Financial Infidelity and Financial Abuse Signs, Action Steps and Statistics. Financial Infidelity Grounds for Divorce.
Does your spouse act weird when it comes to money and don’t want to talk over money issues?
Do you feel helpless when you try to start a conversation about saving/spending/anything! Regarding money?
Or maybe they just ignore your hints and avoid sticking to the subject?
Do you feel used? Tired? Confused?
Read on; I’m here to help!
All those are just the foam of all signs of financial infidelity…
…or financial abuse!
And you are its victim!
…You don’t know it!
What you want is simple, isn’t it?
You want to create a marriage full of trust, love, security, clear communication and deep connection. You would love both of you to contribute to the financial aspect of your married life, to pay off all the annoying debts and live your life free of any worry and sleepless nights.
However, lately, you feel like something’s wrong…
You think “Am I going crazy over insignificant things?”
“Is it fair to ask my partner to be more money aware when even I am still learning?”
“Will I destroy our relationship if we start fighting over money? Wasn’t that the shortcut to divorce?”
“Will I lose their trust if I’m wrong about this?”
Well, let’s make things clear first before you have that talk with your significant one.
What is financial infidelity?
What is financial abuse?
Are they as bad as cheating?
Are they fixable?
Is it possible to be their victim even if you consider yourself as a smart and educated person? (short answer – YES!)
Let’s dig into family money, and financial infidelity, financial abuse and the difference between them.
Did you know…?
31% of all couples clash over money issues monthly
More than three couples out of ten argue over debts, fail to communicate effectively over money, paying off debts and spending money in a “smart way” (if there’s one at all…).
How to know if you are a victim of financial infidelity and your spouse is lying to you? Are there any signs?
Of course, there are signs.
Easy to be seen…
… as long as you know where to look.
My goal in this post is to make you aware that even the one you love and vow to share everything with, might be hiding something from you… that they shouldn’t.
I will go over:
– Signs of financial infidelity;
– Financial abuse and manipulation goals
– Financial ABUSE and when you should run as fast as you can
– Actions to take if you find out your spouse is hiding money from you
– How to deal with the debts in case you still want to fix the problems
Signs of financial infidelity – hiding money and its cons…
Sounds childish but surprisingly everyone had done it at some point in their life.
Have you ever both something and hid its price from your spouse?
Did you wait at least three months after you met your significant one to tell them about your debts?
Well, you’ve cheated financially too… Small, but still counts.
The reasons are countless, but today we’ll focus on the perfect case…
Your spouse doesn’t hide money because you like to spend them!
You consider yourself as a financially educated person and don’t believe you overspend. You were never blamed you waste money on … well, anything.
On the other hand, you never banned your spouse from doing reasonable shopping. When they wanted or needed something, you’re always up for it.
Good for you!
Something is wrong between the two of you.
Now, there is financial abuse, and there’s financial ABUSE.
Before we go through all that it’s to come, I’d like to make this as clear as possible.
It might be confusing, and many people could even judge me over making a difference – abuse is abuse, no matter what.
However, if your spouse controls your money, doesn’t allow you to spend anything unless he approves it and you feel scared to raise the problem, it’s ABUSE, and the financial part is just a small aspect of it.
You need professional help, and you need to leave that person. And I’m not sorry to that you need to run as fast as possible from that person.
I’d like to separate the financial abuse on two levels.
Financial Abuse Level 1
Your partner is asking you to pay for yourself when you’re out and that happens almost all the time. He or she makes you feel like you owe them at least this and often hide that behind the fact that they don’t have money to pay for you two.
Also, financial abuse from level 1 is often making you pay for everything in the house too. If you both work but one of you pays for everything and the other spends his money on personal hobbies, it is a financial abuse too.
If you feel your partner has the opportunity to help you more financially in the house but doesn’t want to, you are a victim of that type of financial abuse. I’ve talked more about it in How to live with your financially unstable husband.
This type of financial abuse is closely related to financial infidelity but both are fixable. Something we cannot say for Level 2
Financial abuse Level 2
- Your spouse doesn’t allow you to work
- Has full control over your salary if you work
- Leaves you with no money
- You don’t have any financial independence in your home
- You don’t have access to money even for basic needs
- Your partner uses your debit credit cards without permission
- Every time you try to raise your voice about these problems your partner gets aggressive
- All or some of these problems are combined with physical abuse as well
Needless to say – you have to run!
There is no chance of things getting better. You are dealing with an emotionally damaged person and it is not your job to fix them. Your partner manipulates and abuses you, and your place is as far away from them as possible.
With that said, assuming you are not one of these cases, let’s keep saving your marriage…
You notice one or few of the signs below:
No clarity in your money situation no matter how hard you try
It looks like you never know what’s going on with the money you and your spouse earn every month.
The bills are paid, the rent/mortgage also. The grocery shopping is done. But somehow, you still feel that you don’t know where the money goes.
If you have joint accounts, it’s kind of easy to notice what’s going on.
But what if…
… your spouse has another account in another bank?
There are a few ways to find that out, but I’ll get to that in a second.
The fact is you don’t see how is possible to not be able to save money when both of you earn enough and your debts are not so big.
Well, that little feeling in your chests?
It’s a small sign of financial infidelity.
Your spouse might be hiding money from you, but don’t urge to go crazy over it. It could be a lack of organisation and money budgeting. It’s fixable and there’s nothing to worry about. See how to fix this by learning family budgeting for couples.
Unwillingness to talk about money that drives you insane
Your partner constantly avoids talking about your money savings, paying off debts and budget planning. He (or she) never have time for that type of conversation, no matter how much you try to create the time for it.
Your significant one doesn’t want to “think about money right now”, “doesn’t have time for such a talk” or just goes nervous and blames you for lack of trust (more about this later).
Did you recognise yourself in that situation?
I’m sorry to be a pain, but you have a problem.
And your spouse hides something. There is no excuse or explanation on that one. You are probably a victim of financial infidelity. Let’s see below if we could add more to that…
Hiding the bank statements from you or going through the mail every day before you get to it
Yep, there’s something your spouse doesn’t want to you to see – letter from the bank. A bank statement for a credit card or a bank account you don’t know it exists.
Or maybe there are no more bank statements arriving via mail?
Receiving a letter with a bank statement would push you to go through it. So if your spouse uses his account to hide money or pay extra debts through, they wouldn’t want you to see the bank statement. You might actually even forget checking the accounts.
However, nowadays many banks offer online statements and this could make things harder for you.
No explanations when it comes to spendings – being rude is a sign of financial infidelity
Having a normal conversation with your spouse shouldn’t be something you cross your fingers to happen.
Money is a crucial part of every couple’s life and talking about money is more than alright.
In fact, it’s necessary.
Why do people feel more comfortable to have sex with a stranger than to talk about money with their significant one?
Effective communication is when both of you spear the time and make the effort to come up with a plan, a strategy to pay off debts, to save money or to spend it.
So, to talk about how both of you spend money is as normal as to talk about the weather. It’s marriage, you are supposed to do it.
With that said, if your spouse suddenly doesn’t want to get involved in any money conversation and refuses to explain weird transactions, it’s a classic “money issues” sign.
Part of this sign of financial infidelity is the fact he or she blames you for not trusting them.
Disclaimer: Please, be aware that to have a normal conversation is one thing and to sit down and ask him “Where did you spend this money?” is different. In the second case – you are acting like a parent and even the most lovable and honest spouse wouldn’t feel good about it.
Missing cash and often withdraws from the accounts are signs of financial abuse and financial infidelity
As I said, I’d like to talk more about the difference between financial infidelity and financial abuse.
Financial abuse is when one of the partners uses financially the other in different ways.
Examples: This might include using only your money from the salary, while your partner’s money goes for things unrelated to the family spendings (hobbies, games, drinking problems). Also, you could find that money is missing – cash you left in the house for a specific thing, change you usually keep for small shopping, etc.
The most prominent sign – often asks you to pay for yourself when you’re out, asking you to pay for the petrol when he/she gives you a lift to work.
I’ve been in a relationship where I was financially used.
It’s very funny and sad, because I’ve got a Master Degree in Finances and worked in banks for almost ten years… and yet, I was used to paying for alcohol and cigarettes when we were struggling with buying food and paying bills.
But that’s another story. We live and we learn. So, please, learn from my experience and follow my advice.
In conclusion, the best way to find out if you are a victim of financial abuse is to ask yourself…
Does it feel fair?
Does it feel fair to pay for this?
Does it feel normal?
If you have any doubts, that something’s not right, probably it isn’t.
Have questions regarding financial abuse or financial infidelity? Contact me and ask. I will help you find the right answer.
But what about the withdraws?
If your spouse often withdraws money from the bank account and doesn’t have a good explanation of where the money goes, it could be a sign of financial infidelity.
Especially if he/she gets irritated when you ask them (in a polite and respective way).
You start receiving gifts – a possible sign of guilt and financial infidelity
Well, if you suddenly start receiving gifts and flowers, there’s a possibility for your spouse to feel guilty about something. It is not a secret that showering someone with gifts all of a sudden is a hint that something’s wrong.
Try to combine this sign with one or more of the others and you’ve got the right recipe for financial infidelity.
You’re being paranoid, why wouldn’t you trust me?
That’s one of their favourite questions when you ask for an explanation.
If everything is fine and there’s nothing to worry about, your partner will just explain you everything.
But if it’s not, they might get aggressive and even leave the room making you feel the worst person ever, that you asked such questions.
Whatever happens, if you feel that something’s wrong, if there’s missing cash, weird withdraws small transaction to a different account you know nothing about, don’t feel paranoid. If you feel lied and used, you have the right to make the situation as clear as possible.
Financial infidelity is serious.
He or she hid money?
That’s a huge red flag for poor relationship trust and communication.
Also, it is a sign of manipulation.
Do you feel lied or manipulated?
It’s not a nice feeling.
But, hold on…
You are both adults. And I believe that every problem between couples is fixable. Including financial infidelity or financial abuse.
However, you should both want to fix it.
Both of your efforts are crucial to the situation, but with mutual understanding and hard work, you can go through it.
What NOT to do when you find out you in a situation of financial infidelity or financial abuse?
First of all – don’t threat of leaving
That would be the perfect time for ultimatums and threats of leaving, isn’t it?
When, if not now, you can seriously consider leaving behind a person you don’t even know anymore?
Well, even if you think about leaving your spouse, don’t tell that.
Nobody likes to be pushed and threatened and every willingness for change will fly through the window when you mention ultimatums.
I firmly believe a serious conversation full of honesty and support could do wonders if both want it. Talk through everything and then give time.
Although you might feel stupid to wait for something so obvious – they have to change or else, do not forget it was their decision to leave the honesty out of your marriage. Therefore, it has to be their decision they will stick to that honesty again. Forcing them going into something they willingly left could make things worse.
Make it clear the trust is harmed but never bring the subject into every argument you have
By doing that you guarantee a significant amount of guilt and anger to grow between the two of you. Always talk about the current problem during a fight and don’t allow yourself to get lost in anger and blame.
Your partner might forgive the first few times but after that, it will build up another issue between the two of you.
What to do when you find out that your spouse hides money form you?
So, it’s a fact!
Your spouse hides money from you and you are a victim of financial infidelity.
Read the next action steps to help you go through that rough situation in your marriage.
Stay calm – the advice everyone hates!
Do you think you are right to be angry?
Yes, you are!
But it won’t help you at all.
In fact, going mad, shouting and blaming your spouse will make things so much worse. Allowing yourself to lose control of your nerves is a perfect recipe for ultimatums and divorce conversations.
And you don’t want that, do you?
Look for the blame in yourself – nope, you are not an angel either…
I am far away from telling you it’s your fault.
However, focusing on finding out why did you encourage this behaviour, will take your focus away long enough to calm yourself.
How is it possible to be your fault?
Have you ever fight over the small amount of money spend on your spouse’s hobby?
Have you ever banned shopping he/she really wanted/needed?
Do you like to overspend? Regularly?
Can you control your impulses for spending when you’re out or in the online shop?
Do you love to criticise your spouse’s shopping routine?
Have you noticed that “your way” of spending money is “always better”?
If you recognised yourself in one of the situations from above – yes, it’s your fault as well.
You brought that to yourself.
And while your spouse still had to try and find a fair solution, you shouldn’t put all the blame on him.
There are just a few situations in the married life when we can say it’s only one of the spouse’s fault. Usually, everyone has their share.
If it’s your fault, you might have to work more than your spouse on fixing the things!
Find out the truth
However, financial infidelity is a fact.
Or is it?
Are you sure what you think that happens is what actually happens?
Find out the truth.
Stick to being honest and respectful. But find out the truth. No blame, no anger. Only open communication.
See their point of view. You should never judge until you have all the facts (even after that if you want a healthy relationship). The situation might be completely different from their point of view. Give your significant one a chance to show you why they did it.
Take a decision
It has to stop.
Money has a huge impact on every family’s happiness. That is why you should decide on how to proceed from that moment on.
Building the trust again will be hard, but if both of you want to do it, it will happen.
Confront, but be polite
Finding out that the love of your life hides money from you and you are an in a financial infidelity situation, could overwhelming.
However, be polite.
This is still the person you share a bed with.
He/she is still your spouse.
And you owe them respect and politeness. No matter what!
Your partner might feel even worse than you
This is still the person you love, and they love you back.
Your partner probably feels worse than you about hiding money, acting weird, causing you pain and risking your marriage.
There’s a big chance they didn’t even realise that what happens is wrong.
Don’t compromise. Never!
Whatever the reasons, you’ve been mistreated.
Do not just put that behind you and move on.
Otherwise, it will happen again and you won’t even find out.
The financial abuse and stashing money away is not something you should compromise with. Be firm, find out the truth, ask for an explanation and take further decision.
Can you save your marriage?
Marriage is a fragile relationship.
Will you be able to forgive financial infidelity?
Can you move on after financial abuse?
Do you see it as just another step to the end of your marriage?
Is it just childish behaviour that the other regrets about?
If you feel betrayed and unable to forgive, then consider marriage counselling. Give both of you the opportunity to work on the problem.
Create a plan
After you go through the first two phases of finding out you’ve been lied and taking the decision to move on and try to save your marriage, it’s time for planning.
Here’s how to do it:
Analyse the situation
The most often case is when one of the partners has a credit card or loan that keeps in secret from their spouse. It’s usually used to cover expenses on hobbies.
If that’s you – consider yourself lucky. There are cases where the spouse is saving for divorce…
But, if you have to deal with debts…
Create a plan on how to pay them off.
Also, you can download for free my family budgeting guide to help you start paying off the debts together and being more present with your spending. You can download it from here or by clicking the link at the end of the article.
Be accountable to each other
Gaining back the trust is going to take a while.
It is OK if you don’t feel like trusting your spouse immediately.
Financial infidelity is hard to forgive. Financial abuse is even harder.
Schedule weekly meetings to go over the bank statements and weekly spending together. Put as much effort into this as your spouse. It might be their fault, but feeling your support will help them stay on track and be money wise.
Make them feel fully involved in everything that happens. Be sure both of you agree on each decision before you proceed to the action steps.
Find your goal
Finding out why you want to do this will be your stimulus to go further.
Your goal could be to build the trust back. Financial infidelity ruins the trust between the spouses so building it back is the more important thing. That is why setting up a goal like that will keep you involved in the process.
If your partner went into lots of debts, your goal could be to pay them off and be debt free. Even getting better just step by step and debt by debt will be something that will bring the trust back between the two of you.
What if nothing works and you feel the dishonesty is or will continue?
Let’s face it!
Life is not a fairytale.
Just because you want to fix the things it doesn’t mean it will happen.
You still don’t trust your partner after months of “working it out”.
Your partner acts weird again, and you are not sure if the nightmare won’t start all over again.
Financial infidelity and financial abuse are grounds for divorce, and there’s nothing wrong in telling the truth.
No one can blame you for not giving a chance on a relationship you honestly don’t want to maintain anymore.
Once you make the decision it’s over
There’s a great book by Valerie Rind who was a victim of financial infidelity. Her husband hid a huge financial secret from her for a decade, and she doesn’t overthink either to stay or to leave. Her hard, but honest emotions and experience could give you the strength you need in a moment like this.
In the same book, you will find out how to prepare yourself – legally and emotionally, to separate from your spouse.
Try stashing money for yourself
I know it sounds like you have to cheat because they cheated on you, but it’s the best thing you could do for yourself.
Because, once you decide to leave this marriage behind, you have to start thinking exclusively of yourself.
Life requires money, and you have the full right to prepare financially for leaving this relationship. It is necessary if you are a victim of financial abuse as well.
It is your time to open a bank account in a different bank and put aside some money.
Consult with a lawyer
Leaving a relationship and leaving a marriage are different things. When ending a relationship after financial infidelity or financial abuse, it’s a matter of packing your clothes (said simple).
However, a divorce is a whole new chapter in life, and you need all the support – emotional and legal, you could get. Never trust you and your partner will find a solution together. Talk to a lawyer and be aware of every single option you’ve got.
There are more options, but if you got to this point, I strongly recommend Valerie’s book to walk you through the process.
No matter if you are dealing with financial infidelity or you are a victim of financial abuse – change is required.
And it has to happen now.
You deserve to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with your spouse. Moreover, you’ve got the right to demand this to happen… in a calm manner, of course.
Be brave that no matter what, it is you and your life and wellbeing that should matter the most to you. Unwillingness to change and improve the situation could bring you low self-esteem, total lack of trust in your partner and general unhappiness.
But it is you who should stop all this from happening.
Financial infidelity in its core is lack of effective communication. As I said, everything is fixable as long as both of you work on it, support each other and walk side by side towards mutual happiness.
If you got so far in this article – Thank you! I hope it helps you and directs you into a better future where financial infidelity or financial abuse are just another battle with the life you won. Please, consider subscribing to our blog as there’s more to come. Stay happy!