B
Just Said Yes April 2020

Debt Bombshell!

BB2020, on March 3, 2020 at 5:49 PM Posted in Family and Relationships 2 37
Saved Save
Reply

Looking for a little advice here around some recent developments in my relationship. I have been in a long term relationship for almost 12 years living together for past 6 years. Got engaged to my girlfriend back in Dec. 2019 and planned a small destination wedding with only 4 guests for April 2020.


My fiancé finished her degree about 8 years ago and I was aware she took out student loans to pay for it. We never really talked very much about debt throughout our relationship over the years. My girlfriend would get very passive aggressive anytime the subject got breached and it would inevitably result in an argument. The only info she shared with me shortly after graduating was she had 40k in student loans. To provide a little context we are both in our late 30’s and I do not have any debt outside of a mortgage.


Fast forward to this January shortly after getting engaged. I asked her for an update on her debt obligations so we could begin planning better for our future together. Again the same passive aggressive argumentative behavior. After several arguments and various shifty answers on why she couldn’t provide it she reluctantly informs me it is 70K worth of student loan debt that she has. We talked about it and she assured me she was working to consolidate everything to a better interest rate and would get me more details around it soon in about 3 months or so after the financing details got worked out with her bank which is after we are married. After requesting periodic updates from her over the next several weeks I kept getting the run around. Things finally came to a head about 2 weeks ago when I basically demanded to see some sort of official documentation, bank statement, loan document, anything that would verify the total debt load. Continued to get same run around about her not being able to find her total debt amount. During a huge argument I made it extremely clear that the wedding will not be happening until I get this information. She then confessed that it was actually now 100K of total student loan debt. She tells me that she had no idea about the other 30K until just recently. I of course find this hard to believe and feel she is being dishonest with me.


At this point alarm bells are going off so I request she share her credit report with me via credit karma. She agreed. The student loans were there along with a 33k auto loan I was already aware of and a credit card showing a 12K balance. She assures me that she has only carried a balance on the credit card once resulting in a $300 interest payment. I do understand that her balances are typically higher since she expenses a lot of work travel on the card which she is reimbursed for but its also her go-to personal card. Based on all the above turn of events I requested to review the specific line item details of her credit card and bank statements over the past year. She said under no circumstance will she share that information with me. I told her that I could not move forward with the marriage until I see this information. She still said no way. Is it unreasonable for me to ask for the detailed line item credit card and bank account information from my fiancé? And should she feel obliged to share? Would you move forward with this relationship without this info? I have volunteered all of my financial records for her to review. Thanks in advance for any advise.

37 Comments

Latest activity by Samantha, on March 13, 2020 at 1:03 PM
  • Sarah
    Master September 2019
    Sarah ·
    • Flag
    I don’t think you’re being unreasonable, but I also think you need to really think about this. I can’t imagine marrying someone who spent a decade lying to me about their debt. I also wouldn’t marry someone who wouldn’t share their financials with me.
    • Reply
  • Cortney
    Devoted August 2020
    Cortney ·
    • Flag
    While I am 100% “what’s yours is mine” after a wedding, I am also in the debt free except the mortgage club.
    I would suggest counseling to get you both on the same page prior to marriage, but it seems you don’t have a lot of time. Is postponing an option?
    I only suggest this because finances can be a major issue in marriage and I feel it’s very important to get on the same page! Otherwise, you may find yourself in a worse situation. Maybe another option rather than cancelling or postponing would be to come up with a plan post-marriage for paying off debt. I don’t personally think asking to see an itemized account of this past debt is helpful, I would focus on the future more than the past. But the actions you list out are red flags to me.
    • Reply
  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    I don’t think it’s unreasonable either for you to want to know what her financial situation looks like especially it seems she was so hesitant and sort of lied about her debt.
    • Reply
  • Rachael
    Expert May 2021
    Rachael ·
    • Flag
    That's a tough situation. I'm very open with my FH with my loan situation as he has none except his mortgage. I'm never going to ask him to pay my student loans or car loan even after were married those bills will continue to be paid by myself. I would recommend looking into lend key to refinance any private student loans, it really saved me and I had a lot of student loans as well. The credit cards are what would worry me more because noone wants a partner who can't make financially good decisions. maybe she just got over her head with regular bills while being a student. At this point looking at line by line statements won't do much as it's already spent. I would suggest laying out a budget and having all expenses and income laid out so she can get a better picture of her finances. Some people are truly unaware of how bad their situation is until it's laid out for them. Don't try to be her dad, be a supportive fiance as much as you can so she doesn't feel ashamed and you guys can work together to find a good solution.
    Good luck
    • Reply
  • Mary
    Dedicated October 2020
    Mary ·
    • Flag

    If this was reddit, I'd be posting a whole series of red flag emojis right now.

    The fact that she has tremendous debt and is being dishonest/shady about it? That sort of thing will destroy a relationship, if it hasn't already. It's even more concerning, if not alarming, that she's been out of school for 8 YEARS and does not seem to be trying to pay her debt off (based on the info you've provided).

    I don't think anyone would blame you if called the marriage off.

    • Reply
  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal ·
    • Flag

    Based on what you've shared, there are MANY red flags here about her financial situation and behavior in general. Even if her full intent is to be fully responsible for her own debts, as a married couple, you will have some potential obligations. If nothing else, the amount of her income going to debt repayment will impact your joint financial goals. Most importantly, her lack of honesty would be very concerning to me. Personally? I'd take a step back, put the wedding on hold, and engage in counseling before deciding what to do next. Her having debt isn't a deal breaker to me, but her lack of full-disclosure and her attempts to dodge your very reasonable questions is. A marriage should be based on full-disclosure/total honesty in my book. Good luck to you!

    • Reply
  • needmorewine
    Expert May 2016
    needmorewine ·
    • Flag

    You're not being unreasonable at all. At a minimum I would suggest postponing the wedding indefinitely and attending couples and financial counseling. The amount of debt is concerning enough, but the lying and refusal to disclose information about her finances throws up huge red flags. It would be different if she had been open and honest about the situation all along and was transparent about how she was working on paying off her debt. Given her behavior and attitude about it, I would think very carefully about if you want to tie yourself to her legally. What were your plans for finances after getting married? Were you planning to combine finances or keep everything separate?

    • Reply
  • Sylessia
    Dedicated March 2020
    Sylessia ·
    • Flag
    Honestly, you have the right to ask. I know I personally couldn’t marry someone who constantly lied to me and not being honest about financials is a huge no. There is no way to have completely separate finances once you both are married. If she’s lied about this what else is she lying about?
    • Reply
  • Meghan
    Master October 2019
    Meghan ·
    • Flag
    Yikes. So, though I don’t understand why your fiancé wouldn’t be willing to share her financial info with you, I’m also not sure you can demand to see a line by line report. Technically, you aren’t married yet, so it is still her money. But I totally support you in trying to protect yourself, as I would do the exact same thing!!! I think the fact that she is unwilling to show you these items is a red flag.


    One option, if you do choose to move forward with this marriage, is a prenuptial agreement stating all pre-marital debt remains in that persons name. This way it does not become the other parties responsibility during or, if the case arises, after the marriage.
    • Reply
  • B
    Just Said Yes April 2020
    BB2020 ·
    • Flag

    Yes, after the debt revelations finances were going to be completely separate. I do understand however how her debt obligation indirectly impacts our joint financial goals. I feel she has a hard time understanding this concept. Also, just an fyi the wedding has been canceled/postponed. Way to many issues to get resolved so close to wedding.

    I'm now trying to decide if there is any way forward with our relationship at all or if I should just end it and move on.

    I prefaced all of my requests for debt information/credit card detail around planning/budgeting for our future. I am trying to reassure her my intent is not to scrutinize her credit card spending habits I just want a clear picture. Sure we may identify together some spending areas to cut back on but it would never be confrontational in nature. I can't help feel she is trying to hide additional financial burdens from me on her credit card.

    Lastly, I was fortunate enough to have my college paid for so I do not have any experience with student loans. How common is it for someone to not know/keep tabs on their total student debt load over the years? And how likely would they not know about a 33k unsubsidized student loan they had taken out?

    • Reply
  • Kristen
    Master November 2020
    Kristen ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Hmmmm...this is a hard one. I think it was smart to cancel the wedding as of now. May I ask what caused you to want to marry her? I do feel that hiding debt and it seems she has not put a dent into paying it off is alarming...more so the not being honest about it. I do agree that finances can cause strain in relationships but not sure if that is a reason to give up on the relationship rather something she does need to work on greatly in order to improve the relationship. Does she accept any fault in the matter?

    • Reply
  • Chrysta
    Master November 2022
    Chrysta ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Well I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally did not keep track of my student loan debt. I was working my way through school as a single woman and continuously took out the maximum alotted amount in order to help pay my living expenses while going to school. I knew it was a large amount I was racking up, and just didn’t feel it was healthy for me to continuously scrutinize the amount because if I was going to get my degree there was nothing I could do about it. I made the decision to just put my head down, study hard, graduate, then deal with the financial fallout after I was done. I now have over $100,000 of school debt, and had NO idea what that total was until after I had graduated & had to start paying back the loans. My fiancé had asked me about the total of my school loans, and all I could honestly tell him was “I don’t know, but it’s a lot.” If I’d had to make a guess, I honestly would have guessed it was significantly less. Those loans add up quickly when you are not paying attention! In any case, we sought advice from a financial professional and were assured that my School Loan Debt does not impact my fiancé in anyway – before marriage, during marriage, or if we were to divorce. My school loans are my school loans, and they will never be his obligation. Other than my school loans though, I do not carry any significant debt and I have a very high credit score. I think if your fiancé does not have any significant debt other than her student loans, you should cut her a break. It is very possible she honestly did not know just how much she owed until you forced her to look into it. (And may have been embarrassed once she found out) And she may not want to show you a line by line of her credit card because it feels controlling and demeaning. Seeing a financial advisor could be good for both of you to ensure you are on the same page and working towards the same financial goals for your future. Just as it will be important for your fiancé to practice responsible spending, it will also be important for you to not be controlling when it comes to her spending habits. Decide on what amounts should be saved, contributed to the household, and used as individual spending... and do not micromanage what she decides to use her spending money on. Finances is the #1 cause of divorce in the U.S. Best to figure things out now!
    • Reply
  • Margaret
    Master October 2020
    Margaret ·
    • Flag
    I think your request to see the financials is reasonable. As for maybe the line items; maybe only ask about the last few months?
    It does sound like something is being left out or hidden.
    I believe in the what’s mine is yours, etc. But my past debts are not nor will they ever be my FHs responsibilities- I’ve made that clear. Whatever debts we incur as a couple are ours, whatever savings we incur together are ours. I think there has to be some degree of separation to ensure we are both always protected if something happens to one or both of us.
    I think you have a lot more doubts than answers. Maybe counseling can help, but if she’s unwilling then I think you have to do what’s best for you
    • Reply
  • L
    Super October 2020
    Leslie ·
    • Flag

    One of the biggest reasons people get divorced is money. Listen to red flags now. I would put it on pause until you work it out. At the very least a pre-nup is in order.

    • Reply
  • Allie
    Super November 2021
    Allie ·
    • Flag
    So I’m going to say something very different from everyone else. I don’t think it’s right to put her financial issues at the forefront of your relationship. Student loans unfortunately happen and they’re very frustrating because everybody tells us we need to go to school but nobody tells us how much money it is to go. Once you start, you can’t really stop because then you spent a large amount of money and have nothing to show for it. It’s very very easy to rack up that much debt on student loans. That’s why it’s called the student loan crisis right now...because so many people owe so much and are overwhelmed by what they owe.
    As far as her credit card, you don’t know what she was spending on. Do you have a right to know the general idea of what she spends her money on? Absolutely. Should you be looking at line items to determine it? Absolutely not. She is your partner, not a child. While I get that you don’t want to be held back by her financial situation, but at the end of the day money is just paper and the love you have for someone should outweigh that.
    The lying aspect of it was not okay for her to do, but as someone else said, she could have been embarrassed. I know that I racked up credit card debt and about 90% of it is for bills I couldn’t afford to pay back when I had a minimum wage job. My fiancé knows that I have credit card debt and student loan debt. I wouldn’t lie about it, but a lot of times people want to appear as though they can take care of themselves, even when they are struggling. Go a little easier on her, she’s clearly a little embarrassed by all of this if she was refusing to talk about it.
    • Reply
  • Julia
    Dedicated October 2020
    Julia ·
    • Flag
    We are currently taking marriage counseling classes through our church and finances was week 7. They specifically said to share all bank statements, loan documents, credit card statements and credit reports in addition to Anya sweats we had. They said this should be done ASAP and a budget set and in place 60-120 days before the wedding. as well as tips and resources to pay down debt in a set amount of time.
    • Reply
  • R
    Devoted December 2020
    Rachel ·
    • Flag
    As someone with massive student loan debt (thank you PT school) I can see how someone could forget about an extra 30k taken out, I couldn’t tell you that X amount was taken out on what day but I definitely know what my student loan balance is. My fiance knows as well & while I would never ask him to help with monthly payments, we have worked with a CPA to come up with a sustainable long term financial plan to manage the payments until forgiveness is reached (which is basically just a tax penalty we will end up paying in about 17 years).


    I definitely think she should have been more honest/upfront when you were asking about finances. Money issues are one of the top if not the #1 reason for divorce and divorce isn’t cheap by any means. My ex step mother has had financial issues for quite some time, would hide bills from my father, would take out pay day loans, etc. I’m not suggesting that your fiancée would end up in that type of dire situation, but to me when people aren’t upfront about $$ situations to their potential life-long partner, there’s some big red flags going up.
    • Reply
  • Cortney
    Devoted August 2020
    Cortney ·
    • Flag
    I agree with previous posters about how easy it is to not know total student loan debt.
    I couldn’t have put a number to my undergraduate loans for 12? years after I graduated because I just paid what they said (minimums) each month. In between, I went to grad school, still couldn’t have told anyone the total for about 5 years after graduating. Once I went through a bit of a financial hardship, I opened my eyes and buckled down to pay off my student loans. At that point I did estimate having borrowed over $100K. It is easy with many years of education, especially at private colleges/universities.
    • Reply
  • Sylessia
    Dedicated March 2020
    Sylessia ·
    • Flag
    It is easy to keep up with student loan debt. I am currently in graduate school and when you take out a loan you have to accept the terms and agreements. Beyond that you received emails and letters in the mail reminding you of your debt. Also, once you finish schooling you have to complete exit loan counseling that tell you how much loans you’ve accumulated at that point in time and how you should be paying it back. Anyone who doesn’t know how much student loan debt they have was intentionally being blissfully ignorant to their student loan situation.
    • Reply
  • Kellyann
    Dedicated July 2020
    Kellyann ·
    • Flag
    I think that the lack of disclosure is unsettling. Makes me wonder what else is not being disclosed. As far as school debt, I have 34k. I get statements every month and check a lot, but I'm also a nervous Nancy. My fiance was in law school when we met. A private law school...so money honey! He also has loans from his undergrad. I already had an idea it was debt city. I weighed the ROI and it is part of being a lawyer. His loans are his. Mind are my own. Money is a talking point. An important one. Once that's hashed out and the lying issue, then you could look at marriage again.
    • Reply

You voted for . Add a comment 👇

×
WeddingWire celebrates love ...and so does everyone on our site! Learn more

Groups

WeddingWire article topics