Part 2: The hidden dangers of financial infidelity

Financial infidelity, or lying about money matters, is unfortunately a common phenomenon. The consequences of financial infidelity can be just as severe as a romantic or sexual infidelity.

Lying about money breaks the trust between you and your partner. Some people would think: when you stop trusting each other, then what’s the point of staying together?

Financial infidelity can usually be tied to other marital problems. It could be a lack of communication, a lack of boundaries for finances, or an underlying addiction issue.

So how exactly can you recover from financial infidelity?

1. Talk to each other

If you or your partner have committed financial infidelity, the first step to repairing the relationship and restoring trust is to acknowledge the problem. Be humble in confessing and admitting the wrongdoing.

Ask your partner why they filed that bank loan without your knowledge. Remember, even if your intentions are good, you’re still guilty of financial infidelity if you don’t tell your partner about making big decisions like that.

More importantly, you should both be willing to grow out of your toxic financial habits. Learn to change for the better.

2. Address the underlying addictive behaviours that led to the infidelity

Do you or your partner go on a shopping spree every time there’s a “Sale”? Do you feel that dopamine rush of excitement whenever you buy something new? Plus, you hide the receipt and bank statement out of guilt.

Being a shopaholic is a real, serious condition. And with the popularity and convenience of online marketplaces, it’s now much easier to spend more than you should.

It’s an addiction like anything else, and it can damage your relationships more than it can your bank account.

Other times, people hide their financial habits from their partners because of a crippling gambling addiction. Any hobby or activity can turn into an addiction when it takes control of you.

People have lost their homes, jobs, and professional reputation by being in debt because of a gambling addiction.

It’s possible you and your partner cannot solve the addiction on your own. That’s okay – there’s no shame in getting help from a professional.

3. Plan your finances together

Here’s where it gets tricky. When you’ve discussed your current financial situation, dealt with toxic spending habits, and laid open all secret accounts and statements, it’s time to plan for a better future.

How much debt are you currently in? How much do you both make in a month? How much do you spend in a day or in a month? How much savings do you have?

Who is better at handling and managing money? What’s your main financial goal for the future?

If you’re currently in debt, your priority should be to pay it off completely and within the soonest possible time.

If you both need to work extra hours, take up a side gig for more income, or sell some of your stuff and property to pay off the debt. Interest rates are a killer. And if you don’t pay them off entirely, they can put you in a deeper debt hole.

4. Don’t be afraid to make drastic changes

Obviously, there are going to be some drastic lifestyle changes that both of you must adjust to – no more shopping sprees or secret spending habits.

Plan a budget that works and stick to it. It’s also probably wise to let the one who’s much more financially savvy to handle the finances but not without transparency.

Once you’ve cleared off the debts and have surplus income for savings, learn to plan for long-term financial goals.

Whether it’s paying for a family home, saving up for your kids’ college fund, or planning for retirement, it’s best to make plans for your money.

That way, you won’t dwell on present purchases only made for the sake or instant gratification.

You and your partner can do this

Finally, as it was mentioned earlier, don’t hesitate to seek help from qualified financial advisors and marriage counsellors. Recovering from financial infidelity and its consequences can be a long, rough road.

But luckily, with enough willpower and patience, you and your partner will not only be able work out your differences. You can even emerge from this problem stronger together.

This article first appeared in thenewsavvy.com

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