Q: I just found out that my husband has been lying about financial issues for the entirety of our two-year marriage. He made large purchases on a credit card that I thought had been closed, and he has not contributed nearly as much into a retirement account as he had been claiming. I know this is not infidelity, but it is making me reconsider our marriage.
A: Well, it is not sexual infidelity, but it’s a betrayal nonetheless. What’s missing here is how you found out. Did he confess with remorse? Or did you stumble upon his misdeeds during a rendezvous with TurboTax? Do you think there could be a gambling or substance abuse problem? Or is it that the two of you have different financial perspectives and he felt justified in going rogue?
The $25,000 question here is not about the money, but about what drove him to be dishonest and whether – or how – he can picture developing a new transparency between you. As with any break in trust, the reparations will take time, communication and motivation on both of your parts. And a good marital counselor could certainly be a catalyst to that process.
Q: My daughter, who is in her mid-20s, can have very coarse language that her father and I believe is inappropriate. She speaks this way even at formal family functions. I think she speaks this way for shock value and to be the center of attention, and I have spoken with her about it. She refuses to stop, and I know that her language is offensive to several relatives.
A: As she’s an adult, there’s a delicate line between discipline and boundary-setting. I’m going to assume that you have sat her down and had respectful conversations that focus more on people’s feelings being hurt rather than her being terrible.
If she has refused to make any changes, your next step is to decide exactly where the line is of what is unacceptable. And then put your money where your mouth is – ask her to leave an outing when she is being offensive and don’t invite her to certain things if she is not willing to be civil. No, it’s not easy. But part of growing up is realizing that other people’s feelings about what’s acceptable matter, even if she doesn’t agree. Better for her family to teach her before a string of lost jobs does.