As if being cheated on by your spouse was not enough, being financially cheated by them is both mentally and financially taxing. It is also one of the major reasons for a divorce. And this unpleasant phenomenon is called financial infidelity.
Even though one rarely knows about it until one gets married (not anymore though, now that you are reading this), financial infidelity is quite common among married couples, which includes your better half concealing assets, debt obligations or conducting transactions behind your back that could have a major impact on your financial well-being as a unit.
What Qualifies As Financial Infidelity?
Financial infidelity can be of various degrees. These degrees can range from being harmless to causing divorces depending on what the offense is. Here is a list of some of those offenses:
- Hiding a purchase, either major or minor, from the significant other
- Hiding a bank or account statement from the significant other
- Hiding an outstanding bill from the significant other
- Lying to the significant other regarding a financial matter
- Concealing an outstanding debt from the significant other
- Concealing actual income received from the significant other
There are a number of reasons why financial infidelity crops up. Maybe your significant other does not prioritize the expenses that you do. Maybe the two of you have different views regarding the amount that needs to be saved.
Your partner might want to go for a shopping spree at the time a financial crunch. All this depends even on the maturity level of your partner, that is if both of you are on the same wavelength. Some expenses might be important to them, but you might feel that they are completely useless and vice-versa. These are common reasons for financial infidelity.
Understanding How Financial Infidelity Is Born
Now, financial infidelity is not just at its face value. Mostly, there is a deeper, more psychological reason behind a partner committing financial infidelity. Here are the 3 primary factors that can create tension and lead to financial infidelity:
- Dangerous Addictions
Be it as small as smoking or as big as splurging on material things, addictions of any sort can result in financial infidelity. You need to know what your partner is addicted to and whether or not that addiction is taking a financial toll on both of you as a unit.
If you have a lot of bills to pay, but your partner still goes ahead and spends money on a new pair of branded shoes instead of contributing to paying the bills, it is definitely a warning sign. The worst part is that a lot of people do such things, despite knowing that it could have long term effects on their marriage. This is the sign of a true addict.
- Emotional Emptiness
There are more than enough people who make the mistake of trying to fill some void in their lives through material things. It is actually a very common problem that all of us have heard about. The difference between having this problem before marriage and after it is that not only does it leave a huge financial dent, but it could be very fatal to the marriage in the latter case.
If your partner is suffering from emptiness, it might result in financial infidelity so you need to know what is eating them up. The reasons could range from losing a loved one, hatred towards their job or you not being able to give them enough time.
- Financial Illiteracy
Financial illiteracy might also result in financial infidelity because having a fabulous life currently might be more important to your spouse than planning finances for the future. One of the major reasons for this is having a very luxurious life pre-adulthood.
Maybe your spouse comes from an affluent family where all their lavish expenses were taken care of by their parents. It is hard to break out of that lifestyle and people do not realize that such a living is achieved through years and years of properly planning finances which is a good thing.
Such a life could also be achieved through complete mismanagement of your money, which results in huge debts later. Financial illiteracy is usually the case in the latter scenario.
Your finances can also turn upside down if your partner does not have very good decision making skills. Even one wrong decision can cause a financial turbulence. These decisions could be any, like investing in poor stocks or buying a credit card with very high interest rates.
10 Warning Signs to Watch Out For
Now that you know why financial infidelity occurs, here are a few signs to look out for in your partner which probably mean that they are financially cheating on you:
- If you do not witness any bank statements for quite some time and are wondering where they went, chances are that your partner is hiding them from you because they are afraid of your reaction to the current financial situation.
- If you are ever lagging behind with your rent and other bills and your spouse suddenly appears with money unaccounted for, chances are that either they have lied to you about their income and told you a lower amount or they have used the savings account or borrowed it from someone. It is never a good idea.
- Your spouse might be hiding random bills from you because they must have subscribed to random services that you are unaware of.
- Your spouse might tell you that they have closed a particular bank account, whereas in reality, they have just shut you off of it because they do not want you to know how ill managed that account is.
- If you think that everything is going fine and then one day you pick up your spouse’s phone because they are unavailable and find out that it was a debt collector’s call, it means that your spouse must have taken you contact information off of their list to keep you in the dark regarding the debt.
- If there is barely any activity on frequently used accounts, chances are that they have made a separate account behind your back to hide transactions from you.
- If you begin to notice lots of material goods at home that were absent from the bank statement, you are being financially cheated.
- When your partner avoids discussing finances, it is a sure shot sign that you are being financially cheated.
- If you feel that your spouse is beginning to emotionally withdraw themselves from you, it could be because they are afraid that you might discover the real financial situation.
- If they always insist on handling the finances single-handedly, it could be because they want you completely out of the picture when it comes to finances.
If you are unmarried, make sure that you set proper ground rules beforehand and also make sure that your spouse feels comfortable with confiding in you regarding financial matters. If you are married and have witnessed any of the above signs, you need to tackle the situation before it is too late. Our advice would be to sit down with your spouse and read this article together.
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