I am having a crisis. My girlfriend and I are engaged to be married within the year and I just recently found out she has been hiding debt from me. I didn’t snoop, she was doing some bill paying and had left the on the table. At a quick glance, I saw that she had over $10000 in debt, but there could be more than that.
Here is the problem, she has made some mistakes as we all have, and had said she was paying them all off. The last time we discussed it, she said it was almost paid off. She appears to have hidden the truth from me on that too.
I confronted her about it, nicely, and she got upset. She became SO defensive, she even questioned whether or not she wanted to marry any longer. Rather than come to me with the truth, she chose to push away me, someone who wants to spend the rest of his life with her. We made up but I still know she is in need of some help. She continues to shop and go out to eat and I know she can’t afford it. Money management is my forte and I am more than willing to help, but if I bring it up again, I fear I may lose her. What should I do?
Money issues aren’t fun. In fact, money issues are the number one cause of relationship failure. I think it’s great you’d like to help her, but unfortunately she appears to not want your assistance. It may be pride, it may be fear, or it may be stubbornness that is keeping her from tackling this issue together with you, but whatever it is, she is ferocisouly defending her privacy at this point.
Personally, I think money issues are scary. They scare me more than any other aspect of a relationship. Now, that may be because I am a planner, and I have taught myself over the past few years some serious financial responsibility, but it’s also scary because it can lead to some nasty disagreements. I am all for the idea that one person in the relationship manages finances, but it doesn’t always work that way. In a marriage though, the credit burdens are immense, and you’ll tackle them together whether you like it or not. As her husband, you’ll assume every bit of her responsibility in paying those debts and making sure everything runs smoothly, so it’s now just a matter of letting her see that. Creditors won’t just go after her if things get bad, they’ll go after you.
I won’t tell you how to talk to her about it because I don’t know her personality, but I know you have a hard road ahead. Hopefully she sees the error of her ways and is willing to realize that marriage is a team effort in every aspect. Maybe it’s shopping less, maybe it’s not going out, maybe it’s letting you manage the bills while still allowing her to have some fun money. You’ve got to be patient and realize that she may be having just as hard of a time tackling this alone as you are watching her do it. It’s hard to come to someone and admit that there may be a problem. Be there for her and hopefully things work for the best.