Recent surveys suggest that financial infidelity is fairly common in modern marriages. Both Money Magazine and CreditCards.com found that about 20 percent of married people betray their spouses’ financial trust in some way or another.
Ways Spouses Commit Financial Infidelity
Financial infidelity can take many forms and involve various kinds of deceit, secrecy and irresponsible financial behavior, such as keeping secret bank accounts or credit cards, making major purchases without the agreement or knowledge of your spouse, hiding how much you really earn, taking out secret loans, keeping assets or liabilities hidden, and more.
The CreditCards.com survey revealed that around 20 percent of people have spent at least $500 without telling their spouses. The survey also found that 6 percent of married people have a credit card or a bank account that their spouses do not know about. The Money Magazine survey also found that 22 percent of respondents had made a purchase that they did not want their partners to find out about.
According to CreditCards.com, men were significantly more likely than women to keep a major purchase secret—26 percent compared to 14 percent. Research has also found that men are more likely to make large impulse purchases. However, men were also more likely to say that they did not have a problem with a partner spending more than $500 without discussing it beforehand.
Money Is Largest Source Of Conflict For Many Couples
There are certainly degrees of financial infidelity, ranging from a one-time impulse purchase that a spouse keeps hidden to a secret credit card on which someone has accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in debt. However, while the financial consequences of these actions may be very different, the impact on a relationship can be serious even for relatively minor deceptions.
Money is a serious source of friction and conflict between many couples. Money Magazine’s survey revealed that money was the most frequent cause of arguments among married couples. Approximately 70 percent of couples in the survey reported arguing about money, which was more than the percentage who reported arguing about sex, togetherness or household chores.
Furthermore, frivolous purchases and credit card debt were two of the most contentious money-related issues for couples. Research also suggests that financial conflict is actually a more frequent contributing factor in divorce than sexual or emotional infidelity.
Transparency, Spending Freedom Help Prevent Financial Infidelity
Increasing transparency and allowing spouses a certain amount of freedom can both help to reduce financial infidelity. Married couples can share passwords, set up withdrawal alerts and have regular credit checks to ensure that each partner knows what is really going on with the other’s finances.
While not everyone is immediately comfortable sharing so much information, it is important to keep in mind that couples’ financial situations are extremely interdependent, and one person’s actions can have genuine consequences for the other. For example, one partner’s undisclosed credit card debt could prevent a couple from getting the car or home loan that they had been counting on.
However, this does not mean that married people can never have money to themselves to spend as they wish. In fact, this is usually an unreasonable expectation and can lead to financial infidelity. Financial experts often recommend that couples have both shared accounts and individual accounts so that partners can make fun or frivolous purchases without depleting shared resources or having to consult every time they wish to buy something for themselves.
Is Television Fueling Infidelity? – Find Out Now!