I really understand what you are going through, because the same thing happened to me.
I moved in with my fiance in February 2008. About a month later, I started noticing that he would ignore phone calls and was getting more and more stressed out. One day he finally broke down and told me what was going on. After he left his last girlfriend because he found out she was on drugs he became depressed. The way he dealt with his depression was to spend money, and lots of it. He ran up one credit card to $30,000. He had also taken out several pay day advance loans so they were trying to collect as well. He had gotten behind on both of those things because by the time he paid the rent, his car, and other bills, there was barely anything left. He went to college and had a great job, but it was just to much. I think the grand total of what he was behind in alone was $40,000
He was very scared to tell me. He thought that the first thing I would do would be to leave him. Of course, I did sort of freak out. Mostly because I am younger than him, and it was a lot to take on. Personally, the only debt I had was my car payment. However, I decided to stay with him because I love him and I know he is the man for me. We have since then paid off all of his outstanding debt, we now only owe on things that we have not gotten behind in which is our cars and two credit cards that we keep just to help out our credit scores. Here is what we did:
First, I became responsible for budgeting out finances. When I was 11 I went on my first big field trip. It was a weekend field trip to NYC and for a girl from GA that was a big deal. I remember my dad telling me on the way to drop me off with my group “It’s better to be frugal than frivilous” and that mentality has stuck with me all these years. First, we tackled all the smaller depts from the pay day advances. Every pay check we would pay off one of them. So in about six months all of those were gone. We then settled the $30,000 credit card for $9,000. That helped out ALOT. If we hadn’t answered the phone for the debt collectors, we would have never known we could do that. And now, it is paid off. I think if I had left him, he never would have gotten it together, because he is terrible with his finances. I was able to provide the motivation that he needed.
I am in no way saying that the process was not emotional. For a year, we lived pay check to pay check. Sometime at the end of the month, our checking account would be at $0. I would walk to work to save on gas, we would never eat out, and it was hard. But today, we are no longer living like that and are able to save money at the end of the month. Oh, and a year ago his credit score was a 450, now it is at 600. We still have to wait a little longer until we buy a house, but I am okay with that.
Try talking to him. Maybe you can help him get on the right track. If you love him, stick by him. It will be hard, but together you two can get through it.