Financial infidelity is the act of deliberately lying to or omitting to disclose financial information to our partners. Just like romantic infidelity it is often not planned it just happens.
And also like romantic infidelity it can be toxic and relationship destroying.
What might have started out as a small lie or omission can grow on itself until the guilty party is in too deep to come clean.
What money lies have you told or continue to tell and is it time to come clean?
Those lies that seem innocent
What this old thing ? I have had it for years.
It is easy to fall into the habit of a small lie to avoid an argument and once you get away with the £500 handbag purchase as “this old thing? I have had it for years”, you set yourself on that slippery slope of having moved your morality boundaries and a moved boundary becomes a loose one. The next lies start to flow smoothly and more frequently.
The secret credit card
You take out an additional credit card to buy a birthday gift for your partner outside of your normal family budget. But once you have it and have “gotten away” with that purchase, it seems another little secret spend keeps popping up here and there until all of a sudden you have created a large balance that you cannot manage on your own.
The lies that are devious and planned
The secret bank account or assets
There are countless famous divorce stories where one of the spouses deliberately set up offshore secret bank accounts to hide the extent of the wealth they had accumulated in the marriage.
And sadly this doesn’t just happen to the rich and famous. Average earners may also create these secretive bank accounts possibly to force their partner to carry the majority of the joint costs while they accumulate a separate nest egg.
In a story I came across , the spouses had been living frugally to save up for their first home when the wife found out at the point of obtaining their mortgage that her husband in fact owned two other rental properties that he was making an income from never having told her.
The financial prisoner
One spouse is placed under the financial control of the other spouse and more often than not it is the women who becomes the financial prisoner, dependent on her partners control of the purse strings or superior knowledge about their financial affairs. A situation the woman may have chosen to fall into out of fear of not knowing enough financially, not wanting to take responsibility for her own financial affairs or simply as a result of being the lower earner.
The fake financial story
It is one thing to hide debt out of shame or fear but totally another to deliberately create a misleading financial picture built on hidden debts or to consciously endanger the other partners financial future through gambling or reckless trading.
The innocent partner not only has to face the heartbreak of having been financially betrayed but potentially faces decades of having to rebuild their financial stability.
How financial infidelity destroys lives
Financial infidelity is much more destructive than romantic infidelity. It breaks the relationship from a trust perspective but even more significant it impacts the victim’s financial stability sometimes for years after the event. This has been known to destroy families, children’s futures and people’s lives.
In another sad story I heard, the wife having become recently widowed was devastated to discover that the comfortable lifestyle she had been living had been a total lie, as it was built on piles and piles of debt which she had unknowingly been a named party too. The stable financial future she had always assumed she and her spouse had created turned out to be the total opposite as she faced bankruptcy to escape the debt burden.
Solving the problem
Financial infidelity happens because couples don’t talk about money. In a true partnership both spouses should have a clear understanding and say in the finances, including the day to day expenses, the assets and debts but also the joint goals.
Make a specific money date where you can review where you are at and where you want to go, a financial journey shared makes for a happy relationship apparently and I am all for that.