Financial infidelity, or hiding your financial situation from your partner, can be the ultimate betrayal in a relationship. While cheating hurts, financial infidelity can ruin a significant others finances as well. And what’s worse… financial infidelity happens often. In fact, 2 in 5 Americans have admitted to committing financial infidelity. So what do you do if your partner cheats on you financially?
Financial Infidelity and How to Overcome It
This post has been written by our amazing staff writer, Kimberly Studdard.
See The Red Flags
First, it’s important to see the red flags that come with financial infidelity. Having a lot of new items (clothes, electronics, etc) is one of the most common signs of financial infidelity, but there are other red flags as well.
- If your partner suddenly becomes paranoid about receiving mail,
- is emotional or changes the subject when you talk about money, or
- starts worrying about financial hardship out of nowhere…
…they may be committing financial infidelity.
This could also be called an intervention, but this step is important.
- Do not confront your partner.
- Do not make them feel guilty (they most likely already do).
- Don’t shame them, and
- Don’t make things worse than they already are.
I understand that financial infidelity is hard and it can hurt, especially when you expect your partner to be open and honest with you. But financial infidelity happens, and it’s important to not be a part of the problem, but instead be a part of the solution.
Sit down with your partner, and talk to them. Stay calm. Go into the conversation with a goal and an open mind. Allow them to tell you why they feel the need to cheat financially, and ask how you can help. Show them that you want the relationship to work, but that in order to do so, you have to be honest.
Create A Budget
Once your partner has come clean about their financial infidelity, and has decided that they are willing to work on it with you, it’s time to create a budget.
- Write down needs and wants.
- Write down important bills, annual expenses, and savings.
- Add on whatever it is that you need to so you can create a budget that both of you are comfortable with.
Does your partner feel they don’t have enough personal money to enjoy their interests and hobbies? Add that to the budget as well (if you can afford it).
By creating a budget, you and your partner will be creating a sheet of paper that works like a contract. This is where your money will go. These are the goals and savings that you’re trying to reach. There’s no room for financial infidelity in a budget, because it’s all laid out in the open.
Part of working through financial infidelity is being open and honest with each other, and working as a team to manage your finances.
- Set weekly budget meetings,
- celebrate when you hit a savings goal or come in under budget, and
- show your partner that it’s okay to budget and still live your life the way you want to.
Be the example, and help them see the light when it comes to smart finances.
Get Professional Help
If financial infidelity is a common theme in your relationship, or if you can’t seem to get through to your partner, it may be time to seek a marriage counselor or therapy of some kind.
Bad money habits can start as early as adolescence, and people can even have an addiction to hoarding and spending money. Sometimes, our efforts can’t get through to our significant others, and that is where a counselor or therapist can help.
Now, don’t force your partner to go to therapy with you. Offer it as a suggestion. Bring it up from time to time but don’t nag. Show your partner that you’re willing to work on it if they are.
At the end of the day, your happiness and financial security is important too. If therapy, budgeting, and being open about money aren’t working, you do have the right to leave the relationship. You shouldn’t have to worry about your financial future your entire life, just because you love someone. You shouldn’t have to put your life on the back-burner to fix someone else’s. At the end of the day, that isn’t really your responsibility.
If your partner refuses to get help, doesn’t want to change their ways, and continues to put you in a bad spot financially, you can and do have the right to leave. It’s more than just love, it’s having respect for yourself and realizing that you can’t change someone unless they want to be changed.
Financial infidelity can be hard to overcome, but it is possible. If you and your partner are both willing to work on it, you can bounce back stronger as a couple, and in a better financial position than before!
Have you experienced financial infidelity? Did you get through it with your partner?