Financial Infidelity: 5 Tips to Cope
What is Financial Infidelity?
According to Investopedia, “Financial infidelity occurs when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money.”1 This includes hiding or withholding money-related issues and decisions from a partner. Examples of financial infidelity include:
Secretly making large discretionary expenditures.
Withdrawing large sums of money from joint accounts without explanation.
Contributing less than the agreed-upon share to a joint account.
Hiding financial decisions that go against expectations.
Hiding financial decisions outside an agreed-upon budget.
Lying about of money.
How Does Financial Infidelity Impact a Relationship?
Money is a sensitive subject, even for people in committed relationships. Lying or hiding the truth about financial matters can destroy trust in a relationship and create emotions such as betrayal, anger and confusion. Once financial trust is violated, it can be difficult to recover. However, there are ways to repair the relationship and move forward if both parties are willing to be open and honest about finances.
5 Tips for Coping with Financial Infidelity
If you believe there is financial infidelity in your relationship, here are five tips to help you cope.
1. Focus on Facts
When confronting your partner about financial infidelity, it’s important to not approach the situation with accusations and blame. Instead, gather the facts and present them in a levelheaded way, while also being open for scrutiny and discussion. You and your partner can then decide together how to move forward.
2. Consider Couples’ Financial Therapy
Attending couples’ financial therapy can help create a safe space for you and your partner to sort through financial infidelity issues and figure out a way to work toward shared financial goals. A certified financial therapist can advise you on spending and investing while also helping you unpack the underlying emotions that may be contributing to infidelity.
3. Work Together on Shared Financial Goals
Whether you need to tackle debt, make a budget or save for retirement, it’s important to work together and collaborate with your partner on shared financial goals. When you work together as a team, there will be more room for transparency and trust.
4. Schedule Monthly Check-ins
Changing habits is hard, especially when it comes to money. After discovering financial infidelity, monthly financial check-ins can help foster accountability and trust. During check-ins, you and your partner can review your budget, accounts, expenditures and goal progress.
5. Don’t Get Stuck in the Past
Keep check-ins positive and productive by not digging up past mistakes and hurts. Getting stuck in the past can cast a dark shadow over your present and future relationship and finances. If you find yourself frequently tempted to bring up past financial infidelity, you may have work to do processing your feelings and closing the chapter on that issue. If you’re seeing a financial therapist, they should be able to give you tools to put the past behind you.
Moving forward after financial fidelity requires open and honest conversations about spending, income and financial decisions. Pursuing professional help from a certified financial therapist can be beneficial and give you and your partner the tools you need to navigate the aftermath.
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