Yeah, you’ve been hitting the town with Benjamin and his friends again, hoping your husband doesn’t find out. No, you’re not having several sordid, lustful affairs with some guys named Benjamin, Grant, Jackson and Lincoln. The characters in question are the namesakes of the bills you keep secretly withdrawing from your savings without your husband’s knowledge.
Your sneaking around might not appear as foul as actual cheating, but is it really?
Financial infidelity is a money issue that can cause horrible problems in a marriage. It isn’t talked about as much as sexual infidelity, yet it still exists. Hiding financial obligations and spending habits from your mate is infidelity. It’s being unfaithful and a betrayal. It’s cheating with the money.
“Financial infidelity is cheating with the money”
I stumbled across this show, and I’m hooked. Life or Debt on Spike TV. It’s a reality program, where the star Victor Antonio rescues married couples from financial ruin by taking over their finances for four days.
One of the shows I watched made me think about financial infidelity. In the show, the wife acquired a loan that her husband knew nothing about. His reaction, “If I had hidden over $7, 000 from you, we would be in divorce court.”
Divorce court, really? Well, “70 percent of couples consider financial infidelity on par with marital infidelity,” according to Victor Antonio. In a marriage partnership, if one person is stealing and hiding money that leads to major problems. If it were an actual business partnership, it would be time to dissolve the company.
Financial infidelity occurs less often when the husband and wife have the same bank accounts. Accountability is higher with joint accounts, where both partners have full access and there is open discussion regarding the family’s money. According to the show couples with joint accounts are 40 percent less likely to overspend than couples with separate accounts.
Financial trust and honesty has to be at an all-time high. It may seem small, but actions like the ones listed here are acts of financial infidelity.
- Hiding new shoes, clothes or electronics in the car
- Lying about how much something cost
- Having bill statements delivered online or to a PO Box so your mate doesn’t see them
- Securing credit cards that your mate knows nothing about
- Taking out a loan without your mate’s agreement
Believe it or not, the seeds for your financial trust/mistrust were planted long before you got married. It started when you were a little girl, and your mama told you to always keep a stash on the side in case he ever acts a fool. For men, it starts as boys when you’re told: “don’t let that girl take advantage of you; don’t let her know how much money you’re holding.” I don’t know about you, but I heard this as a girl.
This episode of Life or Debt reminds me how stressful finances can be in a marriage. I’m not advising you to close all your bank accounts and put everything together. That is a deeply personal family decision. What I am promoting is working toward open disclosure and accountability of all financial activity between husband and wife. Working together to build financial trust and respect will ward off financial infidelity.
BMWK, is financial infidelity really as serious to you as sexual infidelity?