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Hello all. I am having difficulties knowing what to do and hope others may have some advice. I apologize in advance for the long post.

I have been married to my husband for 11 years. Money management has always been a weakness of his and early on I learned that I would have to do this task alone or we would constantly be in a state of debt and overspending. My husband has never overspent in such a way that we were unable to buy groceries or pay rent/mortgage, but he is prone to putting things we can't afford on credit cards in his name and does not tell me about it. I usually find out via a statement in the mail or (one time) a debt collection notice on a credit card where he charged $2500 and was not making minimum payments on. His purchases are usually small but numerous, which is why I don't always notice that he is spending beyond what I can see with our bank accounts. I balance the checkbook, make sure all bills (that I know about) are paid and make plans to pay down debt but not too aggressively so that there is splurge money for both of us. I have learned the hard way that if I tighten the finance belt too much then my husband will simply rack up more debt to compensate.

We have had numerous conversations about this. Some calm and logical, others filled with emotion and anger/fear. Each ends mostly the same. Acknowledgement by my husband that he should be more honest with me on spending, that the budget I have presented is fair and agreeable and finally, promises to work with me each month on future budgets so we can both be on the same page. We have not yet met this goal. (Also: I realize that a lot of this sounds like I have taken complete control over the money and that's because I mostly have - by default. Not because I want to but because he will not take part in it despite my many requests for him have a more active role)

In the past when a credit card debt is discovered by myself, we fight, then talk and then I make plans to pay off the newly acquired debt quickly as possible which my husband agrees to but only as a passive participant.

Today as I went to pay the mortage bill online I discovered that he had opened yet another credit card 2 weeks ago and had already charged $250 to it. I called him at work, he states that he didn't have a chance to tell me and that the only reason he did it was for the 0% balance transfer (something I had mentioned to him I would do on my own). I told him 2 weeks is enough time to tell me about that and that adding new charges to the card only adds to our debt, regardless of any balance transfer promotion. He avoided the conversation and got off as quickly as possible.

I am have done this too many times. I am frustrated but also to the point of apathy because I have lost hope of any real change. At best I feel like all I can do is manage his bad habits in such a way that we can at the very least take care of our basic needs, pay our bills and sock away small amounts towards savings when possible. We make a very decent income. We should be doing better than we are but I am finding it very difficult to "get ahead" with my husband's inability to control his spending habits.

What can I do to make this work? Is it reasonable to expect that my husband will every be honest with me when it comes to money? Is there a way that we can sign up for some kind of service that prevents either one of us opening a new account without the other being notified or agreeing to it jointly? I have tried giving my husband his own "allowance" per say with his own checking account and debit card with the only stipulation being he be responsible for having enough money for gas and lunch. Even that did not work. He would spend his allotted money on other things and then tell me he needed money for gas to get to work - which at that point I feel like a hostage since he can't miss work.

I used to think that when I was done with school and we were both working that the problem would resolve itself. That once my husband had some discretionary spending money he would not be tempted to overspend. We literally earn 3x what we did as newlyweds and I now realize that it won't matter how much we make, he will probably always want to spend just a little bit more.
 

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What happening is called financial infidelity. I went through it for years.
My Dh wracked up $30,000 on the CC and hid it for 4 years by paying on line and not having anything coming on the mail. It was at 29% interest when I found out.
10 years later I still don't know where the money went.
Mine has ADHD and I had to say I would divorce him. I got him on Concerta and that helped the impulse bit.

I really think counciling is necessary in your case from what you have said. Get in under other pretenses if you have to. Spending is an addiction like any other.
You need to find out if this is impulse,selfish entitlement or what. Is he taking things kids need away from them w/ this behavior.
JMHO take it or ignore it
 

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I believe it is possible to put some sort of freeze with the credit report companies that will stop any new accounts being opened. I second the idea that you need the counsel of a third party because obviously your dh is not going to pay attention to you.

My dh and I made an agreement early in our marriage that we would not spend more than $50 without consulting the other and both kept that agreement. We've been through many (too many!) difficult financial situations, but we're still together after 54 years because we've worked thru our various disagreements in an honest and forthright manner.

I also agree this is financial infidelity. Only you can decide if you are willing to continue living with a man you cannot trust. This is another issue to discuss with a counselor.

Sorry for your troubles and pray things can be worked out in a way that brings peace of mind and financial stability.
 

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I don't think you can stop him from opening accounts. Even if you could, he is a grown man. I would seek counseling, if he is open to it. If not, I don't know how much more you should tolerate. :( I'm sorry you are dealing with this.
 

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I'm adding my voice to the counseling option, too. To paraphrase Suze Orman, "Money problems in a relationship are never just about the money". You need to get to the root of his spending issues and it sounds like you need a professional's help to do that and get you two on the same page. I don not think you guys will last if you two can't get this to a point where you're both happy with the finances. I'm sorry you're carrying this burden.
 

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The freeze would have to be requested by her dh for himself. Willingness to do this would be a step forward in their achieving financial peace. If he refuses to do so, well that's another nail in this relationship.
 
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