Wife’s deep debt threat­ens mar­riage

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Dear Abby Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

DEAR ABBY » I am mar­ried to a great man, but he’s very tight with his money. We found out early in our re­la­tion­ship that we couldn’t have a joint ac­count be­cause it caused so much fight­ing.

We share our bills, but I am broke all the time. I have credit card debt he doesn’t know about. (He hates be­ing in debt.) I have had a prob­lem with credit cards be­fore, and he threat­ened that if it hap­pened again, we are done. How do I tell him I have more credit card debt with­out los­ing him?

— Swim­ming in debt

DEAR SWIM­MING » Go on­line and be­gin re­search­ing ac­cred­ited or cer­ti­fied credit coun­selors. Make sure the one you choose is af­fil­i­ated with the Na­tional Foun­da­tion for Credit Coun­sel­ing (nfcc.org). While you’re at it, get on the in­ter­net and lo­cate the near­est chap­ter of Debtors Anony­mous. It’s a 12-step pro­gram group for in­di­vid­u­als who can­not con­trol their spend­ing. You will find it at www.debtor­sanony­mous.org.

Be­cause you are com­pul­sive about abus­ing credit cards, pre­pare your­self for the fact that you may have to get rid of all of them. And when (not if) you in­form your hus­band about what’s been go­ing on, be sure he knows you are WILL­ING to do that. I wish you luck and re­cov­ery.

DEAR ABBY » My first wife, “Char­lene,” died eight years ago from an ac­ci­dent caused by her di­a­betes. Six months af­ter her fu­neral, I was in­tro­duced to a lovely woman and sub­se­quently mar­ried her. When I told my for­mer mother-in-law I had started see­ing some­one, she asked me to cease all con­tact with her and the rest of the fam­ily. I com­plied with her wish.

Since Char­lene’s death, I have kept her per­sonal photo al­bum. It con­tains pic­tures and mem­o­ra­bilia from when she was a child and teenager. I also have some afghans her grand­mother made for her. I would like to re­turn them to her par­ents, but I’m afraid of the po­ten­tial pain it could cause.

I con­sid­ered writ­ing her mother a let­ter let­ting her know I have these things and would like to re­turn them. I know there’s re­ally no way of eas­ing into this. I’m pretty sure, how­ever, that a mom would like to have her daugh­ter’s things. Your ad­vice would be ap­pre­ci­ated.

— Tread­ing lightly

DEAR TREAD­ING » Be­cause the items be­longed to her daugh­ter, box them up and send them to your ex-mother-in­law. And when you do, in­clude a note ex­plain­ing that you thought she would like to have them. Pe­riod.

DEAR ABBY » I read your col­umn of­ten, and it ap­pears to me that if ev­ery­one would just take a few mo­ments to step back and think, “What if some­one said/did this to me? How would I feel?” the world would be a smidge kin­der. What do you think? Is it that sim­ple, or am I just sim­ple-minded?

— Pon­der­ing in Al­bu­querque

DEAR PON­DER­ING » You are not sim­ple-minded. You are para­phras­ing a vari­a­tion of the Golden Rule, which is found in the Bi­ble and has been preached from the pul­pit since it was writ­ten. We need to ap­ply it now more than ever. And yes, it IS just that sim­ple.

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