I came across a post recently that talked about committing financial infidelity. The blog post mainly focused on one person’s story, but I got to thinking about my past relationships, my current marriage, and what kind of infidelity of experienced – and committed – financially. It was a toe-stepper.
What Is Financial Infidelity?
According to Investopedia, the official definition for financial infidelity is this: it occurs when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. Simple enough! This could mean anything from using joint funds to physically cheat, hiding money in a separate account, covering up debt, or spending crazy amounts of money on personal items.
Marketwatch Discusses How To Mend Wrongdoings
Many of my recent posts have been reflective (it’s just that time of year for me). However, after reading the post on Marketwatch about this person’s admitted financial infidelity. Here is a clip from the post:
I have committed financial infidelity. This is a second marriage, and one of my sons is unstable and a substance user. He has stolen from us in the past, and two of his children are now living with him.
He doesn’t work, is on public assistance, and demands money from me. He gets very abusive when I don’t give it to him. This is the second time I have gone into debt behind my husband’s back.
They go on to share that, in order to help their child, they have racked up $50,000 in credit card debt that their spouse doesn’t know about. While I haven’t had anything exactly like that happen to me, I have experienced financial infidelity in my life.
My Experiences With Financial Infidelity
On my end, I have committed this plenty before getting together with my husband. I did not communicate about financial transactions, hid money away for a get away, and spent $400 on a painting because I felt entitled to the money in the joint account. All of this without permission, without consent.
Prior to meeting my husband, I was living with a long-time boyfriend. We had combined a lot of our finances, but we were never married (something I’ve learned from). Throughout our relationship, he hid money and spent money on various inappropriate things while I struggled to pay our rent while waiting tables, working a catering job, and going to school full-time. Many times, he lied to me about having money and I would have to ask friends or family, only to find out he had money all along.
He also had me co-sign on a car loan for him and when he failed to make the payments, he allowed them to repossess the car and drove mine into the ground. It is crazy how different my financial relationship with my husband is. We’ve never committed financial infidelity, and there are things you can do to avoid it.
How To Avoid Doing ‘It’
The biggest thing we do in our marriage to ensure these things don’t happen is we communicate about everything, especially when it is money related. Now, it is a little less strict than it used to be because we have more cashflow in our home. So, smaller purchases didn’t need to be talked about. However, when we first got together, there were times we had to discuss a $10 purchase.
These days, we don’t have to talk about every little thing we buy, but we discuss big purchases – even gifts. Sometimes, we still catch each other checking with the other person about a $20 spend even though it isn’t necessary. This is because communication is key to success in your marriage and with your finances.
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.