3 Ways You And Your Partner Are Unfaithful To Each Other Every Day

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3 Signs Of Money And Financial Infidelity In A Relationship
Love

Financial infidelity is real and messy but fixable.

Have you heard of the term "financial infidelity" when it comes to money in a relationship?

It is as messy and destructive as it sounds. Somebody in the relationship is hiding something but, in this case, it is money and finance they are screwing around with.

And like all forms of cheating, financial infidelity can cost you the relationship.

RELATED: Keeping This Secret From Your Spouse Is Even Worse Than Cheating

Financial infidelity is any money-related behavior where one person in the relationship is less than honest with the other person.

It could be fudging numbers to cover over-spending, covertly hiding money, opening secret accounts, using cash to avoid a paper trail, or controlling the purse strings in order to control the other person.

It doesn’t have to involve millions of dollars to matter. Lies and dishonesty are at the heart of financial infidelity and lies ruin relationships — they are red flags.

Telling the truth is a lot like jumping off a cliff — there is no halfway. You are either one hundred percent honest about your money or you’re hiding something.

And that "little" money secret is cheating and could cost you your relationship.

Over several decades of helping couples, we uncovered some surprising statistics about financial infidelity and saw first hand how rampant and destructive it is.

A Citibank survey found 57 percent of divorced couples cited money problems as the primary reason their relationship went up (or is it down?) in flames.

Money problems and money secrets can put an end to your relationship.

Of the countless couples we counseled over the past decades, we found that 65 percent of women had a secret credit card or a secret stash of cash. Almost all of those women swore they had done it to "protect their families".

They said they didn’t trust their husbands to make good financial decisions for the family.

Didn’t trust.

Hold up. Who’s hiding what from whom?

And so the cancer of dishonesty grows, leading to more financial issues and relationship problems.

Financial infidelity is not fatal and is hopefully less messy to recover from than the other kind of cheating.

But, you need to get real with each other (and for some, get real with yourself) and avoid some scenarios that seem to breed financial infidelity.

Here are 3 signs of financial infidelity that you need to avoid if you don't want to get sucked into the temptation to keep money secrets.

1. Massive debt

So many couples struggle with overspending and debt. Life is expensive.

Blame Pinterest or those creepy follow-me ads, but there is a mountain of really awesome things screaming for you to buy them! Every. Single. Day.

And you work hard, so why shouldn’t you have some nice things?

But, it only takes one killer vacation, a big spending spree, or even a necessary move to accumulate sizeable debt.

So then you agree to a budget or "cut back". But cutting back is harder for some more than others.

Like you know you shouldn’t have picked up the tab last night or loaned another grand to a friend, but that’s when the lying starts, the hiding receipts, the half-truths, the borrowing money to cover the mistakes and lies.

When massive debt is looming overhead the heat is on and no one wants to be the bad guy so we rationalize, "What they don’t know won’t hurt them." Unfortunately, 90 percent honesty is still not honesty.

Put it in park. Press pause. Avoid piling up debt if you aren’t already buried in it. Cancel the magazines, unfollow tempting Instagram accounts, or avoid Amazon — whatever it takes to avoid going into debt.

If you are already in debt, set livable, doable financial goals to eliminate the debt and scale back spending, but don’t be unrealistic, or you are just setting yourselves up to lie to one another.

Debt is not a relationship killer. Dishonesty is.

RELATED: 10 Eye-Opening Reasons Financial Cheating Is Way Worse Than Emotional Cheating

2. Lack of planning

Lack of planning doesn’t ever seem to be an issue until couples are faced with a big outlay of cash like a house, college, needing another car, or a medical emergency.

You hit a point in life where you need a sizeable chunk of money and you just don’t have it. You could have planned for it, but like most folks, you didn’t.

To make matters worse couples start fighting, blaming, and going to extremes to compensate for lack of planning.

One couple we counseled returned from the brink of divorce over this very issue. Carol and Neil had talked about saving for college for their daughter, but Neil thought it was pointless — every kid ends up with loans.

So, he never started the savings Carol assumed he had.

When their daughter ordered her cap and gown, Carol channeled her anger towards Neil into a full-court press to sell all three cars and purchase cheaper ones to help her daughter avoid college loan debt. Neil was not consulted.

Both Neil and Carol committed financial infidelity. Neil wasn’t honest about his lack of faith in savings and now Carol was set to go behind Neil’s back and sell all the cars.

Paying for college freaks a lot of parents out, but destroying your relationship won’t help.

Construct some simple planning for rainy day savings, and other future expenses you anticipate. Work together and even if you don’t put aside piles of cash for junior, they won’t have to deal with their parent’s bitter tension.

3. Dominant control by one person

The final danger zone that encourages financial infidelity occurs when one person has total control over every penny.

We see situations where a spouse treats the other almost like a child with an allowance and the understanding that they are in control — no questions asked.

This type of unnecessary control tends to ultimately drive the controlled spouse to commit financial infidelity to experience any freedom with their money or even to solve necessary problems.

Say the "allowance" doesn’t cover the participation price of high school athletics, but basketball is where their daughter shines that one spouse is all but driven to lie or work around the system to handle basic household matters to keep the peace.

It doesn't have to be that way.

Healthy relationships require working together and trusting one another. A partnership is better than slugging it out alone.

Your relationship can avoid the pitfalls of these stressful situations that breed lies and mistrust.

Financial infidelity is such an icky mess because it targets the center of every relationship: trust.

But it is not fatal.

Treat each other with respect and honesty and your relationship is sure to profit.

RELATED: 3 Steps You Have To Take If You Suspect Financial Infidelity In Your Marriage

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Scott and Bethany are husband and wife and financial planners who write, speak, and coach internationally and throughout the U.S. about money and how it affects our relationships. Get some free love and money advice on their website and take their free, online assessment to determine your "Money Personalities" and uncover any financial blind spots you may have.