A couple’s wedding vows usually include some version of a promise of love and fidelity between the spouses. Most people generally view that as a promise by each partner not to cheat, either emotionally or sexually with another person. Despite such promises, marital infidelity does occur, often resulting in fractured or destroyed relationships which can ultimately lead to divorce. Recent research indicates, however, that another type of cheating, known as financial infidelity, frequently occurs in marriages and can have an equally damaging impact on a healthy marriage.
What is Financial Infidelity?
Financial infidelity represents any form of hiding of or deception regarding purchases, accounts, income, debts, investments, or any other type of money-related issues between spouses or partners. Last year, the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) commissioned a Harris Poll survey to investigate just how common the practice is among married or committed couples. The study found that about 30 percent of respondents admitted to some form of financial infidelity, and that when such practices occur, three out of four acknowledge the negative effect on their relationship.
Dealing with Financial Infidelity
Individuals may be driven to hide financial activities from their partner out of a sense of embarrassment or shame, says NEFE senior director Patricia Seaman. Despite sharing their lives with a partner, they believe in keeping certain financial aspects private, and getting them to open up about such activities can be extremely difficult. To this extent, financial advisors like CNBC contributor Ric Edelman “often feel equal parts marriage counselor and financial planner.”
It is possible to recover from financial infidelity, but both Seaman and Edelman agree that it will take a renewed commitment to honesty. Addressing monetary issues like budgeting and spending needs to be a joint effort in order for a relationship to continue in a healthy manner. Edelman also suggests that a budgeted amount of "no-questions-asked" spending money for each partner may offer an appropriate combination of freedom and responsibility to the relationship.
Find Legal Help
Financial infidelity can have a devastating effect on the trust between spouses in a marriage. While the trust may be eventually repaired in some cases, other couples may find themselves in a marriage with no future. If you feel like your marriage has reached its end and would like to know more about the options available to you, contact an experienced divorce attorney in Kane County today for a free consultation. Our trustworthy professionals are committed to providing you with the best in legal representation.