Americans are loaded up with credit card debt. What’s worse is that some husbands, wives and even children hide those money woes from their families. The results are often devastating.

Hidden debt is a common and insidious problem. “It’s a form of cheating so subtle you don’t even know you’re doing it,” said Bonnie Eaker Weil, a relationship expert and author of the book Financial Infidelity. “It’s a power struggle that can be more harmful to a relationship than adultery.”

Take Johnny and Audi Deas, who live in Dallas.

Johnny runs a nonprofit that teaches local youth how to handle money. He had no idea that his wife, Audi, was racking up thousands of dollars in debt behind his back.

Audi, 37, opened up a credit card without telling her husband and started shopping to relieve stress, buying clothes for herself and toys for her 8- and 10-year-old children.

“I thought that I’d just pay it off each month,” Audi said. “But it was $100 here and $200 there, and soon it was spiraling out of control.”

Audi quickly found herself a few thousand dollars in debt and eventually maxed out her credit card. She couldn’t sleep.

“I lay awake at night with numbers running through my head,” Deas said. “It was constantly on my mind: How am I going to pay this off?”

But when Johnny pulled the family’s credit report, her secret was exposed. It was a slap in the face, he said.

“This is something I’m passionate about,” said Johnny. “This is money meant for our whole family.”

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Article courtesy cnn.com

 

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