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Need advice about a financially irresponsible partner

(27 Posts)
Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 10:27:36

Hi I don't post things very often so not sure if I'm doing it right but I'm desperate for advice and somewhere to vent. So I got with my partner when we were 21 and 22. I was still living at home and at that age, for me anyway, finances were the least of my worries. We now have a 4 year old daughter and have been renting a house for 4 years. A couple of year ago I found out about some debts my partner had and it was quite a shock but they were from when he was 18, before I even knew him. Now, I am no angel at all and I have had stuff from when I was that age that I thought would just go away but as you get older they catch up with you. The difference is, I have took positive steps to pay off any bad accounts and try and get my credit sorted. I eel like my partner just keeps sweeping things under the carpet. He will get in touch with the lenders to make an arrangement with them then that's as far as he gets. I feel like he does this to get me off his back and just thinks il forget about it until another letter comes through the door. He has a credit card and even after all the arguing about his debts he didn't stick to his credit limit which all affects his credit. We are due to get married in September 2018 but I feel like calling the whole thing off. In my future I see me buying a house and being financially stable etc, but I don't think this will happen with him. I guess I can't understand why he doesn't feel the way I do about wanting a secure future for us and our daughter. Does anyone have any advice???

WatchingFromTheWings Tue 10-Jan-17 10:47:53

It'll only get worse. My ExH got better at lieing and hiding it. At one point he remortgaged the house (I knew about it) a second time to get rid of all debts. I cut up the cards in front of him and binned them. Stupidly thought that was the end of it. He phoned one of the companies and told them he'd lost his card so they sent a new one. At the same time he applied for some online account whereby you could take money out and pay it back.... like a credit card but no card. Not sure what it was called. £50,000 later i'm divorcing him and getting stiffed for 50% of the debt. Once you're married it's half yours!

I'd run.

mereswinesaliva Tue 10-Jan-17 10:55:37


Sorry to hear this.

Please take legal advice. I am no expert, but I think unless the debts are in JOINT names, you would not be liable. Please check on this if you can, it would be such a shame for you to suffer more than you need to.

Good luck.

Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 11:02:12

Thanks for replying. It's such a shame that money can split people up but I don't know what else to do. His credit is already shot to bits so his credit card only has a limit of 250 and he couldn't even stick to that. I feel like he is making me such a paranoid person as I accuse him of lying about everything like coming home through the day to open letters etc but I just can't trust him anymore. I also don't think I should be so stressed over this when it's his life I'm trying to sort.

mereswinesaliva Tue 10-Jan-17 11:09:21

Financial problems come and go, but if you are stuck in a never-ending cycle of indebtedness, regardless of increases in income and other changes in your financial situation, you may be addicted to debt. If so, you can’t fix it on your own—you’ll need professional help. It starts with facing the signs of debt addiction.

However, while most of us will admit to struggling with debt at one time or another, very few, unless forced to by a major financial crisis—and often not even then—will admit to being actually addicted to debt. In fact, when we are being crushed by debt, we tend to view it as something or somebody else’s fault (my spouse, my kids, the economy), not a result of our own choices. But the question remains: are you a compulsive debtor?

Here are some of the classic signs of debt addiction:

Worrying about debts keeps you awake a night or interferes with your work and life during the day.

You dodge calls from creditors or other people you owe money to.

Using a credit card to pay for a purchase is a game of Russian roulette, with you never being sure if the charge will be authorized and nervously reviewing whether one of the other cards in your wallet or purse will work if the one you’ve used is rejected. And even if it goes through, you have no idea where you will get the money from to pay the credit card bill when the charges hit.

The above are all signs of the helplessness and lack of control common to all addictions, including to debt-creating behavior.

You often use credit as a substitute for cash you don’t have to cover basic household expenses such a rent, utilities and food. Essentially, you’re taking out a loan to cover costs that should be financed by your income.

You avoid facing the truth of your financial situation. You won’t open the mail or balance your check book. You don’t know, and don’t want to know, the total of how much you owe, who you owe it to or what penalties and fees are accruing.

You engage in so-called “retail therapy” (also known as shopping), eat, drink, or get high to escape the stress of debt and forget your money problems. Of course, as with any attempt to self-medicate an addiction, it only makes matters worse, intensifying the cycle of financial self-destruction.

You spend lavishly and often, comforting yourself with the notion that you’ll get rid of your debt and focus on saving when you make more money, get that big bonus or finally hit the lottery. Someday.

You are constantly borrowing money from friends and relatives—often to make payments on money you owe to other friends and relatives.

You hide or lie to friends and family members, including your spouse or partner, about purchases you’ve made.

You can’t pay your taxes. You don’t save to pay them and you never have any money left over to meet your obligations when they come due.

Surviving a crisis does not change your habit. Sometimes, the prayer for windfall does come through—an unexpected bonus at work, a major cash bailout from a relative, a chance to make extra money on the weekends. You’re able to avoid that bankruptcy or losing your home to foreclosure. But you don’t see that as a chance to get rid of your debt, put away some savings, and get a fresh start. No, it’s time to spend all of the unexpected income and then some celebrating (see self-medication activities, above) your good fortune, often with lavish gifts and entertainment for family and friends. When the money runs out, you’re right back were you started before you got it—or in an even deeper hole.

Because it is a socially acceptable addiction, compulsive debt creation often not only goes untreated, but is actually encouraged, especially in an economy with an engine fueled by consumer spending. However, debt addiction is serious, and can be just as destructive to individuals, families and communities as any other addiction, so it’s important that we recognize and deal with it when we see it, especially if we see it in the mirror.

This brings me to what I believe is the number one sign of debt addiction:

Denial, typically characterized by an absolute refusal to seek professional help even when the person’s financial health and their family’s stability is threatened by their compulsive spending and debt habit. I personally know of cases where once law-abiding, educated, responsible (and yes, even religious) people turned to criminal activity to deal with their debt, rather than getting the help they need to break the debt accumulation cycle.

If this is you or someone you know, please, for your sake and those who care about and depend on you, get the professional help you need. If you don’t really have a problem, you have nothing to lose. If you do, you could lose everything if you don’t take action.

Set up an appointment today with a certified credit counselor via the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at Also, identify and join a local chapter of Debtors Anonymous at Whatever you do, don’t remain in a state of denial.

mereswinesaliva Tue 10-Jan-17 11:10:44

Your partner is addicted and is in denial. It's not much different to any other addiction. He needs to (1) admit he has a problem (2) seek professional help. If he refuses, it's going to be very difficult to continue this relationship.

Is he willing to lose you over this?

mereswinesaliva Tue 10-Jan-17 11:13:17

OP - it might be worth reposting this in Relationships too. The problem goes deeper than looking for ways to manage money and make it work for us. It's about addiction, denial, financially cheating on a partner, etc. Hope this makes sense.

ExplodedCloud Tue 10-Jan-17 11:17:19

If you can't trust him and he isn't willing to address his behaviour then you will eventually reach the end of your tether. How indebted he is and how many lies he'll have told by then is anyone's guess.

Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 11:21:05

Thank you. When I confront him about it he says he'll sort it but it just doesn't seem to happen. It's someone else's fault, they've made a mistake etc. He says he wants to sort it but nothing ever changes. I have even been on the phone to the debt charities myself but then half way through I think why should I. I have learned to grow up and take responsibility but he obviously hasn't.

Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 11:22:38

Also I don't know how to re post. I don't post on here very often

mereswinesaliva Tue 10-Jan-17 11:27:45

I have even been on the phone to the debt charities myself but then half way through I think why should I

Are you a rescuer? A fixer? I am. I've wasted a lot of my life and energy fixing the problems of men who aren't really interested in changing but who were quite happy to use me to clean up their messes. I know better now.

The only person you need to mother is your DD. Your partner is a grown man. Of course, you can support him if he is willing to work through his issues but don't let him use you while nothing changes. It will grind you down and you'll really start to resent it. Plus you'll have no security.

WatchingFromTheWings Tue 10-Jan-17 11:31:40

am no expert, but I think unless the debts are in JOINT names, you would not be liable.

I sought legal advice. All debts were in his name only. I had no access to the cards (or knowledge of half of the!). They were considered marital debts. I had to forego my share of the house to cover 'my' share of the debts. angry

Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 11:37:53

Yes I think I am a fixer. He is more of a, ignore the problem and it will go away. This is what's so annoying to me, your right, he is a grown man and I personally feel like he should want to take care of me and his daughter not the other way around. I know it all sounds like gloom and doom and if it was I would have been gone before now. Apart from this he is a great person. He would do anything for me and he is a great dad. But I don't think that excuses his behaviour when it comes to money. I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall sometimes. I have told him to leave before because of all of this but he just ignores me and says he'll sort it.

ExplodedCloud Tue 10-Jan-17 11:44:59

He's not a great dad if he can't restrain his spending habits to help provide a secure home for his dd is he?

mereswinesaliva Tue 10-Jan-17 11:45:09

Oh no, @Watching

That's awful!!!!! sad

I am not sure why marriage is seen as any kind of security then - it's actually worse if your partner takes on debt behind your back!

I've had a partner with hidden debt too. It's awful. You never know if they've stopped doing it - since it's hidden.

I hope you get your life back together soon and get over this betrayal.


WatchingFromTheWings Tue 10-Jan-17 11:51:49

I think even if he did sort it, you'd always be on pins wondering if he was starting again.

I only found out the extent when he admitted he couldn't going out in minimum payments etc, exceeded his income. I started opening his mail (he knew) and seeing the debts for myself. He had to get a debt management agency in to help in the end and I took to keeping a very close eye on the joint account. The final straw was when he was taking out vast amounts of money whilst in work and couldn't justify where it had gone, whilst effing and blinding at me for replacing DS's shoes that had a hole in them.

Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 11:57:37

Thanks everyone you all make so much sense and it's points that I already know I just need to here it from other people. It just frustrates me that he doesn't get it.

Kr1stina Tue 10-Jan-17 13:05:49

Different attitudes to money is one of the main reasons couples split up. It seems to be that you are just not compatible.

Don't marry him. And think about leaving him if he's not sorted this out within a reasonable timescale. But if he's at least 26 and he's not dealt with his debt in the last 8 years, I wouldn't hold my breathe.

Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 13:37:40

I have just done something I never thought I would and reached out to his mother. I have explained the situation to her and she is going to speak to him and get him to leave the home until things can get sorted. That is a big deal for me as I just deal with my problems myself. I even find it hard to talk to family, talking to strangers on here is much easier for me which might seem strange. It's hard to even have a conversation with him about it as I either lose my temper, which gets us nowhere, or get too upset and just storm off.

ExplodedCloud Tue 10-Jan-17 13:49:06

Well done flowers It isn't easy to be sensible but it will make life better in the long term

Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 13:59:11

Thank you

mereswinesaliva Tue 10-Jan-17 14:42:20

That's amazing, OP.

You have taken a big brave step. Wish I'd done that in my reel's when it happened to me, so well done!

I hope you can get your partner to see what this is doing to you all.

Hopefully, he won't be living off his mother (does she enable him, do you think?) and get babied there. You need him to learn from this and show he is taking responsibility to become a different person.

I hear you about just handling stuff on your own. I find it difficult to share even online. But it's certainly easier online than real life. I get worried that once I've revealed my "secrets" everyone will have it in their minds for evermore etc. It's hard.

Also, I tend to get upset too easily and quickly because if someone won't listen/stonewalls I just don't know what to do next.

You are great for taking action though. Do keep us posted if you can.

Maciesmammy Tue 10-Jan-17 19:23:43

Yes him mam is definitely an enabler. She is the same with his 26 year old brother she still does everything for him ( brother).
We have sat down and had a long chat. The wedding is definitely not going ahead until he gets himself sorted and proves that I can trust him again. We have been through his past debts which were the main issue and he has been in contact with all of them, in front of me, and put a payment plan so I know at least they are getting paid slowly.
All I can do is wait and see. I have told him that anything new I find out about and he has to go, and he knows I mean it. Maybe I'm a mug for giving him another chance but we shall see. Thanks everyone for the advice

floopyloopy Tue 10-Jan-17 21:57:21

God I hope he can sort himself out.

Another rescuer here. I get furious when I think back to how fucking irresponsible and entitled a grown man could be.

He's an absolute loser and I also shouldered the joint debts like a pp. what a red flag. Never again.

isagrey64 Fri 10-Feb-17 04:06:10

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