No one wants to get cheated on by their partner. However, this understandable concern is almost always limited to worries about sexual affairs or online dalliances. Did you know that infidelity can come in many forms? For example, financial infidelity is a thing and it’s probably as common as sexual infidelity. It occurs when one partner keeps secrets about their money-related activity.
Financial infidelity can cause upheaval in any relationship. Not only has emotional trust been broken, but your finances can end up a mess. It can start out as unintentional acts but eventually, one of you has to consciously deceive the other in the name of covering up their deception.
What Does Financial Infidelity Look Like?
These are typical examples and, of course, they will vary from person to person:
- Making a purchase and not letting your partner know
- Opening up a secret credit card and/or bank account in your name only
- Neglecting to mention that you are in debt
- Earning money but not telling your partner
Why Does Someone Commit Financial Infidelity?
Money is a tricky topic. We each have our own unique relationship with money and quite often, that involves issues of guilt, shame, scarcity, and secrecy. When connecting with a potential partner, you may ask them about their views on children, religion, and politics. Meanwhile, a major issue gets neglected.
It is crucial that both partners talk upfront about their financial style. When this discussion doesn’t happen, it leaves the door open for infidelity. This is not an excuse. Rather, it’s an explanation of how this scenario usually plays out. Financial infidelity, at the end of the day, is rooted in communication problems.
How to Save Your Marriage After Financial Infidelity
Couples can and usually do heal from this kind of betrayal. But this is only possible when direct communication becomes the norm. So, let’s start with some communication-related steps:
Find Out Your Partner’s Thought Process
Asking your partner to honestly explain why they committed the transgressions is a powerful way to find out what work needs to be done. This is not about accusations and confrontation. Instead, it’s a giant first step in reimagining your communication style and making your economic choices transparent.
Discuss Your Money Goals and Needs
If you haven’t done so before, now is the time to open up about your values when it comes to money. What are your fears, goals, and needs? How were you raised when it comes to saving and spending? This will create a foundation from which you can be more open as you move forward.
Schedule Regular Money Conversations
Do not leave anything to chance. Talk face-to-face on a regular basis to ensure that you’re both on the same financial wavelength. Review and pay bills together. Make a list of all your collective earnings. The days of full transparency are here.
Set Up Some Preventative Measures
For example, never make a large purchase without calling each other first. Of course, you must agree together on what “large purchase” means.
Create and Adhere to a Budget — Together
Make a budget together and agree that it is non-negotiable. Also, if the financial infidelity landed you in debt, create a plan together to pay it off. If you think it will help, go together to consult with a financial advisor.
Trust is the Underlying Issue
After one partner engages in financial infidelity, it can be easier to recover economically than it is to rebuild trust. You’ll probably need more than a financial counselor. Couples therapy is an excellent venue for reconnecting after a betrayal. Your weekly sessions offer continuity and guidance as you take steps to trust again. Contact us soon to begin.