The Dangers of Financial Infidelity
Financial infidelity can be devastating to a marriage. When a spouse lies about financial decisions or makes big decisions without consulting the other it not only takes an emotional toll but can also lead to serious financial hardship for the family in the future. A recent study released by the National Endowment for Financial Education showed that 31% of Americans have lied about money to their spouse, and financial concerns are among the leading causes for divorce around the country.
What Does Financial Infidelity Look Like?
Financial Infidelity can take many forms. If your spouse is being deceitful about money, you may notice that:
- Cash or valuable objects have gone missing;
- He or she opened credit cards and hid the receipts;
- Unexplained purchases have appeared in the house;
- He or she gets defensive or angry in response to questions about money
- Secrecy now surrounds phone calls and mail;
- He or she shows signs of addictive behavior including over-involvement in gambling or drugs and alcohol; and
- There has been a sudden increase in gifts and financial favors.
How Can Couples Avoid Financial Infidelity?
There are some steps that couples can take to keep both individuals honest and accountable for money. The first is to keep communication honest and open. It is important to share information about joint debt and purchases. Receipts and credit card statements should not be hidden. Spouses should be careful to keep a calm attitude when discussing money and take breaks if the conversation becomes heated. A healthy dose of compassion and forgiveness can do wonders when discussing financial mistakes and challenges. Try not to focus on blame and instead work together as a team to establish healthy financial habits.
Many couples have also found it helpful to allocate each person a certain amount of spending money – no questions asked. This allows each spouse to feel that they have some freedom to spend money on things and activities that are enjoyable to them guilt-free. Finally, couples who want to prevent further financial stress should make sure they have a plan for their future. This can include things like a budget, plans on how to care for elderly family member or children’s expenses, and setting up financial objectives and goals for the future.
In some cases, financial infidelity may lead to total breakdown of the trust in the marriage. If this has happened to you, divorce may be your best option. To learn more about getting out of a financially toxic marriage, contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney. Call 630-232-9700 to schedule a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.