Financial Infidelity: How to Overcome it Together

Financial Infidelity: How to Overcome it Together

Financial infidelity is a big concern and something that is present in some relationships. While it can be overcome, it must first be recognized for what it is.

Financial infidelity is something that can be quite challenging in relationships, so we’ll go over what it is, how it can be damaging to a marriage, and how to overcome it.

What is considered financial infidelity?

Before we go further, let’s determine what financial infidelity is. Put very simply; it’s when couples lie to each other about money. This can include various things such as:

Secret credit cards

Having credit cards that the other spouse doesn’t know about is considered financial infidelity. It can be very damaging to a relationship to keep this secret, not to mention it can be challenging to pay things off when your partner is unaware of the costs of your secret credit card.


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Lying about how much something costs

Saying that something costs less than it does is financial infidelity, as well. You aren’t letting your spouse in on the full financial picture, and this can hurt your budget and relationship.

If you purchase something for $500, but you tell your partner it was only $100, this is a red flag.

Lying about paying bills

If you don’t tell your partner the truth about bill paying, but instead tell them you paid the bills when you didn’t, or that you paid off a credit card when it was really less money, is a recipe for disaster.

This is something that will become obvious shortly, so there is really no reason to lie about it. But sometimes people do because they’re trying to pay off other purchases they didn’t tell their spouse about or because there isn’t enough money.

Keeping secret accounts

Having separate accounts is okay if your partner is aware of it. But having secret accounts is not. This can really break down trust in a relationship and make it difficult to overcome financial infidelity.

If you have bank accounts that your partner doesn’t know about, or you make deposits to said accounts and say they’re for something else, this is not okay.

Keeping income or debt a secret

It’s essential to be transparent about income and debt. No matter how much debt you have or how much or how little income, your partner should be aware of it.

If you tell your spouse you make more or less than you do or claim to not have any debt when you do have some; this is financial infidelity.

How serious is financial infidelity?

Financial infidelity is very serious for your relationship. Lying and keeping secrets about finances is a pretty big breach of trust. So doing this can have a serious impact on your marriage. 

In fact, according to a study, 36.1% of people in the study claimed financial problems as part of the reason for their divorce. 

Not only this, but it may happen as a result of deeper relationship problems. Financial infidelity is something to be taken very seriously and definitely not something to overlook.

It’s much better to deal with it and tell the truth than try to ignore it.

Is financial infidelity a crime?

No. It isn’t a crime unless there’s some sort of fraud involved.

But typically, financial infidelity just breaks down trust in your relationship and can lead to larger problems. It’s something to look out for and be aware of.

Can a marriage survive financial infidelity?

It’s hard to know the answer because it depends very much on the people involved. It is something that can be worked through if both spouses are committed to moving forward.

If neither partner is dwelling in the past and is ready to move on and be honest with one another, then you may be able to get past this.

Remember, financial infidelity is likely not the root cause. There is a reason for it, and the root problem needs to be solved in order to move forward. Otherwise, it may come back in a different form.

How do you deal with financial infidelity?

It’s a challenging thing and a tough question. How do you deal with financial infidelity?

First, whether you were the one to keep financial secrets or your spouse was, you need to start with transparency. Be honest about what’s occurred in the past so that way you can have trust moving forward.

Next, make a plan to go forward with your life together. Make guidelines for what you will and won’t do and how you’ll disclose financial decisions to one another.

If you make a plan you’re both committed to, there’s less likelihood you’ll have a relapse.

How do you apologize for financial infidelity?

If you’ve been the one keeping financial secrets, it can be difficult to know how to repair the relationship.

The first thing to do? Tell your partner as soon as possible. It’s better to have complete honesty instead of putting the truth off for later.

When you confess, show that you’re sorry for hiding things from them. Showing your remorse can go a long way toward rebuilding trust in your marriage.

Next, don’t try to blame anything on other people. Instead, accept responsibility for what you’ve done wrong.

And be honest and open about anything that your spouse wants to know. Being honest with them now is a huge way to show you’ve changed.

You should also be willing to be accountable in the future. Be ready to accept some terms set by your partner about what you’ll discuss, and be responsible for yourself.

Since your spouse needs to rebuild their trust in you, you should be willing to accept limits for a time until that trust is re-established.

This may seem like a lot, and it may not immediately fix everything. Expect it to take time to heal your marriage and regain trust.

To help things, you should consider counseling, either individually or as a couple, to find the root cause of the problem.

How do you forgive a spouse for financial infidelity?

What if you’re on the other side of this? How do you forgive a spouse for financial infidelity?

This may come as a big shock to you at first, and it’s perfectly understandable that you will need time.

But even if it takes a while, be willing to forgive your spouse and move forward together. Forgiveness is going to be a requirement for healing your relationship; otherwise, things will never get better. 

Just as you are willing to forgive, you should also expect honesty from your partner going forward. It’s the only way to move through this in a healthy fashion.

And you should also express your feelings in an honest and healthy way, allowing each person to say how they feel and tell the truth.

You should also be willing to discuss the reasons or the circumstances that lead to the infidelity in the first place.

After you know what you need to know about the reasons, you can figure out what to do to clean up the situation. For example, get rid of any debt or problems created because of financial infidelity.

And last, you’ll need to have a plan to move forward with your lives together. You’ll need to get better at communicating and also be willing to seek counseling or do anything else that helps you get through the situation.

How do you fix a marriage after financial infidelity?

When you’ve discovered financial infidelity, or your spouse has confessed this to you, it can be a lot at first. How do you move forward after learning about something like this?

Communication is key

It’s perfectly understandable that it will take some time to understand, forgive, and move on. But communication is key.

Learn to discuss even the small things with your spouse to aid you in your communication. And remember to share all purchases, bill payments, and other financial occurrences.

Work together toward a resolution

You’ll also need to work together to find a resolution. You can’t come up with a solution without doing so as a team, so take the time to figure out what comes next.

Identify the cause

Identify the root cause of financial infidelity. Some causes could be:

Fear. One partner may fear not having enough money or have some other sort of concern that makes them hide their financial habits.

Guilt. A spouse may feel guilty about money because of some financial mistakes, which can lead to financial infidelity.

Addiction. If one partner has some sort of addiction that is causing them to spend all their money, it can result in them not telling the other partner.

An affair. An affair can make spouses hide money from each other to cover up their mistakes. 

Limit the offending spouse’s access to money

This should only be done for a set amount of time and with the permission of the offending spouse. But sometimes, limiting access to money can go a long way toward rebuilding trust.

Make sure the offended spouse has access to all accounts

So there’s no chance for financial infidelity on either side again, make sure you’re both on the same page. Everyone should have access to all the accounts.

Otherwise, it would give easy access for hiding money or purchases again.

Evaluate your financial goals to make sure you are both working to achieve the same things

A team has a common goal. You and your partner need to be sure that you are working towards the same things. This requires discussing your dreams and ambitions, savings plans, retirement ideas, and more.

Take some time to discuss this with your spouse, and then make choices for your money that reflect what you’ve decided together. This is especially true if different goals were a reason for the infidelity in the first place. 

Make a plan for repairing any damages caused by the infidelity

Repairing damage may be the thing that takes the longest amount of time. It isn’t something that you can repair in no time at all.

Instead, you and your spouse must decide on a course of action for repairing the damage. This might include weekly meetings to discuss money, counseling, or whatever else will help you both move forward.

Develop a budget together

You’ll need to create a budget together using a system that you both like. Find an app to help you or keep track of your spending on a whiteboard at home.

Pay your bills together, develop savings plans together, and do your general weekly or monthly budget together. When you do so, be sure to disclose all expenses and any purchases so there’s no chance of falling back into financial infidelity again.

Have regular meetings with your spouse about money and spending

Meet together to discuss money on a regular basis. This can be once a week or even more often. You might have a mini-meeting for a few minutes each night to discuss the day’s purchases. Whatever you decide, be honest about spending and finances.

Have a plan for accountability going forward

Decide how you’ll stay accountable to one another in the future. For example, disclose all purchases before buying anything.

Or pay all bills together. Figure out some guidelines that will help you to stay accountable moving forward.

Seek counseling together for any underlying issues

Since financial infidelity may be a symptom and not a root cause, it’s important to consider counseling to deal with any problems that remain unsolved in your relationship. Only when you understand the other side and can communicate well can you completely move on.

Financial infidelity shows a significant lack of trust that can ruin a relationship, but you can get through it if both spouses are willing to work together and move forward. 

While financial infidelity is serious and can take time to overcome, it is possible to do so with commitment and time. If you or your partner has committed financial infidelity, know that being honest is the first step, and then do whatever is necessary to move forward together.

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