When people imagine infidelity, they think about affairs happening behind closed doors. They think about mysterious text messages, ignored phone calls and excuses for getting home later than expected. But a cheating partner isn’t the only type of infidelity that can shake the foundation of a long-term relationship — financial infidelity can be just as bad.
If you’re participating in this form of financial betrayal, you need to solve it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the bigger the consequences could be.
What Is Financial Infidelity?
The term financial infidelity refers to purposely deceiving your romantic partner about your personal finances, either by misrepresenting details or outright hiding them. While you don’t have to confess all of your money problems over your first coffee date, you should consider being open about certain financial factors when things get serious — especially if these factors impact your partner’s livelihood.
These are some examples of financial infidelity:
- Lying about consumer debt
- Getting a secret credit card
- Hiding shopping sprees
- Secret gambling
- Purposely over- or under-valuing your income
How Do You Solve It?
Confess the Secret
The first step is to tell them the truth. It will be hard, but it’s better than letting the secret fester and having them find out in the future. Rip off the band-aid.
Come up with a Plan Together
The next thing that you should do is come up with a plan to tackle your personal finance problem. For instance, if you have a serious amount of debt to deal with, you can create a household budget to save money and cut expenses. Then, book a consultation with a licensed insolvency trustee to ask them about how filing for bankruptcy vs consumer proposal would work out for you. They can lead you in the right direction.
Protect Your Partner
You don’t want your financial decisions to affect your partner negatively. So, to avoid sharing problems like debt, you can take certain precautions:
- Get a joint bank account to tackle household costs.
- Get separate bank accounts for non-essentials.
- Get separate credit cards. A shared credit card could hurt their credit score.
- Talk about finances honestly. Touch base every single week, if you can.
Why Do People Lie About Their Finances?
The answer is that there is a money taboo — it’s considered a social faux-pas to talk about how much you earn, spend and owe. Some people would have a harder time talking about their personal finances than they would talk about sex lives. So, instead of telling the truth or asking for help, they keep it to themselves.
And it’s hard to blame them. People are very judgmental when it comes to others’ money problems. For instance, Ratehub conducted a survey where almost half of the respondents said that revealing major credit card debt on the first date was a deal-breaker. People in major debt won’t stop dating. They’ll just hide their debt from their partners for as long as they can.
In the end, you can’t build a healthy relationship on lies, including lies about your finances. The best thing that you can do is be open and honest, and hope that they give you the same kindness in return.