Once again, my latest Money Crashers article is about a subject I hope you'll never have to deal with personally: financial infidelity. This term refers to lying or keeping secrets about money from your partner—and just like regular infidelity, it's a matter of degree. Minor transgressions, like concealing a small purchase or fudging about the price, are kind of the equivalent of flirting with a coworker: probably no big deal, as long as it doesn't get out of hand. At the other end of the spectrum, there are cases of spouses who have secretly accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in debt, kept entire bank and credit card accounts hidden from their partners, or even lied about having a job.
These more extreme cases of financial infidelity, experts say, can be just as destructive to a marriage as physical infidelity, if not more so. As one victim points out, if you find out your partner is having an affair, you can either decide to work through it or split up. Either way, you get past it. But if your partner has masses of debt you don't know about, that affects your finances too. Even if you walk away from the relationship, you can't escape from that debt burden.
In the article, I discuss the various types of financial infidelity, the reasons it can happen, and the ways it can hurt couples both financially and emotionally. Then I offer some practical advice on how to deal with your joint finances so financial infidelity never becomes a problem—or to deal with it if it's already happened.
If you're already doing everything right—communicating clearly and sharing responsibility for your money—then this article will make you feel good about the problems you're avoiding. And if, by any chance, there is something amiss in your joint financial life, it can help you spot the problem and deal with it before it destroys your relationship.
How to Deal with a Lying Spouse – Financial Infidelity in Marriage