Most couples agree that an affair can ruin a relationship, but what about financial infidelity? It would be pretty devastating to budget for a home renovation only to find it’s gone missing. If you fail to discuss money matters with your partner, that nightmare could become a reality.
What is Financial Infidelity?
Financial infidelity is the act of not disclosing financial matters or purchases when there’s an assumption or relationship rule stating they should be. When a partner finds out, they’re often hurt or disappointed and may feel personally attacked or that they were being deceived.
Common examples of financial infidelity include not disclosing debts, hiding credit card purchases, making purchases that are “banned” or “discouraged, or failing to disclose income.
Why do People “Cheat” Financially?
People commit financial infidelity for numerous reasons. These include embarrassment over debt, entitlement, addiction, mental health issues, or a simple misunderstanding of priorities.
31% of adults who admitted to financial infidelity didn’t think they were doing anything wrong because their finances never came up or they didn’t feel the need to discuss money. So, while financial infidelity hurts, your partner may not be hiding their transactions for a malicious reason.
With that said, Circuit’s financial infidelity report found that 58% of people in a relationship had purchased something after their partner disapproved. They may have done this because they want to disobey their partner, but it’s more likely the couple has different money priorities.
How to Spot if Your Partner is Financially Cheating
We all want to expect the best from our partners, but if you suspect they’re financially cheating, you should listen to your gut.
Here are 7 ways to spot if your partner is a financial cheater.
1. Secret Spending
Couples should always discuss their finances because money matters affect them both. It doesn’t mean you have to open a joint bank account, but it does mean secret purchases are a no-go. If your partner is buying things secretly, this could mean they’re engaging in infidelity.
2. Lack of Communication
Communication breakdowns are a common cause of breakups. If you can’t communicate with your partner, it’s impossible to know what each other wants. Partners that refuse to talk about money from the get-go may cheat on you financially because they don’t feel beholden to you.
3. Sudden Lack of Transparency
A partner who was previously open about discussing finances won’t suddenly go silent without reason. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re doing something wrong, but it does mean you need to investigate. Couples should be open and honest with each other about finances.
4. Unexplained Withdrawals
If you and your partner share a bank account, unexplained withdrawals could be a sign of financial infidelity, but it’s best to check in with them first. If this behavior isn’t like your partner, they may be buying you something in secret. But monitor the situation to see if it continues.
5. Unusual Credit Activity
Depending on your relationship, your partner doesn’t always have to get permission to buy something with their credit card. However, if the charge is high or they’ve accumulated a lot of debt, that may be a sign they’re rebounding. Speak to your partner ASAP about what happened.
6. Hidden Statements
Are you finding suspicious crumpled-up receipts in the garbage or next to their nightstand? That could mean they’re cheating on you financially. If they’re hidden away when they’re normally out in the open, that’s pretty suspicious. Once found, ask your partner to go over them with you.
7. Unusual Investment Tactics
If you’re at that stage in your relationship where you’re starting an investment portfolio, make sure to keep an eye on it. Not just to check for infidelity but to watch the market. However, if you see investments in your group portfolio that you didn’t make, that’s a sign of financial infidelity.