By Published On: December 2, 20214.4 min readCategories: Finance Therapy, Home and Lifestyle, Love

Is Financial Infidelity grounds for divorce?

The idea of financial infidelity or cheating financially may seem like a strange concept. But it’s more common than you might think. A recent study found that one in four people have admitted to committing some form of financial infidelity.

Money is one of the leading causes of stress in marriages. When couples cannot agree on money matters, it can lead to a lot of tension and resentment. But what happens when one spouse secretly starts spending money without telling the other?

This type of financial infidelity can be just as damaging to a relationship as cheating on your spouse physically. So can a marriage survive financial infidelity? The answer isn’t so clear-cut.

What is financial infidelity?

What is financial infidelity? Do you know? Is it possible that you’re committing it and don’t even realize it? According to a study by Forbes, one in five Americans have committed some form of financial infidelity. That means they’ve lied to their partner about money or hidden financial activity from them. So, what constitutes financial infidelity? And more importantly, how can you avoid it in your relationship?

Well, it’s basically when one person in a relationship commits bad financial behavior that impacts the other partner. This could include hiding credit card bills, not being truthful about debts, or overspending without talking to your partner first. This can create a lot of problems in a relationship – so it’s essential to know how to spot it and address it head-on if needed.

How do you deal with financial infidelity?

Women, have you ever been in a relationship where your partner was hiding money or credit card purchases from you? If so, you’re not alone. A recent study found that over 60% of women have experienced financial infidelity at some point in their lives. Whether your partner is hiding debt, spending money on personal items, or refusing to share account information, it can be frustrating and confusing. It can be hurtful as well, and if you talk to a friend about it, they might even take it lightly and assume that because it wasn’t an affair, it wasn’t cheating.

Affairs almost always include financial infidelity.

Interestingly, while not all financial infidelity is connected to affairs, almost every affair is linked to financial infidelity. When someone is cheating, they are probably using house resources like the cell phone, gas money, money for gifts or hotel rooms for the other person, and so on. Money plays a huge role in affairs and with cheaters. If you have a narcissist on your hands, you better believe they are love-bombing them with extravagant gifts.

Overcoming financial infidelity

When couples were asked, over 50% stated that they wanted to retaliate regarding financial abuse. Financial infidelity is abuse. It is critical to begin communicating. I will not say to “maintain communication” because if there were open communication with both partners, this would be a nonissue.

When there is communication, there can’t be blaming. You’ll want to attack and let them see how you’ve been hurt, hoping for a certain level of remorse.

You have to address this the same way you would if there was an affair. There’s dishonesty, and trust is broken. There’s disrespect and deception. Both partners must work on managing the emotions of blame and guilt. However, take it slow because some of the damage is often irresponsible, not infidelity.

Financial infidelity vs. financial responsibility

There is a genuine difference between irresponsible finances and infidelity. If you forget that your spouse said not to use the credit card, and it’s been a habit, and you did, it is irresponsible, but it isn’t infidelity. But if you knew about it and charged a frivolous purchase, it is certainly infidelity as it is deliberate and disrespectful and damaging without question. The problem is that financial irresponsibility is just as dangerous, and regardless of intention, it hurts.

What should you do now?

Now what? Well, the next logical step is to assess the damage. Not just the financial damage but the emotional damage. The extent of infidelity needs to match the extent of healing. If you and your partner both were showing infidelity and financial abuse towards each other or someone else, sadly, you have nothing much to salvage. This is because you’ve both felt it was appropriate to mislead, lie, and damage. The only thing that might help is if you both worked on your money story, ethics, and self-value – a lesson in empathy and compassion might also help.

If it was just one of you, let’s say it was your partner. They are considered an abuser, and abusers usually use financial situations and money to manipulate their victims.

This can, of course, hinder their victim -you- from leaving, and it can be a situation that, on average – lasts a decade or more.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse has a way of hanging around your heart and soul, not only on your credit or in debt, but it hinders you from reaching goals, thriving financially, and stopping you from living the life you desire.

This isn’t discussed much, but 99% of domestic violence victims are also victims of financial abuse, and again, financial infidelity is financial abuse.

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Michele Paiva

Michele Paiva is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Recovery Coach and Certified Finance Educator, with 30 years experience in helping others to see their true value, and the truth under their trauma, to love themselves and springboard into a full, rich life. Rewrite your money story and take control of your financial and emotional health.

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