‘I’ve secretly racked up £25k of debt that would break my husband’s heart – should I tell him?’

Confession of a Secret Debt


In a heart-wrenching email to Moral Money, a reader reveals a deeply troubling secret: she has secretly accumulated a staggering £25,000 of debt over the course of 10 years, without her husband’s knowledge. The weight of her financial burden has become unbearable, leaving her desperate for guidance on whether or not to come clean to her unsuspecting spouse. Let us delve into the details of her predicament and explore potential solutions to this complex situation.

The Unveiling of a Hidden Debt

The anonymous writer explains that she and her husband have chosen to keep their finances separate. While he shoulders the responsibility of mortgage payments, household bills, and their vacations, the writer takes charge of providing for their daily sustenance, miscellaneous expenses, and fulfilling the needs of their children. However, the accumulation of debt began innocuously enough during her maternity leave. What started as a harmless use of credit cards to purchase a few hundred pounds worth of items for the children spiraled out of control, leading her to this overwhelming financial burden.

A Cycle of Struggle and Deception

Despite diligently returning to work four days a week after each maternity leave, the writer’s income has consistently fallen short of covering their mounting expenses. Every month, she finds herself falling further behind. The pressure to meet the financial demands of her growing family, especially in the presence of their friends, has driven her to accumulate more debt. The writer confesses her shame at deceiving her husband and the guilt she feels for her irresponsible actions, which have been concealed behind a facade of financial stability.

An Impending Revelation

The writer’s anxiety peaks as her husband expresses the desire to remortgage their house. She is terrified that this process will expose her hidden debt, as her credit score will reveal the truth. The constant fear and sickness she experiences have left her unable to think clearly. The weight of this secret has haunted her for years, and the guilt she carries is becoming unbearable. The writer is torn between confessing to her husband, risking the potential loss of everything she holds dear, or seeking financial assistance from her parents to pay off the debt discreetly, a solution she acknowledges as morally wrong.

A Path Towards Resolution

In the face of overwhelming financial worries, it is crucial to confront the situation head-on and seek viable solutions. The writer is advised to take a comprehensive approach to her finances. Firstly, she should gather all the necessary details, including her monthly income, benefits, and tax credits. Additionally, it is essential to calculate her regular expenses, including bills, groceries, and other necessary costs. To gain a true understanding of her debt, the writer must determine the total amount owed, factoring in any accumulated interest or additional charges. This includes outstanding payments such as council tax, phone bills, store card debts, unsecured loans, and debts to friends and family.

Once armed with this information, the writer can begin prioritizing her debts, identifying which ones require immediate attention. Instead of continuing to accumulate more debt, it is advised that she devises a plan to start paying off the existing debts. This may involve seeking her husband’s assistance, as it is likely that he will discover the truth sooner or later. Though daunting, opening up to her husband about the situation is crucial. The writer is encouraged to choose an appropriate time and present him with all the facts, demonstrating her commitment to rectifying the debt and proposing a plan for repayment.

While the initial reaction may be one of anger or sadness, it is hoped that the husband will eventually understand the writer’s circumstances and offer support. After all, the writer incurred the debt to provide for their family. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that rebuilding trust may take time, and the repercussions of her actions will need to be addressed. The writer should be prepared to answer questions regarding how her debt affects her husband and whether he is legally liable for it. If the accounts are not joint, the impact on him should be minimal, but it may adversely affect future credit applications for both of them.

In considering potential solutions, the writer is advised to evaluate her spending habits and explore ways to improve her financial situation moving forward. The current separation of finances between the writer and her husband may have contributed to the imbalance in their monetary responsibilities. Discussing and openly sharing their incomes can help create a more equitable distribution of financial burdens. Simultaneously, the writer should reach out to her creditors and explore the possibility of negotiating extended repayment periods or reduced interest rates.

Seeking Assistance and Support

Recognizing the toll that financial problems can take on mental well-being, the writer is encouraged to seek help from professional debt advisers. These experts can provide guidance on managing the debt, exploring potential debt respite programs, and even providing mental health support. One such program that may be beneficial is the Breathing Space scheme, which offers temporary relief from creditor actions, freezing interest and charges for 60 days. However, eligibility for the program depends on individual circumstances, and assets like a house may impact qualification.

It is essential for the writer to understand that she is not alone in her financial struggles. With over eight million people in the UK facing heavy debt, her predicament is more common than she may realize. By mustering the courage to open up and share her burden with her husband, the writer can begin to alleviate the mental weight she carries. It is important to remember that addressing the issue, seeking assistance, and working together as a team can lead to a brighter financial future.


The anonymous writer’s confession of secretly accumulating £25,000 of debt over a decade has shed light on the emotional turmoil she faces. The advice provided emphasizes the importance of honesty, communication, and collaboration with her husband to navigate this difficult situation. With careful planning, support from professionals, and a commitment to change spending habits, there is hope for the writer to overcome her debt and rebuild her family’s financial stability.