husband credit card junkie

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
husband credit card junkie
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 12:22pm

Hi!  I'm married to a credit card junkie.  He invests in real estate and has houses which are losing money and all he thinks about is putting more money into them in order to supposedly make more money.  He doesn't get the throwing good money after bad concept. 

We've been toghether 4 yrs. and married almost a year.  During that time, I have asked him repeatedly to stop being a superhero and saving people who squander money (i.e. codependent), and that has improved somewhat.  But also I have asked repeatedly for him to get out of credit card debt and establish mutual goals with me as a couple.  Isn't that what marriage is about?  Certainly it is our second marriage, and we keep our assets/debts before marriage separate, but he spends thousands on houses and his credit card debt is about 2/3 of what he makes in a whole year.  He has attempted to pay down his debt a little but then he spends more on his houses and intends to go into debt to remodel a trashed house in order to rent that. It's a longer story than that, since his father is in business with him and lost a quarter of a million for him in an investment and has made no apology or explantion.

What are my options here?  I have tried to get him help--Consumer Credit Counseling, reading Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover, taking him to my financial adviser (she said to sell one of his houses and he didn't like her advice so he says she knows nothing about real estate and you don't sell when the market is depressed. ) But selling one could pay down his debt. I consulted a real estate business person who said he should declare bankrupcy and get out of real estate.I have not told him yet--I'm sure he won't listen.

I had an alcoholic son (who has stopped drinking for 4 yrs. and has turned his life around, thank goodness!) but there were many hellish years until he hit bottom.  So I see similarity here.  What would be bottom for my husband? It would be hard to leave him since we're living in my place. LOL.  He's in denial, he rationalizes, and yes, we've been in counselng for 3 yrs. and it's helped some, but he's very stubborn. He has refused to confront his father or make him accountable.

]I do take care of myself financially, and he pays for electric, gas, groceries, going out ...I want to move to a nicer house some day, and replace our crappy appliances, and plan for vacations (he has gone on vacation (to see my daughter, and to see my formerly alcoholic son graduate from college)  with me but acts as if it is a giant waste of money and he only went under protest and then complains about a $30 dinner (when he squanders thousands on his crappy houses?

I've thought about trying to hurt him back since he has repeatledly ignored my plea for establishing mutual goals and getting out of debt.  He is a really sweet guy, I know he loves me, and we have activities we enjoy together!  He thinks of himself as being totally selfless, because he won't buy anything for himself (like glasses he needs!).  Sorry this is already too long.  But I don't know what to do!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2012
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 12:48pm

I see your hubby is being selfish, not selfless.  His need to help others, buy crappy houses that need work etc is giving him a payoff (emotional one) of some sort.  If you (he) can get to the bottom of that, then he might be able to make changes.

One thing I have learned, you cannot change him or control him.  I think counselling is a good idea and on thing to look at is why he feels the need to do what he is doing. 

Perhaps too, the putting it in black and white (dollars and cents) can help him see the light?  Can you sit down and go over each house and list the expenses versus the income?  Sometimes people think they are making money but then have never actually just written down the numbers (mtg payments, taxes, maintenance costs, banking costs, etc associated with the house - not to mention purchasing it, closing costs etc). 

He is putting you at risk.  Did you sign a prenup?  His debt after your marriage could be your debt too (in divorce - depending on the law where you live).  Perhaps if you can get him to understand the risk he is putting you in (financially and emotionally) he can change things around.

It is not easy, no right answers or one way to cope with the situation. 

Good LUck


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Sun, 08-05-2012 - 6:19pm

Here is the situation, if you want to stay happily married to this man you have to accept the fact that he wants his real estate too. For better or worse, that comes with the package. If you continue to complain/argue about it then it will only turn your marriage unhappy. Start investing and saving your money for your appliance and vacations. If you want him to come, just tell him how much he has to give you and let him worry about it. Don't you worry about it.

If he is only losing $1200/yr not including equity that might not be that bad. What are you going to do with $10K these days, put in a low interest investment that doesn't even keep up with inflation? (I can think of things, but that's not the point)

If he cares and about you and puts you first than that is important. I suspect the REAL problem here is that your Dh is putting his father/business ahead of you...and that is a legitimate complaint. That is the real thing that you have to address here. That you need to know that if the chips were down, if you were in financial difficulty, he would cut off dad or sell the real estate for you...


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 1:31pm

Hi DN, and welcome!

Boy, this is a tough one.   I guess we could all go on and on about the details, but like passion8 said, I think it is deeper than dollars and cents. 

Me and my SO of 6 years have our own struggles in this area.   Overall it all works out, but we still have our moments. 

In my case, my SO is essentially debt free and pays cash for everything, all the while I am drowing in medical bills and cc debt.  We keep everything separate, but he has to pay for 90% of anything fun we do.  I just don't have it, even after he gives me money for about half of the household bills. 

Anywho, I think there is a gray area of accepting your DH for who he is, without resentments, yet also be comfortable to speak up with what you think is fair for the two of you financially.  Some things are a little more obvious, like applicances.  If it is your house, then you really can't have a resentment over purchasing the appliances yourself.  Vacations are a different story and get a little stickier. 

If you haven't already, maybe try this:

Tell him you don't fully understand the dollars and sense to this whole real estate thing.  Could he, or someone else, please explain it to you?   You know it causes tension between the two of you and really want to understand.  (St. Francis understand rather than to be understood.)   Is it protected under a LLC?  I think if you want to make your marriage legal, you need to know these things. 

And you know  DN, so much of this is relative.  My SO got upset one time after buying me a jacket that I said I didn't really want to spend the money on (I had two jackets in my hand) then later I bought something else.  I made it clear that it was about how I was choosing to spend the money I had.   I told him I may put something back in this store because I might find something else in another store I want.  Or maybe I would rather have coffee money, or lunch money for the week.  Or whatever.  

My SO just paid cash for a motorcycle, but he thinks I buy too many pairs of shoes for myself and my DD. 

I don't know that anything in there was helpful, but glad you are here.  Fine line here:  Acceptance versus floormat.  I hope you can pop over to my "home" below. 



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 2:13pm

I can really empathize with this post also.  

H and I've had plenty of issues regarding H's unrealistic expectations with his family.  H also had some poor boundary setting skills (or really no skills at all) with them, and played into the family dysfunction . . . and the family dishonesty.

And in my very humble opinion, HONESTY really is the key here.  

It sounds like your FIL is a bald face liar.  It sounds like your H is lying to himself as much as anyone else.  And you are lying to everyone about the status of your marriage.

As the others have said, it's not about the money.

But everything - even money - gets so much easier when everyone - even you - is being HONEST.

I think it's somewhat helpful that money can be so black and white. Sure there are a million of emotions that dictate how it's valued and how it's spent (or not spent), but money itself is really very black and white.   So maybe the first thing would be to sit down with your SO (who isn't your husband btw) and start writing down the actual numbers - without judgements . .. without allowing the other person to put emotion on the dollar amount . . .

Just start writing down the numbers, and de-escalating the emotions, and see if your SO can lower his emotional guard enough to simply look at the black and white numbers.

I've had to use this approach with my own H.

I wish you the best.  This stuff can be really tough.

(I wonder if you shouldn't start coming clean to those around you that your marriage isn't legal.  It's just too easy for your H to remain lying to himself when he see others around  him doing the same sort of thing.  Plus that kind of secrete must have a very shaming effect on your H.  Again, just my humblest of opinions).




iVillage Member
Registered: 07-20-2001
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 1:54pm

If you are not legally married to this guy, I have an alternate suggestion.  You've tried counseling & begging & pleading & none of it worked.  Like another poster suggested "honesty" or lack of it is at the root of your problem.  Money is just another issue.  My suggestion is to walk away from this man.  Do you think a legal marriage would be any better?  Do you truly envision the lightbulb going off in his head at some point?  When?  When is enough enough?  Be thankful you are not legally bound to him & decide what kind of life you want to live.  My guess is that you're stressed out of your mind.  That's no way to live.  That's no way to be in a relationship (married or otherwise).  Get out of this before you sink below sea level.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2008
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 4:52pm
I'm not a professional, so my advise. Continue keeping your finances separate (smart cookie), continue consuling, and let his house of cards fall around him. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.


"Patience is the best remedy for every trouble"- Plautus

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2002
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 1:43pm

I'm sorry to hear you are going through this.  As a preabmle, my post is not meant to be cold, but realistic and simple. 

If this is how he has been the entire time you have known him, he is not going to change.  No matter how much talking, planning, etc., you do together.  People can evolve together in a marriage/relationship but the core of the person does not change, therefore you are not going to change who he is deep down.  It is obvious you already resent him if you want to "hurt him back" and if you keep trying to change him, my guess is he will start resenting you, too.  Do you want this for the rest of your life?  Why are you with the pros outweight the cons?  A marriage works the best when both partners feel they got the better end of the deal.  Will you ever feel that with him?

Good luck.....I hope you find clarity and happiness.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2012
Tue, 10-02-2012 - 12:51pm
I am a credit card junkie...I have two ,..the problem is I always top them out, which is probably what your husband does. I don't do what he does but I have been told that people think credit cards are like "free money" until you have to pay them back and if you only pay the minimum, they will never go away. If you are getting your bills paid, that is good but he needs to consider what you want also as in a few years, the debt could be worse. I find that if I look at the iinterest rate and calculate how long it will be before I pay them off, this helps my control my urge to use them. See if you can talk to him about it although it sounds like that will be hard. I hope things get better for you as to this. take care, Pita64