Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Financial Infidelity: What Can I Do?

Some folks who are even in the best of marriages find that their spouse has been hiding debt, purchases, bank and credit card accounts or money from them and are devastated by uncovering the information about financial infidelity.

A first reaction is rarely the best course of action. Rather, it is recommended that you take time to calm down and clearly think through the situation so that you can make a calm decision about how to handle the knowledge of financial infidelity.

Here are some suggestions for how to handle financial infidelity in your relationship.

1. Make a date to talk with each other about your finances, goals and plans. Be sure it is in a neutral setting. Can you go out for coffee? Sit on the deck? Choose a place that promotes calm and neutrality. Never talk when either of you are upset, defensive or angry even if you believe that your partner has been financially deceptive.

2. Frame your thoughts, questions and ideas in neutral and non-judgmental ways. For example, start your conversation with phrases like:
“I think we have different philosophies about money and I would like to see if we can come up with a plan that will fit for us both”.
“There are spenders and there are savers, in this relationship, we have one of each. Let’s see if we can find a way to balance each other out.”

3. To further ward off financial infidelity, be sure that each of you does have some discretionary money on a regular basis. Each of you will be more likely to follow through with a plan if you do have some money of your own that you can spend without consulting with or “reporting” to the other.

4. Talk out loud about money differences. Respect the fact that there is more than one way to make things work and there can be a “middle” ground.

5. Agree to be open and up front about all money and debt. Hiding only brings about more hiding, feelings of betrayal and anger about financial infidelity. Acknowledge that you may see this differently and agree to talk out loud about the differences rather than hiding them.

6. Be willing to change yourself and your spending and saving habits. No one is right about everything and you do have to give in order to get.

7. Keep a positive attitude as you two talk together. Find ways to emphasize ideas like “there is a solution here, we just have to keep working toward it” or “we are a team and together we can figure this out”.
Would you like more ideas for ways to handle financial infidelity? Check out our articles on Counseling Relationships Online.com.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Financial Infidelity

Is financial infidelity affecting your relationship? Are you, or your partner, keeping secrets about money with each other?

Financial infidelity, lying to your spouse about money (assets, debts, purchases, etc.), happens in about 30% of all marriages or relationships with combined income. Disagreements and fighting about finances (financial infidelity) are a leading cause of divorce.

According to a 2014 survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, one spouse admits to lying to his or her partner about money, in 1 out of 3 marriages. In that same survey, more than 75% noted that this financial infidelity and dishonesty has adversely affected their marriage.

Money and the control of money is crucial to many people. We all develop styles of handling finances (frugal, spendthrift, saver, etc.) from our childhoods and experiences that we have as we mature. When two halves of a couple have the same style, money is often not a problem. When styles are different, that can lead to stress and conflict or financial infidelity.

Financial Infidelity Self-Test
Answer these questions honestly about yourself and/or your partner.

1. Is it hard to talk about finances with each other?
2. Is one of you likely to become argumentative or defensive when the money is discussed?
3. Do you know each others' style or relationship with money and can you respect any differences as part of a healthy balance?
4. Do you know each others' salary and any other source of income?
5. Are any large purchases made without consulting the other?
6. Are any large purchases “hidden” from the other?
7. Are you financially naked with each other?
8. Do you know each others' passwords? Credit card information? Checking accounts?
9. Do there seem to be big gaps between income and debt?
10. Do you know how much total debt you have as a couple as well as any individual debt?

If you answer “yes” to many of these questions, you are not alone. Remember, 1 in 3 couples do have problems with money and experience financial infidelity. In future posts we will share suggestions with you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tip of the Week

A recent research study noted that one of the hallmarks of a successful couple is that they celebrate each other's success and are there for each other when things are going well. This seemed to be even more important than being supportive at times when things are hard.