Monday, November 27, 2017

Are You Financially Cheating On Your Spouse? Do This Now!

Infidelity, or extra-marital affairs, is a top ten reason for divorce in America.  However, in many cases, infidelity in a couple's marriage occurred because of other factors, e.g., boredom in the bedroom, lack of romance, a failure to communicate, and so on.  Contrary to belief, being betrayed by your lover is not always the metaphorical straw that breaks the camel's back and ends a relationship. reports that 60-75% of couples who have experienced a betrayal stay together.  Of course "staying together" doesn't mean things are rosy once again.  People choose to stay together, according to the article at Divorcemag, because they are afraid of the alternative, i.e., separation.

Image result for financial infidelity

Separation signifies: 1) Being single once again, 2) An unknown as to the level of damage a divorce may cause on the kids, and 3) Worrying about finances as a single person with or without kids.

What effect does financial infidelity have in a marriage? Although probably not as bad as its carnal cousin, financial infidelity also strains many relationships.  Let me get into a personal story...

About five years ago while my wife Jessica and I were inside of that precarious three years of marriage period, you know, where you're just getting to know and trust each other, I discovered that she had opened up a Wells Fargo credit card without telling me.  So what, right?  I mean, no big deal it's just a credit card.  Not quite.  You see, the statement I opened (that was wrong of me to do) had a balance of over $2K!  We were at the time attempting to qualify for a mortgage for a rental property so naturally I imagined the worse: being denied for having too big of a debt-to-income ratio.

I also felt very much betrayed.  The foundation of trust we'd built up to this point with respect to our joint finances, had been cracked.  When I confronted Jessica, she shared with me that she had gotten carried away with her direct sales/network marketing business, believing she'd have everything paid off before I found out.  Obviously her plan didn't work.  We fought about it several times with me exerting my position of power over her.  I was making the most money at the time as a high school assistant principal so I felt I had more say in how our money was to be used.  From then on I demanded she never do this again and always tell me whenever she was making a major financial decision.

In retrospect, I was a bit of an ass.  Okay...understatement.  I was a total ass.  Yes, I had right to be angry.  But a more patient husband would've reacted with more forgiveness.  Jessica had stated repeatedly to me that she would pay it all off, but I kept "seeing red," meaning, several months of not getting ahead on our collective savings because of her financial indiscretion.  It took a couple of years for me to finally let it go, and re-admit Jessica back on my financial team, so to speak.  If only I'd have moved on sooner we would've saved both time and energy by communicating from a starting position of trust once again.

So now I ask you: Are You Financially Cheating On Your Spouse?

Have you...

A) Opened a secret savings account where you stash cash?
B) Opened a secret credit card, choosing electronic statements to avoid detection?
C) Siphoned off small sums of money from a joint checking account and deposited them into a secret checking account?

Image result for financial infidelity cited a 2016 study by the National Endowment for Financial Education that reported roughly 40% of Americans admitting to some form of financial infidelity.  If you're currently cheating on your spouse financially, I suggest you come clean.  Secrets and sly actions damage both trust and respect in a relationship.  So how do you do this?  How do you "come clean" to your significant other.  I recommend the following:

1) State the truth.  Tell your spouse what you've been doing at an opportune moment, i.e., when the two of you are alone.

2)  Tell them why you did it.  Be clear in your communication.  Admit exactly what provoked you to do this even if it's an insecurity you had about your relationship.  Holding anything back would raise further suspicion.

3)  Apologize profusely and provide solutions.  How are you going to fix things?  What sacrifices will YOU make to repair your joint financial house?

4) Agree to new behaviors with parameters.  From now on you will do X, Y, Z before making a major financial decision.

What if your partner is refusing to let your betrayal go?  If your partner constantly brings up what you did in arguments, and is choosing to treat you with contempt anytime you handle money, then you may need relationship counseling.  There's nothing wrong with this; it just means the two of you need more time to talk things through with the help of a trained expert.  You may find that reverting to the both of you handling household finances is a good initial strategy to feel like you're together once again when it comes to money.

What about separating one's finances?  Personally, I think separating your finances completely as a result of financial infidelity would be a bad move.  This is in essence a failure to compromise AND gets you one step closer to divorce.  It works for couples who started off with separate finances, and never looked back.  But for you who have "cheated," it's basically admitting that you can never trust each other financially again.  Not to mention it's the easy way out.  Working through your problems makes a marriage stronger!  So commit to reconciling your financial differences.

Alright, there it is.  I reiterate: Confess your financial infidelity to your spouse as soon as possible.  Well, that is if you truly love and respect them.  Otherwise continue to cheat and wait for the lawyers to discover your secret accounts.  Ha!  Hasta next time my peeps.
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