Financial Infidelity: Monetary Cheating in Your Relationship

Being unfaithful involves more than emotional or physical betrayal. Financial infidelity is fast becoming a major issue with couples today.

When most people think of “cheating” in a relationship they think of physical or even emotional unfaithfulness. If this is what you’re having a problem with in your relationship, visit Are You Cheating. However, financial infidelity is fast becoming an issue with today’s couples. A 2005 study from and Redbook Magazine showed that “24% of all those currently in a relationship say honesty about finances is more important than honesty about fidelity, and 72% say trust is essential to a successful romance.”

Definition of Financial Infidelity

Any lie or act of dishonesty with regard to money can qualify as financial infidelity. When one partner hides purchases from the other, lies about how much is spent on certain items, or takes money out of an account without telling the other person it could be a sign financial cheating.

Lying About Finances Hurts a Relationship

When couples are married or living together, they often pool their money and share expenses. Their money becomes an extension of themselves and a representation of their character. So when one partner goes against the agreed upon terms of financial boundaries, it breaks down the level of trust in the relationship.

Accumulative Lies Indicate a Problem

The aforementioned study also indicated that “nearly one-third (29%) of U.S. adults ages 25 to 55 who are in a committed relationship say they have been dishonest with their partner about spending habits.” Lying in any form is bad for a relationship. It shows a lack of respect for the other person and an indication that the couple is not on the same page.

The occasional small white lie about finances is usually not enough to break the trust in a partnership, but when the lies continue to build, it could be a sign of a more serious problem. Each time one partner covers up spending issues it not only steals trust away from the relationship but also puts the other person on the line for money she didn’t plan on spending.

Different Ideas About Spending Could Mean Different Life Goals

Ideas on how to spend money are an important issue for couples. If one person continually spends money on the sly, while the other toils away to save, it could mean that the spender is putting him or herself above the goals of the relationship. The spender could deem future expenses such as retirement, college education, or home ownership as not important to his immediate wants.

Women Are More Likely to Be Financial Cheaters

According to the same study, women are more commonly involved in financial infidelity than men. The study showed that 33% of women versus 26% of men lied about money to their partners. One reason for this could be that women are usually in charge of the household (41% of women versus 21% of men). Having access to the household accounts could make it easier to hide money or lie about spending.

Lying about finances takes cunning, covering up, and planning. It takes the same type of effort as for other types of infidelity, and involves the same hurtful lack of respect. If one partner is willing to lie about money, it may be just a matter of time before he begins to lie about other things. A betrayal involving money can be equally as hurtful as physical cheating and be much more difficult to get over.

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