Infidelity in marriage goes beyond physical aspects. People get into emotional affairs that can be equally hurtful for their spouses. Surprisingly, financial infidelity also counts as a concern in marriage. The truth is that it is the most common form of infidelity people indulge in. It may happen in different forms, such as your spouse lying about keeping a separate credit card, spending or debt, hiding purchases, or concealing money habits.
Although you may not see these actions as a serious issue, they can hit your relationship hard down the line. They indicate underlying trust issues that may take a different form later. It is crucial to take financial infidelity seriously and address it before your marriage lands in deep trouble. Here are some steps that can help you deal with the situation before it gets out of control.
Start money conversations early
Money isn’t a top priority for most couples when they start a relationship. You will probably be more interested in discussing romance, babies, and home decor. But it makes sense to start with money conversations early, even before you take the vows. It will ensure a sense of trust and keep you on the same page financially. Couples who are honest and open about money are less likely to break trust financially. Even if you or your partner falter at some point, it is easier to come out with a confession and mend things before they take a turn for the worse.
Watch out for the red flags
Financial infidelity does not happen overnight. Your spouse does it once and gradually falls into a habit of doing it repeatedly. You will notice red flags if you give attention to their behavior, so watch out if you have the slightest doubts. Refusing to talk about debt, credit cards, and personal finances is an indication that something is wrong. Your spouse may suddenly become possessive of the mailbox to hide shopping bills and credit card statements. If they seem to be too much into addictive behaviors, such as shopping, gambling, or alcohol, expect it as an impending sign of financial infidelity. When you see one or more of these red flags, act sooner rather than later.
Confirm your doubts
Confronting your partner right away may not be your best option. They will take offense if you accuse them without fault. It makes sense to confirm your doubts before taking any tangible steps to address the concern. You can hire a hacker to get information from their phone. It is the best way to get evidence without raising an alarm. Keep track of their behavior at home, or even follow them discreetly when they go shopping alone. Consider checking their history on their computer if possible. Keep your investigation under wraps so that you do forewarn your spouse.
Talk about infidelity
Once you have evidence that your spouse is being dishonest, don’t wait to confront them. Having an open conversation with them while delaying or overlooking the problem will only make things worse. But make sure you treat the guilty spouse with empathy as they will probably have emotional baggage to handle. Understand their thoughts and experiences, and try to reach the root of the problem. Financial infidelity shouldn’t spell doom for your marriage. So be prepared to work as a team to get things on track. Make it clear that financial infidelity is a betrayal of trust and needs serious thinking. At this stage, you may also decide the way forward in the relationship.
Start from scratch
Rebuilding trust after financial infidelity is a challenge. Knowing that your partner has been dishonest, even with money, can be painful. But mending things is a worthwhile effort if you love your spouse. The best way is to start from scratch and get everything out in the open. Convince your partner about your intention to forgive and move forward in the relationship. But convey your expectations of complete honesty in the future. At this stage, you must look at where you stand financially as a couple and plan for the long term. You may want to combine or divide your accounts from here, so this is the best time to start. Schedule regular financial check-ins to ensure that your spouse does not fall into the habit again.
Financial infidelity is as harmful as physical and emotional trust issues in a marriage. If you think your partner is going in the wrong direction, deal with the problem early and firmly. Not doing so can harm your relationship in the long run.