‘Financial infidelity’ can prove to be a costly mistake

It is pretty well understood that infidelity is a major cause of divorce. Whether the affair is sexual or emotional in nature, men and women who stray from their spouse may find themselves on the receiving end of divorce papers.

But there is another kind of infidelity that many experts warn is both common and dangerous: financial infidelity. These are financial lies (or lies of omission) that spouses tell one another. Given that money tends to be a major point of contention in marriages, financial infidelity is more serious than it may sound.

A survey earlier this year found that among adult respondents who combined finances with their significant other, about 35 percent said they have hidden something financial from the other person. This included hidden cash, hidden bank accounts, a secret purchase or a statement/bill.

The financial lies grow from there. About 13 percent of respondents said they have lied to their significant other about how much income they earn, how much debt they have or something equally serious. The majority of survey respondents said that financial lies had damaged their relationship in some way, with 16 percent saying it resulted in divorce.

Because all couples are different (and have different money secrets) financial infidelity may not have the same impacts in every case. Moreover, the damage is likely reversible if corrected early. The important thing to keep in mind is that if finances become a major source of tension in the relationship, this tension could snowball into much more serious issues.

Source: Forbes, “Caught In The Act: Are You Cheating Financially On Your Partner?” July 1, 2014

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