Financial Infidelity: When Money Secrets Add Up to Betrayal

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Someone who wouldn’t dream of betraying their spouse or partner by having an illicit affair is risking the relationship in another way: by committing financial infidelity. Being financially unfaithful to a partner can be just as damaging to the relationship as being emotionally or sexually unfaithful.

The following are examples of behaviors that may constitute financial infidelity:

  1. Hiding money from your partner. This might involve lying about your income or net worth, hiding bank accounts or investments, or accepting secret money gifts.
  2. Overspending and either hiding the purchases from your partner or lying about what they cost.
  3. Secretly spending money on or giving money to children or other relatives. A habit of slipping children $20 with the warning, "Don't tell Mom," encourages them to be manipulative and also teaches them destructive financial habits.
  4. Going behind your partner's back to ask parents or other family members for emergency loans or gifts.
  5. Risking joint resources for investments or business purposes without your partner’s knowledge or agreement.
  6. Spending a significant amount from joint funds without first discussing the purchase with your partner.