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Anna, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  29 years experience in addictions & mental health. I'll tell you my honest opinion.
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Im married to a man who was once married and has a 21 years

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I’m married to a man who was once married and has a 21 years old daughter who goes to college in another state. She’s a nice kid, she works part time to help pay for her bills. The thing is, her mom gave her an additional credit card for her to use and she would bill my husband every month of half the expense her daughter spends on that card. Problem is her mom never lets us know of what her daughter spends on. She simply emails my husband the total amount we owe her and he never asks her to declare the expense details. She agrees to pay half of it and we pay the other half. I start to wonder if she was being honest to us because we’ve paid almost $400 every month (that means, if her mom really pays the other half, my step-daughter spends about $800/month!). My step-daughter gets a full-ride scholarship so I know we don’t have to pay for school, books, etc. And she also pays for her own apartment, utility bills and clothes, etc.

I told my husband to ask his ex to declare us the expense details but he said he trusts her that she’s an honest person. He’s afraid to ask her, that’s the thing. He just pays for whatever she told him to. I combine my paycheck with him so I think I have the right to know. My husband then asked me if I want to have a separate account so that I won’t have to deal with this frustrating feeling. I said no, because, to me, it will be like I’m not his wife but just a roommate. We just have a baby boy together and our expenses have increased a lot. What should I do? Should I ask his ex to declare? Or should I go straight to my step and ask her how much she actually spends on most months? I have a good relationship with her so I know she is not gonna lie to me. I just don’t want to get ripped off by her mom, that’s all.

Thank you! I’m looking forward to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!!
Very Frustrated Step-Mom
Hi stepmom,

I certainly understand your situation - It can be very frustrating. There are a couple issues here:

1. You feel triangulated between your husband and the ex.
2. He 'trusts' the ex. People who trust one another have no problem asking for things like a copy of the credit card statement.
3. $800/month?!?!?!?!? I wouldn't be willing to give $400/month to my college age kids who work and have their living expenses covered. Most kids wouldn't ask for that either.
4. Of course you have a right to know. No question about that.

There are a few ways you can go about this.

1. Tell the ex that you want to use your online banking more, so you'd like the account information so that you can see the credit card info online and transfer your half to it each month.

2. For tax reasons, you want to pay the credit card company directly instead of writing a check to her.

3. For tax reasons, or for your new TurboTax or one of the accounting software program---you want to have copies of the past statements so that you can use the breakdown feature.

4. Ask the daughter if she has the card set up online for viewing, and if so, ask for the user id and password. You'll usually need the phone number attached to the account for this.

5. You wan to pay the card online because you'll get Delta (or fill in the blank)points for it.

6. You want to plan your budget for the year and need the credit card history.

7. Just ask outright.

I wouldn't go through the hubby as it's your curiosity. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and remember: when you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing. Keep saying that over and over. If they come back with some form of "you're hurting my feelings by asking...not trusting...blah blah blah" then you know something is up because otherwise they wouldn't need to change the subject.

Thanks for letting me help you out today. If you would, please fill out the positive feedback form after accepting - I really appreciate it.

Anna and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Anna,

I'm still not sure how can I get his ex to clarify me the statement if I use 'tax propose' as an excuse. She actually sent us a statement one time but she blacked out all of her personal transactions and my husband told her she doesn't need to send us the statement any more because he didn't want to give her a hassle to black out all those. BotXXXXX XXXXXne, I know she'll talk to my husband if I ask her frankly and I don't want to have a fight with him over this issue again. Is there any other way I can do to get her to tell me why her daughter spends so much each month?

Thank you so much for your help!

In that case, I would set up a credit card for the daughter or a debt card for her so that she can build up a positive credit history. If you set it up, you'll have access to the account, which you can also give to the ex. That way the daughter gets the credit history, and both of you can pay your parts online without all the other hassle.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Anna,

Thanks for your reply. The thing is she said she doesn't need another credit card besides the one her mom gave her and she also has her own too. Basically they shutted all the doors and we can't get in. What is the softest way to ask her to send me the expense details? I don't want her to tell on me with my husband because we might argue about this issue again.

Thank you so much!

Hmmmmm. I think if you go further you're going to risk your husband finding out at some point, and most likely pretty soon. If she has her own credit card, why is she using her mothers?
Since the other one is connected to her mothers, you can just say that you're uncomfortable with it and ask to have it done differently. If you argue about it, then it probably is something that needs to be dealt with. Ask your husband to consider your feelings over both of theirs because that is the right thing to do. Stand your ground very calmly. If he defends her honor, confront that as well. Just keep putting it back on the table with your feelings - not accusations, but simply your feelings. You shouldn't have to justify it.

This whole thing is wierd, and I wouldn't like to be in the middle of it one bit. I recommend you bringing it out to the open and to stand behind the right to have whatever feelings you have about it.


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