Financial Infidelity

Money, Coins, Piggy Bank

Photo Credit: Johanna Hardell

There are multiple way to be unfaithful in a relationship. 
Financial infidelity is one of them.
On a small or a large scale, financial infidelity isn’t just about money: it reflects your values and respect for your partner.
Financial infidelity can also have lasting effects on your practical well-being long after a relationship is over – just ask Julie!
This article breaks down the different types of financial infidelity as well as the warning signs that your partner is hiding something.

Three types of financial infidelity

Secret Spending

Spending in secret is the behaviour most commonly coupled with financial infidelity.

The discreet outlay of money may be relatively small-time: perhaps in the form of a new shirt or an ornament for the house. Secret spending may also snowball and take on a life of its own when gambling is thrown into the mix.

Whatever the case, a secret spender generally keeps financial secrets from their loved ones out of guilt – they known that they are doing the wrong thing. When someones gets away with spending excessively once, it can feel easier to keep subsequent purchases quiet rather than risking the discovery of the full extent of betrayal.

On the flip-side, secret spending may also be motivated by frustration. Your partner may disapprove of a large purchase you made  and decide to buy something to even the scales. This kind of tit-for-tat secret spending signifies larger communication issues and can easily create a dint in your savings account.

Secret Saving

Secret saving generally occurs when one person earns significantly more than their partner. The main breadwinner can feel justified in putting an extra hundred dollars aside in a personal account since it is their wage. Even so, secret saving is a form of dishonesty, and bad practice in a committed relationship. Everyone has the right to save their money, but but don’t get into the habit of keeping secrets. Be honest with your partner and create a plan that works for you.

Secret Debt

Carrying debt into a relationship without telling a significant other represents an extreme breach of trust: especially if marriage and a mortgage are on the horizon. Failing to disclose debt isn’t always an intentionally malicious act: the debt holder may view it as their own problem to resolve. However, once two people are linked financially, a single person’s debt can seriously impact the credit of each. This form of financial infidelity can ultimately cause a lot more harm than good.

Warning signs that your partner is committing financial infidelity.

They demand ultimate control over your finances and are reluctant to share information.

In a bid to cover up their betrayal, and perhaps to simplify further financial infidelity your partner will insist upon complete control of your money. They may change account passwords and jump to anger whenever you attempt to discuss anything related to the subject.

You have noticed strange movement across your accounts.

Is there constantly money moving in and out of your accounts? Are there payments all over the place to recipients you haven’t heard of? Someone who is being financially deceptive may attempt to cover up their infidelity by making your money difficult to track. By shifting funds between accounts they can buy themselves time and make financial deception harder to definitively confirm.

How can you avoid financial infidelity in your relationship

Be open about your money from the beginning.

Honesty is the best policy in all aspects of your relationships – money is no exception. Although admitting past debt or confessing a recent splurge may be intimidating, it is ultimately better than the alternative of secrecy and guilt. Being honest yourself will also set a precedent for your partner to do the same and give your relationship a solid financial foundation.

Agree on a budget that you can spend no questions asked.

Everyone has the right to independence with their money, and you need to be able to trust your partner. To encourage both, agree on a budget with your partner that each of you can spend, no questions asked. For any purchases that exceed this amount, consult each other for the tick of approval. Otherwise, respect your partner’s ability to make their own decisions.

Need more ideas for talking about money in your relationship? Check out our relationships and money article here.

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