Financial Infidelity Creates Broken Trust

Tom says his wife has hidden credit card debts over the years. He recently discovered two liens on their homes from this credit card debt. Dave thinks this debt and the liens are part of a larger problem.

QUESTION: Tom in Atlanta says his wife has hidden credit card debts over the years of their marriage. He recently discovered two liens on their homes from some of this credit card debt. His wife was hiding mail from him. Their household income is about $45,000 a year. Dave thinks this debt and the liens are part of a larger problem.

ANSWER: Assuming that you get the marriage healed, what you’re going to have to do is go to each of these credit card companies and try to settle the debt. The best way to do that is pennies on the dollar, making them an offer. Four thousand dollars will probably settle $16,000—somewhere around there—maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit less. So you’ve got to start scratching together some cash to be able to make these folks an offer to get the debts settled, done away with, and that removes the lien against your home. But I think you’ve got a much, much bigger problem.

This debt and these liens are the symptom. This is a repeated pattern of her lying and deceiving. Once, because somebody is ashamed or there are some circumstances, we can look into that and try to figure that out and work your way through it. But you’re telling me this happened before—multiple times—and she can’t seem to get through her head that this is called financial infidelity for a reason. It’s the same kind of lying as sexual infidelity. And it pisses people off at the same level. It’s a broken trust, isn’t it? That’s a real deep thing in your marriage that you guys are going to have to get into because this lady’s going to have to hear that loud and clear and stop this crap. That’s a deal breaker, if not.

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