10 Warning Signs of Financial Infidelity: Are you lying to your partner about money?

Most people when they think of being unfaithful to their partner they think it means having an affair.  There are several ways you can be unfaithful to partner: emotionally, physically and financially. The financial aspect many times is overlooked as a problem in a relationship because the one who is withholding the information thinks they are protecting their partner.  There are two types of lies: commission and omission.  Lies of commission are you know what you are doing and you are justified in your own mind for your actions (see items 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10).  Lies of omission means you leave out some of the information about a financial transaction (see items 1, 4, 6, 7).  There are warning signs (as always) and it’s up to you to decide if you want to confront yourself and then share with your partner.  If you are unsure about telling your partner, then ask for help in sorting out the problem with a therapist.  A Financial planner does not qualify for this type of advice.

1.       Oh it only cost…  Sometimes there is nothing underhanded about saying it only cost this when it was more or less than the stated amount.  However, if you find you are saying it only cost this because you had agreed to only spend a certain amount and you went over by a substantial amount then it’s a problem.  This is one way to go down the slippery slope to bigger things.

2.       Opening  accounts (credit, bank, and loan).  Opening an account without your partner knowing could be no big deal in your relationship or it can be a very big deal.  Some couples decide it’s best to keep their money separate so if that is the case having a new account without your partner knowing may mean nothing.  It can become a big deal, however, if you are divorcing.

3.       Taking money out of your retirement fund.  If you are taking money out of your retirement fund and your partner is not part of the decision making process, then there is a breach of trust.  However, if you have a pre-nuptial that clearly states that’s your money no matter what then not a problem.  The next questions to consider is:  Why are you needing to cash out early and are willing to pay penalties?  This sounds like something you would want to talk with your partner about before doing just to get another point of view. Or you have a gambling problem or some other kind of addiction that you are shame of then consult a therapist.

4.       Borrowing money.  It’s really best practices to not borrow money from friends or family.  However, if you are borrowing from friends or family and then asking them for a blood oath to not tell your partner says there’s a problem.

5.       Hiding bonus money.  Some think that if they get a bonus at work it’s none of their partner’s business.  As long as that’s your agreement up front not a problem.  But, if you are getting a bonus and you are hiding it there’s a problem.  If you find letting your partner know means they will spend it without consulting you that’s a problem as well.

6.       Lending money.  Giving money to a friend or family member can be problem depending upon the agreement you have with your partner.  If your family member has “borrowed” many times from you and your partner has made it clear they do not want to lend them money again and you give it anyway then there’s a problem.

7.       Opening a PO Box.  Obviously there are good reasons to open a Post Office Box and you are not hiding anything.  The question is:  Does my partner know and if not why not?

8.       Hiding the credit card bill.  If you are hiding ANY bill where you know your partner would get upset if they saw it then there is a problem.

9.       Forgery.  If you are signing your partner’s name without their knowledge this is called forgery and it is a crime.

10.   Stealing.  If you are taking money out of your joint account and hoping your partner will not notice or you are taking money out of their wallet without telling them then you are stealing.  This needs to be looked at so you can understand the feelings behind the action.


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