-Feb-19 10:42:38

Getting into that much debt is much easier than you think actually, especially if you are borrowing more to pay min payments! And at this juncture it's not as important as finding a solution.

I certainly wouldn't use your savings to pay it off, as there is a very good chance she will do the same again. As she has hidden it from you, I would imagine she may do again.

If she is using credit to pay credit, she is well and truly insolvent and an intervention is needed whether it be bankruptcy or DMP.

DesperatSte Fri 22-Feb-19 10:43:01


Actually no, I'm not living a lifestyle that can't be accounted for.

Fiveredbricks Fri 22-Feb-19 10:43:20

Ltb. You will get dragged down with her and your own credit too. She doesn't want to tackle it, otherwise she'd stop spending and sort it out.

Fattymcfaterson Fri 22-Feb-19 10:44:54

OK, OP. Do you want to salvage this situation?
If so she needs to come cleans on all debt. Check her credit file.
Then you both need to sit down and work out how this can be paid back. Cut up the cards obviously. Call providers and see if you can get interest frozen.

Or, you leave. The deception is huge, I don't know if I could cope with it.
But, if you do want to stay with her then you need to work together to solve this

Barrenfieldoffucks Fri 22-Feb-19 10:45:39

The biggest thing here is what you want to happen with regards your marriage. If you are prepared to move on from this as a couple, then yes, sitting down and balancing savings Vs interest is the most sensible thing to do as a team.

If you're not going to get over/past this, then a harder line is fine.

PalmTree101 Fri 22-Feb-19 10:47:52

I wouldn't stay in a partnership with someone who is so completely irresponsible with money and deceitful - debt is a big fat red line for me

What the fuck was she thinking?

SureTry Fri 22-Feb-19 10:49:05

I wouldn't use your savings to bail her out, if you do, she'll never learn to budget and she'll feel the harsh realities of spending recklessly. Personally I couldn't stay with someone who amassed that amount of debt, especially if it was on trivial things and not an extension on a property.

TheVanguardSix Fri 22-Feb-19 10:49:56

At the risk of offending, is she possibly bipolar?
My brother's wife is, as is my friend's wife. The debt incurred by both in each of their marriages has been astronomical and it's not uncommon at all for those with bipolar disorder to go on absolute spending benders, buying stuff they don't need.

40k is a lot of debt! Over what period of time has she accumulated this debt? And what exactly has she been buying? What have your conversations around this been like? How long have you guys been married?

GirlsBlouse17 Fri 22-Feb-19 10:50:27

My ex DP always had us in debt and had lots of hidden store card accounts and all sorts. She stole £4k from her grandmother. Hence her being ex DP

eddielizzard Fri 22-Feb-19 10:50:57

Trust is broken. Is she being completely open and honest now? Can she account for how she's racked up this much spending? How is she going to stop it happening again?

grinningcheshirecat Fri 22-Feb-19 10:53:04

Does she own jewelry that she can sell to get the debt down?

Darkstar4855 Fri 22-Feb-19 10:53:33

If you want to help her get some debt management advice and look at consolidating the debt, getting interest frozen etc. She will never clear the debt if she’s only making the minimum payment.

I don’t think you should use your savings to bail her out as you may need this money in the future. However you can give her practical and emotional support to sort the situation out herself. And yes, you probably will have to pick up some of her share of the bills but I think this is reasonable as long as she’s doing what she can to clear the debt.

Assuming you are a homeowner you should also check whether any if the debt is secured on the house.

Quartz2208 Fri 22-Feb-19 10:53:49

Ok is this:

she has been overspending and being reckless with money


You want everything to be 50/50 and in order to fund that she has needed credit card debt

or more likely somewhere in the middle. At the moment I see no signs that you are a partnership communicating with each other

This needs good communication and understanding going forward and being a partnership with money

TimeIhadaNameChange Fri 22-Feb-19 10:54:07

If I were in your shoes my actions would depend on hers. If she is willing to contact people like StepChange and commit to dealing with the debt, going bankrupt if necessary, then I would stick by her and do everything I could to help (though that would not, necessarily, mean using my savings to clear it). She would have to be willing to seek professional help and actually do so.

If not then I would leave. Matters won't improve and, even if you were to pay off what she owes it would not surprise me if the debt built up again.

I have been in a similar position to you, except I knew about it from the start. DP handed me all the paperwork relating to the debts, accepted help from professionals and got through it. He also gave me the reins of our finances. It meant like I felt I was being financially abusive at times, but it was the only way to get through it.

A friend, knowing about our situation, wanted me to help him through his debts. In the same breath he bragged about not having paid taxes for years, and wasn't this clever of him. I walked away. I was not up for helping someone cheat the system.

grinningcheshirecat Fri 22-Feb-19 10:54:24

I don't think that you should bail her out. I think that she should sell everything she has and take an extra job. She got into this mess, she shouldn't get an easy out.

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