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Partner secretive about her spending, causing issues

Community Member

Hi all,

My partner and I have been together four years and we've had a joint account for three of those years. Early on we travelled quite a bit, had a fantastic time overseas but as a result came back with quite a debt (around 25k combined). We have slowly been paying it down ever since we got back, which takes time as rent takes the majority of our combined income.

That said, Afterpay has been a constant thing in our lives - in the early days, I was seeing little $11-13 payments coming out of our joint account, I didn't really question it, didn't know what it was, didn't really care due to the amounts. But it began to grow and get out of control to the point where money we were putting into our debt was getting completely cancelled out because she kept putting things on Afterpay.

I called her out on it and asked her nicely to stop because we need to get this debt paid down ASAP so we can buy a house.

She stopped for a little while, but it has recently started up again. Only now, she has directed Afterpay payments to her credit card, so she's basically putting credit on credit. I have no access to her Afterpay login, or her credit card login (even though I pay them off with her), so I can't see what is going on or where my money is going.

Every time I bring it up it ends up in a terrible argument, or she puts it back on me that I am negative and says things like 'all you ever talk about is money' -- totally not true, it's just her way of saying shut up and forget about it.

I have tried asking her for access to her CC and Afterpay accounts, she gives me a quick glimpse of her CC but no login, and won't give me her Afterpay login - she has logins for all my accounts.

I have tried mentioning counseling to her, perhaps it would take an outside perspective on the matter. She has a clothes shopping addiction and it is evident by the shed full of boxes stacked to the ceiling full of clothes, all wardrobes in the house full of clothes, and quite often our bedroom floor also covered in clothes and shoes. She doesn't want to go to counseling.

I am lost and unsure how to approach it from here. Do I do the hostile thing at this point and pull my income from our joint account and just look after myself? Do I book us into a counselor and just go? I don't know 😞

5 Replies 5

Community Member

I've always been a fan of joint accounts and sharing of income and debts with full transparency and accountability for one another's expenditure

Obviously the transparency here has gone and most likely she is concealing purchases and debt she doesn't want you to know about

My advice only is that considering you have approached her and she is quite hostile in regards to it would be to stop contributing your income to pay her debts.

Pay your share of rent, your debt and pool your excess cash until she has no choice but too come to you and ask for the money to bail her out, in which you can get her to tell you her true predicament

It's not a nice situation and of course I'm sure you want her to be able to spend money on herself within her means.

You do have to take caution as too the effect on your relationship and her credit rating in terms of a mortgage

Community Champion
Community Champion

Welcome blinkybiili to the forum.

This is a friendly , caring and supportive community.

I have never had a joint account in my life so I am not sure about the rules.

I can understand that you are frustrated as you have tried many approaches , concerned for the money going out and caring for your partner's feelings.

Also she may have a shopping problem but until she admits it , all your mentioning of it and questioning her purchases will just make her more secretive. Does your partner show you what she buys or does she hide her purchases.

I suppose the reason why I have never had a joint account is I did not want people questioning how I spend my money. Of course if someone is spending more than their share and reluctant to being honest it makes things awkward.

It is tricky as you don't want to get a bad credit rating.

Are you both working?

You could go to a financial counsellor yourself, I think there are free ones, and get some advice.

I wonder if in the rest of your relationship you are happy with the communication and your life together in general.

Thanks again for sharing your post.


Theborderline said:

You do have to take caution as too the effect on your relationship and her credit rating in terms of a mortgage

This is my concern. We actually have a significant house deposit ready (part savings, part inheritance on my side of the family), but we don't want to commit until our debt is paid down. I just want us both to be debt free before we take on the biggest debt of our lives.

She is secretive of her purchases to an extent. Like she'll get things delivered to her work, or to use the 'pickup from store' option, I can only assume it's to try to hide it from me.

I despise services like Zippay and Afterpay. People compare them to layby, which at a high level is true, but in reality it is a small credit loan. It further fuels to desire for instant gratification and in my opinion is going to (if it hasn't already) cause a lot of issues in relationships.

I think that separating our accounts is going to be the only way forward. 😞

They're unfortunately attractive to vulnerable people and soon those small debts become un-serviceable to people who shouldn't be financed in the first place

My long term ex partner was also bad with money and expenditure, I even tried giving her say $100 a fortnite for herself but instead she would spend that and some more...I never did figure out how to control her spending (on unnecessary things)

Hi BB, I think you need to separate your accounts, or any money taken out has to both signatures, and what I'm concerned about is if these Zippay and Afterpay are part of your $25k debt, then you have to take your name off these accounts and try to put a stop to the accounts, in other words, she will have to be responsible for her own debts.

Compulsive buying is an obsession with shopping that causes problems, it's an addiction and sometimes maybe related to OCD and wonder whether this has been a concern.

I'd like to hear back from you whenever it's possible.