new member in dire need!!

austindudeJanuary 31, 2008

Hello All,

I need some stern advice from any one thatÂs willing to give it. This is my state of affairs, here goes. I am a dude thatÂs been married for 5 years and just recently found out that my wife purposely siphoned our 2006 tax refund ($9, 800) to her mother back in Africa(she claims) without my knowledge or consent. I checked online last year June after we filed jointly to find out what the status of our filing was and it indicated that the check had been mailed. I ran this by my wife and she told me she hadnÂt seen anything in the mail (I currently work out of town and only home on weekends). She promised me that she would follow up with the IRS and I believed her and left the investigation to her.

Month after month I would ask her what was going on and she would give me the same answer I.e. the IRS is still doing some investigation. Around October of last year, I started getting apprehensive, so I decided to follow up with the IRS myself only for them to tell me that the check had been cashed. I told my wife about the findings and she said no one ever told her anything like that (she even went on to accuse me of being overly obsessive with money, hell yes I am obsessed, 10gs? But I digress) Anyway, I informed the IRS to mail a copy of the cashed check to me which they did twice, but somehow my wife never received it (she claims again). So I told her I was going to tell the IRS to send the copy of the cashed check to my out of town address. Apparently she panicked, and called the IRS the next day not to send any checks to any address. I didnÂt find out until I called the IRS back to find out about the status of the check they were supposed to be mailing, not until then did someone tell me that my wife had called to put a hold on the check. I was already enraged at this stage and I confronted her with it and she finally owned up after close to what, 9 months?

Now, I donÂt believe anything that comes out of that womanÂs mouth, heck, I donÂt even believe what she claims to have used the money for.

I am eager to hear responses on what people out there would do about a situation like this, 10,000dollars is a lot of money and she is well aware of our financial situation, we already planned to use the money to pay off some imperative bills and I guess all that is down the drain now.

I will listen to what all have to say and appreciate feedbacks.


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unacceptable. even if her mother is dying and needed the money for life saving surgery, still unacceptable to do such thing without talking to you. did she explain why she did it? this kind of serious lying sounds pretty bad. What else does she lie about? Probably everything.
What would i do? make her to explain why excatly she did, why lied, where did money go etc. Maybe there is some kind of explanation that would make sense?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 10:59PM
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Why do you suppose she is unwilling/able to keep you in the loop?

Is this typical of your relationship?

Would you describe your relationship as intimate outside of this issue? Or do you experience something lacking? Such information would give us some insight.

You are gone a lot. How does the connection occur between you assuming there is connection? How often do you talk on the phone when you are out of town?

This is not a deal breaker. It is devastating but you need more information before you react. An emotional decision is seldom a good move - This could very well be a slap in the face symptom of the real problem, and perhaps you are about to find out what that is. The more approachable you are in this situation, the more likely you are to get the accurate information you need to make an intelligent decision of what to do.

Good luck

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 11:39PM
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There's too many unanswered questions.

Why in the heck would she think you wouldn't find out?

Why does her mother need money? Has this been discussed with you? Or, is her mother just holding this money for her? Do you owe her mother money?

Who generally controls the purse strings; do you have access to money without your wife's consent?

Do you think she's planning on leaving you and is trying to stock pile money? Have you had an affair?

Do you have a gambling or drug problem?

Does your wife have a history of lying to you?

I could go on for days with the questions. You know your situation better than we do. Obviously, it sounds like your wife has a big problem, but generally people lie (and take money) for a reason. I think that reason and not the lie, is probably your main problem and what you need to figure out and deal with. This doesn't sound like a compulsive liar, it sounds like someone who isn't good at lying trying to cover their tracks.

If her mother is living in poverty, and she's begged you to help by sending her money but you said no, and then went out and bought a new boat against your wife's wishes, well, then, maybe your wife's lie isn't all that bad. It just really depends on the reasoning behind her actions and your general relationship. What your wife did does seems awful on the surface, but things are often not what they appear and there's almost always more to the story. Give us some more specifics... Starting with...what did she tell you the reason was that she sent money to her mom -- and what do you think the reason was?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 12:27AM
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You both need to sit down, and have a civil discussion about what happened to the money. Don't get angry with her. Try to keep calm. Get up and go for a walk if you feel that your anger is going to erupt. Assure her that you just need to know what happened. You will then be in a position to decide what to do next. Hopefully she will apologise for the deception.

This is an issue of trust and I can understand you feel you cannot trust her after this incident.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 12:30AM
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Carla makes sense. Now I think there is maybe more to it...

My mom and my aunt both helped our grandma. My dad was all for it. That's how it is on our side of the family: you help your children, parents, grandparents, siblings when they in need. My aunt however had much harder problem with helping grandma because my uncle is stingy. So my aunt had to do it sometimes in secret, not 10 grant of course, much smaller amounts. But she did it. If my parents would be in poverty and poor health and my husband wouldn't want to help, I would do the same. So maybe that's the case. Especially knowing how many people trully struggle in Africa. Let us know what you find out.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 8:47AM
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Thank you all for all the great responses. I will try and answer as much as possible. First, let me say that my wife has never given me any reason not to trust her, so this indeed very new territory. Our marriage has been great, which is probably why I was caught off guard. Other than one "suspicious email that she stumbled on last year ( I got carried away sending some inappropriate emails to a lady), I donÂt see any reason why she shouldnÂt trust me, and in actual fact this was last year august, way after she sent the money to her mother.

Her parents are pretty well off, and the reason she gave for sending the funds was that her mother needed the money to buy back a land she was going to lose. My argument to her was what would your mother have done if we didnÂt have the funds. We are pretty a very normal family, so a lot of the questions that were asked by carla35 donÂt really apply to us, so I would say NO her questions. My wife however has been terrible at managing money, getting overdrawn like almost every month; she claims that it has stopped now though.

I am going to sit down and have a very long talk with her; I really would like to know why she did what she did especially since she knows our current financial situation. That money was supposed to pay some very important bills, but for some reason, she feels some frigging land back home(excuse my English) is much more imperative than making our lives here a little easier.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:15AM
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You might consider asking her the following:

What is it that I do that has kept you from coming to me with this information on your own? (Seems obvious, i assume it's because she knows you would refuse her desires. That's something to look at. Not that it's right or wrong, but there's a dynamic there that needs adjusting from both ends.)

Do you trust me? I know that I broke your trust last year, and I regret that - I'm so sorry and it should not have happened. Do you ever think about that? Do we need to talk about that some more today? (Then just listen, don't argue or minimize anything. Remember, your problem right now is that she has not opened up to you regarding the money, so your objective is to help her open up to you.) Note: If she doesn't trust you, then perhaps she feels distance and would have more reason to act independently of you.

I am wondering if maybe you use money as a coping mechanism, and if so, tell me what's going on in your life that creates anxiety for you? What could i do differently to help ease your anxiety?

How do you feel after you go shopping? How did it feel after you sent the money? (I'm wondering if it created a temporary sense of relief from whatever stress she's feeling.)

My recommendation is to ask questions to learn about her. Not to drill her or be her parent, but to learn about your wife.

Again, not a deal breaker at this point imo- my dh's best friend discovered his wife had 2nd mortgaged the house and that they were 100K in debt - He freaked, she had a break down, she went to therapy, and they are working it out. It happens. She now has to work and he has a second job, but I admire their focus.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:29AM
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You said your wife is terrible at managing money --
That makes me suspect that she may have used the money to dig herself out of a serious financial hole you probably didn't even know about. And I'd be very concerned about whatever else might be going on in your financial life. Have you personally checked your credit at each of the three major credit bureaus? I'd suggest that you call each credit bureau and every creditor listed by any of them to find out what your balances ares and what the status of your accounts is. If they can't tell you over the phone or fax it to you, have them send statements to your out-of-town address since you know your wife has 'filtered' the mail before. If there's something going on, you want to know about it before it becomes unmanageable.

There are also books and classes about managing money, and if your wife is bad at it, taking such a course would be a wise investment in your marriage.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:58AM
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After your additional input, I thought the same that sweeby did. Maybe that 10K didn't go to mom after all but your wife used it on herself in some way. I would think if you had a normal marriage, she would have asked/even told you she was sending the money to mom so she wouldn't lose her land... which really does sound reasonable and could have been treated like a sort of loan. Had she asked you? If not, her actions do seem a little desperate. I'd get credit reports run on both you guys just in case. Hopefully, her mom story is the truth.

"Other than one "suspicious email that she stumbled on last year ( I got carried away sending some inappropriate emails to a lady), I donÂt see any reason why she shouldnÂt trust me"

OK, it sounds like your glossing over what you did (and that broad was no "lady"). If my husband got carried away sending inappropriate e-mails to some chick, I'd carry his sorry as* right out to the curb - or maybe I'd just throw his computer off the roof-- not sure. You're making a mole hill out of a mountain. There are probably huge trust issues in your marriage just from your e-mail; Are you sure she's not saving up money to leave you? Your relationship had to have been heading south even before she found the e-mail otherwise, you wouldn't have been corresponding with your "lady" friend, right?

Again, I'd check the credit reports and maybe talk to a marriage counselor. A long talk like amy suggests may not be a bad idea. Sometimes feelings need be shared, but aren't, and that just creates more problems. I think your marriage should be able to get over this one big lying episode (sneaking money to a relative in need isn't the end of the world).

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 1:09PM
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Thanks all.

She just did a three way phone call now with her mom. Apparently the mother wasnÂt aware that I wasnÂt in the loop. She lied to her mother as well that I knew about it. My wife has been extremely apologetic and remorseful, accompanied with a lot of crying, but I also know that women use that as a weapon sometimes. (I must have heard the words 'I am sorry" over a million times in the last few days).

I donÂt have a choice now but to forgive her and move on, its the trust issue thatÂs eating me up right now though, but I guess I am going to have to get past that somehow.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 2:18PM
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Nope, it's not as simple as that.

As you can see, sorry doesn't cut the mustard - it's good she's saying that, but come on. You're tired of hearing it because this issue cannot be solved with I'm sorry. More work to be done here than a repeated apology.

Forgiveness is a complex issue. It's not a matter of closing the book and 'moving on' - not when we're talking about a major breach of trust.

You need to talk to her about what this has meant to you. She needs to learn how to talk to you. You need to learn how to listen and negotiate rather than dictate how things need to be. And trust must be 'rebuilt' with intentional steps to work toward that. Some of that happens with time, yes - but you will have this nagging unless you "deal" with the issues if mistrust in your marriage. That means you must relearn how to interact - the two of you.

Total transparency will be a must from both sides so that trust can be rebuilt - she'll need to anticipate your anxiety and learn how to soothe that by speaking her mind even when she thinks it isn't your business or that you might not be interested. She has to fill in the blanks for quite some time so that you aren't given opportunity to assume anything negative - And you need to learn to give the same gift to her. Learn how to talk about the hard stuff.

Don't just shut up and move on - or else another breach of trust WILL happen - you've each had a turn now, haven't you? Time to wake up and make changes in how you interact so that you can both feel like you are part of a team rather than working against each other. How's that for stern advice?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 5:20PM
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Amyfiddler's advice is always sensible. I suggest you take it.
In addition I would hope that if you do not have children you make it a point to take precautions so that you don't add problems on top of problems.
I no longer practice bankruptcy law but when I did I was always amazed that couples (even elderly couples) would have one person who "didn't manage money well" and they would be the one who paid the bills, handled the mail and did the major shopping. Now that I do a great deal of estate law--surprise--the person who had trouble with money was never allowed to get near a checkbook and simply got a set allowance for specific things. Thats why those people had estates and money to leave to their heirs or money for their own old age. Its not a matter of trust--its common sense.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 8:39PM
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Tell her that you two are going to sit there until she gets honest about where the $10,000 went. If she insists that it went to her mother, get her mother on the phone and ask her is this is A) True and B) When the $10,000 will be returned TO "YOU".

Since her mother lives in another country, are you sure they really are well off? Or could this actually be one of the tales your wife spins? Has she created a fantasy of who her family really is?

You both need to get two feet in this marriage and become a team, where you each know the other has each other's best interests at heart. You are flirting with other women (which not only makes your wife insecure and vulnerable, but also gives her a reason to do the same with other men). She is not convinced that you are worthy of her trust and her heart. And she has her own secrets it appears, or she would not have told so many lies about not receiving the IRS check, and went to a lot of trouble to mislead you about the money. Is she a shopaholic? Gambler?

You are gone a lot. Is she shopping and buying because she is lonely? Does she appear to be high maintenance with the nails, hair, lots of beauty products, and the wardrobe to match?

Have you sat down with her and gone through her check book? What does she spend money on?

And if she actually did finally tell the truth and the money went to her family, I would demand that the money be returned to "you". She is a part of a married couple. Decisions such as this are made "together", even if it means her family has to find the money elsewhere. one member of a "marriage" does not do something like this behind their spouses back. That is betrayal, and destroys the trust needed for a marriage to survive.

Find someone to counsel you both, on how to become trustworthy in your marriage. On how to turn this marriage around and create a real marriage. On really getting both feet in this marriage and becoming a real married couple.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 9:44AM
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