One of the most dangerous things that can ruin your peaceful, calm relationship is infidelity. It is hard to save a relationship from the grasp of infidelity and it may even affect you from the core of your mind. Along with such devastating emotional or physical infidelity, many couples are also facing a new kind of impactful infidelity. It is popularly known as financial infidelity.
As per a survey from CreditCards.com, nearly 30 million Americans are hiding a checking, savings, or credit card account from their spouse or live-in partner. That’s approximately 1 out of every 5 citizens in this country that have a live-in partner or a spouse.
As per a report published in 2018, 19% of such couples had closed bank accounts or credit cards without telling their partners. Apart from that, 20% of those couples also admitted that they can cope up with physical cheating, but they can’t stand financial fidelity.
If you have also experienced financial infidelity in your relationship, then it will be very difficult for you to find your partner trustworthy again. You might also think that they might commit other types of financial infidelity whenever they have the chance.
So, you should know about this risk and how to handle such a situation along with the help of your partner.
Here I am going to discuss the symptoms and how to prevent financial infidelity.
So, let’s first understand the types of financial infidelity and how their characteristics are.
#Symptoms of financial infidelity
A survey commenced by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) in 2016 revealed that financial infidelity is quite common in couples, especially young couples. As per the survey conducted in 2018 by CreditCards.com, 15% of the couples admitted they have gone through financial infidelity and hid money matters from their partners. But, another 23% admitted that they believe their partners were always honest with them. However, few couples admit that they have lied about money or hidden financial issues from their respective partners when the situation calls.
Here are the symptoms of financial infidelity that couples may notice .
1. Lying about income
The survey conducted by the NEFE revealed 1 in every 20 individuals lied to their spouse about how much they earn in a month from different sources. Another survey in 2018 by Safe Home has also confirmed this fact with higher responses.
The survey said approximately 13% of men and 15% of women admitted that they hide their income details from their partners.
What are the reasons behind this act?
Couples may hide about their earning sources due to several reasons. Some may think their actual income may lure their spouses to overspend. Others may also exaggerate their income to show off how well they are doing professionally. This way a low-income individual can prevent the embarrassment from his/her spouse.
2. Spending secretly
It is the most common of all forms of financial infidelity. Couples spend money on their own choices but hesitate to reveal it to their partners. So, they have to cover up their undesired spending and keep paying. As per the NEFE survey, 22% of the couples admitted that they hide small purchases from their spouses. Another 7% also do the same, but they normally do this with major purchases. Another 12% said they hid bills or bank statements from their partners.
A survey, organized by Money Magazine in 2014, revealed that 22% of married couples hide their spending from their spouses. Men used to hide their expenses on electronics or sports items, or any other hobby oriented things. The women, on the other hand, typically go for clothing, shoes, and gift items for their friends and family.
People may use other ways to hide their expenses except for hiding the credit card bills. They may hide their late payment fees, their additional interest payments on payday loans, or hide expensive purchases, which can create a big gap in their household budget later on.
3. Hiding their accounts
It might be one of the most uncommon symptoms of financial infidelity. As per the NEFE survey, 6% of couples admitted that they keep secret bank accounts, away from the eyes of their partners. This number is greater with the couples who do not stay together.
The CreditCards.com survey also revealed that among all couples,
23% had secret accounts, especially those who lived apart.
4. Hiding their debts
One of the most serious forms of financial infidelity is hiding debts from your partner. About 1 in 12 couples hide their debt burden from their partners, as per the survey by the NEFE. Another survey organized by NBC News in 2018 said, 27% of couples, who responded in that survey, used deceptive statements to confuse their partners about the debts they have taken out.
Practically, taking out huge amounts of debt and repaying them is quite difficult if you do not act responsibly. These debts will engage a good amount of money from your monthly budget, which is hard to conceal. You may make those debt payments without telling your spouse, but how do you explain the situation when you’ll face a sudden financial crunch and you have no money to manage it? At that time you might want to inform your partner about the issue and borrow money from him/her.
#How to prevent financial infidelity
The sooner you stop this madness, the better it is for your relationship. Keep yourself and your partner safe from financial infidelity before it starts hurting you both. How can you do it? Let’s check out the options below.
a. Rectify your mistakes
It is wise to start rectifying the mistakes you have committed earlier. It is the best way to stop financial infidelity and make yourself completely clean about all other financial mistakes. Once everything is open to your spouse, there’s nothing more to fear about! You can confidently start repairing the damage you have done.
The next step should be building faith yet again! You and your spouse need to start solving any issues together. Your spouse was not aware of the fact that you have committed so much financially wrong. So, he or she should have enough time to adjust and understand the problem. You should also consider the fact that you may need a good amount of time to solve your issues completely. Your spouse may not cooperate with you easily since you have cheated with him/her.
If you feel that you need professional help to recover from this issue, then you may consider consulting a counselor to work on your relationship.
b. Find the core reasons
You should find the core reasons if you want to stop financial infidelity. Being a partner you should identify the behavioral pattern of your partner that may indicate his/her financial moves. For example – If your spouse is a shopaholic and spends too much on shopping, you should suggest him/her to take a break and only go shopping with you. This way you may help him/her to get rid of the shopping addiction.
You can’t do this alone. Your partner should also show confidence and willingness to change his/her daily spending patterns. This way he/she can control the shopping addiction
There are cases where one of the partners stole the identity of the other partner and took out huge loans or opened new credit cards. Unfortunately, when the other partner came to know about such financial infidelity, it was too late. Being the victim of an identity theft, the credit score of that partner might get a severe blow.
Such fraud can be detected only if you review your credit report daily.
c. Create a debt payoff plan
You need to wipe off the mess you have created through financial infidelity. So, you may create a solid debt payoff plan and get rid of all your debts as soon as possible. You should do it by collaborating with your spouse. Choose a time, and bring all the documents regarding your debts, consult with your spouse, and decide how to pay off your debts one by one. Make sure no debts should remain outside the list and make sure you pay them off totally.
You may discuss with your spouse and decide which debt repayment method should be best for you. You need to follow a proper budget so that you can save as much as possible to pay some extra money towards the debts. You may choose the debt snowball or debt avalanche method to handle high-interest debts.
d. Plan for your future
You might have to arrange a meeting with your spouse and discuss the financial situation you both are going through. Both of you should talk peacefully, without blaming each other for past mistakes. The meetings should focus on categories where the budget has reached the allocated limit.
You may need to attend a few meetings to repair your relationship. If you are experiencing financial infidelity, you may separate your money matters from your spouse for the time being, and later can re-establish your relationship.
e. Consider all options
Dealing with financial infidelity can be emotionally stressful. If you want you may include any third person to step in and solve your issues. If the problem continues to happen, you may opt for temporary separation and take a break from that relationship.
If one of the partners does not agree to co-operate or help each other, then it will be wise to end the relationship once and for all. However, it is wise not to make the final decision in a hurry. Take your time to handle finances during your divorce.