How monetary infidelity can undermine belief and wreck your funds

How to Eliminate Financial Infidelity

  • Be honest and transparent: It is always better to own than to be found out. Tell your partner everything they want to know. Show remorse. Let them know the extent of the situation so they know what they are dealing with.
  • Work on yourself: Be honest with yourself and your partner and find out why you did it. Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help.
  • Give it time: As with any breach of trust, recovery takes time. So be consistent, communicate often, and be patient with your partner and yourself.
  • Discuss your financial situation regularly: Make sure your spouse is involved in financial matters and decisions. Your ability to consistently follow what you are about to do about money can be critical in influencing your partner’s willingness to trust you again.
  • Work together on a plan to solve the problem: For example, if you have a lot of debt, work out a budget and financial plan together and make sure your partner is fully informed, involved and supported.

Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

In 2016, David *, a British expat living in the UAE, decided to buy his wife a car for her birthday and used his credit card to pay the Dh40,000 deposit. However, he lost his job and found after 10 months that he could not keep up with the monthly payments on the car loan or credit card.

Instead of telling his wife about his financial problem, he started borrowing from friends to make ends meet and tried desperately to keep up with his financial obligations. Eventually he stopped repaying his debts.

“To my wife, I made it look like it wasn’t a fight and everything was fine. I didn’t want her to feel like giving up the car if I had trouble getting payment, ”David tells The National.

We’ve heard stories of people taking on mountains of debt to finance their lifestyles – something they find difficult to admit to even their partners

Stuart Ritchie, Director of Investment Advisory, AES

David, a senior sales consultant, kept his finances a secret from his wife for about two years. However, he had no choice but to come clean when he was prevented from boarding a flight at the airport because the bank had placed a travel ban on him for overdue debt payments. His wife questioned him and he had to confess.

“I didn’t break her financial trust, she was just hurt that I decided to keep my finances a secret,” says David. “My wife was upset that I thought she was flat enough to worry about keeping the car instead of solving my problem.” financial position.”

Financial infidelity, which includes hiding purchases, having a secret bank and credit card account, or taking out a loan without the spouse’s knowledge, can wreak havoc on a marriage and cause trust issues between couples when one of them isn’t honest is money.

With easy access to debt and credit, it’s easier and faster for financial professionals to get out of hand, say financial professionals.

“We’ve heard stories of people taking on mountains of debt to finance their lifestyles – something they find difficult to admit to even partners,” said Stuart Ritchie, director of wealth advisory at AES. “I’ve heard of couples who have had problems in their marriage due to a lack of financial disclosure.”

Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching, says that a small example of financial infidelity is to spend more on what a partner thinks are frivolous things like clothes, coffee, and paying for taxis rather than using public transit.

“Other examples of financial infidelity are bank accounts known only to one partner. These accounts are used for expenses that you don’t want the partner to know about, ”Ms. Glynn told The National.

In 2020, a survey by found that financial infidelity among marriages is on the rise. 44 percent of US respondents admitted that they kept money secrets from their spouses.

Jamia *, an Indian communications professional in the UAE, has lent people money without her husband’s consent. In total, Jamia’s friends and acquaintances owe her about 20,000 Dh.

“My husband believes that not everyone has a real need. He asks me to categorize and borrow money only those who urgently need it. I totally disagree with him, so I didn’t publish that information, ”she tells The National.

Jamia admits she has borrowed money since she started making a salary. She has been married for 13 years and has since kept her lending a secret from her husband.

“Be it a family emergency or a job loss, I was always there to help in any way I could. While many have returned the money, some have not, ”she adds.

Although Jamia’s husband knows she’s borrowing money, he doesn’t know the specific amount. She says that under no circumstances does she want to give this information to him.

Many factors can play a role in couples’ financial infidelity, according to financial experts.

It is a great shame to make bad financial decisions and it leads to people hiding their problems

Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

“Bad communication that leads to misunderstandings about funding between couples is one thing, willful and willful deception is another, but I find the most common driver is bad communication combined with shame and fear,” says Ms. Glynn.

“It is a great shame to make bad financial decisions and it leads to people hiding their problems, not seeking help. This includes not saying anything to their partners and not wanting to admit that they made mistakes. They try unsuccessfully to fix the situation on their own or worse, bury their heads in the sand, but the situation gets out of hand. “

Another survey conducted by in January 2021 found that 38 percent of respondents over the past year either committed or fell victim to financial infidelity due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost two-thirds of those who suffered financial infidelity said they had suffered financial stress in the past year due to job loss or a drop in income.

About 28 percent of those who committed financial deception said they made secret purchases, 20 percent hid debts or accounts, 19 percent withdrew money from savings, 18 percent loaned money without mutual consent, and more than The survey found that 16 percent lied about their income.

29 percent of respondents said they had hidden financial information from their partner in order to avoid disputes. 21 percent wanted to feel more in control of their finances. 20 percent were embarrassed about their money management skills. 17 percent did this to help someone else and 13 percent didn’t want to share bad news, according to the survey.

In older generations, it is common for the male counterpart to take over all financial responsibilities and the wife to have a secret savings account, the purpose of which is to serve as an emergency fund or to buy things that the husband would not approve, says Ms. Glynn. This could also be viewed as a form of financial infidelity.

This lack of communication left financial indiscretions undetected for years and often only came to light after the death of a spouse, adds Ms. Glynn.

“Like other forms of infidelity, society brings with it a great deal of shame and guilt, often on both the perpetrator and the victim. It is very common for both partners to feel ashamed to talk to friends and family about what they are going through. It can be a very lonely experience, ”says Ms. Glynn.

According to a February survey by, the likelihood of financial infidelity may also vary based on age. Millennials are more likely to commit financial infidelity to their partner than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

“One partner among many younger couples [usually the male] takes care of everything and the other partner [usually female] close, if not completely, not knowing the details of their financial situation. This makes it very easy for financial infidelity to occur and go undetected, ”says Ms. Glynn.

Couples need to have more open and honest conversations with one another – sooner rather than later, according to Ritchie. Talk about your earnings and liabilities so the relationship can be built on a foundation of trust and accountability, he says.

“Too often we avoid telling the truth for fear of how someone else might react. But who knows, your partner can surprise you and help you pay off your debts, ”he adds.

It is important for couples to talk about their financial attitudes, aspirations, feelings about debt, and investing in the relationship early on, since “what one person sees as unacceptable financial habits or behavior may be normal to another”, adds Ms. Glynn.

Financial experts recommend both partners to participate in the family finances. Spouses must be careful not to sign financial forms, such as tax returns or loan applications, without reading them and fully understanding them.

“I’ve seen women sign off on loans that they believed had both names, but actually only in the woman’s name, which means she is solely responsible for the debt. Or sign tax returns that are deliberately fraudulent, ”warns Ms. Glynn.

Couples must also allow at least an hour each month to review and discuss family finances. Both spouses must have their own access to all bank, investment and loan accounts. That way, they can independently check the family’s finances at any time, which makes it a lot harder for any partner to hide issues, she adds.

For someone resorting to financial deception, Mr. Ritchie recommends that they come clean ASAP and confess to their partner or call in a third party such as a friend, family member, or even a financial planner to help ease or manage the situation.

“Once exposed, there is no point in hiding. Admit your mistakes and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Let your partner know the reasons for your financial indiscretion, ”says Ritchie.

“Try to have a calm and rational conversation, discussing how to solve the problem and move it forward, rather than focusing too much on what has already been done. You cannot control the fact that the debt is there. But you can control how you manage it from now on. “

* The names have been changed for data protection reasons

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