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Ask Dave

Marital Identity Theft

Jill wants to get her husband to stop using credit cards but doesn't know how. He even opened a card in Jill's name and is belligerent about continuing to use the cards.

QUESTION: Jill in Tulsa wants to get her husband to stop using credit cards but doesn’t know how. He even opened a card in Jill’s name and is belligerent about continuing to use the cards. Dave thinks they need marriage counseling.

ANSWER: It sounds like his response in your conversation is that basically, you’re an idiot, and he’s smarter than everybody else.

We’ve got a major marriage problem. That is twofold. One is he’s belligerent and willing to lie using your name. This is a huge problem. Two is that your opinion doesn’t count. I think when you solve that, the rest of this starts to solve itself, because once you get a vote and he starts actually listening to your opinion about can kind of argue it out. But right now, there’s no debating with this guy because there’s no chance he loses. A debate means there’s a possibility both sides could lose. With this guy, there’s no possibility he can lose. He just goes and does whatever he wants. That’s a marriage problem—not a financial problem.

If I were in your shoes, I would seek some marriage counseling. This kind of iron-fisted belligerent control of the checkbook is symptomatic of domestic violence. Call your pastor and you go sit down with your pastor. Have a marriage counseling session with your pastor for free. This guy’s got some serious issues, and he’s heading for a wall. He’s going to hit the wall because he’s not listening to anybody, and he’s obviously financially stupid. There are a lot of things I’m an ignoramus about, but at least I’m smart enough to know I don’t know. This is like a 400-pound guy who’s got strong opinions about dieting. It’s ridiculous. I don’t see your marriage going in positive places right now. Unless some patterns change, you’re going to reach a point you’re going to dump him on his head, and I don’t want you to. I want your marriage to heal—not to be harmed. But right now, he’s harmed it dramatically by stealing your identity, crushing any opinions you have under his heel, and he controls all the money and you’re just the idiot. And you’re not. That’s an idiot. That’s just a bad, bad plan. You need to get some strong marriage counseling immediately. That’s your only hope of turning this around.