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Financial Infidelity and How to Avoid It


Couple looking at their finances

Do you feel that you have to hide your spending from your significant other? If it makes you feel guilty when you spend money, it may be a sign of a bigger problem. If you're in a relationship hiding your purchases or lying about how much money you're spending can be a sign of financial infidelity. Financial infidelity is hiding the accurate financial picture of a couple's finances in a relationship.


Signs of Financial Infidelity

Hiding Shopping Purchases


People may choose to conceal their shopping purchases from their significant other for various reasons. It could be due to feelings of shame regarding their spending habits or a desire to keep the amount of money spent a secret. Alternatively, they might be trying to keep up with the Joneses.


Regardless of the motivation, hiding shopping purchases can harm a relationship, leading to distrust, resentment, and conflict. Additionally, it can jeopardize the financial stability of the couple.



Have you ever been in a situation where a family member asked you to borrow money? Has your spouse asked you to stop because it's causing a drain on your finances?


If you're considering lending money to someone, it's important to talk to your partner first. Be honest with them about why you're lending the money, how much you're lending, and when you expect to be repaid. If your partner is not comfortable with you lending money to this person, consider their thoughts on the situation.


It's also important to remember that lending money is a risk. There's no guarantee that you'll be repaid. If you're not comfortable with the risk of never getting your money back you probably should not lend the money.


Hiding Money in Secret Accounts or Using Secret Credit Cards


There are many reasons to have a secret savings account or credit card. If your partner overspends and you're trying to build a nest egg in case of emergencies, then you may feel that this is a justification for the secrecy. Another reason for a secret account is that you are trying to leave the relationship at some time in the future. Others may have secret accounts or credit cards because they don't want their partner monitoring their purchases and overspending.


It's important to consider the stress on a relationship that will occur if your partner finds out that you've been hiding your accounts for months or years. So, what happens if you discover that your partner has a secret account? If you find that your partner is hiding money talk to them about it. Be direct and honest, and let them know that you are concerned. If they are unwilling to talk about it, or if you don't believe them, you may need to seek professional help.


Not Informing Your Partner About Your Income


Here are some reasons why someone might not inform their partner about their income:

  • They may be ashamed of their income.

  • They may make more than their partner.

  • They may be afraid of their partner's reaction.

  • They may be trying to hide debt.

  • They may be trying to control the finances.

If you are not comfortable sharing your income with your partner, consider talking to them about it. Be honest about why you are not comfortable sharing your income and listen to their concerns.


Financial Infidelity Can Ruin a Relationship


It's risky to bring financial infidelity into a relationship because it could lead to deception in other areas of an individual's life. For example, not being truthful about one's spending habits can lead to the need to hide clothes in a closet or lie about when you bought a particular item. The stress of financial infidelity can lead to the destruction of a relationship. This comes when one partner's trust is broken. Trust can be compromised when one person puts their needs or desires ahead of what's in the relationship's best interest.



Overcoming Financial Infidelity


Talk About Financial Security


To move from financial infidelity to speaking more openly about money, individuals must understand their emotions around money. A better understanding of an individual's emotions, value of money, and history with money can help them move past the stressors that make talking about it difficult. In addition, being realistic about one's financial situation and the concept of money can make having the conversation with their partner a little easier. Being honest with oneself is the first step in moving past financial infidelity.


See my feature in Veterans Build Debt-Free Life After the Military to see how planning as a couple can help achieve goals.

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