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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308363  
Subject: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 4:48 PM
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I pulled one of DW's credit reports to make sure everything was ok and to see if the BT balances had been reported yet (1 of 2 have). I was going to space out pulling her reports until everything was reported correctly and then pull mine with a credit score before applying for new credit.

Everything is ok on hers except for a new SAMS card opened 5/2007 with a $1,300 credit limit and a $220 balance. I called and asked her if she had opened a SAMS card last month. She said no. I tell her that her credit report shows that she opened the account last month. She then comes clean and says she opened it just in case of an emergency. I asked her what the $220 emergency last month was. She went on for a little bit about how she needed a few things, that she is going to keep the balance low (yes, “low” – she did not say “pay-off” each month) and that it would be ok. I said “no, it will not be ok”. A very unpleasant conversation is coming tonight.

I need to calm down and not over-react. But, at the same time I can not just dismiss this as a little bump in the road. Now, how stupid do I look after making countless posts defending her, not making more radical changes in order to not upset her delicate emotional state and making all those excuses for her? I feel so stupid, angry and betrayed.

I do not even know where to start the conversation tonight. The immediate issue is the lying and sabotage. The bigger issue is trust within a marriage and how this is ever going to work if DW is working against me. Should I be surprised to find out she really is just going to enough therapy sessions to make it look like she is putting some effort into getting a job when she really has no intentions? Should I be surprised to find out she has been getting money from her mom on the side? If I am to remain married then is the only option to audit her activity weekly and play detective every month? I had already decided to separate most of our finances on the other side of being debt-free. But, I do not think that solves everything as there will be so many grey area expenses to divide up that it will seem like a divorce process.

Well, comments, suggestions, “I told you so”, or any words of hope?

SoccerDad
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Author: StBridgit Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254952 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:03 PM
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Hey SoccerDad, you sort of knew it was coming, from previous posts. So, deep breath. *breath*

Ok. Let's address the two separate issues here: money, and marriage trust. First, of course you're mad, because you want to pay off this huge debt and that extra $220 sets you back a little bit. So, it's okay to be mad. Be mad! But, put that anger aside when you get home, because you know that being angry when discussing it with your DW is just going to make things worse for both of you. So, vent away here...but deal with the anger, and move on. It's a setback, not an end.

Second, I strongly suggest that you & DW go to counseling together, apart from her counseling about jobs, in order to discuss the money issues and the trust issues with a neutral third party. Your DW is going to need a lot of help getting it that this is not just about the MONEY. My impression from your prior posts is that she has big issues with control and spending...from whatever source, her injury & rehab, her innate personality...who knows, but she has these issues. It sounds like she just does not GET that it IS a trust issue, it IS about more than money, it IS about your marriage relationship and being united and committed to goals without undercutting each other.

It's going to be a long road, but if you perservere and enlist the help of a good marriage counselor, I think you can finally get DW to see beyond "just the money".

Good luck, you will need it!

StB.

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Author: bethdig Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254953 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:10 PM
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Ohhh boy. That must feel just awful.

I have been following your posts, SD, and don't have much in the way of advice, but I just wanted to chime in and let you know how sorry I am that you have to deal with this. I can only imagine how betrayed you feel after the momentous effort you've been making.

The only thing I can say is that from my vantage point, your DW's sabotage doesn't seem to be malicious, but rather a sign that she REEEEALLY DOESN'T GET IT. I know she doesn't understand the numbers really well, but this seems more like not understanding the impact of debt on your family. You don't need to understand the specifics to understand the impact of debt.

If I remember correctly, your DW is extremely safety-minded, perhaps overly so, especially when it comes to the children. Perhaps if the situation were reframed, as starkly as possible (i.e. comfortable home vs. cardboard box), to highlight the possible consequences of your debt on your family's safety and security????

<<<<SD>>>>

~Bethdig

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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254954 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:15 PM
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{{{{{SoccerDad}}}}}

AJ

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254955 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:16 PM
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Wow...

First of all take a big deep breath. Any conversation you have with you is going to backfire if you act as angry as you sound now (justifiably so...but nonetheless it will just make her defensive).

This is really not acceptable, and while I wouldn't say it's "malicious," I disagree with bethdig that it shows she just doesn't get it. It's beyond that. It shows she isn't on board with the plan, has no real commitment to it, and doesn't feel she can be honest with you about her needs. Honestly, it sounds like she has a bit of a spending addiction problem. Like she isn't happy unless there's a brand new shiny CC waiting there to fill up.

I agree that joint counselling is essential.

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Author: Diablo2Queen Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254956 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:17 PM
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Well, comments, suggestions, “I told you so”, or any words of hope?

Good luck talking with her and I'm sorry to hear about this.



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Author: artemis021 Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254957 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:24 PM
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The bigger issue is trust within a marriage and how this is ever going to work if DW is working against me.

Do you mean she's working "against me" or "against us"?

I don't know how long you've been at the debt pay-down game, and I certainly don't know everything about your circumstances, but I know that you seem to be the one taking the bull by the horns here and dragging your DW with it.

And of course it's for the best and it's the right thing to do, but sometimes you can make a change without her being completey ready. Or without her having the same discipline.

How much have you supported her during this time? How much do you encourage her and praise her for sticking to the plan? Do you reward her with backrubs or by cooking dinner or are you just saying "here's how it's going to be and do this or I'm going to be really mad."

Change is hard. Really hard. Relapses are to be expected, even moreso by someone who wasn't the impetus for the change.

From what little I've gathered from your previous posts, there are some issues with your wife. But I can also tell that you have ADD, and I know that people with ADD aren't always the easiest people to have relationships with.

Don't get me wrong-sometimes you need tough love, but you need to look at the situation and ask if you were encouraging and rewarding her for her good behaviors instead of just relying on punishing her bad behavior in this difficult change.

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254958 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:25 PM
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Any conversation you have with you
OCD...Any conversation you have with HER
Whoops!
:)

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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254959 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:46 PM
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Everything is ok on hers except for a new SAMS card opened 5/2007 with a $1,300 credit limit and a $220 balance. I called and asked her if she had opened a SAMS card last month. She said no. I tell her that her credit report shows that she opened the account last month. She then comes clean and says she opened it just in case of an emergency. I asked her what the $220 emergency last month was.

Condolences. I've been there with Sam's Club and the ex-wife. It turned out that Sam's would open a credit card for then-wife on her word with minimal or no work on her report. They then will charge to the card at checkout based on the records from her membership card; she doesn't even have to have the physical credit card with her. Then-wife's story was that she didn't know the charges were being put on the credit account. At the time, I believed her.

I do not even know where to start the conversation tonight. The immediate issue is the lying and sabotage. The bigger issue is trust within a marriage and how this is ever going to work if DW is working against me.

Been there, done that, and know pretty much how you're feeling at this point. It isn't pleasant.

Should I be surprised to find out she really is just going to enough therapy sessions to make it look like she is putting some effort into getting a job when she really has no intentions? Should I be surprised to find out she has been getting money from her mom on the side?

I would not be surprised by either of these findings in this situation. Do you know that this is the case, or do you only fear that it is?

If I am to remain married then is the only option to audit her activity weekly and play detective every month? I had already decided to separate most of our finances on the other side of being debt-free. But, I do not think that solves everything as there will be so many grey area expenses to divide up that it will seem like a divorce process.

In theory, you can maintain a marriage to a spendthrift if you separate finances, you have sufficient income to support the household, the spendthrift is not responsible for anything that you can't stand to leave unpaid, and the spendthrift can't or won't spend money she doesn't have. Turning the theory into reality presents some practical difficulties.

I was *almost* there. I was totally supporting the necessary household expenses. Then-wife's income had to cover payments on her credit card, gas for her car, and whatever she felt like spending on. She did not have to contribute towards housing costs, groceries, utilities, car insurance, car maintenance, or medical costs. I went through a period of asking her to contribute toward household expenses; she unilaterally reduced her contribution to zero and decreased her credit card payment.

Well, comments, suggestions, “I told you so”, or any words of hope?

This isn't really an issue about money and sabotage. It's really an issue of trust, respect, and mental health. Your wife is engaging is self-destructive behavior. The aspect of this self-destructive behavior that has your attention is overspending, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's other stuff you either haven't told us about or haven't even noticed yourself. Self-destructive behavior is one of the symptoms associated with a variety of mental health issues.

One of the problems of living with someone who has mental health issues of this nature is that she will frequently believe what she tells you at the time she says it. Essentially, she isn't lying while she's telling you things that are untrue. That makes it hard to tell what's really going on, and next to impossible to trust what she says.

It won't make you feel any better, but you're not the first person on this board to go through the process of trying to improve things, thinking the spouse is on board or at least under control, and having things fall apart. Here's a piece of my chronology from five years ago.

5/28/02, I celebrate then-wife doing something responsible: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17282920

6/30/02, I celebrate more responsible spending patterns than in 2001: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17442250

8/1/02: I'm on track, and as far as I know then-wife is behaving herself: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17623063

8/28/02-12/11/02: Things fall apart in various ways that I don't report on this board because I can't stand to write about them and many of them are only tangential to finances.

12/31/02: I report to the board that things have fallen apart: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=18357877

It is possible that then-wife filed for divorce because she thought it was an appropriate negotiating tactic to get me to give her more money for her wants. I will never know. I will also never know whether I could have made the marriage work in spite of then-wife's fiscal failings, because other issues made divorce the only reasonable resolution to an intolerable situation.

Is your case as hopeless as mine was? I don't know. Maybe you can go to counseling together and work things out. Maybe your children aren't taking the emotional damage that I didn't see my daughter taking in real time. Maybe counseling for you as an individual can reveal strategies to cope with things that I never learned.

However, if the root problem is that you can't live without getting your financial house in order and she can't live with any constraints on spending, the outlook for the marriage is bleak.

Look to what the current situation is doing to your children. Do the best you can for them.

Patzer

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254960 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:48 PM
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bummer.

i disagree with a lot of what's been said. let your angry hang out, dog damn it. don't hit anyone or throw anything, but be authentic. guess what - she already knows you're mad. on the off chance that she doesn't, she'll know as soon as she takes a look at you. being mad is entirely appropriate here. tiptoeing around is not going to help, in my humble but correct opinion. yes - this evening's discussion may deteroriate into tears and running out of the room. that's not the end of the world - plenty more talks where that came from. tell her how you feel and then stop talking.

my husband used to say "you're not listening! you just don't get it!" actually, i WAS listening. i GOT it (whatever the "it" du jour was - 99% around money). i just disagreed and rejected his position. to say "she doesn't get it" is disrespectful to *her*. we're all entitled to take our stands, and i think she's taken hers. she knows she was doing something "wrong" because she hid from you.

i also reached a point with my husband where we each realized we'd gone as far as we were willing to in changing. there was a kid involved, so it was tough for him to suffer the consequences. but it was better than watching us flail at each other. he's said as much in the meantime.

dude, you've done your job. ball's in her court. i'm sorry for her troubles, but this is serious stuff.

BklynBorn

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254961 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:51 PM
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OCD: EX husband.

bb

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Author: Yesbabe Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254962 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 5:53 PM
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>>I pulled one of DW's credit reports to make sure everything was ok <<

I'll admit I haven't been keeping up with the story previously, so perhaps there is a reason, but may I ask why you are pulling copies of DW's credit reports? Do you have her permission to do so? That jumped out at me while reading the discussion on marriage trust; I can't think of one acceptable reason why my DH would have access to my credit report.

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Author: kaellner Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254963 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 6:22 PM
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I do not even know where to start the conversation tonight.

This is the real problem. You should know exactly where to start and it is not with yourself. You must control your mouth and not accuse her in anyway. Adults can sit down and calmly discuss things and find a resolution. Try not saying anything and let her explain it. You should bring home flowers and listen for once.

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Author: bethdig Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254964 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 6:36 PM
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let your angry hang out, dog damn it. don't hit anyone or throw anything, but be authentic. guess what - she already knows you're mad. on the off chance that she doesn't, she'll know as soon as she takes a look at you. being mad is entirely appropriate here. tiptoeing around is not going to help, in my humble but correct opinion.

You must control your mouth and not accuse her in anyway. Adults can sit down and calmly discuss things and find a resolution. Try not saying anything and let her explain it. You should bring home flowers and listen for once.

I find it interesting the different opinions on how to approach the situation. Of course, none of us are in SD and SD-DW's marriage so we're all just taking our best guess based on what we've been told by SD and what we bring from our personal experiences.

All I would say, is to do a gut check about where you think DW's motivation lies, and let that guide your reaction, be it rage or compassion or somewhere in between.

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Author: suburbancaroline Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254965 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 6:36 PM
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Sorry to hear this, SoccerDad. Take a deep breath and remember that this is an on-going process of change for the both of you, not just a snap-fingers-now-it's-all-ok-but-for-the-paydown kind of thing.

You've got several different issues to deal with here. I'd suggest sorting them out and trying to deal with them separately.

Lying/Trust: Why did she not tell you? How can you trust her? BUT ALSO: Does she not trust you to have resources available in case of an emergency? How can she trust you?

Finances: How will this affect the debt paydown? What effect will it have on the long-term goals?

Spending: What DID she spend the money on? What is the current balance on the account? Were these real needs that were not being met? By whose criteria of real need? Does the budget in fact need to be adjusted?

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254966 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 6:45 PM
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Grim news, SD, and I'm sorry to hear it. I know how hard you've worked, trying to get things put together, slowly coming back from the brink, and to have your work undermined like this is heart-breaking.

Would it be possible to separate the talk? Have two talks rather than one? The first one could be about the trust and confidence she's destroyed. And keep the first talk to being just about trust, and how it feels when that trust is destroyed.

Then, in a day or two, have the money talk. Again. And, as Bethdig suggested, push the idea that the safety of the children is at stake. Point out that if something happens to you, the debt would eat up everything. You are trying to get the debt down so as to protect her and the children.

I also recommend that you start separating your finances. Now. Not later

And this isn't going to sound pleasant, and you don't have to say it to her, but I would suggest that you start asking yourself at what point do you call a halt and walk. Because if she's going to play these games with you, this will happen over and over.

Good luck.

Nancy

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Author: kaellner Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254967 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 6:52 PM
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Of course, none of us are in SD and SD-DW's marriage so we're all just taking our best guess based on what we've been told by SD and what we bring from our personal experiences.

There is no need to guess, what kind of person could you live with?

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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254968 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 7:09 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I will update on how it goes and respond to some of the questions and comments later. I got too many thoughts racing through my mind right now. I will take a long walk before talking to DW. I will listen to what she has to say and I will make it clear just how disappointed I am. Tommorow I will look for a mariage counselor. We did see one earlier this year and it was very un-eventfull. After a few general rounds of 1 to 10 how do you rate this part of your marriage we then got to communication which the therapist seemed to get overwhelmed with: AD/HD person not being able to explain debt to wife with brain trama? "You guys might need a specialist". I asked DW if she got anything out of that session and she said no. I agreed and we were going to focus on improving our own mental conditions and understanding the other's.

People who know me say that I do alot for kids and DW and spoil them. So, I think I am leaning more toward this not being a case of me not giving enough rewards (that was in our plans), or being sensitive enough, or demainding all these changes without lots of effort put into getting support, or giving enough attention or praise to DW as I think it is more about DW going back to doing whatever she wants then saying "sorry - this came up - I did not think it was that big of a deal - I promise to never do it again" and then doing it again. I want so deseperately to believe that people who love each other do not just keep hurting the other person on purpose that I give in, rationalize it, blame it on the head trama, excuse it and move on. We will see.

thanks
SD

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254969 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 7:23 PM
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I'll admit I haven't been keeping up with the story previously, so perhaps there is a reason, but may I ask why you are pulling copies of DW's credit reports? Do you have her permission to do so? That jumped out at me while reading the discussion on marriage trust; I can't think of one acceptable reason why my DH would have access to my credit report.


I believe that he has her permission to get her credit reports as that was one of the things they've been doing as the debt paydown has been occurring. He is handling the debt paydown and finances, and as part of that, he keeps tabs on things like their credit scores.

In my house, we do get annual credit reports. DH has never once pulled his. I do that for both of us, so I definitely can find an acceptable reason for one spouse to be doing this for both spouses. I think it probably happens in cases like mine where one spouse manages all the finances, and checking credit reports is part of that.

I think SD has some problems, but not having his wife's permission to be pulling her credit report isn't one of them.

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254970 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 7:35 PM
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I'll admit I haven't been keeping up with the story previously, so perhaps there is a reason, but may I ask why you are pulling copies of DW's credit reports? Do you have her permission to do so? That jumped out at me while reading the discussion on marriage trust; I can't think of one acceptable reason why my DH would have access to my credit report.
If I and my spouse were seriously in debt; I was by my own admission unable to deal with math or managing money; I had an issue with not being able to control spending; and I had agreed that my spouse be the one in the family to manage the finances, I can think of many good reasons why my SO would have access to my credit report.

There's loads of back story here...loads.

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254971 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 7:58 PM
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There's loads of back story here...loads.

i often don't take the time to do it myself, but this is one of those times where going back over previous threads is illuminating, inspiring, and very helpful for providing meaningful feedback.

in my humble but correct opinion, of course.

BklynBorn

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Author: ThyPeace Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254972 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 8:40 PM
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then saying "sorry - this came up - I did not think it was that big of a deal - I promise to never do it again" and then doing it again. I want so deseperately to believe that people who love each other do not just keep hurting the other person on purpose that I give in, rationalize it, blame it on the head trama, excuse it and move on. <'i>

This sounds to me pretty much exactly like the pattern that addicts and their co-addicts live in. No matter how it started, the pattern is really worrisome. Good luck, and I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this, SD.

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Author: OtherVoices Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254974 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 8:44 PM
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Should I be surprised to find out she really is just going to enough therapy sessions to make it look like she is putting some effort into getting a job when she really has no intentions? Should I be surprised to find out she has been getting money from her mom on the side?

If you're asking these questions, I don't think you'd be surprised if the answer was yes. I think you might be hurt, disappointed, angry, upset, etc, but not surprised.



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Author: shirehobbit Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254976 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 10:54 PM
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{{{SD}}}}

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I'm praying that you find a counselor who is the right "fit" for you and your DW.

Shire



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Author: lilacinn Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254977 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 10:56 PM
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Sorry to hear about the betrayal.

Have you looked into a local chapter of Debtors Anonymous? You could use their support yourself, and surely you wouldn't be the only recovering debtor with a sabotaging spouse -- perhaps that group could offer practical assistance...

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Author: sugarski Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254978 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 10:57 PM
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More words, jk.

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Author: sugarski Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254979 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/27/2007 11:00 PM
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I am really to sorry to hear this, SD. This is a tough situation. I have no advice other than what has already been offered, but I wanted you to know you have my sympathy and best wishes.

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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254986 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 12:47 AM
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I read through the responses. Some good feed-back and support. Thanks again. I will give some more thought and respond to some points later. Right now I have a major headache and sore neck from... a car wreck. I was just idle in traffic waiting to exit and then got swiped by a 19yr old. 12yrs no accident and this happens today. Go figure. SUV should be ok (not totaled - drove it home). I got to take care of this mess tommorow.

Just listened to a short explaination from DW and asked a few follow-up questions (calmly). The balance is probably closer to $500 than $220. The bill was being sent to mom and it seems that if not caught there was no intention to stop using the card. The intial purchase was for shorts on sale (not an emergency). She apologized, said she had already canceled the card and will never do it again. I asked what we need to change and she said nothing - she will stick to the budget.

So, I got to sort through all this after hopefully a good night sleep. Can't seem to get to sleep right now.

cheers
SD



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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254987 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 12:56 AM
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SD,

First, a big hug for you.

Second, do NOT make permanent decisions about your marriage when you're angry. No matter how justified your anger.

I'm sorry that your DW's not on board as much as you expected. And I'm sorry her mother is enabling her spending problem and encouraging dishonesty in your marriage. These are serious problems and speak of a lifelong habit of covering for your DW instead of letting her face consequences.

No matter what decisions you ultimately make, I know many of us here are rooting for you.

Another big hug for you.


Frydaze1

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Author: DrBooa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254989 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 2:54 AM
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OMG, I'm so sorry, SoccerDad. Things were going so well, and it just takes your legs out from under you when the person you love and trust and consider your partner in life just lies to you. Sigh.

I thought the idea someone had upthread of having a "I'm feeling super-betrayed" conversation separate from the money conversation is good. I don't know exactly how to separate them, but it seems like a good thing to try.

I don't know what else to say, except this is *so* not an "I told you so" situation. If people warned you this might happen, they were also hoping fervently that it wouldn't. You have worked so very hard, and apparently your wife had, too, and it's just so hard to have what you thought was going on shattered like that.

I'm pulling for you, SoccerDad. Maybe mention that you won't be able to keep the house if that sort of behavior keeps up? Because if you can't trust her with any money at all...I don't know. Sigh.

{{{{{{SoccerDad}}}}}}


--Booa

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Author: SeeFoolRun Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254990 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 5:26 AM
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First, the "backstory" for all of those late to the party (like me):

http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=11477334&bid=100145&sort=username

Honestly I think YOU ARE WAY overreacting to this. Nobody is perfect - heck, I even made a mistake once :)

So after 6-7 months she fell off the wagon. So what? From your very first posts there was a huge underlying theme of "keep DW from sabotaging...". You expected this. And when it did happen you seem very surprised. From the get-go it appeared that you would have to drag her kicking & screaming along the way. We only see your side of this and it paints DW in a bad light:

Won't sell the Pilot
Won't go back to work
Doesn't want to do this/Isn't all that enthused
Makes you drive less reliable & less fuel efficient vehicle for long commute
Won't agree to many changes
Fragile/emotional basket case - have to walk on eggshells
Wants to budget $1000 for her & $50 for you
& I could go on for a while with this list

She may very well be a mess and you are portraying her accurately, but if so, you knew that up front. If anything, assuming the $500 @ Sams is it, that isn't so terrible. Although you had to negotiate & sell like crazy, you got her to agree to your attempt to fix the financial state. Anyone might read that & think "well she SHOULD want to be on board - it affects her too", but we all know what SHOULD BE & what ACTUALLY IS are often very different in real life.

You need to step back and focus on all the progress you BOTH have made. Even if you're doing 95% of the work, no progress would have been made without her working with you on it - or at least agreeing to some form of compromise.

Your very first post had "you should declare BK" as the 2nd reply. You weren't sure how it would work out & knew that BK was a paycheck away. You had a front row seat to this train wreck & were watching it happen in slow motion & the situation seemed all but hopeless.

But you set a goal...... & then:

NOV - $295.1k total debt
DEC - $292.2k total debt
JAN - $289.0k total debt
FEB - $287.1k total debt
MAR - $284.9k total debt
APR - $279.7k total debt
MAY - $273.9k total debt
JUN - $264.1k total debt

I see a great pattern here.

-$31.k in debt reduced in 8 months.
-You have been chipping away an average of $3800/month in addition to the debt servicing cost.
-You went from OTL & late fees to having everything taken care of on time.
-You went from having to take a 401k loan for car repairs to having an e-fund that covered unexpected repairs & dental work w/ some left over.
-A $200 snowball is now $2000.
-Despair has been replaced with confidence

I would assume if we looked at these monthly totals from 12 months ago, they would be trending up, not down like they are now.

You are on track, my friend. You hit a little bump - BFD - it happens. I wouldn't go as far as to say "she's not on board" - she is or you wouldn't have come so far so fast. Does she have the same level of commitment to it as you do? Obviously not, but sabotage is extreme. That implies she did this with malicious intent. Maybe it's just a little too much, too fast for her & this was her way to let off a little pressure. Was sending the bill to MIL's address & lying about it a sh*tty thing to do? Yes, but it's not hard to see why. That doesn't mean I agree with what she did, but can understand why she did it and how she rationalized it - "it's just this one little account & I've been so good this year & I'll keep the balance real low & I'll pay it out of my part of the budget & etc" Of course she did it in secret - what would she expect as a reply to "Honey, I opened a Sam's account today & charged $200 on it"? Maybe she just needed to feel "in control" of something just hers since you are controlling all the rest?

Here's an idea - reduce the limit to $500-$750 & let her keep & manage it. When she feels staying on course is just too much, she can have it as an outlet. That way it's there for her so she has that security blanket, she doesn't feel bad for "cheating", and it's out there in the open. Maybe even divert an extra $20 to her in the budget to cover the min payments. But she knows there is oversight and there is an expectation to manage it responsibly. I know this sounds like rewarding bad behavior, but that little act might get her to realize that although debt elimination is a high priority to you, she is a higher priority. She can't do a lot of damage with a $750 acct - esp with you reviewing the statements (just to be sure it's paid on time - not critiquing purchases made) & that might be equivalent to the financial methadone she needs - cold turkey isn't working.

Your story is amazing and the progress you've made is incredible. Don't dwell on this. See it for what it is - a speed bump - learn from it, & move on. Sure, you need to talk about it & get it worked out between the two of you, but you also need to focus on the remarkable accomplishments you've made so far. You should chart 2006 vs 2007 to give you both a visual illustration of just how far you've come. Just simple bar charts with a trend line would have a great impact since you posted earlier that she doesn't like numbers.


-SeeFoolRun {who thinks if all else fails, make it look like an accident :-) }

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Author: Jennlee222 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254993 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 8:18 AM
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It's a tough situation.

As one poster suggested, it's perhaps just a little bump in the road - you've cut your lifestyle fairly significantly, and it doesn't feel good to your wife. Maybe she "slipped." It might be reasonable to expect some slips now and again, and your progress thus far has been good so you both should be proud of that.

However, as your later post suggests, it definitely seems like more than a slip. She is having the bills sent to her mother. She's being self-destructive because she has to know you would eventually find out because she doesn't really have the ability to pay the bills.

One thing I worry about is it's coming down to you and her as individuals rather than a couple, in sort of like an adult/child relationship. You are handling the finances/making the decisions/checking up on her. While this may appear to make things easier, it may me making her want to rebell. When you do talk to her, I'd try to be a bit careful not to encourage those adult/child roles.

I personally think she is being a spoiled brat, which may be somewhat the result of the way she's been treated by her own parents growing up, and later in the marriage. It sometimes takes a large shock and hard work for a brat to realize they're a brat and begin to change. She may not be "ready" to change to the extent you are. Maybe, however, she will progress toward that level as you work through things. I think there's cause for hope. Look back and see if you can see progress on her side.

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Author: PipneyJane Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254994 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 8:19 AM
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((((((((((((SoccerDad))))))))))))

I usually lurk here, not post, but I had to say that I agree with every word StBridget said.

- Pam

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Author: Amy4Tybee Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254995 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 8:27 AM
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Hey SD,

Just wanted to chime in and say I'm sorry you're facing this situation but that your progress is amazing.

One thing that really struck me is that if I wanted to have a bill sent to my mom's house, there is *no way* she would let me do that - she'd be on my case for not being honest with my husband! So, like Jennlee said, she may be used to being spoiled by her parents.

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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254997 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 9:29 AM
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Honestly I think YOU ARE WAY overreacting to this.

And I think that, if anything, SD may not totally recognize the magnitude of the red flags. So maybe he can average our opinions and be happy with his reaction.

So after 6-7 months she fell off the wagon. So what?

Spending $200 or $1000 on something that's not in the budget is falling off the wagon.

Getting the Sam's credit card planning in advance to fall off the wagon. It is deciding that she is going to do whatever she feels like regardless of what SD wants or what she may have agreed to. "For emergencies" in this case appears to mean, "in case I want to spend money and don't have it."

Having the bill delivered to her parents' house is planning in advance to conceal from SD the fact that she is doing something she knows he disapproves of and that she probably agreed not to do.

Denying that the card exists is effectively admitting that she knows she was violating what she agreed to do and deliberately hiding it from him.

Her parents' agreeing to have the bills delivered there is saying, "Your husband is wrong. You're right. We're willing to help you conceal things from your husband so you can live the way we'd like you to live."

The entire pattern casts doubt on the assumption that SD's wife was ever on board, even a little.

There are serious issues here, and the debt is only a *symptom* of those issues. The debt itself is not the primary problem.

I see a great pattern here.

-$31.k in debt reduced in 8 months.
-You have been chipping away an average of $3800/month in addition to the debt servicing cost.
-You went from OTL & late fees to having everything taken care of on time.
-You went from having to take a 401k loan for car repairs to having an e-fund that covered unexpected repairs & dental work w/ some left over.
-A $200 snowball is now $2000.
-Despair has been replaced with confidence


I see very good damage control. The problem is that SD's wife can get credit and create debt without SD's knowledge or consent and against both his expressed wishes and (presumably) her agreement to refrain from doing so. She has demonstrated that not only is she willing to do this, but that she will attempt to conceal such actions from him.

In other words, SD doesn't necessarily know about all the household debt. There could be more out there that just hasn't hit the credit reports yet.

Don't dwell on this. See it for what it is - a speed bump - learn from it, & move on.

I wish I had abandoned this strategy after the second time I found out my wife had obtained a credit card without my knowledge or consent, which was the first time I can state with authority that she both knew it was against my wishes and it violated her agreements with me. I might have saved myself ten years of misery.

I saw a lot of myself in SoccerDad from the first time he showed up. Then the story got better and I thought, "It's sure nice that someone else did better working this stuff out than I did." Now he's looking a lot more like me, complete with the wife doing Bad Things and concealing them, and the ability to blame the Bad Things on cognitive problems caused by a medical issue. It's so familiar that it's scary.

I just hope SD doesn't end up having to write something like this:

I hate being lied to. I very much hate being blamed for being controlling, manipulative, and unreasonable when I try to point out that she spends too much. I hate wasting money on stuff that only makes my life worse. I hate the fact that I will never, never, in my life be able to trust this woman. And I'm not very fond of the memories my daughter has of her, either.

That was me, on 9/2/02. That's where a situation of one spouse ignores the wishes of the other spouse can go. You can argue all day long about whether SD is ignoring his wife's wishes; I don't think so, but there is room for honest disagreement. It is very clear that she is ignoring his wishes.

Patzer

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Author: thornir Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254998 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 9:38 AM
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I was just idle in traffic waiting to exit and then got swiped by a 19yr old. 12yrs no accident and this happens today. Go figure. SUV should be ok (not totaled - drove it home). I got to take care of this mess tommorow.

SD, please tell me you got the police on the scene for this accident. I made the mistake once of being impatient after an accident where I was hit in a snowstorm by someone driving too fast. Accidents were all over the place so i figured it would be a long wait for the police to respond when there were no injuries.

Long story short, the other driver beat me home, called his insurance company and claimed the accident was my fault. It took nearly two years of my insurance company and his to work out an agreement where his insurance covered most of the cost, so I got most of my deductible back. Had I waited for the police and had an official report, it would have saved a lot of headaches.

Good luck with everything between you and DW. Don't give up things yet. Once is a lapse, a lack of control. People often use the diet analogy on this board, and this may be just like when after several months of progress, the dieter devours the pint of Ben & Jerry's, and only after realize that it was not worth it. Handling this will be difficult, but hopefully with the right handling, it could actually help things by making her better understand how important the debt elimination really is to you as a family.

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 254999 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 9:45 AM
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Once is a lapse, a lack of control
Overspending on budgeted items is a lapse of control. Buying one big-ticket item on a whim is a lapse of control. Eating out instead of bringing lunch is a lapse of control.

Getting a CC without telling one's spouse, sending CC bills to one's parents' house (when one is an independent adult), lying about the CC to one's spouse, and then lying about amount spent on the CC to one's spouse is NOT a "lapse of control". It indicates that control is not part of the vocabulary.

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255000 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 9:50 AM
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So after 6-7 months she fell off the wagon. So what? From your very first posts there was a huge underlying theme of "keep DW from sabotaging...". You expected this. And when it did happen you seem very surprised. From the get-go it appeared that you would have to drag her kicking & screaming along the way. We only see your side of this and it paints DW in a bad light

SeeFoolRun,

I think that if you check back through some very long threads, you'll reach the posts where SD said that DW had sabotaged one effort after another to get out of debt. This isn't the first time, and he may be wondering if there's something else out there that he doesn't know about.

And as he said, a lot of it is about trust. "Falling off the wagon" would imply that she came home and said, "I seem to have bought six hundred dollars worth of summer clothes." Sneaking, lying, sending the bills elsewhere, and going behind his back is where the destruction of trust occurred.

And I'm not sure why you think that she should be trusted with additional money to budget when she is not able, due to the accident, to budget or understand figures.

Nancy

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Author: dusty2004 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255001 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 10:16 AM
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Is Texas one of the states where you can freeze your credit information so that no new accounts can be created? Could this be an avenue for help.

SD: I have numerous times felt joy at your progress. If you want this relationship to continue you have to move beyond what happened. You have to discuss this with your wife and then with her parents. Her parents should know how bad things are and if they allow your wife to send bills to their house they are just making it worse for their grandkids.

Dusty

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Author: electrasmom Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255002 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 10:16 AM
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And I'm not sure why you think that she should be trusted with additional money to budget when she is not able, due to the accident, to budget or understand figures.

As much as I hate to say this, I wonder if this accident isn't being used as an excuse as to not being able to understand figures or budget. SD's wife was smart enough to have the cc bill sent to her parents, making me feel that she DOES understand.

electrasmom


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Author: DEGbookworm Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255003 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 10:21 AM
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I just wanted to chime in and say I agree with the poster who said this pattern is reminiscent of an addict. The pattern of lying, hiding, false promises, lack of responsibility, and need for instant gratification are all the hallmarks of addiction. I don't mean this as an excuse for her behavior, but the reason this is important is that it means the situation needs to be dealt with differently than if she were just unhappy with the current budget.

Also, if you are going to get marriage counseling, or any other type of counseling, I would really suggest you go to someone with experience with brain trauma. Even if the counseling is for you and not her. Someone with brain trauma expertise will be better able to help you set realistic expectations, and will also be better able to sift out what really is the trauma, and what's just an excuse. A therapist without that knowledge is going to be more likely to fall for the excuses and not be helpful.

Lastly, if the brain injury really did make her unable to deal with finances, I suggest you begin talking to a lawyer about how to have her declared incompetent and you her conservator. That would stop her from getting new credit on her own. If she really is that impaired, it's totally unreasonable to expect her to have the capacity to stick to an agreement. If she's not that impaired, she needs to stop using her injury as an excuse.

DEG

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255004 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 10:24 AM
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As much as I hate to say this, I wonder if this accident isn't being used as an excuse as to not being able to understand figures or budget. SD's wife was smart enough to have the cc bill sent to her parents, making me feel that she DOES understand.

I think the hiding the bills part is from "he's going to be really angry about this, so maybe he won't find out" as opposed to numbers flying out the brain. The mental processes would be different.

She was smart enough to get through college, and that happened after the accident. So we know that she isn't stupid, that she can process certain kinds of information. But if numbers are something that she really has trouble dealing with, then some of the visual cues we've suggested (paper chains, pie charts, and so on) would be of more help than looking at numbers.

But I've had trouble with numbers myself, to the point where I reverse them, flip them, and in serious cases, write down letters for numbers. (Quick: add S and F). So I can understand the trouble with processing part.

Nancy

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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255005 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 10:36 AM
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As much as I hate to say this, I wonder if this accident isn't being used as an excuse as to not being able to understand figures or budget.

That's a question that doesn't have to be answered. The important questions are: What can SD realistically expect from her in the future? If the realistic expectation is that she will continue to have "lapses" like the current one, what should SD do about it?

This is hard stuff.

Patzer

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Author: Frydaze1 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255006 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 10:38 AM
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I agree. Being bad with numbers would result in overspending the budget. Opening an account, sending the bills elsewhere, and lying about it when asked, have nothing to do with being bad with numbers. That's about intentionally and knowingly not keeping an agreement.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with giving her money of her own to spend. But IIRC she already has a personal budget.

I see this as a rebellion, encouraged by her parents. As someone whose spouse also rebels regularly, derailing all the careful plans, I have great sympathy. And no advice.


Frydaze1

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Author: ARRazorback Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255007 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 10:53 AM
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(((((((SD)))))))))

Sometimes when it rains, it pours. Hang in there. It will get better.

ARR

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Author: Amy4Tybee Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255008 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 11:13 AM
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This is hard stuff.

Indeed - it strikes me as a character issue, not a competency issue.

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Author: kaellner Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255009 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 11:28 AM
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More words, jk.

Do you really need it? You could have asked Nancy Benoit if she could live with a rage-aholic. Responding without self-control is not something adults do.

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255010 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 11:51 AM
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Just another comment that I haven't seen here yet. My understanding is that this card goes back a couple months now and the bill was sent to MIL's address. This means that MIL was Complicit in the deceit, an issue that I think also needs to be addressed.

Fuskie
Who does not want to be in your shoes when you tell MIL she can not continue enabling her daughter...

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Author: FiddleDeeDee Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255011 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 11:55 AM
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Tommorow I will look for a mariage counselor. We did see one earlier this year and it was very un-eventfull. After a few general rounds of 1 to 10 how do you rate this part of your marriage we then got to communication which the therapist seemed to get overwhelmed with: AD/HD person not being able to explain debt to wife with brain trama? "You guys might need a specialist". I asked DW if she got anything out of that session and she said no. I agreed and we were going to focus on improving our own mental conditions and understanding the other's.

Contact the marriage counselor you saw earlier and ask for a referral to the specialist that he or she mentioned. Counselor #1 will be able to send his/her notes to the specialist. This will help the specialist help you faster.

Just listened to a short explaination from DW and asked a few follow-up questions (calmly). The balance is probably closer to $500 than $220. The bill was being sent to mom and it seems that if not caught there was no intention to stop using the card. The intial purchase was for shorts on sale (not an emergency). She apologized, said she had already canceled the card and will never do it again. I asked what we need to change and she said nothing - she will stick to the budget.

Ask her, how can you help her to do that? That is a different question from "what do we need to change". She now knows that you will find out if she tries to open an account without your knowledge. It sounds to me that she has a very, very impulsive spirit. How do you fight that? Ask her, how can you help her fight that impulsiveness?

I don't remember what your relationship with your inlaws is. If they are suggesting your DW does things without informing you, then they are interfering with your marriage. If it is your DW who is going to them or putting their address on her accounts without telling them, they are in between a rock and a hard place.

I'm sorry to hear about your accident and I hope you feel better very, very soon.



Andrea

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255014 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 11:57 AM
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Her parents' agreeing to have the bills delivered there is saying, "Your husband is wrong. You're right. We're willing to help you conceal things from your husband so you can live the way we'd like you to live."

The account was recent. It isn't known if her parents agreed. Only that she used their address. Given her history of faulty logic, she may assume that her parents will just give her mail delivered to their address and not question the content. It will be dicey, but SD needs to talk to her parents. They do know that their daughter suffered braing injury, but probably don't fully understand the situation. She hasn't learned that going paperless would eliminate the paper trail.

Freezing her credit report will limit her ability to obtain credit, but not prevent it. She can unfreeze her report at any time. Montoring her credit report is necessary.

She rebelled. She is acting like a child. Unfortunately, the financial relationship isn't equal. It isn't just the normal difference between the a stay at home parent and working spouse. Counseling would be a good idea. SD is acting as the parent, because she is unable/unwilling to be financially responsible. As previously stated, it may be necessary to obtain a conservatorship to prevent her from accessing credit. In a normal relationship, often the problem can be solved by setting a budget for an amount that can be spent without accountability.

Normal adults don't always act like adults either. A friend is diabetic. After several years of managing it, she hid Halloween candy. The result was a trip to emergency with a blood sugar of over 500.

Debra

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255016 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 12:20 PM
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SD needs to talk to her parents

i disagree. this is about the relationship between SD and his wife. the relationship between wife and her parents is a different relationship that does not include SD.

for SD to "talk to" his inlaws about this infantilizes his wife and sends the message that it doesn't matter what she does - hubby and mommy and daddy will deal with it. it's possible that this exact pattern has kept SD's wife out of trouble for a long time - with the ultimate outcome, of course, of landing her in more trouble than ever.

BB

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Author: MaestroCindi Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255017 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 1:00 PM
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sending CC bills to one's parents' house (when one is an independent adult)

I'm not married so maybe my perspective on this is totally skewed, but what is up with the in-laws essentially helping their daughter hide bills from her spouse? It just seems totallly wrong to me for them to basically help hide a secret from their SIL.

To the OP, do your in-laws know you're in debt and trying to pay it off? If not, I saw you need to tell them and explain they can't be an accessory to your wife doing things like this behind your back.

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Author: MaestroCindi Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255018 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 1:03 PM
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I think the hiding the bills part is from "he's going to be really angry about this, so maybe he won't find out" as opposed to numbers flying out the brain.

But wouldn't she have to understand the number to hide it from him in the first place? It's not like she's hiding any $0.50 pack of gum she buys.

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255019 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 1:10 PM
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But wouldn't she have to understand the number to hide it from him in the first place? It's not like she's hiding any $0.50 pack of gum she buys.

She's really hiding the credit card, plus, of course, any amount on it. But since SD is checking balances regularly, he'd spot it in a flash if she started using her old card again. It's the credit card itself that she's keeping a secret, and then she's just adding the amounts.

I don't think you need to understand numbers to think, "he won't be happy that I took out a card, so I'll put a different address on it and maybe he'll never find out."

And, of course, the parents may not know that this is a credit card bill. Credit card companies get so much information wrong (they have my long-deceased father living in a state where he never resided) that they might not question the envelopes arriving with her married name and her old address. If they DO know, it changes the whole problem.

Nancy

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255020 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 1:18 PM
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And, of course, the parents may not know that this is a credit card bill. Credit card companies get so much information wrong (they have my long-deceased father living in a state where he never resided) that they might not question the envelopes arriving with her married name and her old address. If they DO know, it changes the whole problem.


I'd agree with Nancy. It's possible they still get other mail for her, and they just tell her there's something for her without knowing what it is. I still get mail from time to time at my Dad's. Sometimes it's in my maiden name [I've been married for 24 years], and I assume it's junk or ask him to open it before throwing it out. Sometimes, however, it's to the right name. In those cases, he sometimes writes my address on it to forward it, or he calls me and tells me that it's there. He never questions what it is, but he always tells me he has it, and asks if I want him to send it up to me.

It is possible that the DW's parents have no idea of what she's getting or why she's getting it, and they just let her know that she has some mail.

The DW, however, knows fully well that what she is doing is wrong regardless of if she understands the magnitude of the numbers on the bill. She willfully applied for the card behind his back, has used it in at least 2 billing cycles since it seems the balance reported is less than the current balance, and had the bills sent somewhere that he was not likely to find them.

She knew exactly what she was doing, and she did it anyways. That is the problem.

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Author: determinedmom Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255022 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 2:35 PM
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SoccerDad...I have to say that you have made more progress than I thought was really possible when you first starting posting. I was one of those that thought that selling DW's car and selling your house were the best solutions for you. I still tend to think that, but you have done much better than I expected.

Having said that, I have always felt your long-term chances for success were minimal given everything you said about your wife. I bear in mind that we are, after all, only hearing one side of the story. I somehow suspect that your financial problems are not solely due to your wife and that you play a part in it as well (I have a son with fairly significant ADHD and I know the havoc that can play also).

Nonetheless, you haven't presented your wife in a way that gave me much hope for the situation. I am not at all surprised that she has done this. I don't see this a simple bump in the road. I see this as deliberately doing what she wants to do and hang the consequences.

I also have never really bought into the brain injury as an excuse. I don't doubt that brain injury can impair the ability of someone to understand finances...but a reasonable person would take that into account and would seek more oversight and input from the spouse...not hide spending.

I wish you luck with the marriage counseling although, truthfully, I'm not sure that I see why you want to salvage this marriage.

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Author: LurkyLurky Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255025 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 2:45 PM
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She knew exactly what she was doing, and she did it anyways. That is the problem.

Yes, that is true. However, I don't think this is an unforgivable offense.

I am touched by SoccerDad's marriage... they seem to be two people who need extra love and understanding because of medical/mental issues, and they love and care for each other in spite of their "imperfections".

There are some posters here who have had divorces where they're still hurting from the betrayals of their spouses, and I think that the message, "divorce her, you'll just regret not doing it sooner, look at the horrible things my ex did to me" comes out of their postings loud and clear (or so it seems to me).

I would just like to try to balance that divisive message somehow, with something more hopeful, and more in the spirit of continuing to try to work it out together. SoccerDad and his wife have made tremendous progress on their debt since last November! This is a set-back, but I hope that they can work together on this to figure out how they can both get what they need.

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255027 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 4:50 PM
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i agree with you, LL, that everyone speaks from their own experiences, and the info provided on the board by the OP.

i don't discount your input solely because it's "hopeful", however, and i'd like to think that the input of others is not discounted solely because it's not "hopeful."

if you look back through this thread, you'll see that many of the more practical (less "hopeful"?) suggestions and insights come from people who have *not* gone through difficult divorces.

in any event, challenging the objectivity of people who disagree with you is using a bit of a broad brush, i think.

YMMV.

BklynBorn

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255029 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 5:59 PM
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<<Having said that, I have always felt your long-term chances for success were minimal given everything you said about your wife. I bear in mind that we are, after all, only hearing one side of the story. I somehow suspect that your financial problems are not solely due to your wife and that you play a part in it as well (I have a son with fairly significant ADHD and I know the havoc that can play also).
>>


Soccer Dad has one basic choice to make every day --- do I continue this marriage or get a divorce?


Soccer Dad is trying to give his wife one basic choice every day as well--- do I stay on the spending wagon or spend like I want to and risk being divorced?


In my view, Soccer Dad needs to keep making that choice for his wife sharp and real. Any failure of discipline can be excused, or can be the reason to start divorce proceedings. By making a Big Deal over this issue, he sharpens the choice his wife must make about future spending. That provides the maximum incentive for her to comply with the agreed upon program of reduced spending.


I wish Soccer Dad good luck.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: Gingko100 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255031 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 6:09 PM
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SP: I think the fact that you are not married is making your advice a bit facile and not that helpful (I am not married either, so I tend to stay away from the marital advice).

All I can tell you is that if my (theoretical) husband were to EVER give me a day-to-day ultimatum - on threat of divorce ("clean the catbox every day or its the big D for you, baby!"), I wouldn't even attempt to meekly comply. I would leave. That's not a partnership, its a dictatorship. And despite the fact the DW here is not very capable, and is doing a lot to undermine things, it is still a partnership. That's what marriage is. Clearly you don't relish that kind of compromise, or you would probably be married. Same for me probably. But I imagine that marriage takes all kind of day-to-day negotiation.

That doesn't mean SD has to be a creampuff. And yes, there IS a breaking point at which divorce is a decision that could be made. But to have his wife walk on eggshells all the time wondering if her every decision is going to end in divorce is completely untenable.

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255035 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 7:11 PM
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In my view, Soccer Dad needs to keep making that choice for his wife sharp and real. Any failure of discipline can be excused, or can be the reason to start divorce proceedings. By making a Big Deal over this issue, he sharpens the choice his wife must make about future spending. That provides the maximum incentive for her to comply with the agreed upon program of reduced spending.

Hi SP, I was wondering when you'd weigh in.

Gingko100 has explained much of the problem with this approach. But there are a lot more considerations, including the expense, the huge emotional cost, the probability of losing custody of the children (given a father who is away twelve hours a day, and a mother who is at home, and the age of the children, that's almost a given) and a lot of other factors, including having to support two households and still pay down the debt.

Several people, including myself, have indicated that SD may need to consider divorce in the future. But it isn't something you can just dangle over someone's head. People just can't live that way.

You've said before that divorce is unfair to men, and this would definitely be one of those times.

If DW can't manage to control her spending impulse, if she continues to hesitate on the possibility of getting a job, if she continues to throw roadblocks in his way, then, yes, I can see the possibility. But not as a daily threat.

Nancy

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Author: LuceLu Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255036 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 7:14 PM
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Having some familiarity with people who have had traumatic brain injuries, I think that impulsivity is one of the most common traits. It may be she has no head for figures (abstract vs. concrete). Spending when she feels overwelmed or depressed may be one of her coping mechanisms way before the brain injury and perhaps the impulse is not easly to put off for her.


Not that I think it was right for her to be deceitful to you.

She may think that you (collectively) owe so much that it will be FOREVER, perhaps she has a hard time seeing beyond that.

If you do attend therapy, I would look to see what it is that precipitated her going for this card and buying $500 (which honestly isn't hard to do at Sam's) worth of stuff.

I agree that having some kind of job or school would help her--keep her mind occupied and add to some esteem and sense of competency.

Having lots of debt feels like an iron vise on your life. You never can escape thinking about it. Walking around, you almost feel like you are different from everyone else but you are not. I felt like that and although I am not totally debt free (student loan debt still lingers like a bad sausage), I can remember what having >$50,000 of debt was like.

Take heart and keep going and doing what you are doing. I bet she is feeling a mixture of embarrassment (to be found out like a child) and resentment (control issues). Try and listen to her feelings and let her be frankly aware of how her actions made you feel.

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Author: SeeFoolRun Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255037 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 7:41 PM
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I think that if you check back through some very long threads, you'll reach the posts where SD said that DW had sabotaged one effort after another to get out of debt. This isn't the first time, and he may be wondering if there's something else out there that he doesn't know about.

And as he said, a lot of it is about trust. "Falling off the wagon" would imply that she came home and said, "I seem to have bought six hundred dollars worth of summer clothes." Sneaking, lying, sending the bills elsewhere, and going behind his back is where the destruction of trust occurred.

And I'm not sure why you think that she should be trusted with additional money to budget when she is not able, due to the accident, to budget or understand figures.


I tried to read through most of them, but catching up on all of them would require taking a week's vacation from work :) I did try to read every original post on this forum (not the the other boards) & then some of SD's replies, but I'm sure I missed some nuggets. I didn't see other "acts of sabotage" so either it all started running together or I just missed those posts. oops.

I just don't see the "destruction of trust" as the trust was never there to begin with. Maybe some was building, but I don't look back through this story line & see it starting with "I trust her completely to do what she says & manage money well".

If she is not able to manage ANY money - due to the accident or other reasons - fine, she shouldn't manage any. But a chunk of the budget is (or at least was - if that changed i missed it) managed by her, which indicates she does understand figures - or at least can stay within constraints of paying W, X, & Y expenses out of $Z monthly. Doesn't the current budget have her managing a decent portion of the household expenses?

I guess what I'm getting at is the situation needs to be looked at differently. SD can continue doing his thing, but needs to acknowledge that she is going to do her thing. Everyone has faults, strengths, & weaknesses. His choices are to either accept her faults or reject her - changing her is not the right approach. Assuming he chooses to accept her - faults and all - and acknowledges that she will not display the same behaviors as he does or prioritize debt elimination as highly at least, he has to change what he DOES have control over and INFLUENCE what he can as much as possible. It's not ideal, but he can put administrative controls (for lack of a better way to put it) in place so she can be the way she is going to be and he can still meet his financial goals. Giving her $X per month and a small acct of hers to use as she wishes is an administrative control. Keeping tabs on those (in a non-judgmental way) is an administrative control. Limiting her access to joint accts is an administrative control. Placing the hard facts in front of her and showing her ways to LBYM are influences. Stressing how important the debt paydown is to the family and the behavior he would like to see from her are influences.

I think they can reach a point where she can do her thing - within reasonable constraints in a check/balance environment - and he can still eliminate debt. It might take him a little longer, but if that's the only way it will work, it's better than the alternatives.

This is very one-sided & SD is shouldering more than his fair share of this burden. He is going above and beyond, making more sacrifices, and driving this initiative to do the right thing for his family. I'm not trying to imply she is right, rational, or reasonable in her behaviors. SD has demonstrated much more patience, understanding, and tolerance than most people - if it were me, she may have accidentally fallen down the stairs by now (j/k of course). But it is not reasonable to expect her to change who she is. A plan based on one partner making significant changes of the way they are is doomed to failure. She has demonstrated she cannot be trusted not to do these things - fine, don't trust her do them. That doesn't mean she isn't deserving of trust in other areas. This is a fault of hers that needs to be planned around and kept in check, but SD isn't going to "fix it". The best he can do is accept the situation is what it is. The debt is what it is; the cash flow is what it is; the budget is what it is; her mindset is what it is. He can control 3 of those, but can only influence 1.



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Author: ThyPeace Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255039 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 8:17 PM
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Various people have suggested that SoccerDad consider divorce, including determinedmom and SeattlePioneer. I'm sure there are others; I'm just being lazy about going back to look at all the names.

This quote, I think, is a decent counter-argument to making any such threat:

All I can tell you is that if my (theoretical) husband were to EVER give me a day-to-day ultimatum - on threat of divorce ("clean the catbox every day or its the big D for you, baby!"), I wouldn't even attempt to meekly comply. I would leave. That's not a partnership, its a dictatorship.

Threats almost never work, of course. And at the same time, I suspect that those who are suggesting thinking about divorce don't consider it to be a threat, but instead a reasonable option given the circumstances.

My own view of marriage is that once you take the vows, you do your darndest to stick with them. When you are presented with a situation that threatens your safety, however, then it is also appropriate to take action. This isn't an either/or situation, and as soon as it polarizes into one, half the battle is lost.

So instead, I would focus on "best for everyone" options. The one I like the most at this point is to really take the financial problems on -- and figure out whether SD's wife really -is- incompetent with money. If she is, there's legal recourse for dealing with it. And if she's not, well, then, that's another data point to indicate that there is a mental illness, or an addiction, that may need treatment.

SD, if you find that addiction is a more appropriate diagnosis and approach, you may want to read Broken<\i> by William Moyers. It will present you with a much more realistic picture of the kinds of ups and downs of addiction than you'll be able to find in a lot of places. Relapse is very common in all kinds of addiction recoveries, and sometimes there are multiple ones. The thing is, though, that with good treatment, many addicts can enter a solid and relatively stable recovery.

It's no easy journey and there are plenty of people who wouldn't want to have anything to do with it. The same is true whether this surface problem is the result of impulsivity impairment, addiction, mental illness, or something else. And, sadly enough, almost every marriage faces some trauma or another. Maybe it's death, maybe it's an affair. Maybe it's addiction, maybe it's abuse. Maybe it's just old-fashioned everyday neglect of each other's most important needs. Whatever it is, though, getting a divorce won't sever the ties you have -- not even many of the financial ones. You'd be paying her spousal support and child support, and when she finally got into such a complete mess that she lost her home and ended up on the street, then you'd have to go back to court, get custody of your kids, pick up the pieces of their lives, and various other unpleasant things.

All in all, I really hope you can protect your family without having to go to those extremes. I'd investigate all the avenues carefully and creatively.

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Author: LurkyLurky Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255042 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 9:16 PM
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I would just like to try to balance that divisive message somehow, with something more hopeful, and more in the spirit of continuing to try to work it out together.

i don't discount your input solely because it's "hopeful", however, and i'd like to think that the input of others is not discounted solely because it's not "hopeful."
...
in any event, challenging the objectivity of people who disagree with you is using a bit of a broad brush, i think.



Hi BklynBorn,

It was not my intention to "discount" anything anyone in this thread has said. When I said I wanted to balance the "get a divorce" message, I meant just that--some people seemed to be weighing with a message of divorce, and I wished to weigh in on the other side of the scale, so to speak.

Of course I have no idea whether anything anyone says here has any influence at all over SD's attitude toward his relationship, but just in case the effect is to "egg him on" to do something drastic, I felt like egging in the other direction.

If you feel challenged by my disagreeing with you, so be it.

As for challenging the objectivity of people who disagree with me... to tell you the truth, I was thinking of one, and only one, poster whose objectivity on the subject of divorce I doubt. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess who that might be (it's not you).

Cheers,
LurkyLurky

P.S., people from Brooklyn are all crazy anyway (Kidding! Only kidding!)

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255043 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 9:35 PM
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Threats almost never work, of course. And at the same time, I suspect that those who are suggesting thinking about divorce don't consider it to be a threat, but instead a reasonable option given the circumstances.

Hi,

I was one who mentioned it as a possibility, and not as a threat. The reason I mentioned it was not because I thought it was a great idea, but because all too often I have seen one party in a relationship take step after step backward. It's like someone saying, "I'll only go this far." "Well, I guess I'll accept that after all. This far, then." "Well, okay, you said you'd try. This far, maybe."

And I've seen people get backed into ugly situations, simply because they kept redrawing those lines in the sand. That's why I wanted SD to consider, now what line he won't redraw.

If an answer can be found, if DW can gain control over her spending, if they can work together, yes, that would be the best answer. It's what we'd all like to see. A lot depends on whether she can really dig down and work to resolve her habits, and if he can learn to cope with her attempts to change.

I think it's one of those "hope for the best, and plan for the worst" scenarios.

Nancy

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255044 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 9:54 PM
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All I can tell you is that if my (theoretical) husband were to EVER give me a day-to-day ultimatum - on threat of divorce ("clean the catbox every day or its the big D for you, baby!"), I wouldn't even attempt to meekly comply. I would leave.

isn't that an ultimatum?

8-)


BB
helpful

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Author: determinedmom Big red star, 1000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255045 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/28/2007 10:38 PM
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Various people have suggested that SoccerDad consider divorce, including determinedmom and SeattlePioneer.


I don't think I quite say that. I think what I was conveying was that I wasn't sure why *he* wants to salvage the marriage.

I can think of some good reasons to do so...and some not so good reasons.

I personally don't believe in the morality of divorce for parents with minor children except in extreme situations. It could, I think, be argued that this situation isn't that extreme... or that it is. I believe that for parents of minor schedule the primary factor to consider in deciding whether to stay married is the welfare of the minor children...and not the personal happiness of the adults (I know most people don't feel that way, but it is how I feel).

In this case, I think there is a case to be had for SD staying married...regardless of his wife's actions...if so doing ends up being in the better interest of their children.

It can certainly be argued that maybe the children would be better off with SoccerDad...if he had custody after divorce. But...there is no way for us to know if that would happen. And, the children might well be worse off with their mom having custody, regardless of how much she cares for her children.

So, I can certainly understand SD saying that he wants to remain in the marriage simply for the welfare of his children.

That said, I think he should face that issue head on and be clear in his own mind of what choices he is making and why.

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Author: 6Bitsadollar Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255068 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 3:55 PM
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(((SD)))

I hope you have recovered from your accident. Also I hope that there was not any costly damage done to your vehicle to wipe out your emergency fund which you have been working so hard to build.

About the Sam's account--

I am late to the party on this and already you have gotten good advice.
I especially like the suggestion about Debtors Anonymous. If you can find a meeting near you, perhaps both you and DW can attend. Also I like the idea about marriage counseling as well--especially as I agree with determined mom about divorce when there are minor children involved.

I had meant to reply to your June update. You are really doing quite well. I think you and DW need to have a long talk about the practical consequences of what she did. Can she return any of the clothing or whatever she bought? If she is buying mostly food at Sam's maybe you need to revisit the food budget. I had meant to ask you earlier how she was dealing with the uptick in food prices recently as well as how increasing gasoline prices were affecting you in your commuting.


Also would you consider cancelling the camping trip? I know this sounds like punishing the kids for what she did but really it would be a consequence of her spending money that you had budgeted elsewhere. You can't spent the same money twice.


I have one more really goofy idea. If her brain injury makes it difficult for her to get the whole picture of your debt problem, draw it our for her.

Draw a picture of a house(doesn't have to be great art either) and inside it put down the amount of money you owe on it. Draw a picture of a school and label it college fund. put a large zero in it. Put pictures of anything that you can think of that you might want in the future (e.g. trip to Disneyland). Draw a picture of a credit card and put your debt amount in it. (You can use magazine pictures if you want). Draw a picture of a bank and put the amount of your emergency fund in it. Use red to indicate amounts you owe; black for positive amounts (your e-fund, 401K,) and green for things you want but don't have money set aside for yet. You also probably need an illustration of how fast her trust is being depleted as I think having a trust fund probably affects her attitude to money.



Molly--trying to type with a huge bandage on her left hand






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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255069 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 4:16 PM
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Thanks again for the responses. I can see some time and thought went into many of the posts. I do not think I am going to have the time to respond to each post separately. So, please just take my thanks, understand that I did read through them all many times over and allow me to respond to them with a more general post. I have a few I will pick out and respond to this weekend.

No big news to report. We had a second short conversation where I stated my feelings about the matter and that I wanted us to get marriage counseling with a specialist. She agreed. I asked if she wanted to talk more about it or what should we do until we saw the counselor and she didn't have anything else to say and just thought I was making a big deal of nothing. There was a point where I could have forced a conversation that she had no interest in having or continue expressing my feeling which she didn't want to listen to. So, very little drama, a whole bunch of unspoken tension and me left to think and reflect on what to-do next.

I will step up the pace to separate our finances and take more defensive steps. I will make a separate post to get suggestions on exactly how to do that. I am thinking about credit monitoring, dropping DW from joint accounts (if that is even possible without a legal fee), getting creditors to stop sending cash advance checks and probably some other things that I have not thought about yet or will not know till I post for suggestions. For the kids sake if nothing else – I just can not risk that we get into a big argument, marriage counseling doesn't go well or something else and then she does something crazy like use a cash advance check to put money in her moms account (BofA loves to send those checks). I do not think DW will care about much of this (never has checked her own credit report) and if she does care about any of it then hopefully it will send a signal to her about just how serious the debt and lack of trust is.

I have a few good leads on better marriage counseling. Thanks for some suggestions from the Fools here. We also have the option of my psychologist (who works as a team with my psychiatrist) for counseling. Every visit I have to talk with both. So, her experience is specialized to therapy for people with mental disorders, she commonly does counseling for spouses to understand the condition of the other and marriage counseling for couples where one or both spouses have a mental disorder. The only hesitation in using her is the $250 per hour fee and when I inquired about how many sessions it would take she guessed a minimum of 4 and then follow-ups if the marriage just needed a little help in 1 or 2 areas. It would seem that I can not afford this and at the same time I can not afford to not afford this.

I do think this was deliberate deceit and she was prepared to continue lying about it. This is a huge red flag for me. I agree with the posts that this is not just a case of a one time impulse spending spree. The trust part is the most troubling part and her reaction has been much more along the lines of “ok – you caught me – sorry - don't make a big deal out of it” (teenager response). This is particularly difficult to take as we just had a nice conversation driving back from a camping trip about how much fun we had, how great it was that it was all planned and paid for with cash, how well we were doing with paying off debt, plans to increase the budget in January, some rewards for Christmas, longer term dreams and so on. Now, I realize I had that conversation without someone who had a secrete that she was just way too good at not letting on to anything being wrong and whose conscious never compelled her to correct the mistake and not carry on a plan of deceit. That is the scary part, the big red flag and the “who is this person that I thought I knew and trusted?”

DW's dad passed about 5 years ago. Her parents had a great deal of miss-trust in their marriage. I always thought the problems of her parent's marriage that had such a negative effect on her were a big motivator for her to avoid the same mistakes in our marriage. Maybe I have failed to see how much her mom has influenced her. DW's mom has no financial means to support spoiling DW other than $20 here and maybe $50 there. Her mom has enough problems paying her own expenses and has no retirement plans other than social security. I think I will just stop here or I will open I whole new chapter which is very “soap-opera-ish” and makes the problems in my marriage look trivial. Now, I have a mental picture of Seattle Pioneer meeting this family and 5 minutes later there is a small cloud of smoke and skid marks from SP speeding out of there. I will leave this for the marriage counselor to sort through. Nothing dramatic to report in my marriage that is about to hit 14 years; no affairs, no previous marriages, no illegal activity… just the craziness of our mental conditions and the boring “put the toilet seat down” stuff. Oh yea, and that $105k debt thing.

It is not easy living with an AD/HD person and in times like these I do try to see things from her perspective. You guys don't have her side of the story and surely I am with my faults. Obviously, she wants more money to spend and feels very restricted and possibly controlled. But, I go back to all the open talks where all options were put on the table and I gave her months to work with me on what expenses to cut, where to get more income and I encouraged and pressed for her to get a job and enjoy all the freedoms of spending that extra income on whatever she felt was lacking in the budget. Even after all those agreements and countless compromises; we have always left it open to revisit the budget if it is not working. I think it is now safe to say that she got too frustrated on my insistence that the budget not be changed because she “felt it was not enough” but on some type of proof that involved receipts and at least some type of rough list with costs. I suppose she is going into some type of shock compared to last year when she spent $240 per week in cash, went over-limited on Discover to $12k and I probably bailed her out another $6k when she didn't have enough to pay for something that we “needed”. I thought about increasing the budget… but, that will only reward the deceit. I thought about letting her keep the SAMS or maybe give her the Capital One ($1,200 limit) and let her manage it. But, that is only going to produce a $1,200 debt by January. I am stuck on any short-term fix. I think I will invest the money in the marriage counseling.

I have hope. I love her. I think the kids feel like they are in a loving home with parents that love them and love each other. They are worth putting a whole bunch more energy and effort into this marriage. I just need to quit being so naïve and stop enabling and spoiling DW. There is a point where enough is enough. Is divorce with kids worse than BK? I do not want to find out.

Thanks again. I will keep following the thread for more suggestions and make some responses when I get caught-up with work.
SoccerDad


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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255070 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 4:36 PM
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<<<In theory, you can maintain a marriage to a spendthrift if you separate finances, you have sufficient income to support the household, the spendthrift is not responsible for anything that you can't stand to leave unpaid, and the spendthrift can't or won't spend money she doesn't have. Turning the theory into reality presents some practical difficulties.>>>

I started thinking about this and quickly came up with 10 "how do you divide that expense or how do you seperate that out" examples. Seems extremely tedious and prone to cause conflict. But, it could be worth a shot to avoid the altertnative.

<<<Is your case as hopeless as mine was? I don't know. Maybe you can go to counseling together and work things out. Maybe your children aren't taking the emotional damage that I didn't see my daughter taking in real time. Maybe counseling for you as an individual can reveal strategies to cope with things that I never learned.>>>

Thanks for the post and links Patzer. I book-marked it for reading this weekend. I will see how similar we are and what I can learn from your experience.

SD

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255071 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 4:42 PM
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I am thinking about credit monitoring, dropping DW from joint accounts (if that is even possible without a legal fee), getting creditors to stop sending cash advance checks and probably some other things that I have not thought about yet or will not know till I post for suggestions.

You would probably need to close existing accounts. It is not possible to remove someone from a checking account. I don't know about credit cards. You will need to consider how it will effect your debt repayment. For now, your FICO score is important.

“who is this person that I thought I knew and trusted?”

After a brain injury, it is often not the same person.


Debra

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255073 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 5:29 PM
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After a brain injury, it is often not the same person.


Except she already had the brain injury when they met and before they were married.

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Author: ekolaw One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255074 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 5:34 PM
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I haven't posted to-date because you have received tons of advice from all the other folks who have contributed to the thread. However, one idea stuck out for me from reading your last post about stepping up the separation of the finances.

If one of your main concerns is her getting ahold of convenience checks or credit card solicitations mailed to the house, what about getting a PO Box (that only you have access to) and having your mail rerouted there? That way you see the mail before she does and can screen out that stuff. Granted, this is only a temporary solution, and there is certainly a trust issue that goes along with it as well. It is a bit of an tit-for-tat approach, but it is one way to almost immediately address that issue without a lot of time or expense.

--eko

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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255075 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 5:43 PM
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<<<Honestly I think YOU ARE WAY overreacting to this. Nobody is perfect - heck, I even made a mistake once :)

So after 6-7 months she fell off the wagon. So what? From your very first posts there was a huge underlying theme of "keep DW from sabotaging...". You expected this. And when it did happen you seem very surprised. From the get-go it appeared that you would have to drag her kicking & screaming along the way. We only see your side of this and it paints DW in a bad light: >>>

<<<You need to step back and focus on all the progress you BOTH have made. Even if you're doing 95% of the work, no progress would have been made without her working with you on it - or at least agreeing to some form of compromise.>>>

I appreciate the other perspective. It makes me think.

At this point... I just didn't think the sabotage would be of this nature.

I do have a long track record of saying DW is 100% on-board or she is doing so much better. Maybe the better evaluation is that she is along for the ride and the complaining has gotton less. I am not sure.

SD



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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255077 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 6:10 PM
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<<<I just wanted to chime in and say I agree with the poster who said this pattern is reminiscent of an addict. The pattern of lying, hiding, false promises, lack of responsibility, and need for instant gratification are all the hallmarks of addiction. I don't mean this as an excuse for her behavior, but the reason this is important is that it means the situation needs to be dealt with differently than if she were just unhappy with the current budget.

Also, if you are going to get marriage counseling, or any other type of counseling, I would really suggest you go to someone with experience with brain trauma. Even if the counseling is for you and not her. Someone with brain trauma expertise will be better able to help you set realistic expectations, and will also be better able to sift out what really is the trauma, and what's just an excuse. A therapist without that knowledge is going to be more likely to fall for the excuses and not be helpful.

Lastly, if the brain injury really did make her unable to deal with finances, I suggest you begin talking to a lawyer about how to have her declared incompetent and you her conservator. That would stop her from getting new credit on her own. If she really is that impaired, it's totally unreasonable to expect her to have the capacity to stick to an agreement. If she's not that impaired, she needs to stop using her injury as an excuse.

DEG >>>

That brain trama thing sure does muddy the waters. In case people are wondering why this wasn't addressed a long time ago... She did under go a series of tests over a few days to get a drivers license back and legal rights back before we were married. So, I was very interested to talk to the doctors and specialists about the results. When they say the last 2 frontiers are space and the human brain.... that is not just a saying. I tend to think we know more about space sometimes.

SD


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Author: RedFi Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255079 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 6:49 PM
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SD -

I've gone back and skimmed your earlier posts through the current thread. First off - good job, nay, fantastic job. I'm so impressed at how far you've come in a relatively short period. You are understandably disappointed with your DW's most recent actions, and I hope the two of you can work together in a positive way so as to keep moving forward to your debt-elimination goals. I don't want to get into any further analysis of your relationship with your DW, but I am wondering if you have played around with ways to help your DW track your debt-reduction progress. I know that at least one earlier poster suggested something.

You've said before that your wife doesn't like dealing with the math / numbers. Unfortunately, this means that she's not getting to see the full results of the steps you've taken so far. You get to post the numbers here and get kudos, advice, and support from the community here. In contrast, DW gets these things from you. I'm sure you do a good job encouraging her, but you're just one person, not an anonymous mass of hundreds cheering you on. I have an image in my mind - the two of you are running two different marathons - you're running a marathon with loads of other people and people cheering on the sidelines. But your wife is simply running 26.2 miles with a running partner who keeps encouraging her, but there's no cheering crowd, there's no banners, there's simply a long, long, l-o-n-g run. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why you've had such a hard time getting your wife to truly commit to change.

I don't know what type of learner your wife is or what type of system might work to allow her to share in the little victories along the way. If she's a visual person, you may want to do some variant off of the debt paper-chain, so she can actually have a visual representation of your progress. Maybe you could have two big jars - one for "debt" and one for "payment." Fill the debt jar with different colored poker chips - make the different colors different denominations. Add enough "money" to illustrate your current debt. Each month, or each time you pay down the debt, take out the proper number of chips and transfer to the other jar. I don't know - I just think if you can try to find a way so your wife can appreciate the great strides you're taking it might be easier to get her on board. I think if she had something other than abstract numbers, it might help.

Hope this helps.

Fi

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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255080 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 7:00 PM
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<<<Having said that, I have always felt your long-term chances for success were minimal given everything you said about your wife. I bear in mind that we are, after all, only hearing one side of the story. I somehow suspect that your financial problems are not solely due to your wife and that you play a part in it as well (I have a son with fairly significant ADHD and I know the havoc that can play also).>>>


Models have been developed to show how a person can inherit one subtype of ADHD and develop symptoms of the other over time. This helps us to understand the fact that the majority of ADHD patients have some symptoms of both. Problems with focus, attention, and concentration can be associated with both types. In one the brain won't turn on - “not interested”. In the other there's too much noise and the individual can't focus on the important because of too many unimportant distractions.

I have the "not interested" and very little of the "too much noise". I actualy can not relate to the "too much noise" people. I can only relate to the more general problems.

This relates to debt as "highly focused on interesting things... but, most often not the most important things". Example: I need to sit down at the computer and work on a budget and figure-out how to pay all this debt ... whoa, look at that news article about robots in space... fasinating. 2 hrs later... now, what was I going to-do on the computer tonight?

Relationships example: "DW: coming to bed?" "SD: yes, finishing up... be there in 2 minutes"... "DW: I thought you were coming to bed?"... "SD: I am, be there in 1 minute"... "DW: it has been over 1 hr"... "SD: no way - like maybe 5 minutes tops"... "DW: take your stupid pills already".

Random example: "There was a good reason I came into this room... a damn good reason... in fact, I am sure that something bad might happen if I do not remember..... ..... .... .... " " ...... "stupid ADD" ...walk into the other room... "oh yea, now I remember! - feed the cat"... and I am going to do that just as soon as I finish reading this chapter.... 2 hrs later... "DW: did you feed the cat?" ... "SD: I think so, no, I will do it in a minute"... just as soon as I finish this last chapter... 1 hr later... "Cat: meow"... "SD: what do you want?"

and this "..." means "trying to focus, switching into or out of hyper-focus" and why does "..." and aburt changes and ramblings make perfect sense when I see other ADD people type them?

It is all very managable with meds until DW upsets the chemical balance by opening SAMS card and then I start posting and reading obessively. I think it would be best if I stop now.

I feel like I just went to confession
SD




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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255081 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 7:20 PM
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<<<“who is this person that I thought I knew and trusted?”

After a brain injury, it is often not the same person. >>>

This reminded me of a movie DW was crying over about 1 week ago. The title was something like "The stranger I married". Anyway, in the movie the man (who was in a comma / car wreck / brain damage) said he was no longer John Somebody. He was a different person and he asked his own wife out on a date. Not because he could not remember her, but, because he was someone else now and he wanted his wife to love him and not who he used to be.

Anyway, DW cried about every little thing in that movie that reminded her of what happened to her.

SD


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Author: 6Bitsadollar Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255082 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 7:21 PM
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DW's dad passed about 5 years ago. Her parents had a great deal of miss-trust in their marriage. I always thought the problems of her parent's marriage that had such a negative effect on her were a big motivator for her to avoid the same mistakes in our marriage. Maybe I have failed to see how much her mom has influenced her. DW's mom has no financial means to support spoiling DW other than $20 here and maybe $50 there. Her mom has enough problems paying her own expenses and has no retirement plans other than social security. I think I will just stop here or I will open I whole new chapter which is very “soap-opera-ish” and makes the problems in my marriage look trivial



*************
I am not sure how far you have gotten in your discussion with DW about the Sam's card but this makes me wonder if DW did this on her own initiative or if she was somewhat persuaded/tempted by her mom to open the account and send it to another address. The trust still has been violated, but it may be that her mom is more of an actor in this than you have realized before.


Also, if you are worried about convenience checks, I think you can call them and have them stop sending them to you. I was complaining about them in an earlier post and someone--I don't remember who---suggested that I call them and ask to opt out.


Molly--still typing with one hand




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Author: mapletree8 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255084 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 8:33 PM
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getting creditors to stop sending cash advance checks and probably some other things that I have not thought about yet or will not know till I post for suggestions.

Rent a PO Box. Change all the billing addresses to the PO Box. Keep the key for yourself.

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Author: vkg Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255087 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 9:36 PM
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Except she already had the brain injury when they met and before they were married.

Somehow I missed that.

Debra

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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255088 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 9:36 PM
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I will step up the pace to separate our finances and take more defensive steps. I will make a separate post to get suggestions on exactly how to do that. I am thinking about credit monitoring, dropping DW from joint accounts (if that is even possible without a legal fee), getting creditors to stop sending cash advance checks and probably some other things that I have not thought about yet or will not know till I post for suggestions.

You'll need your wife's passive cooperation to implement this sort of thing. You're already doing the credit monitoring, with her permission. You can keep doing that.

Dropping someone from a joint account usually involves paperwork signed by both parties. It's simpler to open a new account in your name only and transition funds to that account. Been there, done that.

You can get reputable credit card companies to stop sending stupidity checks just by asking . . . but this only works for your own accounts. If your wife is joint, she can get them to send more stupidity checks just by asking. If it's your wife's individual account, you don't have a legal right to tell the creditor to do anything to change what they're doing anyway. This is an area where external controls like eliminating stupidity checks work only if your wife agrees to be controlled in this fashion. And she can revoke her agreement at any time.

I have a few good leads on better marriage counseling. [details about most attractive option snipped.] The only hesitation in using her is the $250 per hour fee and when I inquired about how many sessions it would take she guessed a minimum of 4 and then follow-ups if the marriage just needed a little help in 1 or 2 areas. It would seem that I can not afford this and at the same time I can not afford to not afford this.

We had therapy aimed at helping our daughter, but no therapy aimed at helping us fix the marriage. I will never know whether marriage counseling might have made things enough better to save my marriage, but without it I achieved a result you'd like to avoid.

I would hope that counseling could help you deal with the trust and respect issues. Right now, it looks like your wife doesn't respect you and you can't trust her. It's hard to maintain a marriage without trust. It's very hard to re-establish trust after it has been violated as you describe; but it may be just as hard for her to change enough to deserve that trust.

I have hope. I love her. I think the kids feel like they are in a loving home with parents that love them and love each other. They are worth putting a whole bunch more energy and effort into this marriage. I just need to quit being so naïve and stop enabling and spoiling DW. There is a point where enough is enough. Is divorce with kids worse than BK? I do not want to find out.

That puts a definition on what you want to do about things. You want to find a way to put your finances in order without leaving the marriage. You hope and believe that this can be done while maintaining a loving and supportive environment for the children.

You might be able to get rid of the debt without your wife's active support, but you can't do so with her active opposition. You need at least passive support from her.

Let's think about the counseling logically: Four $250 counseling sessions is $1000. Two lapses like the most recent Sam's card episode are at least $1000. Walking away from the marriage is off the table.

It sure looks like that counseling is a must-have item. Your financial plans fail without your wife's acceptance, and I can't see you getting that acceptance without counseling.

Patzer

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255090 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/29/2007 11:08 PM
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"There was a good reason I came into this room... a damn good reason... in fact, I am sure that something bad might happen if I do not remember..... ..... .... .... " " ...... "stupid ADD" ...walk into the other room...


bill cosby once said he knows the human brain is in the human, um, behind. many times he got up to get something, went into the other room, looked around, tried desperately to remember what it was, gave up, came back, went to sit down again, and just as his butt hit the chair he remembered what it was - his "brain" just needed that little jolt of touching down.


BklynBorn
member of club

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Author: DrBooa Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255091 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 6/30/2007 3:46 PM
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Everything is ok on hers except for a new SAMS card opened 5/2007 with a $1,300 credit limit and a $220 balance. I called and asked her if she had opened a SAMS card last month. She said no. I tell her that her credit report shows that she opened the account last month. She then comes clean and says she opened it just in case of an emergency. I asked her what the $220 emergency last month was. She went on for a little bit about how she needed a few things, that she is going to keep the balance low (yes, “low” – she did not say “pay-off” each month) and that it would be ok. I said “no, it will not be ok”. A very unpleasant conversation is coming tonight.

You know, I'm wondering (and trying to give SD's wife the benefit of the doubt, too), she maybe needs help resisting sales and stuff? She can't just stay out of stores, because she is doing the food shopping and what not, but...okay, she bought shorts on sale, right? Who were the shorts for, and how many shorts do those people already have? Are they for the kids? How many shorts do the kids have, was it time to replace them, or do they now have like, twenty pairs of shorts each?

I know I'm kind of reaching, here, but I know that one of the things that triggers my impulse spending is seeing a really cute pair of black pants that actually fit me, and then buying them *before* I remember that I have three pairs of black pants, two are presentable, and thus I have no need for another pair. One thing that has really helped me is getting a better idea of what clothes I *do* have, which is sometimes hard to tell if the clothes aren't sorted very well, or if there are tons of them in the closet and so after a while, I'm just wearing the stuff in the drawers and have forgotten that I have something that will work at home, instead of buying the new thing because I've forgotten the old one.

Another thing that is good is to learn that this will not be the last sale, this will not be the last time in the history of time that black pants will be on sale, or shorts in your wife's case. There will be another sale, and when you have the money to pay for it. Maybe she's feeling like, she'll never get to buy that stuff, rather than, maybe she should just wait a month or two. Or even just until the next period of time when she has money scheduled for clothes, or whatever.

This is where having some kind of system for keeping track of what she's already spent really helps, and also having a name for every dollar in the budget. For example, my DH and I have a chip jar, where we put poker chips representing the money we can spend on groceries, gasoline, eating out, movies, clothes, copies, whatever--all the stuff that isn't a fixed expense (rent, my best guess at utilities, health insurance for our kid, etc., etc.). Every time we spend money in that very broad category, we take out the poker chips representing that amount, and so we can always count the remaining chips and get a good idea of what we have to spend. You said she's not good with money, would something like this help? We don't do it to the penny, we round to $10 amounts. And we do it every two weeks, when DH gets paid.

Could you set up something similar, so she knows that if she wants to spend $220 on shorts, that it's going to gouge a huge hole in her budget for other stuff, but maybe she can see where if she times it for a week from now, there'll be new chips in the chip jar and she can be careful with other stuff that week or two weeks and make it come out okay? I'm just wondering if having some physical representation of money being spent and then getting refilled would help her space out her spending a little?

Also, talk to her about the magic of returning--she can decide after she gets home and sees that her kids already have plenty of shorts, that maybe she can take them back, or she can take half of them back, if she overbought a little. Take enough stuff back, and you start editing earlier to save yourself the trip, but that's down the road a little.

Anyways, just some thoughts. Good luck, SD, we're pulling for you.


--Booa

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255110 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/2/2007 7:44 AM
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Thanks again. I will keep following the thread for more suggestions and make some responses when I get caught-up with work.

SD, I thought of something quite suddenly.

A month or two ago you mentioned that once the debt was paid off that you intended to keep the finances at the same level, and put the snowball toward retirement and college funds.

Do you think it possible that DW was assuming that once the debt was paid off that the reins would be loosened and she could start having more money available again? Not actually at her old level, but at least to the extent of having some more freedom to spend?

Do you remember how long ago you said that?

Nancy

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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255121 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/2/2007 12:35 PM
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<<<SD, I thought of something quite suddenly.

A month or two ago you mentioned that once the debt was paid off that you intended to keep the finances at the same level, and put the snowball toward retirement and college funds.

Do you think it possible that DW was assuming that once the debt was paid off that the reins would be loosened and she could start having more money available again? Not actually at her old level, but at least to the extent of having some more freedom to spend?

Do you remember how long ago you said that?

Nancy>>>

That was allways in the plans.

We had agreed to slowly increase the budget (like an extra $20 per week for her starting in Jan) as the debt pay-down met milestones. But, I had allways stressed that we were behind schedule in college savings for example and that the cash-flow benefit of being debt free would not be lots of extra money to spend. But, rather a funding of savings and investments instead of cc payments. We never agreed and I do not think she ever assummed that there would be any degree of returning to old habits. She does have an expectation under our agreement that the budget would return to something like $240 per week for her as we got close to and past debt pay-off (2 yrs or less).

It is possible that she thought or justified something by thinking the pay-off was going well enough to spend some extra money.

SD




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Author: SoccerDad9998 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255122 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/2/2007 1:05 PM
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I will try to sum up this thread.

DW opened an account with intentions of hiding it and lying about it. She did this because she felt too restricted by the budget and got frustrated that previous complaints about the budget were shot down by me because they were just based on emotion and not based on any facts about what was needed but could not be purchased. She feels that she lacks the skills to put together any factual argument and that is why she felt so hopeless with her only option being to open an account.

However, what she purchased on the account (nothing of pressing need) and how quickly she ran it up to about $500 proves this was much more a binge spending spree that was about emotions, freedom, control, addiction and very little to-do with a real need for an emergency backup account or any real need for any major adjustment in the budget. No one is starving. No one is going without clothes.

We will return to weekly check-up talks about money. I will remind her how much freedom awaits her when she gets a job. We are looking into marriage counseling that is better for both our mental conditions and hope to have that scheduled shortly.

DW and her mom will work on paying off the debt of the closed account with no increase in funds for her to do so.

I am working on seperating our finances. I am working on how to incoporate marriage counseling into the budget.

I hope that one day DW will adopt a Foolish attitude about money. But, I will keep paying down the debt and begin savings with just the understanding that she is along for the ride and hope that counseling and defensive strategies will head-off or minimize any future sabotage.

thanks for all the replies
SD



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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255123 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/2/2007 1:05 PM
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We had agreed to slowly increase the budget (like an extra $20 per week for her starting in Jan) as the debt pay-down met milestones. But, I had allways stressed that we were behind schedule in college savings for example and that the cash-flow benefit of being debt free would not be lots of extra money to spend. But, rather a funding of savings and investments instead of cc payments. We never agreed and I do not think she ever assummed that there would be any degree of returning to old habits. She does have an expectation under our agreement that the budget would return to something like $240 per week for her as we got close to and past debt pay-off (2 yrs or less).

That's what you said, yes. But I was wondering what she heard. If she was editing according to what she wanted to hear (which is something that many, many, many people do, myself included) she may have thought that there would be a higher money flow once the debt was gone.

Nancy


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Author: Amy4Tybee Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255124 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/2/2007 1:18 PM
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I just wanted to say how much I admire you, SD. You're a good husband. You're really showing how much character you have of patience, understanding, and humility. It really comes through in your posts.

Admiringly,
Amy

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Author: FiddleDeeDee Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255126 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/2/2007 2:07 PM
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We will return to weekly check-up talks about money.

I think this is an excellent, excellent idea. I know that if I don't pay attention on a regular basis to finances, then after a while I sort of forget about it. I go for weeks and months without realilzing that I haven't checked up on how we're doing! I become complacent. Life is good. I start to think, well, everything is okay, why shouldn't I buy a new set of All-Clad pans ($600 - on sale) for my birthday?

It is human nature.

I'll tell you a little about my family - my son has a learning disability and sometimes he thinks that he must perform perfectly in order to be considered half as good. He gets really bent out of shape over things he feels he should be able to do but are hard for him. Well, some things are hard for everybody; it has nothing to do with his disability. I tell him: his slowness at learning things may impede his progress somewhat, but he does get it after he spends the time and effort to learn it. He is not defined by his disability.

Keep up the good work; you are doing a great job.

Andrea







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Author: GreatVintage1965 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255127 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/2/2007 2:54 PM
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I have a suggestion on communication ... visual aids.

If your message (debt paydown, budget, control spending, financial goals, etc.) is the same over and over, you may just keep getting the same results (balking, lying, negativity).

I have seen/heard these percentages recited many times in literature and in classes: Retention of information is only 10% for oral presentation, 35% for visual presentation, and 65% for combined oral and visual presentation.

Try bar charts, pie graphs, picture collage (I believe this was mentioned earlier on this board). Simplify, colorize, and use shapes to represent your budget and goals.

Visual aids will reinforce your message (the plan you both agreed to) without you nagging or harping, perhaps reducing or eliminating lectures. I imagine you neither like giving lectures nor does your wife like hearing lectures.

Whether you use visual aids or not, you may also try applying "Triple Constraints", which is used to filter ideas by criteria (time, budget, performance), not by good or bad. Neither your wife or you are good or bad. Just as the budget and financial plan are neither good or bad. Triple Constraints is to allow the objective evaluation of an idea / plan without internalizing or taking personally the application of the selected criteria.

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Author: BklynBorn Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255134 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/2/2007 8:14 PM
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DW and her mom will work on paying off the debt of the closed account with no increase in funds for her to do so.

these are my favorite words in this sentence:
- working
- closed
- no increase
- and her mom

i think this is a brilliant strategy for all involved. i'm very impressed, SD.

BklynBorn

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Author: kook79 Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255195 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/4/2007 9:25 AM
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SD,

I'm so sorry to hear that. I've been following your posts for quite sometime and enjoy watching you make your progress towards your goal of being debt free. I don't think the best idea would be to audit every week, month, etc. because it will most likely lead to more conflicts and even more trust issues. I hope the conversation went well and it wasn't too heated. Stick to your guns and hopefully we'll read a post from you that says you are debt free and DW is back on the band wagon.

kook79

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Author: SeeFoolRun Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 255712 of 308363
Subject: Re: Sabotaged Date: 7/16/2007 2:32 AM
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So......

It's been a couple weeks. How's it going?

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