According to a recent survey by CreditCards.com, 40% of people in serious relationships have confessed to committing financial infidelity by keeping a cash account – think checks, savings, or a credit card – in front of their SOs
So I spoke to Adam H. Kol, a couples finance coach, about the tell-tale signs that a partner is committing financial infidelity, why this is happening, and how to talk to your partner about it:
In short, financial infidelity is defined as any behavior involving money that you know will upset your romantic partner and will intentionally hide it from them.
Financial infidelity can look like many things and take many forms. For example, a partner might be hiding a money secret or not addressing their finances directly.
They may open a bank account or credit card without notifying you. Or they could be saddled with a lot of debt or make alimony or maintenance payments for the DL.
So how can you spot financial infidelity? Look out for any tell-tale signs, such as sudden big purchases or defensive behavior about their money.
Here are some warning signs that Kol says your partner is hiding a money secret:
– You come home with a huge purchase that you’ve never talked about before.
– Your spending habits do not match what you get from your job.
– You get defensive when you ask for money.
– They try to turn you on and make it seem like you are wrong.
– They ask you to do something rotten and illegitimate, like cash off your shared credit card, and tell you that if that happens, you can get half of the shared savings.
– They lock you completely from credit cards or shared savings accounts.
– You stumble across purchases or transactions that you cannot track.
– Your purchases do not match what you know about your finances – if this happens you should get extra curious.
However, finding hidden accounts is the only one hundred percent secure sign despite their claim to transparency.
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A recent study found that men are more likely than women to have a money secret.
According to a study of financial infidelity by HelpAdvisor.com, men are more than three times more likely to gossip about their investments. In addition, about 25% of men lie to their spouses about how much debt they have amassed. And get this: the average price of the most expensive merchants men lied about is $ 500. The average cost of the most expensive purchase women lied about? That’s around $ 150.
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Since financial infidelity is betrayal on a par with fraud, it may take some time to heal.
If you are the financial adulterer, admitting wrongdoing and taking responsibility are the first steps to healing.
The way to healing betrayal and breach of trust? As you might expect, it will be a long and hard one. The first step is to make the financial criminal accountable, explains Kol. “[If you’re the financial adulterer]Admit how it has affected your partner and your relationship. “Also, make a commitment to do better. Get support from a coach, therapist, and other mediums to help you heal.”
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And both partners will want to spend their time looking inside and learning from the situation.
If you kept an account or credit card from your partner private, do a deep research to find out what led to your financial infidelity. For example, ask yourself what role shame, fear of judgment, or fear and the desire for control played, recommends Kol. “Focus on healing the wounds that have led you down this unproductive path,” he says.
If you have been the victim of financial infidelity, start by seriously taking your time and thinking about how you might have contributed to the crisis. For example, let’s say you unknowingly made great judgments on your partner’s money decisions. Or maybe you wanted to make all the major money decisions. This could have led your partner to carry these secrets.
“This does not condone financial infidelity,” says Kol. It also does not make you guilty in any way. The financial criminal bears full responsibility for his actions. “But introspection can show us how we can help advance safety.
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Don’t expect you and your partner to heal at the same pace. And don’t expect the same breakthrough moments.
“Forgiveness and healing are not linear,” says Kol. “Every person and every couple has their own needs and paths.”
Give each other plenty of room to process. “Bring patience and compassion for yourself and your partner,” says Kol. “Speak it out. Then speak it out again. Then speak it out with a professional.”
When the moment is right, take small steps to restore confidence. When your partner is showing healthy financial behavior, go deeper together.
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Taking practical steps to build trust and work toward money goals can help you move forward.
Another way for both parties to work toward healing is to take small steps to be more transparent – for example, sharing passwords for bank accounts and credit cards. Or, if you find this appropriate and you see this on an equal footing, work on finding a way to pay off debt.
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Know when financial infidelity really is financial abuse.
After all, you don’t have to face financial infidelity alone. Talking to a therapist can help.
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Have you experienced financial infidelity? If you’re happy to talk about it, do let us know how it’s impacted you in the comments below.
And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal financial contributions.