Facing Financial Infidelity Head On
At Credit Sesame, we're all too aware of the destructive potential debt and money problems can have on individuals — and couples and families. Our work with consumers reveals that money is an emotional lightning rod, particularly when consumers bring their own preconceived notions of what constitutes "fidelity" into a long-term relationship.
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When consumers mix credit and debt, they tend to personalize the issue. And as financial problems accumulate, spouses and partners may see it as preferable (or in their minds, unavoidable) to lie or cover up money issues — if only to buy more time to solve the problem.
What steps can financially troubled consumers take to alleviate financial infidelity before it seriously impairs their relationship? Consider these steps:
- Make a pact to make financial decisions as a team.
- Agree on a monthly sum of money that each partner can spend, "no questions asked" — as long as it fits the budget.
- Confess if you've been hiding money. Clinical data shows that transparency builds trust and solidifies relationships.
What red flags should partners look for if they suspect financial infidelity? Here are a few telltale signs:
- A partner who wants to control the finances with no input.
- Suspicious withdrawals from investment accounts.
- One person changes the subject when money discussions come up.
Financial infidelity is a genuine threat to relationships and any partner who compromises the trust associated with shared assets threatens to severely damage the relationship — often times, irrevocably.
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This doesn't have to happen. Financial relationships, like any relationship, thrive on clarity and transparency. Practice both, and financial infidelity won’t be an issue in your life.