Nearly 60% of women, and 50% of men admit to some form of financial infidelity. Furthermore, nearly 25% of women admit to fibbing about individual purchases, and nearly 50% more women than men are more likely to hide receipts on purchases according to a survey hosted by SELF.com and TODAY.com which surveyed over 23,000 readers aged 18-30.
Financial infidelity is heavily on the rise, and some experts will argue that it won’t be long before it overtakes adultery as the main reason for the high divorce rates. It’s no secret that financial infidelity is damaging as committing adultery. It seems that lying about money in marriage is epidemic these days as many people find themselves telling a little white lie, eventually the same white lies start turning into larger lies, and not before long a snowball effect is formed, and soon after all the trust is gone.
What does financial infidelity really mean? The truth is partners are keeping secrets from one another, despite being so loving and close as they might seem. No matter how much you think you know your partner, there is always a level of secrecy that comes with every relationship and spending money; hiding money is part of it.
So, what can you do to prevent this problem from spreading to your marriage or relationship? The first step is to understand why your partner may be lying to you about money.
WHY FINANCIAL INFIDELITY HAPPENS
1. Weak Lines of Communication
Our lives get busy, and not spending enough time together will eventually lead to weaker lines of communication. This is especially true if one partner works long hours or the partners work opposite shifts. Then there is very little time to be spent on catching up, talking, planning and mitigating on future plans.
Most of the time we lie due to some form of fear. Maybe the budget is tight at home, yet you needed a new pair of shoes for your upcoming interview, so you buy a new pair of shoes while you were out, but you didn’t tell your husband out of fear of his reaction, and knowing about the tight budget. Or maybe the husband purchased a new golf driver, tucked it into the golf bag, and never said anything about it. Ultimately, you fear that whatever you are doing with your money, especially if you are mishandling it, will cause your spouse to see inadequacies in you. You may fear the repercussions, or simply prefer not to deal with the inadequacies you’re already aware of in yourself.
3. Avoid Confrontation
If you purchased a new golf set when you and your significant other are saving for a family vacation, your spouse might not be too pleased. Maybe if she finds out, she’ll go out and buy that new Gucci purse, and you definitely know that two wrongs wont make a right, so you forgo telling your wife about the golf clubs, because a confrontation will arise, and you simply can’t be bothered. Instead you may tell her that you recently won your golf set through a work give away or simply say that you purchased it for 50% off on sale. So, you fibbed a little, but that still doesn’t justify the purchase. Fibbing to avoid confrontation is a very common scenario amongst couples. Everyone knows they shouldn’t be making unplanned purchases or fibbing about money, but everyone does it anyways in some shape or form.
4. Cover an Addiction
There are many different forms of addictions and addicts – Alcoholics, gamblers, drug abusers, and porn addicts are just some of the more common types of addicts. Like a chronic drug addict, addicts are ready to lie to their spouse about their problem at whim. Gambling addicts don’t need to frequent casinos to become addicts, at home gambling and sports gambling are very common these days. Stay at home moms, housewives, and white-collar workers can be found to be addicted to shopping and prescription drugs.
POWER OF MONEY
Rarely in any marriage or relationship do both earners earn equal amounts. Sometimes there’s only one household breadwinner, and other times both partners don’t earn enough to afford the lifestyle that they’re living. Money is powerful, and if you don’t believe me, read my recent article, ‘Money will change you‘. When one partner earns significantly more than the other, the partnership is strained due to one partner carrying a lot of power, and the other feeling powerless. The higher earning partners will make unjustifiable purchases without prior consultation with their better half, because their thinking is that, “I earn more, so I can spend more”. The powerless partner is left feeling…powerless. When money is needed for personal use or for the kids, its easy for a parent-child dynamic to develop. Sometimes the partner is left asking for money, or simply checking in before a bigger purchase is made.
Discussing money can be awkward, but it is important to have this conversation with your partner early on in the relationship. Neither of the two partners want to feel left out.
To have a successful relationship, you need to have trust and hiding money secrets is a huge way to break that confidence. Open up about past debts, then lay some ground rules for the future and have a mutual agreement on your expenses. This openness will save you from many fights in the end and lead to a much healthier relationship. A relationship without trust is like a car without gas. You can stay in it as long as you want, but it won’t go anywhere.
AVOIDING SECRECY, AND PLAYING FAIR
The longer the lying goes on, the harder it will be to regain the trust of your partner, if at all. Money is the number one thing that couples fight over, and financial infidelity is set to out beat adultery (if it already hasn’t) as the main reason couples split. In majority of the cases, one of the partners is blindsided by lies that have gone on for years.
Regaining trust of a lying spouse can be one of the hardest things to overcome. It’s a situation that requires the full and constant attention of both partners. More importantly though it requires both partners to forgive, and leave the past in the past in order to give the present a chance.
Here are a few ideas if you’ve ever faced with financial infidelity, and how to possibly save your relationship.
Open a joint bank account – By partnering up on banking accounts, and credit cards, it’s much easier to see your partners financial activities. Furthermore, everything is in the open. However, this does not prevent your partner for opening up a separate account without your knowledge, it is a step in the right direction. By having joint account(s), this gives you and your partner ample opportunity to sit down, review, and plan for the future.
Financial chats & reviews – Getting together weekly, bi-weekly or on monthly basis to chat finances, forecast, and review spending is key to a healthy financial relationship. Both partners should keep an open door policy of finances. This way any hesitation or fear can be eliminated.
Fun money – Spending money is not a bad thing, as long as it is within reason. Allow some money for each spouse to splurge and use as fun money. That way, no one feels like they need to lie about wanting to spend.
Counseling – There should be no shame in getting help. Marriage counseling has proven that it can do wonders, and has saved millions of marriages. Counseling should be used to talk about things openly, and not an opportunity to bash one another in front of a neutral stranger.
Look at the big picture – A successful marriage depends on teamwork. If one of you is lying to the other you are undermining the team. It’s not just about you, it’s about you two, the marriage, and the ability to sustain a favorable partnership for both partners. If you can’t accept that someone else will be making decisions that affect you, then you don’t need to be married.
In order to have a successful relationship,whether a marriage, financial partnership or business partnership, the basic emphasis of a successful relationship is trust. Hiding money secrets is a huge way to break the confidence, and the trust of your partner. Talking about money is never easy, but opening up about your spending habits, debts, and the way you view money is essential, then laying some ground rules for the future and having a mutual agreement on finances as a whole. This openness will save you from many fights in the end and lead to a much healthier relationship over time.
I’ve always said that lying carries a heavy load burden, and no matter the kind of lies are told its only a matter of time before the laws of gravity kick in, and the truth surfaces to the top.
For those that must lie, at least read my, ‘35 money lies people tell regularly‘ and come up with something more original and unique.
Readers, I’d like to know your thoughts on why financial infidelity happens? And, is financial infidelity the new main reason for people splitting?