Money does not bring happiness...

In 2008 a crisis came, which - as the TV would then assure - shouldn't affect our country. My husband, who previously worked in banking for many years, was running a business dealing with credit advisory. He had two offices opened and employed personnel. When the crisis stroke, it turned out that remuneration from different banks that he was counting on at that time would not be paid. Then it was only worse. The clients that were to receive credits never got them - it was hard to find another ones. Our family, on the other hand, had several credits incurred already (for a car, for office equipment, furniture, etc).

A huge mistake of mine was to leave the responsibility for making the payments on my husband's shoulders. My salary was in practicality directed for the every-day expenses of our 4-person family. We had virtually no household budget plan. The money earned would be spent very quickly. My husband never told me (or at least I never recorded this in my mind) about any large financial troubles. He would always be optimistic about the future, even in the face of difficulties.

To repay the installments, meet all the liabilities on a daily basis, my husband (without my knowledge) incurred several more credits. I think it was due to his excessive ambition, and his optimistic attitude towards life that he never admitted to any difficulties that eventually came up.

Every next month he would generate even more debt. I think he was shocked that things have gone that bad, but he still hoped that the situation would somehow improve. He eventually got to the point where he had to dismiss his workers and close the offices. Still counting on income, he didn't shut down his business. But the earnings from it, compared to the outlays, proved to be too small. We weren't able to repay the credits.

The problems with repaying liabilities were actually communicated to me only after we were visited by people that were demanding repayment. We suddenly got plenty of calls, and started receiving notices (later I learned that the majority of them had been concealed from me by my husband). When I tried to talk to him about what was happening, he would always calm me down. I felt something bad was happening, and I noticed how stressed out my husband has been recently. It slowly occurred to me that we are in trouble. I now know that my husband was very afraid of admitting the gravity of situation. He was also ashamed, but I think he was living in denial of all that was happening.

Problems started accumulating. The debt was rising. My husband still had difficulties in managing the company - it wasn't bringing almost any profits. Our talks on shutting down the business and searching for another job were in vain. In the meantime, my husband wouldn't answer calls and would avoid contact with debt enforcers. He also wasn't informing me on the scale of debt.

He kept looking for job, but things would always go wrong somehow. Another year was passing. We moved to our parents' house, not being able to handle the finances anymore. We sold the cars. My husband was living a sort of suspended life, feeling the situation is practically hopeless, and yet kept denying it to himself and to people around him. The life would go on - my job (now very intense (1.5-time and other additional works), the children, school, etc. It was the worst when "our matters" leaked to the bailiffs. It finally happened that a bailiff took a part of my remuneration, and also our car. Then I felt this is the end of the world, and was overwhelmed by helplessness. I was severely in need of legal aid.

The important thing for me was the support that I enjoyed from my trusted friends, to whom I sometimes revealed my problems in moments of true despair. It also helped me a lot that in the course of my post-graduate studies I participated in a group therapy, where I could count on professional support and aid. Our nearest family (parents, mother-in-law), shocked by the gravity of our situation, still provided us with significant help (and provide it to this day). I think that my husband has managed to survive the toughest moments also thanks to his numerous interests that he has had, and still maintains. In all the chaos he would play football, do puzzles, origami, cook, spend the time with his sons. He would never seek relief in substances.

Throughout the course of the last five years there were many tears, negative emotions, sadness, grief, as well as quarrels and remorse. There was a time when I thought our marriage would not survive it. What hurt me the most was that my husband was never honest with me, and feared that something wrong will happen if he reveals the truth. I tried to give my husband the support he needed, but also had to "bring him down to earth". I know that we both caused the situation by our reckless attitude to the finances of our family.

For some time now we have been looking at the world more realistically than ever - particularly regarding the sphere of our finances. My husband has worked (physically) for about 1.5 years already. First it was a work in Poland, then he got hired abroad. We know we still have a long time before us to finally zero our debt balance. The bailiff got off my salary, we made arrangements with the banks. We also managed to keep the car. We spend money on real necessities, and have agreed on the priorities. We do not go for vacations - we can only send our children to summer camps from time to time. We try to save money daily, and to approach our expenses rationally.

We take small steps to get rid of the overdue liabilities, we repay credit after credit. We have everything carefully planned - what, where and by what date should be paid. Luckily, we have the health and the support of our closest ones. I feel my marriage has gone through the worst already. We try to look at the future optimistically, believing that a day will come when we will leave the last penny at the bank, and start a new life from that moment - a life without debts or credits to repay.

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