FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Hiding debt could hurt a relationship more than adultery.
It's no secret that Americans are swimming in credit card debt - but a piece on CNNMoney.com describes how some husbands, wives and even children try to keep the debt a secret from their loved ones.
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One expert says hidden debt is "a form of cheating so subtle you don't even know you're doing it."
The problem is when one half of a couple tries to hide debt, it's impossible to keep it hidden forever. This article describes one case where a Dallas woman started racking up thousands of dollars in debt behind her husband's back.
She opened up a credit card and started shopping to relieve stress - planning to pay it off each month. Well, that didn't happen... And her husband found out her secret when he checked the family's credit report; he says it was a slap in the face.
In other cases - one spouse might rack up credit card debt in order to get a small business off the ground... only to be discovered when the family goes to take out a loan, etc.
And, it's not just spouses who lie about money. Children sometimes do it too. This piece talks about a son who got interested in the stock market as a kid, and wound up losing $250,000 day trading - a lot of it was his mother's money.
Money is always a sensitive issue... and it's certainly ended more than a few relationships.
Here’s my question to you: Is hiding debt the same as cheating?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
B. in Tennessee writes:
My wife cranked up over $22,000 in credit card debt that I did not know about until I happened to open a statement, and much of it was obtained in my name… Our relationship has been strained at best ever since, but we've managed to stay married, and this is after a year or so of marriage counseling. So, yeah, I think the hidden debt is about as bad as an affair. It involves about the same amount of deceit.
Jack, Hiding debt is worse than cheating. More marriage failures are due to financial problems than infidelity. It's a harder pill to swallow. I would liken it more to emotional rape. In cheating, there are usually several reasons that can be attributed to both parties. Hiding debt does not allow for any rationalization. It is raw and powerful.
Alex in Gig Harbor, Washington writes:
Not the same, but still a violation of trust in a relationship. You might marry for love, but a marriage is more of a business contract which combines your assets and liabilities. Hiding a debt damages the financial partnership of the marriage.
Joe in North Carolina writes:
It probably is cheating, but to me it is more about immaturity. So many Americans just know that they want something, but never stop to think about the consequences. If we are to have a more stable financial future, credit has to be something one actually earns, rather than something people view as some kind of right.
Absolutely it's the same as cheating. My ex-wife, a psychiatrist who was very much into talking and sharing angst and all that other psycho-babble, racked up over $20K in about a year on her credit card. She couldn't even remember most of what she'd spent it on. I only found out because after she insisted on handling the family finances for a couple of years, I wanted my turn to do it and see where all the money was going.
Scott in Alabama writes:
No, they are not the same. "Swiping" your 'credit card' behind your spouse’s back is A LOT different than "swiping" your 'you know what' behind your spouse’s back.