Shortcuts: “I Stole Money From My Boyfriend to Pay My Debt”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I was wondering if there was an easy way to tell my partner — or whether I should tell him at all — that I’m in debt? I stole money from him when we were first together and I lost my job and was pregnant, but he forgave me. Now, I have lost my job again and I have my credit card bill and bills in general. I’m almost $5000 in debt. We have been together for nine years, but I feel that, if I tell him, he will leave me. What do I do? — Indebted

Tell your boyfriend — he’s your partner of nine years (and possibly the father of your child/children?) and he should, at the very least, provide you some emotional support. But if he’s in a position to help you financially while you look for a new job, it would be a hell of a lot better if he did so willingly rather than you trying to steal money from him again. I’d also suggest you speak to a financial advisor as well as a career counselor or headhunter or someone who can help you find and keep a steady job.

I have been married to a man for six months. He swept me off my feet. He continues to be loving and attentive, but he seems to worry a lot about sex. He can’t wait for it and he mentions it in almost all conversations. A few weeks ago I was away for the weekend. When I returned, half his condoms were missing from his drawer. The remaining condoms were also placed in a plain shopping bag. I questioned him about having an affair, which he, of course, denied. He gave me a stupid explanation that he was cleaning out his drawer and got rid of some condoms because he had so many. I tried hard to believe his story, but then the other day he got an email from a Russian woman with pictures sent via some kind of kinky dating site. I saw it because his phone was lying on the counter where I was preparing dinner and the email popped onto the screen. He again denied any inappropriate behavior. I don’t believe him, and now I don’t know what to do. I ended my first marriage due to having a husband who cheated repeatedly. I would like your input. — Very sad wife

I’m so sorry, but it sounds like you’re heading toward ending a second marriage for similar reasons. Had you never suspected your husband of this kind of behavior before you got married? Did his sex obsession only start once you tied the knot? Either way, I’d look into an annulment and, in the future, date someone (locally, not long distance) for at least a year before getting married (you don’t specify, but I have a feeling yours was a very fast courtship…).

I have been in a relationship with my children’s father for four long years. I love him deeply and, from my understanding, it is a mutual feeling. We argue a lot, but at the end of the day we’re ok. To make a long story short: he broke up with me, but he said he didn’t do it to talk to or mess with other women. We still act as a couple. Do you think he is stringing me along? What should I do? — On a String

How could he be stringing you along if he broke up with you? Clearly, he wants his freedom to do what he wants when he wants. If you think he won’t “mess with other women” the second he has a chance to, that’s on YOU not him. The only person stringing anyone along is you stringing yourself along by pretending you’re in a monogamous, committed relationship. You’re not. And if that’s what you want, tell the father of your children he doesn’t get to keep acting like you’re a couple unless he commits to you. If he won’t, you need to MOA (and also see a family lawyer about a custody arrangement and child support).

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. LW1: if you can’t tell your partner of 9 years that you lost your job, and he doesn’t already know how much debt you are in, you shouldn’t be in a relationship with this person. I couldn’t imagine being with somebody that long, and knowing so little about that person.

    LW2: Sorry.. this is just assumption, but wait longer next time before you get married.

    LW3: If these years were long years I would say that it is probably best that you can start a life with somebody else while you are still young (again another assumption)if he broke up with you don’t give hime the satisfaction of getting what he had before without the commitment.

  2. I don’t think I can handle this today.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Me either. I don’t even think I can respond to this.

  3. LW1: Just tell him. You’ve already set the bar so low—he’ll probably be relieved that you were honest, instead of stealing from him like last time. (Which, don’t do that again? To anyone? That’s just such scumbag behavior…)

    LW2: WWS. That’s pretty damning evidence. I’m sorry you’re 2 for 2 here, but at least you have experience dealing with this…? (trying to be positive)

    LW3: If someone breaks up with you, you’re broken up. Even if you still “Act like a couple”, even if he says he doesn’t want to “Talk to” or “Mess with” other women. I know it’s confusing (no sarcasm here—it is), but you’re broken up.

    1. Skyblossom says:

      I see a lot of people who are the working poor at my job. They work minimum wage jobs that are only part time because the employer doesn’t want to pay benefits so they end up with 20 to 30 hours per week at minimum wage. After taxes are withheld they make far less than 1000 dollars per month so 5000 dollars is at least 6 months wages and when you are barely scraping by, paying rent and putting gas in the car first, then seeing what is left for food and electricity there is usually nothing left to pay off bills. I see people who are working and being forced to choose between food and heat.

      1. Skybossom says:

        This was meant to be a reply to the next comment below about on $5000 debt.

      2. Skyblossom says:

        Sorry, this reply was meant for the next comment about only $5000 in debt.

      3. Oh, absolutely! I see where you’re coming from and I didn’t mean to imply that $5,000 in debt isn’t something to be stressed out over. ANY amount of debt is a stressor! (this computer is telling me that “stressor” is not a word. Is that right? Am I crazy?)

        Anyway, I just meant to say that when hearing about the national average of debt, $5,000 doesn’t seem like it’s that much. Not to say that $5,000 in debt isn’t something that is difficult for some people to overcome.

      4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I was trying to figure out how to say something similar. While $5k is a hurdle in it’s self…it could be a lot worse.

  4. Did anyone else read the first letter and go, “Only $5,000 in debt? Pshaw!” ?

    Sign of the times, I guess…

    1. That’s a lot to me. I have student loans and all which I’m slowly but surely chipping away at, but it sounds like this is credit card debt. I will never ever go $5000 into credit card debt. Ever. It saddens me that this is normal to some people.

  5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    How can you date someone for 9 yearssssssssssss and be this out of sync?!?!?! I’m not going to fault you for having debt, because a lot of people (myself included) have debt. It does sound like now is the time to figure out if your living beyond your means (which is how I ended up with debt), and to be honest with your bf. If he doesn’t love you and accept your debt…well f him. Seriously. Honestly $5k isn’t THAT much. Look for any kind of employment, anything. A small income is better than a 0 income.
    And don’t steal money. That’s just low life behavior. If anything call your creditors and explain your situation and ask for an extension or something of the like.

    1. Skyblossom says:

      It is pathetically sad when, after nine years, you can’t say to your partner, “I lost my job, how are we going to handle this?” then have a discussion about what each can do to make ends meet. After nine years they haven’t developed any communication skills and don’t seem to have any solid foundation of any kind. You’d expect both emotional and financial support in a circumstance like this and there is nothing. No communication and no support equals no real relationship.

    2. Also:

      1. If you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money. Feed your kids first–don’t be using your grocery money to pay credit cards. When you have extra money, work on your debts.

      2. Check a personal finance book out of the library and/or listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio.

    3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Also, while some may disagree, I say there is no shame in reaching out for help. Government assistance, help from a church or social group, help from friends or family. As long as you aren’t abusing the help, and are actively working to grow/take care of your debt/find employment, no shame in admitting you’re down and out and take the help. Especially if you have children (which you may or may not…not sure).

      1. I agree! It’s not shameful, it’s being responsible in getting yourself back on your feet. Those programs exist for a reason, and if you can use them to make a success story out of yourself, that’s just one more example of the benefits of such programs, as opposed to the perception that it’s all for lazy drug addicts.

    4. I agree for the most part, except for the “if he doesn’t love you and accept your debt… well f him.” If found out that my partner was hiding that much debt from me for all those years, then I would probably have to seriously reconsider our relationship. Partially because of the dishonesty and the lack of trust that would lead to, and partially because it’s fairly important to me to be with someone who will help me to contribute to a stable life for ourselves. If he is accepting, more power to him, and she’s a lucky gal, but not accepting it doesn’t make you a jerk, either.

      1. I want to add that I don’t think that anyone who has debt is irresponsible or anything like that. I have some friends who have had rough times, too. But just in responding to a situation like that without the context, it’s not necessarily awful of someone to be concerned by it.

  6. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    This just makes me sad 🙁

  7. Wow…

    LW1: Communicate

    LW2 & LW3: MOA

    That’s all I got.

  8. Laura Hope says:

    LW2– Yes, he’s cheating on you (but you already knew that). Sounds like you got burnt in a relationship, so when this man swept you off your feet and lavished you with attention, you didn’t want to look too closely. I suspect you guys got married before you even had your first big fight. So you married someone you don’t know. Take it as a lesson for next time.

  9. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    Have I just lowered my standards? I’m barely disappointed by these LW’s.
    Also new pet peeve. When it’s Colorado Rockies opening day (practically a state holiday) and I see people around wearing manning jersey’s. Get it together people.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I am not a fan of jersey wearing if it’s not game day. So, I feel ya!

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Well I mean it is game day, but don’t wear a jersey for the wrong sport. It’s weird. I also hate it when you go to an NFL game and someone is wearing like a patriots jersey, and they’re at a game between the chiefs and broncos.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Haha yeah, I meant the teams that are playing today! I can kinda give some sympathy to people sporting other teams at games though…I’ve been to a few games now that my team hasn’t been playing in since GGuy’s team usually plays closer to where we live and is cheaper to attend games. But I don’t wear my teams jerseys, just a hat or socks.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        What? Sports? Lil caught a foul ball yesterday. (i’m trying to work that into all my comments today)

      4. Nice!!! That’s still a dream of mine. I might have better luck if I stop getting cheap outfield bleacher seats…

    2. It’s crazy all the people around here (Seattle) still wearing their Seahawks gear.

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