My husband and I have a modest lifestyle and work hard to live within our means. We can afford a few luxuries, like eating take out once a week and enjoying an annual holiday to a resort destination. I recently found out that my husband borrowed a somewhat substantial amount of money from his brother and has been paying him back for months. He didn’t tell me about it at the time, and I only discovered it when his brother was made redundant. His wife doesn’t work so this lack of pay is very difficult and he needs immediate repayment. When I asked my husband what the loan was for, he said it was to purchase a gift and that’s all I needed to know. I beg to differ – I feel I should be told the details since I am now impacted by this payment coming due.
Daisy in Debt
Dear Daisy in Debt,
I really, really, really hope the gift your husband has purchased is for you. Maybe it’s a beautiful surprise to an oceanside resort this winter, complete with a butler in your hotel room. Or, maybe he has purchased you a custom car that will be delivered on your birthday with a giant red bow. Yet one cannot help but wonder if the truth is more nefarious.
A gift for another woman, perhaps?
Before you panic and seek divorce, we should try to rationalize this. Most people who engage in affairs do so without involving their family members. Asking a brother for money is a bit of a stretch, especially if your brother-in-law is the sole provider for his own family. I imagine your spouse would have had to explain in detail what the money was for before his brother handed it over.
Unless his family hates you, in which case this argument is invalid.
If they do think you are a she-devil who has tortured their loved one, then it can be assumed your brother-in-law might help your spouse cheat on you. I’m going to assume your in-laws don’t hate you since you didn’t mention that in the letter. That leads me to a second explanation for this unknown loan.
Your husband spent beyond his means and he’s too embarrassed to tell you.
It is possible that somewhere along the route of life, a bit more money was spent than should have been. Think back and it may become clear to you. Maybe a romantic dinner with a second bottle of expensive wine? An extra day on your last resort holiday – perhaps with a massage for two? You didn’t notice the sums of money being paid back to your brother-in-law for the past few months, which leads me to conclude that you do not track every penny that comes in and goes out.
I think your husband deserves the benefit of the doubt for the moment.
Have a frank conversation without demanding concrete answers. He says it is for a gift, and you should believe him. That doesn’t mean he can behave in this manner again. Explain you never want to find out he’s borrowed money after the fact. If there’s large gift being purchased, the money should be saved in advance to avoid these surprise bills coming due. Tell him you’re going to trust that he’s acted with honor, but ask him to reflect on how he would feel if the roles were reversed.
If a gift doesn’t materialize by Christmas, seek out a divorce lawyer.
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