Financial dishonesty in marriage can hurt more than a physical or emotional affair and is one of the leading reasons why couples split.
If you’re in a relationship where you feel like your spouse is hiding money, not contributing enough, or committing financial infidelity in some way – it’ll put a strain on your relationship.
Here is what financial dishonesty means, examples, the effect it has on a relationship, and more:
What Is Financial Dishonesty in Marriage?
Financial dishonesty or financial infidelity in a marriage is when one spouse is hiding money, not contributing equally, or lying, hiding or being deceptive about their finances in some way.
Financial infidelity can take many different forms, but it always boils down to one thing: a lack of transparency and communication about money.
It can be as hurtful and as damaging as a physical affair, an emotional affair, or any other type of deceptive behavior.
No one wants to find out their partner has been lying to them, and when it comes down to finances it can be particularly hurtful.
Some spouses find out their partners are in debt, have a spending addiction, and owe friends and family members money – all while believing they are actually doing well financially.
It can hit you as hard as finding out your partner has been cheating, it’s almost like they’ve been living a secret life.
Related – Do you think your husband has a secret bank account? Here’s what to do!
Should You Forgive Financial Infidelity?
This is a tough question to answer, there isn’t an easy “yes” or “no” answer as it depends on your individual situation.
It depends on the severity of the dishonesty, how much you feel although your trust has been broken, if your partner is truly sorry, and if they’re willing to change their ways.
Forgiving financial infidelity can be done, but for some couples, it will take time, effort, and a lot of patience.
If you decide to stay in the marriage and work through the financial dishonesty, it’s important to set some ground rules.
You need to establish boundaries, rebuild trust, and create a new foundation for your relationship – one that is built on honesty and transparency.
Your partner also needs to seek help if he is financially irresponsible and can’t simply stop his spending habits or doesn’t know how to manage his finances.
Can My Marriage Survive Financial Infidelity?
Unfortunately, it’s also hard for me to answer this question for you.
It really all comes down to how much the financial dishonesty has hurt your relationship, how you’re feeling about it, and how willing your partner is to work through it.
A lot of spouses, especially those who are being dishonest, try to brush off financial infidelity as not being that serious.
But it is, financial dishonesty is very serious.
It’s like any form of dishonesty in a relationship, it can break down trust, create distance, it leads to resentment, and has a negative impact on your mental health.
The best thing you can do is talk to your partner about it, see how they react, and go from there.
You also need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you think you can forgive your partner and move on from this.
If you’re struggling to communicate with your partner and come to an agreement you’re both happy with, I recommend speaking with a therapist.
There are therapists that specialize in financial issues within a relationship, if you want to fight for your marriage, you should.
What Should I Do if My Spouse Keeps Lying to Me About Money?
If your spouse keeps lying about money, it’s no different from continually having your trust broken in any other way – it hurts.
The first step is always to communicate with your partner.
You need to sit down and talk about what’s going on, why they’re being dishonest, and how it’s affecting you and the relationship.
If your partner is willing to be honest and transparent about their finances moving forward, then you can start to rebuild trust.
But if your partner continues to lie, then you need to reassess your relationship.
You need to decide if you can continue living like this and if you’re willing to forgive your partner and move on.
How Can You Help a Financially Dishonest Spouse?
If your spouse is the one being dishonest about money, there are a few things you can do to help.
The first step is always going to be communication.
You need to talk to your partner about what’s going on and why it’s happening.
From there, you can help them develop a budget, get them professional help if they’re struggling with financial responsibility, and help them create a plan to be more transparent and honest about their finances.
You also need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you can help them.
It can be difficult keeping track of what your partner is spending, especially if they’re trying to hide their financial activities from you.
The long-term impact of financial dishonesty can be huge, it can literally derail your plans to buy a home, go on nice holidays, and do all the things you dream of.
It’s not something to take lightly or allow your partner to fob off as something like “some accidental spending”, or “a moment of madness here and there”.
Related – How to deal with financial dishonesty from your spouse or partner.
Is Financial Infidelity Abuse?
Financial infidelity is also used as a form of abuse in relationships, it can be incredibly toxic.
Some spouses will cut their partners off from having money, make them think they cannot afford basic essentials, and do things to gain more control over them.
If you think your partner is engaging in this type of financial abuse, it’s important to do something about it right away.
You can start by talking to your partner about it, but if they’re unwilling to listen or change their behavior, you may need to seek professional help.
There are organizations that can help you if you’re in an abusive relationship, don’t suffer in silence.
At the very least you need to break free from them and their controlling behavior, no one should feel coerced to do anything in a relationship due to money.
Image credits – Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.