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Infidelity takes on many forms. Couples deal with everything from physical cheating to emotional affairs, but there is a betrayal of a different kind occurring also: financial infidelity. What is it and how can it affect your partnership? Here are some tips.
What is Financial Infidelity
When one partner spends money behind the other’s back, it is a form of cheating. There are different levels to this depending on the couple and their financial situation. The extent of the debt doesn’t define the infidelity (although it can cause significant hardship for couples), but rather it is the secretiveness and lying that is the real problem.
Financial infidelity can be difficult for couples to define since each deals with money and debt in a different way. One common characteristic is that the debt is hidden from the other person. Sometimes one partner spends from an account that the couple had agreed to save for a vacation, home, or children. Or perhaps one partner runs up debt on a credit card the couple had agreed to pay down.
Regardless of the amount, one partner is going against the other by using the money in a way they did not agree upon.
Signs of Secretive Spending and Debt
The indications that your partner has committed financial infidelity are similar to other types of betrayal. Lying, covering up bank accounts, and taking out new credit cards without telling you are signs that there is a problem. Some people make sure they get to the mail before their partner in order to throw away bills before their spouse or significant other has a chance to see them.
People who hide debt from their partner spend the money on different things. It is isn’t what the person buys that is the problem, rather, it is the nature in which he or she is using money.
Why Financial Infidelity is Harmful
The act of lying about money and covering up bills can damage the trust in a relationship. When one partner sees that the other is willing to spend money behind his or her back, it causes concern on what other things the person is willing to lie about.
More than that, financial infidelity leaves behind a chunk of debt. This is usually something that takes years to pay off, and puts off goals that the couple may have been working toward. Sometimes a couple will break up after financial cheating has been discovered, and before one partner can move on he or she will still have to deal with the debt incurred. It can cause credit problems, financial hardship, and lack of trust.
What to Do if Your Partner is Spending Behind Your Back
If you feel that your partner has been untruthful about money, the first step is to ask about it. Never assume your partner is involved in this type of cheating without evidence. Unlike other forms of infidelity, finding out about hidden bank accounts or credit cards is easy to do.
You may need to seek out a third party to help you and your partner come to an understanding. A counselor specializing in debt might be helpful in addition to someone who can talk to you about your relationship.