My Ex Left Me With A Large Debt And I Don’t Know How to Explain It.

matured blonde woman working at home

In some of your blogs, I read that you helped your wife get out of something like $40K of debt. My ex-husband has left me debt-ridden, about $40K, and although I have a good paying career, there are not many jobs right now. Plus I am raising my children still, 11 and 13, and have home-schooled them for many years. I’m also a grandmother and enjoy spending time with my grand babies. My oldest daughter is 25. I am 44.

With this much debt, and no immediate hope of paying it off, not to mention having lost the house in the divorce, I am worried that I will be too much of a financial burden for someone to take on. I have been told by some men that this is a selfish outlook on my part. They say that what I have to give, love, kindness, generosity, loyalty, good looks, intelligence, wonderful mother, are what will matter most. Am I just not feeling worthy? What is the best way for me to think about my situation and present it to a possible suitor.

I do expect that once the kids are off to college, I will make more money. I have made very good money in the past.

Thank you!

You are a mother and grandmother who spends time with her grandbabies.
You have a good paying career.
And you home school your two kids?

You must be living in a parallel universe where there are 40 hours in a day.

Seriously, Jodee, you are some sort of superwoman, and God knows, you can’t keep a superwoman down.

You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control your reactions to it, as well as how you bounce back from it.

You know as well as I do that you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control your reactions to it, as well as how you bounce back from it.

You got saddled with debt. Not your fault. But somehow, you’re questioning your own worth.

You have been told — and you believe — that your value comes in love, kindness, generosity, loyalty, attraction, intelligence, and being a great mother. Those are the exact same reasons I married my wife. They are the reasons that men generally choose women.

As such, you really don’t have anything to worry about.

Your debt is certainly not going to be a selling point, there’s also no reason for you to mention it to a man you’re dating.

While your debt is certainly not going to be a selling point, there’s also no reason for you to mention it to a man you’re dating. It’s your burden to handle, with or without a man.

Over time, you’ll become indispensable to your boyfriend and you can do the exact same thing my wife did, 9 months into our relationship: reveal the truth and why you held back on it.

You didn’t want him to judge. You’re working on it. It’s not his responsibility to pay for you.

It’s hard to argue with that logic. When you’re done with your confession, what you’ll get in return is a man who appreciates your self-sufficiency and your desire to shield him from this. Furthermore, you’ll probably inspire him to paying for everything — meals, trips, movies — just like I did with my wife while she pulled herself out of debt.

Soon, you can enter into a marriage debt-free, baggage-free and secret-free.

Join our conversation (13 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 1

    If you’re worried about being perceived as a financial burden, just make it clear that you don’t expect him to pay off your debt.   If he isn’t responsible for paying off your debt, then there is no financial burden on him.   I think this is an easy fix.

  2. 2

    I actually can understand this in another way. Thankfully no debt, but I don’t make much, don’t own a house, etc. After reading comment after comment about men worrying about women wanting everything paid for I also don’t even put myself out there.   I am in my 40s and I know I don’t measure up. Point being, I appreciate why financial concerns, regardless of the type, make you feel “less.” I get where you are coming from.

  3. 3

    I’d like to chime in and say men for the most part are very superficial creatures we date and have relationships with what we find physically attractive. We really don’t care whether you have a 100K or owe 100K it has no bearing on our lives because we won’t be marrying (or living with) 99.99% of the women we meet & date anyway especially like the OP in the divorced over 40 crowd. On the flipside I do see why it would matter to “want to get married and start a family crowd” (like Evan was) as can anyone who’d rather not be with someone that has 75K in student loan debt. But for most of us in the OP’s age range and above (since she’s the one who’s worried)  we don’t see a profile we like on Match and say to ourselves “Hmmmm…….. I wonder what her net worth is?”….LOL It probably wouldn’t make the list of things we’d think about unless we’re REALLY wife hunting. It’s nobody’s business unless you start talking marriage which like Evan says you’ve already shown a man what he could have and it shouldn’t matter…….. or should it?

  4. 4

    I think it won’t matter to the right person, and Evan’s suggestions are sound.

    In the somewhat older divorced crowd, many individuals are in varying financial conditions, generally through no fault of their own…both men and women.   Men I met while dating had ex’s run up credit card debt and were left to pay it off.   These same men had alimony and child support, and were paying college and/or private school tuitions.   One had a tax problem he was working through.   They shared their financial information with me slowly as they gained trust.   I was never judgmental, and always made it clear that none of it ever mattered to me, as I am independent and never expected financial support anyway.    What did matter to me was that they were ethical, responsible, cared for their children both emotionally and financially, and met their obligations.   If I would become seriously involved with them, I would expect we’d share expenses equitably, plan trips or special purchases we could afford, and retire on our own individual timeline.   It matters to me that they plan on working themselves out of their situation, and managing their financial picture as best they can going forward.

    The man that is my boyfriend now has a very high income, but the worst alimony situation I’ve ever heard of.   It’s an extraordinary percentage of his income, and weighs heavily on him.   He was  also  left without savings in the divorce.   He began sharing this with me quite early on, in a very matter of fact way, but a little sheepishly – I think other women he went out with may have been negative about it.   I worry how this burden impacts him mentally, but he seems to be managing.   I can’t believe my luck in meeting this wonderful man, and had I made is finances an issue, I’d have missed out on being with an incredible person.

    My own net worth is quite high, my income and career prospects are good,   I have a pension due in the future and well funded retirement accounts, and an inheritance likely coming as well.    I only dated one man who had a better financial picture than me…he was an heir to a billionaire, and was successful in his own right.   He was very interested in me, but I didn’t have feelings for him so I moved on.    My best friend just married a guy who was stuck with his ex’s 30k credit card debt and 3 more years of alimony.   She is happy to help him get through it.

    The point is that there are definitely people out there who will not have an issue with the credit card debt, and who are not gold digging.   What they might have an issue with is an individual who ran the debt up themselves, and continues to do irresponsible things, blame others for their issue, not face the problem, etc.   I’d also have an issue with secrecy about debt, tax issues, legal troubles, past or current addictions, and the like.   So it must be brought up within a reasonable time frame.






  5. 5

    Honestly, I think you are worrying a bit too much about this.   With my and my friends’ experience in the dating market as testimony, your $40,000 debt issue pales in comparison with many issues presented by  men in our demographic.   I have dated men who clearly lived above their means, then lost their job and/or marriage (I live in Florida which was battered by the financial collapse a few years back).   Lots of guys are saving very little for retirement while squandering the little money they have after they meet their child support obligation each month.    In my neck of the woods,   many men are driving around in a $60,000 truck for which they are making $700 payments each month, for no other reason than vanity.

    The fact that Evan recounted his own experience with his wife’s debt is useful.   It’s important to present your circumstances honestly, while doing your best to demonstrate that you are living responsibly in an effort to pay down debt and not add more.

    And yes, you ARE a superwoman!


  6. 6
    Tiger Lily

    For Jodee:   Be proactive today to figure out what to do about this debt.   Start a program or plan as soon as you reasonably can.   Don’t wait until you get a great job or until your kids are in school or until a super generous man comes along.   Take action on the debt sooner rather than later, and the relief will shine through!

  7. 7

    Op, are you real? If you are, superwoman doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    The fact that you have decided to deal responsibly with this debt and be an amazing mother to your children speaks volumes, the right guy will accept that you have debt and realize that even though you might not have enough money to go on glamorous dates or buy him a big present for his birthday, that this situation is only temporary. I would far rather go out with a guy who is in debt and has all your amazing qualities than a man who is comfortably off but is not present to the important people in his life.

    Focusing on the finances, it might seem an almost insurmountable amount of money now, but you would be surprised how quickly you will be able to pay it down once you have a good plan in place. Speaking as someone who nearly had a heart attack when i mounted up my different debts this past Easter and realized it was in the five figures rather than four. I made a deal with the bank and they just sent me a letter of congrats on the full repayment on my first (and most substantial) debt. I hope you are able to experience this in the near future.

  8. 8
    Karmic Equation


    “Don’t ask, don’t tell” at the early stages of dating (e.g., when you’re dating more than one man because none have asked you to be a girlfriend and/or you’ve been asked but not sure that the guy who asked is bf material) also applies to the early stages of relationships BEFORE “I love you’s” are exchanged, when it comes to finances or medical/psychological conditions that are not readily apparent.

    Too many women want to “come clean” before I love you’s are traded because they don’t want to “waste their time” or because this kind of truth (disclosing debt) is a type of subconscious  shit test to the guy because in her mind, if he can handle this then she judges him to be a keeper, that he’s as into her as she hopes, etc.

    Your finances are none of his business unless or until you decide to move in together and/or get engaged. He has to a “right to know” (and you have the same right to know about his financial situation also) at that  juncture.

    Don’t overthink or overfunction to “make up” for what you feel is an albatross around your neck.

    Don’t create or imagine a problem when you’re not in a serious relationship. Sex doesn’t make the relationship “serious” in this context. It’s the exchange of “I love you’s” that makes a relationship serious, imo.

  9. 9

    I agree with Karmic, talks about finances are best left when you are far further down the road. It creates an uncomfortable level of disclosure which a new relationship is not ready for.

    I once dated a guy who, on his initiative NOT mine, started to talk about finances on the fifth date. He told me within one breath that he had a good amount of money in his bank account and that I wasn’t to use this information against him by asking him for a loan ‘as women are apt to do’. We then proceeded to go Dutch on the dinner, only for him to say that as he did not have enough money in his wallet I could make up for the difference by paying the rest of his half of the bill. Which just goes to show that men can pull shit tests too. And that their shit tests are also worthy of a ‘thanks for the memories’ conversation.

  10. 10

    I would have a problem if after 9 months of dating, a bf would reveal that he has $40k in credit card debt.   It just seems deceiving to me.

    I just came out of a 6 months long relationship where a man first had In his profile that he was making $ 100-150k a year. During the dating I found out the he makes about $3k a month with $2k going   to support his college age child who refuses to get a job, large debt to irs, and over $100k in credit card debt. I felt like he lied to me and felt like he was trying to trick me into falling in love with him.

    If he told me from the beginning that he makes $50k a year or less and that 2/3 of that is going to pay his debt I may consider dating him. But bc I found out after 6 months watching his large spending habits, and driving expensive borrowed cars I am thinking that the reason why he has so much debt is his own making and that he is looking for a woman to use and I don’t want to be used.   I find it very shallow and couldn’t help it.   We still talk but I just can’t get over it and it make me doubt everything he said about himself. he is back at the dating site and his profile still says he makes over 100k a year.

    1. 10.1

      “If he told me from the beginning that he makes $50k a year or less and that 2/3 of that is going to pay his debt I may consider dating him.”

      Sure you would of…..for about a minute depending on how good his pic was. I’m sure if he had in his profile that made 50K and owed another 100K you’d of went on to the next profile like every other woman.

      Gee, I wonder why Match doesn’t add “Net Worth” to their profiles so people really know what they may be getting into? Maybe I’ll email Sam Yagan and suggest it. Oh darn….. of course everyone(men) would have to lie about that too just to get  a woman  to meet them for coffee. Isn’t online dating fun?

  11. 11

    Based on this logic I should make a profile where I look 20 years younger, don’t have kids, and just inherited 50 million dollars. Surely this will give me plenTy of first dateS

    1. 11.1
      Karmic Equation

      Nah. You’d get plenty of first dates by just using a beautiful pic of someone (not necessarily of yourself. LOL) And you could be penniless with a poorly written profile. If you’re attractive and your profile is FUN and well written, then men think they hit the jackpot. I read a lot of women’s profiles when I was online dating. All of them were boring. It was clear none of them used Evan’s e-Cyrano services.

      Women just need to be physically attractive to get a first date, whereas men need to meet additional criteria (height, income, education) to be considered for a first date.

      So, as a woman in OLD, your best bet to get dates  is to make sure your profile pictures are flattering.

      A man, OTOH, has to be good looking, with pictures of him without sunglasses and baseball caps and not in a bathroom or laying down, with a well-written, spell-checked profile before  women will consider responding to any of his messages.

      However, if you’re a woman looking for a relationship (not just dates), THEN you need to meet more criteria: you need to be fun, attractive, nice, kind, AND has reasonable boundaries. But you can’t get to “relationship” before you have a date. So, the most important thing for a woman looking for a relationship in OLD is to make sure her  online pics are flattering.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *