I’m tired of helping repay my husband’s old debt

The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a company employee in my 30s, and I’m tired of helping my husband repay his debt.

We married nine years ago and have a preschool-age daughter. My husband’s debt dates back to before we married. Since we married, I’ve worked so I could help repay the debt together with him. However, the amount has barely lessened. These days, he gets into a bad mood when I begin talking about money.

We pay his smartphone bill, his debt and our daily living expenses from his bank account, and then we pay our utility bills, life insurance premiums, our daughter’s nursery fees and some other expenses from my account. Our salaries almost all go to paying for everything. To cope, I’ve tried to cut down on our food expenses and made up the monthly deficit with our bonuses. Under such a financial situation, I feel very uneasy when thinking about our future.

Although I don’t ask him why he became indebted, I’m almost certain he spent the money on gambling. Recently, I’ve noticed he has even taken some money from the piggy bank we use to save 500 yen coins. I’ve almost completely lost my motivation to repay the debt with him. I feel like I just can’t trust him anymore.

I’m thinking about divorcing him, but because our daughter is so fond of him, I’m afraid it would devastate her. On the other hand, I don’t love him anymore. It’s really hard for me to live with a person I can’t trust.

R, Osaka Prefecture

Dear Ms. R:

I read your letter and quickly recognized that you have lived steadily by fixing your eyes on reality.

According to your letter, the amount of the debt has barely lessened, and he even took some money from your piggy bank. Does this all mean your husband is still taking out new loans? I think you are frank, generous and aren’t concerned about his past. You also must be a very reliable person. But this probably has made your husband rely on you. As you have the vitality and capacity to make a living, I’m concerned you tend to overwork and overdo things.

Your husband may be kind to your daughter, but being kind and being indulgent are different. His tendency to avoid facing the reality of his situation and tackling difficulties as much as possible can’t be mended unless he tries to do so himself. So first, you need to openly discuss the money issue with your husband. If he gets angry and tries to avoid it, I suggest you end your relationship with him and start over again.

So clearly tell your husband what you think and don’t spoil him. For the future of you and your daughter, talk to him about this and don’t be afraid of putting him in a bad mood.

Junko Umihara, psychiatrist

(from March 26, 2015, issue)Speech

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