Financial infidelity, it’s a term that you may not be familiar with, but it’s something you should know and understand. Infidelity is an action or state of being unfaithful to your partner. It comes in different forms. The first one that comes to mind is probably being unfaithful to your marriage, but there’s also financial fidelity.
Financial infidelity is spending money, taking out credit cards, holding secret accounts or incurring debt without your partner’s knowledge. Financial infidelity is more common than you might think. Nearly four in 10 Canadians have admitted to lying to a romantic partner about money, according to a Leger survey.
In this article, we’ll look at signs that you’re committing financial infidelity, what to do when your partner is committing financial infidelity and dealing with financial heartbreak.
Signs that you’re committing financial infidelity
Do you and your partner have different views on money? If so, it may be a point of contention in your relationship. In some instances, the money views can differ and can cause one partner to commit financial infidelity. Not only are you betraying your partner in the relationship by doing this, but it can also cripple you both financially.
Certain behaviours show signs of financial infidelity. If this sounds like your partner or you, it’s time to sit down and have a serious discussion to get your relationship back on track.
Do you have bank accounts, credit cards or other financial services you’re hiding from your partner? If so, I hate to break it to you, but nothing good will come from these. It may be a way to have spending money to buy a few things without first getting approval from your partner, but it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth.
When it comes to household money management, honesty is the best policy. By being open and honest with your partner, you can make sure you’re on the same financial page and that you’re managing the household’s finances property to achieve short term and long term goals you both want.
Having a secret checking or savings account not only adds to your money management, but your partner may consider it financial infidelity.
Keeping the lines of communication open
Do you have a bank account your spouse is aware of, but you won’t give them access to it? Do you refuse to be honest with your spouse about how much you make?
Let’s be clear for a moment. There’s nothing wrong with having separate accounts to have some degree of financial independence. But if your primary motivation is to hide your finances from your partner, that’s a worrisome trend.
You can overcome this by regularly meeting with your partner to talk openly about your money. Discuss your short and long-term goals. It’s possible to have a good relationship and maintain some financial independence, as long as you’re willing to talk about money.
Committing financial infidelity
Choosing to do your everyday spending in cash instead of credit can be an excellent way to keep your spending in check and avoid credit card debt. However, it can become a problem if your real reason is so that your partner won’t know what you’re spending.
Once you commit financial infidelity the first time, it’s hard to recover from it. It has the means to threaten both your relationship and financial future together. It may be difficult, but it’s important to come clean with your partner. Once you do, you can work on healing your finances and support each other throughout the process.
What is there to do when your partner is committing financial infidelity?
Image learning that your partner took out several credit cards behind your back and maxed them out. You’d feel betrayed, wouldn’t you? You might be wondering if you’re responsible for these debts, even if you didn’t know they existed in the first place.
If this happens to you, an excellent first step is to request copies of your credit reports from Equifax and TransUnion to see if these accounts are listed. If you don’t see any new credit accounts listed on your credit report, your credit score should be fine. However, if you see your name listed, you could be equally responsible as your partner for paying them back.
Once someone has committed financial infidelity in a relationship, it can be difficult to rebuild that trust. While issues with financial confidence can be devastating to a relationship, it doesn’t have to be. You can use it to grow closer as a couple.
Being open and honest about money
It may not seem like it, but right now is the perfect time for your partner and you to lay all your financial cards on the table. Be honest and share all your personal debts with eachother.
What is the root cause? Consider the following:
- Is your partner addicted to shopping?
- Does your partner have a gambling addiction?
- Is your partner not comfortable talking about money?
Once you become aware of the debt issue, you can start to talk about how you arrived at this point.
Come up with household financial rules
Sit down together and come up with a set of ground rules for you and your household to follow. Come up with these ground rules as a family so that everyone is on board and there is no confusion as to what constitutes financial infidelity.
Prepare a budget
Preparing a budget is key to the financial success of any household. Sit down with your partner and make a budget that includes:
- Your income
- Debts and Accounts
- Budgeting helps you to get on the same page financially.
Repay your debts
Figure out ways to free up extra cash to pay back your debts. Start a side hustle and look for ways to cut back and save. I know you may not think of these as your debts, but in the wedding vows, you promised to support each other in rich and poor times. This happens to be one of the poor times. But once you take care of this, you can enjoy richer times together again.
It’s important not to lose sight that you’re a team. Address your finances together. Aim to pay your bills at the same time and make sure all your bank accounts are accessible to each other.
Keep the lines of communication open
Regularly talking about money around the dinner table can go a long way to repairing trust. Try to make all financial decisions together. Put aside time for “money dates” where you can review your household finances together.
Dealing with financial heartbreak
Have you recently gotten out of a relationship? Dealing with heartache can be tough, especially when you’re on your own.
Sadly there are unscrupulous individuals out there who prey on those who are recently unattached. Some fraudsters conduct romance scams when you’re at your most vulnerable emotionally. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians lost more than $22.5 million to the romance scam in 2018.
What is the romance scam?
In a romance scam, predators target singles through dating apps, social media, and email. The scam plays out differently each time, but the result is always the same. When the “relationship” ends, you’ll find yourself sad, alone and sometimes financially broke.
The criminals take their time building your trust in the “relationship” over many weeks and months. How much you trust them is often directly related to how much money they can get out of you. This is because of the emotional and psychological attachment you make with them.
Often times the fraudster claims they live far away in another country and wishes they could meet up if only they had the money. The relationship is built through email, text messages and sometimes phone calls. The fraudster will say that they don’t have the financial means to travel to meet up, so being the beautiful person that you are, you send them the money to cover their travel expenses.
Red flags to watch for
This isn’t a storybook romance. There are some warning signs to consider, such as if you notice your friends or family:
- Making more visits than usual to the bank
- Wiring money to faraway places
- Talking about meeting someone coming from overseas they met online
Keeping your financial information close to your sleeve
Your personal information is for your eyes only. You should never give your personal information, especially your financial information, to anyone. This includes your PIN and banking passwords. Be careful around anyone who asks for this information.
Never send money to another country to help someone you’ve never met in person, even if your intentions are good. Likewise, don’t use websites that you don’t know or trust, as there may be ulterior motives.
Are you looking to resolve your financial infidelity issues? Perhaps credit counselling can help you and your partner with your finances.