Has your man ever cheated on you?
YES…well I’m right there with you! But I gotchu, I’m on my way to cut him!
Ok but for reals, those scars run deeeep. I remember, clearly, feeling so betrayed and hurt. It was crazy, I put all of this time and effort into being the perfect woman…was I not enough? What did she have that I didn’t?
The fact that HE did something wrong and yet I was feeling insecure drove me batty and made me even angrier. I was disgusted with him AND myself. It wasn’t fair…I was sad, angry, and full of rage…oh girl the uncontrollable rage.
It was like this massive sandwich of emotions all rolled up into one and shoved into my life. I was in so much shock and disbelief, like hold up NOT ME!
Never in a million years did I think it would ever be ME!
Saying it was a dark time in my life is an understatement…legit, I was a hot mess. If you’ve been there sis, I know you feel me.
Did you know that financial cheating is a thing too! Mm hmm, I didn’t know either. And YES, I have lived through that too, I just didn’t know that’s what I was dealing with at the time.
I knew something was off, but couldn’t express exactly what was going on, which is extremely frustrating!
Financial infidelity is just as poisonous to a marriage as emotional or physical infidelity…an affair is an affair, this one just happens to involve your money.
You might be wondering, what exactly does that mean? What does it look like? How do you know if it’s happening to you? If so, is there anything you can do about it? If not, can you prevent it?
Don’t worry boo thang, I got you covered!
What is Financial Infidelity?
Its basically a fancy way to say that one partner in a marriage is making significant money moves that can impact the family without the knowledge or consent of the other party. And it shows up in many different ways, some of the most common being:
- Hiding current debt or opening up new debt
- Using partner’s identity to open up new debt
- Lying about the source of money
- Lying about income
- Secret spending
- Hiding accounts or money
- Using money to manipulate or control
- Hiding expensive addictions
- Stealing family money
- And my fave…a bonus chic/kiddos
Of course this isn’t everything, if you notice something that just ain’t sitting right with you, trust your gut! Just cause its not listed here doesn’t mean that your intuition is off.
When I was little, my mom used to always say, “what’s done in the dark, will always come to the light.” It was enough to scare us into confessing whatever tomfoolery we’d been up to.
But she had a point, when someone’s doing dirt it’s only a matter of time before it starts to show.
I smell a rat…
It’s hard to pull the wool over someone’s eyes for long. There’s always red flags that pop up over time. Have you ever witnessed someone lie about something stupid, and every time they tell the tale its just a weeeeeee bit different.
Yea, that’s because they can’t keep their lie straight…they don’t remember what they told to who! #liesandcovers
Financial infidelity is exactly the same way. It gets harder and harder to maintain the smoke and mirrors when the train starts coming off the track.
Top 11 Signs of Financial Cheating
Extreme Emotions – If your partner gets all kind of froggy when the topic of money comes up, this can be an indicator that something shady is going down. Especially if this is not their normal behavior or if that extreme emotion is irrational anger.
Paranoid About the Mail – When they start running to the mailbox before the mailman can even shut it…they’re probably hiding something and want to get to it before you do. Not always, I mean…cause birthday and anniversaries. But if it’s not either of those times, then IJS.
Unknown Accounts – Speaking of mail, if you start getting statements in the mail for accounts you have no clue about, its time to start looking a little closer. Take a peek at what kind of transactions are being done in the account.
You’ve Been Taken off Joint Accounts – If you check your online banking portal, mailed statement, or call the bank and notice that you are no longer listed as a joint owner on an account…HUGE red flag. Time to have a conversation.
Lots of New Stuff – Notice that they’ve been living their best life, going out, buying all sorts of new gear and such? But you can’t figure out for the life of you how they’re paying for it all? #99problems
Missing Moolah – Self explanatory…get yo’ hands out my pocket (account in this case)!
Sudden Worries About Money – If discussing their stress about financial hardship becomes the topic of the day…everyday, then pay attention. As it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain whatever shenanigans they are up to, many people begin to stress about money…even when everything looks good.
That’s because they know there is a money meltdown in the near because of their shady behavior. You’ll notice that they focus on the meltdown itself but are reluctant to give you specific details as to what is causing their worry and avoid reviewing line items in your budget.
Addictive Hobbies – Gambling, shopping, online gaming, porn…just to name a few. These hobbies are not only uber addictive, they are expensive! Just because your partner engages in them doesn’t mean they are necessarily guilty of financial cheating, but it does increase the likelihood, again just be observant.
Suga’ Daddy Behavior – Are you getting all kinds of new gifts and little things here and there? Taking you out to eat like you’re starving? Is it like Christmas every other day?
When they begin to lavish you with gifts and money for no apparent reason (we know you’re awesome), beware! Especially if you have no idea where the money is coming from. This is is typically something deeper.
Lying to Other’s About Money – Do they mislead other people about the state of your finances? If so, they are obviously willing to engage in deceitful behavior. And a dog that’ll catch a bone, will carry a bone…meaning what would stop them from lying to you?
Nickel & Diming You – When they start to watch every single penny you spend like a hawk under the guise of responsible financial stewardship. This is likely the behavior of a guilty conscience…
The one thing that all of these items have in common is that they represent a departure from the norm. When you start to notice ANY behavior outside of their typical behavior when it comes to money, just be observant.
Now I’m not telling you to go all Sherlock Holmes on em’, these are just signs that there COULD be an underlying issue. Especially if you notice multiple red flags.
But why lie???
Girl I hear you, why in the heck go to so much trouble, why lie?
Honestly, there’s a multitude of reasons that run the gamut from embarrassment, to bad communication, to straight up deceit. I know it can be hard to wrap your head around and it can be frustrating, but keepin’ it real…there’s no one real reason why.
Most times it is simply a lack of effective communication. Couples are striving towards conflicting goals or there is a significant difference in their values and priorities.
Other times they are embarrassed about their lack of financial intelligence and want to hid how bad they are with money. And sometimes they feel guilty because they know what they SHOULD be doing and they DON’T, so they hide it.
It can also stem out of feelings of resentment, especially in the case of income inequality where one spouse makes a lot more than the other. The higher breadwinner may micromanage the other spouse, and in turn the victimized spouse engages in revenge spending.
And fear is a consistent motivator! If they fear that you will leave them, or that there will be retribution for their behavior (abuse), or just fear of confrontation in general…they will do what they can to hide their behavior.
The fear really shows that they don’t trust that they will be treated fairly or decently. In this case and the case of abuse, couples should seek professional counseling to deal with the infidelity and the fear/distrust that triggers it.
Then there’s the downright evil and malicious behaviors like draining the couples accounts and running off with the money, or leading a spouse to believe that they make peanuts for money and using the spouse’s money to pay for everything while they sock their money away! Or secretly funding a terrible addiction, or even worse…keeping their mistress in diamonds and silk!
In the end, understanding WHY they did it is a huge part in starting the healing process.
Think you got a cheater on your hands? Here’s what to do…
Remain Calm – This is going to be much harder than it sounds! I’m telling you, financial infidelity can be just as bad as the physical or emotional cheating, no joke. But it is absolutely necessary that you remain calm.
Two reasons…first, money is already an emotionally charged subject, this will be even more so. A level head is a must. And two, having a level head will allow you to see clearly, communicate more effectively, and exercise good judgment. You don’t want to say or do things that you’ll regret later.
Do NOT Accuse – Remember, you fell in love and married this person for a reason. So it is your duty to give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t go into a conversation with accusations and fault…you’ll only get defensiveness and anger back. Words have power and can never be taken back.
Levying accusations only serves to communicate to your partner that your own financial values and goals and more important than theirs. #loselose
Instead, it’s your job to simply fact find and observe. Once you have made sure and are fairly certain that there’s some financial hanky panky going down, then you need to take a moment to understand what your real concern is BEFORE addressing your spouse.
What do I mean?
“When there are money problems in a relationship, it’s never really about the money. “
There’s always an underlying issue that is being compounded and amplified by they money issues. In this case, you need to understand what’s really going on.
Do you really care that they spent $100 at Benihana’s? Or is it really that you feel left out? Or that you’re concerned they are entertaining a new “friend”?
Are you upset that they double check everything you spend? Or is it really that you feel like they are killing your independence vibe? Or are you hurt because their behavior indicates that they doesn’t trust you?
Is that new *insert whatever* they bought pissing you off? Or are you hurt that they didn’t value your opinion enough to consult you first? Or do you feel like your goals for the family finances don’t line up with theirs?
Dig deep and get super clear about what your real concern is and what you want from your spouse so that you head into the discussion looking for solutions, not just to place blame.
Communicate – Once you’ve had time to really identify your true feelings, its time to put your big girl panties on and talk to your spouse. It’s time to be completely open and honest about what you are feeling and what has triggered those feelings.
This come to Jesus meeting should aim to do a few things:
- Clear the air and get a fresh start TOGETHER. Allow them to have room to confess what they’ve been up to and why. Leave defensive behavior at the door, it won’t get you anywhere.
- Give you a deep understanding of their behavior so that you can come up with an effective solution together.
- Help you two to start reconnecting with one another from a financial standpoint.
Commit to Fixing it Together – If you’re going to make this work it is going to take the combined effort of BOTH of you. Commit to being in this thing for the long haul! This means deciding what your priorities are TOGETHER, compromising and being flexible where you need to be, and agreeing on the goals that will get you there.
I suggest you focus on setting some life goals together and make sure they are something that you are BOTH passionate about. There’s nothing like striving towards a common goal to bring two people closer together.
Debt Payoff/Spending Plan – After you have your life goals and other priorities in order, you need to set a plan in motion to get there. This should include a debt payoff plan (as needed) and a monthly spending plan that you’re both in agreement with.
With these plans in place, when issues arise, you don’t even have to be the bad guy because you can point back to the plan as the guide, remember you both agreed to it!
Forgive – For the sake of your marriage AND your own well being you need to eventually get to a place of forgiveness. This may take some time and that’s totally OK! The journey to healing ain’t no cake walk.
Note that I didn’t say forgetness. Forgiving less than stellar behavior doesn’t mean forget it ever happened.
You don’t get to beat them over the head with their mistakes every change you get! But you will def need to help keep them on the straight and narrow as they inevitably revert to old habits…you can’t do that if you “forget” everything that’s happened and what their symptoms were.
Rebuild Trust – As you work through to overcome financial infidelity you want to work towards rebuilding the trust between you. This will not happen over night, only time and effort will rebuild what was lost. The best way to begin to rebuild is to:
- BE the example. Make sure you are doing everything that you would expect from them. Be open and honest, communicate your intentions, and be vulnerable.
- Set clear expectations on what you expect when it comes to handling the family finances.
- Identify deal breakers and what consequences if any may apply.
- Hold ALL accounts together.
- Put your guidelines in writing, it helps to cement the commitment you’re both undertaking to the success of the family finances and doing it in a fully transparent way.
Professional Help – Last but not least, don’t be afraid to get professional help. As you’ve seen, this stuff can go DEEP on both sides. You may find that you’re so hurt and angry that you can’t approach this in a calm and rational way. Or your partner is so in denial and can’t see anything wrong with their behavior.
Whatever the case may be, get help sooner rather than later. Find a good financial therapist. They can help you not only work through the damage caused to your marriage, but they can also help your work through your financial issues as a couple in order to re-establish healthy relationships with your money.
In the end, it never feels good to find that we have been cheated in ANY way, and financial cheating is just as damaging as the mistress type stuff. But you don’t have to let this become what takes your marriage from “I do” to “I’m done”. Learn what the red flags are for this type of behavior and just be observant.
And if you find that you’re smack dab in the middle of a money affair, then take the necessary steps to get your marriage back to a healthy place. Again, money issues are never about the money…deal with the crap under the rug and you’ll find the foundations of your marriage strengthening 10 fold!
Go fight for your marriage, your man, AND ya’ money!
Have you ever been a victim of financial infidelity? If so, what did you do to overcome it? Hit me up in below with the deets!