Doing Life Together

nature-3246122_1280Erin was crying in my office. Her husband didn’t trust her and the problem wasn’t infidelity, well sort of. What she described was another type of relationship breach, financial cheating. While we all could probably agree that sexual cheating on your partner is destructive to a relationship, what about financial cheating? Does that tear at trust as well?

A survey reported by Smart About Money tells us that couples who combine their incomes have about a 42% rate of financial infidelity, meaning they have committed some type of financial deception. They might be hiding a bank account, make a purchase and not tell, have a secret credit card, etc. Sometimes people lie about debt or even their income when they enter a relationship. You can be financially deceptive in many ways.

The problem is the secrecy involved. And secrecy affects trust, a building block of healthy relationships. If you lie about money, the question naturally comes up, what else could you be lying about?

In a marriage with combined finances, your credit depends on the financial behavior of the partner. So not only are you impacted by bad spending, but so is your spouse. This is why it is important to be open and honest about how you are spending money and be accountable to each other.

So if you see warning signs–expenditures on credit cards you can’t account for, receipts that are unknown, your partner is defensive and deflective when you question spending–you need to be concerned and confront the situation. What is the problem? It is purposeful deceit, poor management, lack of communication, fear of spending and reporting, etc. Whatever is the root, it needs to be addressed so trust can be rebuilt. Financial infidelity can signal a bigger relationship problem. Don’t ignore and get professional help if you need. This may mean seeing a financial counselor or a relationship counselor to work on trust.

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