financial infidelity...

norcalgirl78May 26, 2009 I learned 8 days ago that FDH did not go through the debt consolidation process 5 months ago like he told me he had, as a condition of our wedding next year and me signing another year lease at the time. He didn't get a good offer, one that he felt he could make the payments on, and instead of consulting a bankruptcy attorney or trying again (for what would have been the 4th time), he got scared and embarrassed and buried his head in the sand. Now he is sorry, and I am hurt and angry, feeling betrayed and considering moving out. I have already called a time-out on wedding plans and he is working on an alternate debt consolidation plan which he is supposed to show me by the end of the week. I am feeling so lost right now. My real fear isn't that he won't do what he says, because whether or not I am in his life, he will have to straighten this mess out. My real fear is that he is a person that won't get things done the way I want, or until I cry and beg. I don't want a parent-child dynamic with a partner. And in the meantime, I am living with someone that I don't feel I am preparing for marriage with, and that joy and fun of planning a wedding is being temporarily taken away (my choice, because I think it is for the best), and now I have to figure out how to tell my bridesmaids...

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You are a very strong person to see these red flags and do something about it! Do not get married right now. Wait for him to fix this financial mess. Money can be a major problem in a marriage.

Just be honest with your bridesmaids....they are your closest friends or family right? They should understand and want the best for you. And right now getting married is not the best for you.

Maybe take some kind of couple classes to help you see your compatibility. We took a class through the church and it really opened our eyes to potential problems in marriage and gave us a lot of good conversation.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:12AM
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I agree with Mom2, and huggs to you. Yes, this is disappointing, but it would be far more disappointing for this to continue while you are married. It is interesting how you title this, finanical infidelity, and you're right, he has broken the faith. Anyone can lose a job, have a medical problem, etc., it is how we deal with it that shows who we are. You have given him chance after chance.

I think why you find it hard to tell them, is you don't know what to say. Is it, he needs some time to get his act togethor, and you feel funny saying that about someone his age? You can say as much as you want or as little. But remember, it will be a lot easy to postpone wedding than to lose your house etc.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 11:19AM
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Agreeing with Mom2 and Kkny --
This IS financial infidelity, and it IS symptomatic of bigger character and integrity issues, and it IS important and marriage-threatening, and it DOES create a parent-child dynamic in your relationship...
And you ARE strong, smart and wise to address it now.

Believe me, I understand how you feel about calling off your wedding and explaining it to your bridesmaids.
But give yourself 10 minutes to think about that, mourn it, process your embarassment --
then stick those feelings in a box, because they're a side issue.

The real issues are:
1) How prospective Hubby manages his finances, and
2) How he behaves when he's in trouble.

(And for what it's worth, I think #2 is the much bigger problem.)

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 12:06PM
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Of all the times FDH could have lied to me to make things easier for himself over the past 2.5 years when we have a conflict, he hasn't taken that route, and that is why I didn't see this one coming. I tend to base my opinion on what people's behavior says, and what they have done in the past, rather than what they say or have said.

On the one hand, I feel inclined to give him another chance to fix this problem, because he has expressed what I think is sincere embarrassment and remorse. I love and adore him and in the relationship, he is usually the one bending over backwards, not me.

On the other hand, I do see a pattern of saying rather than doing, despite an obvious love for me and wish to make me happy. I feel like I owe it to myself to make a good decision here, and that is being complicated by my feelings about my ring/my engagement/my living situation. I feel like I have made every move I can think of and the only way to regain my power/get what I want/save face/send a clear message/fix the problem is to move out, although I am just not convinced. I don't think clearly when I am mad/hurt/upset.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 12:21PM
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norcalgirl, you sound like a very smart woman. There are just not many woman who can take a step back from this situation and not let their emotions make their decisions for them. I can tell that you would love to however. But your rational, logical side seems to be telling you something as well, and your would do the best for yourself if you listen to it.
Putting a wedding on hold is not the same as calling it off. I am positive that your bridesmaids will understand completely.
You are one strong woman.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 1:11PM
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I'm sorry; that does suck. And I agree with sweeby that the bigger problem than the finances is how he handles trouble/conflict. How did you find out? Did he tell you and take the initiative himself to fix it? Or did you find out some other way and have to push him to fix it? To me, it's one thing to screw up, even to screw up big, if you come clean, take responsibility, and do what needs to be done to fix the problem. It's something else entirely to hide your mistakes, lie to your partner, and have to be dragged kicking and screaming into trying to deal with it.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 1:31PM
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I noticed that FDH had been deleting creditor calls off our cordless handsets, but he forgot to delete them off the caller ID on the handset base. I also observed that he was still receiving credit card bills, where I had been told that all of that was being handled through [debt consolidation company through our credit union]. I confronted him, and he lied to me. I walked away for ten minutes and felt sick, but then I returned and was persistent, and he sat me down and told me the truth (he was shaking he was so scared).

My chief concern really is not what my bridesmaids think - I think that is just symbolic of my fear of how humiliating it will be when my coworkers/family/friends find out, especially if we end up going forward in our relationship and I have to contend with everyone's "disapproval", worry and concern.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 1:48PM
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No, it is not humiliating to lookout for your own well being. You are doing the right thing. I am sorry that it does feel that way however.
I bet if you talked to your family/friends they would totally get it.
They wouldn't want you in the position you are in right now either.
I would be more inclined to think the humiliation would be marrying him and ignoring these red flags, then getting yourself into debt trouble right along with him. That would be harder to explain to family/friends IMO.
Nothing wrong with waiting to see if he can pull his business together. It is the smart thing to do.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 2:17PM
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how humiliating it will be when my coworkers/family/friends find out, especially if we end up going forward in our relationship and I have to contend with everyone's "disapproval", worry and concern.

It's not really any of their business. None whatsoever. If people want to know why the wedding is on hold, you should feel perfectly comfortable telling them, (in varying degrees of politeness depending on how close you are to them and how obnoxious they are in asking) that it is none of their business. You and fiance have some personal relationships issues. You are taking some time to work things out. The wedding is on hold while you are doing this. If/when things are worked out, the wedding will be rescheduled. If/when the wedding is rescheduled, you will let them know.

If YOU want to talk to certain friends or family members to help you figure things out, certainly do so. If you don't, you do not need to tell anyone what your reasons are. You really don't.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 2:49PM
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don't worry what others say. i have a colleague who had to cancel her wedding shortly before it and not only no one judged but everyone was happy that she did the right thing. i would not consider having a debt such an issue, i have a debt, but i think him lying and not doing anything about it says a lot. you are doing the right thing. in terms what to tell people, just say you wanted to wait a little longer for the wedding, don't want to rush things. do not need to expalin the reason in deatil, no one's business. just say you two aren't ready, that's it. good luck

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 4:12PM
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What others will think is not driving is so many things. Thinking of splitting up our dishes and furniture almost makes me physically ill. I think my biggest problem is behaving in a way that is incongruent with how I feel; i.e. living with someone who has admittedly treated me poorly. Is it fair to give him another chance, when I am sure he would do it for me, when we have so much else going for us? Or am I sending a message, walk on me, I don't deserve better. I just wish I had a crystal ball. I feel like either choice (stay in the apartment, or move out) has pros and cons. I am almost paralyzed with indecision. I asked FDH if he would go to couples' counseling with me this week, and he thought it was a great idea.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 5:00PM
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Well I think that you are doing the right thing by putting the wedding on hold. That is a big step in itself. If you are uncomfortable about moving out, then that decision does not have to be made right now. Go to the counseling and see where things go from there. Observe if your fiance is following through with his promises now, and putting in that effort to repair the rift.
Debt is a huge scary thing, and sometimes it can be overwhelming for people. The easiest thing to do is stick your head in the sand. It is hard for some to swallow their pride and go and seek help. To admit that they have been overspending beyond their means. Sometimes the idea of not doing or having some of the things they have become accustomed to is the driving force. But you are doing the right thing by helping him see that he can not hide from his debt, especially if he wants to start a new life together with someone.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 11:48AM
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couples therapy sounds great. try that before you decide on anything else.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 12:44PM
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I usually think counseling/therapy is a good idea, but I'ld be cautious here. If the counselor says things like, OK, Norcalgirl, lets put aside financial issues here and just deal with feelings -- I think you are going to have to say, that is not going to happen, finanical issues wont just go away.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 1:46PM
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I also think couples counseling is a good idea. I say this because it's clear from all your posts that you truly love your DH and he loves you; I think you probably can work through these issues.

This is not to say there aren't issues. Your fiance's behavior regarding finances IS a red flag and you are right to question things and want everything out on the table.

I second what KKNY said. Make sure you find a reputable counselor, one who recognizes that financial issues are one of THE biggest stresses in a relationship/marriage. I would think any GOOD counselor will know this.

DH and I did couples counseling before we got married and the bigger issues our counselor touched on were finances, sex, children, and extended families. (We spent a GOOD deal of time discussing the whole stepfamily issue, but that was a session in itself.) One thing he really delved into was our PAST experiences in our families of origin, and how what we grew up with/experienced could affect (in both good and bad ways) our marriage.

It was very interesting.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 2:02PM
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Norcalgirl - it's amazing to me how similar our situations are. But in respect to the money, my SO is just the opposite. He never told me how bad things were. Now he's more transparant than ever.

It concerns me that he used to be open with it and now he's starting to hide things and lie. It's so weird.

I agree with everyone that you're being very smart about this. And I know how humiliated you feel. I felt that way when someone called me out on here about using "FDH". Even though they were correct and we weren't technically engaged, it hurt me really bad because we were moving towards a wedding and then I had to call and cancel and lose deposits (like we had the money to lose anyway).

But the humiliation is not what you think. It's all your own feelings about it. Most everyone that I called to cancel travel plans we'd made congratulated me on being smart. LOL! Sound familiar? Don't beat yourself up too bad for believing the man you love. You're not a man; you're a woman with emotions and you're not supposed to expect that he'd lie to you. You're supposed to believe in love conquers all.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 2:39PM
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"You're supposed to believe in love conquers all."

Bzzzz! Wrong answer!

Don't get me wrong -- Love is really important. Love is wonderful!
But it doesn't conquer all. Can't conquer all.
Just look at any woman still clinging to 'love' in an abusive marriage.
Is 'love' helping her?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 3:47PM
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Being an older person with a lot of experiences under my belt I just wanted to say that sometimes you don't get everything you desire in any particular person. My first husband was a very responsible person, made good money and managed it well. However, he had a horrible disposition toward me and our 3 children. After 20 years I gave up on him. Then I met a man who treated me like a queen. Anything I wanted was fine with him and he would do anything for me. Anything that is except be financially responsible, plus he would lie to me about it. I dated him for 3 years, then knowing better, married him. It didn't matter how much money he had because it would soon be gone. He would have gone to counseling if I had asked but it wouldn't have done one bit of good because he was what he was and it wasn't going to change. After 2 years I knew if I wanted a stable future I couldn't have it with him so I divorced him and moved on. I met a deputy sheriff and have been married to him for 24 years. He made a decent salary but certainly nothing spectacular, nor did I. Because I am better with finances than he is I have always handled them and now in our retirement years we have 4 houses with no mortgage and no debt at all. He is a great guy but not as lovable or fun to be with as the 2nd one. This is what I can live with though.

All of that, NorCal, to say some things you can't change and you have to choose which qualities you can live with and which you can't. Most people don't change their basic personalities even for someone they love. From what I remember this has been an ongoing thing with your FDH so knowing what I know from experience I would be hesitant to try to make a life with him at this point. Sometimes loving someone and enjoying being with them isn't enough.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 3:50PM
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When you marry him the debts are yours and your credit will go down the toilet if you don't pay them off.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 7:34PM
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I really appreciate all of your weigh-ins...I have read such wonderful things here. And most recently, I really agree with you gajopa and thanks for the insight. The turmoil has settled a little bit, into a deep hurt and confusion under the surface. I have gotten a lot of good advice from friends and family, but it encompasses everything from cut your losses and get out on your own immediately, to you take over the finances for you both, to just don't mention it until your own lease is up in 5 months and see if he does it or not - you're not his mom.

Today is our first couples' counseling session with the therapist. She told us to plan 90 minutes per week to work on this and I am really looking forward to it. I think FDH is too, to get all of our cards out on the table and see if we have a fighting chance. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 12:03PM
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I hope in my heart you do find a way to change things, but the realist in me says "you can't change people". Make very sure that you can handle this kind of trouble before you marry him.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 5:48PM
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While it's true that you can't change people, it's also true that people can and do change on their own initiative. It's also true that sometimes the initiative for change is the realization that their behavior is hurting someone they love, or that it's threatening to cost them something/someone important to them. I would not advise making sure you can handle the trouble (only because it's pretty clear this is not something norcal wants to have to "handle"). I would suggest giving the time and space to make sure any change is genuine and sustainable. good luck.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 8:59PM
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FDH and I have completed two sessions (90 minutes each) with our therapist, and our third appointment is tomorrow afternoon. We have committed to 10-12 sessions to try and work through the issues that have brought us to where we are today.

It has been enormously comforting to be able to discuss these issues with a neutral third party and have a kind of referee to help me articulate my thoughts.

I have had an opportunity to hear FDH actually admit for the first time, to anyone, that he has terribly mismanaged his money due to depression after his divorce. He stayed in a house he couldn't afford because he wanted somewhere for his DDs to come and feel at home. BM couldn't afford or chose not to follow the visitation schedule after moving 8 hours away, so he took out more and more credit cards to meet his expenses and still make that drive 2-3 times a month. Finally he was maxed out everywhere and paying so many fees that he just thought, eff it, this is the way it is going to be. Perhaps not realizing that there was no more room for himself in his life, let alone for a partner, or anyone else.

I think that the therapist was actually able to make an impression on him that bankrupting himself, financially, spiritually, emotionally, also bankrupts his children, and me, but it took a couple of times for him to absorb that. I also had a chance to say that I do not appreciate the fact that it would appear that it is easier to not deal with these issues at the expense of me being upset/having a realistic picture of the situation.

In other words, not dealing with his financial problems is a choice. Like, "It's easier for me to live in this mess than try to change it, even though you get mad." One of the other main things we have been discussing is how I can better communicate what I need, while I feel I am up against this pattern of constantly being told arbitrary deadlines for things that are meant to be done and somehow never get checked off. I feel like this dynamic has evolved where I am always in a position to check, check on this, check on that, to get what I NEED. Did you make that dentist appointment? You said you were going to. Did you call the lawyer? Why not? Why did you tell me you were going to make a budget spreadsheet last Thursday and it isn't done? Was it more important that it be done Thursday? Or that I think it would be? WTF!?

Since our confrontation several weeks ago where he was bullied by me into admitting that he never signed the debt consolidation plan, FDH has done a couple of things that I have asked him to. He has renegotiated the deal with the debt consolidation company he hired through our credit union, and created a budget. The paperwork came with the monthly salary, minus expenses (per the budget) and the amount left over is what he is meant to use the make monthly debt payments. For a debt of $41K, it is supposed to be paid off in 60 months/5 years with an option to make unlimited payments to be distributed evenly over the debt. If all goes according to plan, he will end up paying an additional $18K in interest, which absolutely mind-boggled me. My rational mind says if you are going to spend that kind of money, BUY something for Christ's sake!!

I am extremely angry, confused, and resentful about my situation (the fact that I have chosen to be with someone who has two children although I have growing feelings of not wanting children, someone who has lied to me even though that is one of my dealbreakers, and someone who has no financial security for the next five years even though that is one of my biggest goals). Somehow I seem powerless to leave it, too fearful of making a mistake.

Maybe powerless is the wrong word. Maybe too cautious, or unwilling to act without some months passing to work on things, or to see what actually happens, is a better way to describe it. As someone else mentioned previously, just calling off the wedding alone was a huge step. I am trying to find the line between self-righteous indignation ("I deserve better") and reconcillation ("I now see how my actions have participated in a dynamic that is unacceptable to me").

In my worst times, I fear and resent everything that a sacrifice of marriage, stepmotherhood, and motherhood entail (my perception at times). I feel like there are so many issues surrounding me that are all related to him, none of which I would have to put up with if I were alone or with someone else. I read through the things other people go through here and I know it would absolutely break me. I would absolutely be in court suing someone's ass off, I would absolutely tell him to pack his sh*t and get out, and I would absolutely be socking money away like no tomorrow. Despite how much I love this man, on my worst days I wonder if we were apart if I would feel like I had made a tremendously bad deal for myself (intentionally letting someone go who so clearly wants to be with me) or whether I would just feel relieved. All the stepfamily-financial problem reading usually just makes me more riled up, scared and confused.

I am struggling with so much right now...a job that frustrates me, feeling like marriage and step/motherhood are not something I want to focus on my finite energy and resoures on after all, trying to pay down my own debts from the student days, whether or not I should be wearing my ring or whether it is "OK" to take a break and how to communicate this in the day-to-day life of living together in an apartment...I am very confused on basically every front and live for these weekly sessions.

Re-reading this I am not sure that it makes much sense, but for today it's really the best I can do. I stayed home from work because I am so stressed out and sick to my stomach.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 9:39AM
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When I married my DH, he had about $60k in credit card debt. I won't even try to add up all his debt but he also had secured debt... a truck, trailer, ATV's, etc. A lot of debt. He makes good money and was able to make the payments on everything, but he admits a lot of the credit card debt was from ex relationships. His 'toys' were bought after his relationship broke up and it was probably to make himself feel better, he says it was a hobby he wanted to share with SD, he bought her an ATV on her 6th birthday. So, you can imagine my mind being boggled when I had three credit cards that I owed about $1000 combined on and I think I owed $3-4000 on my car at the time. I was essentially debt free. Of course, he had better credit than I did because he's never had a late payment, I have had collections over the years when we had medical bills I couldn't pay or I had to buy groceries instead of making a visa payment. But, I have never had anxiety over his debt. He pays his debt and when we got together, I was well aware of the situation. I made a choice to be in the relationship and while we don't always agree on finances, it is not a major source of stress in our marriage. (okay, except for the tremendous lawyer bills... but that is from the custody battle that is going on and it's more about the court battle than money)

My point is that if money is that much of a problem where you are so stressed you are missing work and feeling sick (and I understand you hate your job so missing work because of that might be happening too), I don't understand how 10-12 sessions with a therapist is going to change your feelings of hopelessness in all the other aspects of your life. Are you getting any therapy for depression because it sounds as if you are severely depressed and losing the joy in life... wanting to give up the idea of having children? THAT's HUGE.

If you are not yet married and having this hard of a time with his financial picture and the children, you really need to find a way out. It sounds as if you feel trapped because you live together and you have become somewhat dependent on him. Letting go of something you know is not right for you but has become comfortable is one of the hardest things I ever did. It's scary. But, it was also the best decision I ever made and while it took me years to finally leave, I try not to wonder what my life would be if I had left sooner, because I should have. Life is too short to waste it with the wrong person and you can't meet the right person if you are hanging on to someone else that you are hoping will change.

People don't change who they are. They may change what they do if they want to change, or they may change temporarily if they are pressed against a wall or face losing something... but that doesn't change WHO they are. DH still wants to buy stuff to make himself feel better when he is stressed or bored. It doesn't stress me out though and we don't argue over it. I'm not sure if I could stay married (or if I would have gotten married) if we had such different ideas about finances that we had to go to counseling over it and if it made me sick to my stomach.

Now, I get sick to my stomach occasionally when my SD's mom wreaks havoc in our lives and if I had known it was going to get this bad... CPS calls, false allegations of abuse, etc. I may not have married into it.

But, fights over money and kids are the leading causes of divorce in 2nd marriages. If you are not yet married and they are already causing this much trouble, I would be saving my money for a new apartment. You deserve a better life.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 10:47AM
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Here is my blunt opinion. Take it with a grain of salt because I am in a BAD position right now in regards to "stepfamily issues."

But here it is.

I had major doubts about getting married to DH. I even went so far as to call the club where we had our reception and discuss calling it off.

Ultimately, I was too afraid of making a mistake, giving up the man I love, and I was also embarrassed to call it off. We had been together for over 4 years at the time and the thought of "starting over" was overwhelming to me.

I knew BM was crazy. I didn't know the extent of what she was/is capable of, but I certainly knew she would be involved in our life always. I knew SS had issues and that no matter how much I disengaged, they would affect me.

I was and still am scared of hurting my daughter, who knows DH as her dad. :(

But I had tons and tons of doubts and I will say it now loud and clear: I WISH I HAD NOT GOTTEN MARRIED TO HIM.

I love my DH with all my heart. Despite our issues, he is a GOOD MAN, and he makes me laugh like no one else. We are best friends. The thought of not being with him breaks my heart.

BUT if I could go back in time...I would not have said "I do."

Everything I am dealing with now is TOO MUCH and it is destroying my sanity.

GET OUT NOW if you are having these issues. They will not go away.

If you are already feeling resentful towards your DH, that will only get worse, and I tend to agree with Ima--10-12 sessions w/a counselor are not going to "fix" things. MAYBE counseling for an extended period of time might help, but it also might not.

Life is not supposed to be this hard.

I am so angry myself that I am 28 yrs old, married for less than a year, and already I feel like a bitter crab-@$$. My SS is coming over for another 5 day stretch because of father's day weekend (2 5 day weekends in a row) and I am sick to my stomach over that. Sorry to be blunt, but after this last weekend with him, Mon/Tues is NOT enough of a break from the stress and drama that ensues when he is with us. Toss me into the bad stepmom category for saying that, but it's how I feel at this time.

Ok---sorry to hijack--but I would just say, based on MY experience, this is a situation that is not going to improve.

"But, fights over money and kids are the leading causes of divorce in 2nd marriages. If you are not yet married and they are already causing this much trouble, I would be saving my money for a new apartment. You deserve a better life."


    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 12:18PM
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Lots of good ruminations NorCal -- Good questions, good responses. And it will take a while to sort these things out. I would like to question one thing though:

"I am trying to find the line between self-righteous indignation ("I deserve better") and reconciliation ("I now see how my actions have participated in a dynamic that is unacceptable to me"). "

You've posed this as an 'A or B' question, and are vacillating between the two. I get this -- but I think it's the way you've phrased the question that's wrong. I think the correct answer is A -AND- B -- You DO deserve better, but you ALSO need to recognize your role in the dynamic. And I suspect there's ALSO a C and a D and maybe even an E answer that are also correct. I'd write them all down as true statements without trying to sort them into 'good' or 'bad' categories first.

Also think about the issue of having your own children. I read your comment to mean that you are beginning to think you will not want to have children of your own; but I think Ima understood you to mean that you would not be able to have children of your own because of the circumstances. What is it exactly that you do mean? Because if you want biological children of your own, that does tend to impose a time line that need not be a factor if you don't want kids.

In any case, I'm glad the counseling is helping you --

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 2:03PM
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I think if you have these problems now when you are not married yet, it would only get worse and will cause divorce sooner or later.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 2:49PM
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I just want to clarify what I understand about her losing her desire to have children.

My daughter is 19 and has made comments to me that she does not want children and in talking to her, she has told me that she feels that way because she sees all the problems that happen in custody situations... her situation with her dad abandoning her before she was born and hasn't followed through with his promises to have a relationship with her, growing up feeling that my exBF was 'dad' and losing him when that relationship ended, and now she sees what SD is being put through... it has turned her off having kids or even getting married.

She's been in counseling and we talk to her about it and now that she's building a closer relationship with DH, she has begun to show an interest in dating... opening the possibility for a relationship, marriage, family. Of course, she's only 19 so no rush, but it is very concerning when someone is in a situation that changes their feelings on something like having children.

NorCal, you need to get away from this toxic relationship and when you find the right person, you will want the things in life that will make you happy... whether that will include children is up to you. My gut feeling is that you don't want to have children with this current guy...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 5:32PM
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I agree that you need to re-evaluate things very carefully. I see BIG problems with many things. Financial things are enormous and VERY hard to overcome. Don't ask me how I know... :/

18K in interest on that debt consolidation is outrageous and horrible and a whole bunch of other words that I can't say here. No way, no how should he enter into such an agreement.

Get Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover." Find yourself an independent financial counselor. 18K is astronomical. Signing up for MORE debt is no way to get out of debt.

Oh, and I'd make sure he was COMPLETELY OUT OF DEBT before considering marriage should that be your decision.

I wish you luck with whatever decision you make.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 7:40AM
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I can certainly understand about not wanting children based on what people observe growing up.

My DD's GF says she absolutelly never ever wants children because of what her parents went through with divorce, her father not being that involved (until recently), dad bringing all kind of different GFs to her life, now having not very nice SM. And then her mom was single for a long time got lonely and met this guy, dated him, got pregnant (rather later in life) and he immidatelly dumped her and had nothing to do wiht the baby, now her mom is raising a little girl by herself. DD's GF says she is terrified of subjecting her own children to such turmoil. She is pretty firm on that and she is only 20.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 8:08AM
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Quirk, I agree about the time and space, and most of all, sustainable change. There have been times where I was unaware of how what I did affected others and once I became aware, I made adjustments. I have every indication that this is that kind of a situation for FDH. But like ima points out, people sometimes say/do things when they are pressed up against a wall and then revert to business as usual.

Lovehadley, that was very brave of you to admit. I am scared that someday I might feel that way, too.

Vivian31, I am not an accountant, so I don't know if the deal is a good one or not. I guess it is possible that if he does nothing, and tries to pay the debts down with his current method that he may well accrue $18K in finance and overage charges, anyway; he does not even have a good estimate of where the $41K debt came from, i.e. how much were purchases and how much were fees. I have asked him to consult with a financial adviser, and I don't know whether he has or not because I am tired of being in this "highly monitoring phase" that gets me nowhere. He said he would.

And finally, about the kids I get older (I'm almost 31, and FDH is 40) the more I feel that I don't want kids. I want a career, I want my money to myself, I want my free time. I don't want to disappear. The thing is, FDH is so wonderful with his kids, I couldn't imagine having kids with anyone BUT him. He says he is OK to have children with me, or not. He left it up to me. I feel like on my own I wouldn't do such a great job. I think I am too selfish. If push came to shove, if I were divorced or widowed, I could and would choose to be a great mom. Sometimes, through all the phases of my life, I feel like there is a time for everything, and maybe I will come to that place.

But I have to be honest, I never really liked kids, even when I WAS a kid. It's hard for me to say that, and I feel defensive. There are so many people in the world, and probably so many of them never should have become parents at all. I like FDH's DDs as people, and I enjoy their company, and when they are here I think, this isn't so bad, in fact, it's great! But it all comes at a cost. Interacting with kids, and sometimes anyone hardly, is a *huge* drain on me emotionally. I am kind of a loner by default.

Once they leave, I sleep for days. I feel exhausted, nervous, put-upon, even though FDH does everything for them - cooking, cleaning, parenting, everything - and never asks me to do anything but have fun with them. He never blames me for not reading a story, for taking time out to be alone, he only gives me credit and praise, maybe more than I deserve.

There is something, though, about the messed-up financial situation that almost tricks me into thinking I want kids, and will never "get to", and blame it on him. I don't know what is a real feeling anymore, and what is just noise. I am so lost in this boing-boing of should I stay or should I go. I think I am going to wait until October when our lease renewal comes around (for New Year's) and see what he has done in the meantime. If he is not taking things seriously, it will be over and I will move out. If he is trying and making progress, I will move on with him. I don't think our relationship is toxic - I just think there may be too many things that overwhelm me and wipe out the positives. Maybe it is just not for me. In the meantime, I am practicing the communication skills I am learning in therapy and trying not to take on everyone else's problems.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 1:26PM
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I suggest that FDH find a reputable debt consolidation/management company or do it himself. He should pay no interest at all. Most, if not all creditors, are willing to stop all interest and overage payments to get the principal paid off if done as part of debt consolidation. $18k in interest is a complete rip off.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:03PM
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The more I think about it, the more that does seem wrong. But this is a reputable company!! They were recommended through our credit union. I just don't get it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:22PM
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"I don't want to disappear."

you do not have to dissapear when you have children, i think it is somewhat a stereotype that women stop living when they have children. I mean yeah if you give birth every year then maybe, LOL other than that not really. Your career doesn't have to dissapear either. It is OK not wanting to have children but i wouldn't want you to make that decisions based on fear that you lose your identity or put your life on hold like forever.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:50PM
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norcal, a few years ago, a family friend got into financial trouble and she turned to debt consolidation. the agreement was that the cards were cancelled by the companies and she went on a payment plan to stop the accrual of interest and overage charges and pay off what was owed as of the date of the agreement. her debt consolidation plan to my understand was typical. she paid the debt consolidation company something like $10 fee per monthly payment. seriously, get a few other companies and check into it. and from what I understand, you can make similar arrangements by calling the creditors on your own, but do get all agreements in clear writing.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 3:28PM
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There are no reputable consolidation companies. It is NEVER a good idea to do debt consolidation. It is something you can do on your own and know where every penny of your payment is going.

Like Marie said, you can call and get agreements in writing and make payments on your own. It's not difficult and you may not even be charged any interest at all.

Seriously, get the Dave Ramsey book. It's a good way to learn how to get out of debt. Lots of success stories from people with WAY more than $41K.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 4:20PM
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I am the OP on this thread. It's been about 3 1/2 years since the financial infidelity disaster between me and FDH and I thought it was about time to give an update.

In 2009, FDH and I completed our counseling after a couple of months and it was a great experience for us. We got a lot of things out on the table and learned a lot of new communication skills. FDH uncovered a lot of stuff around his relationship with money and had a lot of light-bulb moments that were helpful to him. We learned about how our different upbringings shaped our feelings about security and money and it was highly revealing. He also initiated a debt repayment plan, and we decided to postpone our wedding (and not even talk about it) until he reached the halfway point. We decided to stay engaged, at which point I explained to him that if he ever, EVER lied to me about money again, no matter how minor, I would be done. He agreed with this and was supportive, assuring me that he would not make the same mistake again. And of course, I talked to my family and my bridesmaids and everyone was so understanding and supportive.

At the end of the year we moved about a half hour away to save money in rent which helped us both financially. The new apartment was quieter, more in the suburbs and felt like a fresh start. In 2010 I bought a new car, and we visited a financial planner together and created a financial and retirement plan that works for us. In 2011 we took our first trip together overseas and I met his family for the first time.

The halfway point of his debt repayment came and went, and I congratulated him, but it wasn't until 2012 that we hired a wedding planner and began making plans for our wedding, which will be in September 2013.

I am very happy to tell you that over the past few years, FDH has completely changed his relationship with money. He worked through his issues from the divorce, and began a totally transparent system of financial accountability. He also became an avid coupon-clipper! LOL (But spending was never really his problem - it was more around a lack of respect for his own earnings and a lack of reality and motivation on how to manage things.)

And happiest of all, I am so glad to say that in about three more months, FDH will be DEBT-FREE. I could not be prouder about the changes he's made and how he has stuck with the debt repayment. Getting out from underneath the burden has allowed him to become the man he should be - someone who works hard, has money to provide for himself and his daughters, and is able to make choices about his priorities in life rather than reacting to situations powerlessly.

So, I'm posting this update to anyone still reading this thread, and anyone who happens upon it because of a similar situation in their own lives. Like some of the wise women earlier in the post said, it's not so much about whether you think people can or can't change, but about whether or not they are adult enough and motivated to correct wrongs. I listened to my heart and it told me that it was too soon to leave. (Even though in many ways I am a tough and cynical person.)

I was brave enough myself to say, "Financial instability is a dealbreaker for me and I will absolutely go to the wall on this," no matter what the consequences. And things turned out in my favor, because I believed him when he said he was willing to stick with getting out of debt, for himself first. That's when I realized he really got it, and he has more than proven his point to me.

So you see, there is sometimes light at the end of the tunnel! Our lives aren't perfect, but we are so, so much closer than we used to be, and we're living a shared life, a life that can be built upon, and not one that's being hollowed out by deceipt and fear.
I so much appreciate all the support and hugs I got here. Thank you all.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Norcal, I was just lurking and saw your post had been refreshed. I think of you, and I'm so glad to hear things are well with you. Biggest hugs and congratulations to you!!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Hey that's wonderful news!

I often wonder what happens with the issues that we talk about here. It's nice to see an old post revisited with such a good outcome, I'm so happy for you!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:15PM
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