Financial Infidelity: The Most Common Type Of Cheating

Financial Infidelity: The Most Common Type Of Cheating

Chloe Seaman
June 12, 2017

Cheating isn’t always about sex.

According to a 2016 Harris poll, almost half of Americans (42%) say they’ve committed some form of financial infidelity.

Financial infidelity is when your spouse lies to you about how money is being spent, or hides secret accounts from you, or makes significant spending decisions without your knowledge. Financial infidelity is much more common than sexual cheating, and often times equally as damaging to a relationship.

Root Causes of Financial Infidelity

How does it all begin? Here are a few of primary root causes:

Lack of Communication

When your spouse starts seeming more like a roommate whom you don’t share much in common with, it’s easy for an individual to resort back to making his or her own decisions – especially when it comes to spending.


Addiction isn’t limited to drugs and alcohol. There are all kinds of behaviors that people get high on; like gambling, shopping, sex, social media, plastic surgery, or risky behavior.

For any addict, the pleasure of the addiction can be worth any cost. And your spouse hiding a secret addiction can really dig a deep hole in the pocket you both share.

Seeking Independence

Not everyone can easily accept working together as a team, especially if the person in question feels that his or her voice is being drowned out. Sometimes, financial infidelity can be caused by one spouse maintaining an unreasonable level of independence and refusing to share decisions with a partner. Maintaining separate accounts can potentially exacerbate this issue.

The Warning Signs That Your Spouse May Be Financially Cheating

Whatever money-spending habits are going on behind your back could be peering out from the dark in the form of these red flags:

  • He or she refuses to talk about finances, and often tries to quickly change the topic.

  • He or she wants control of your finances and to keep financial account passwords a secret.

  • You discover a new credit card or line of credit in your spouse’s name.

  • You spot suspicious withdrawals.

Steps to Confront Your Spouse About Financial Infidelity

Don’t Accuse

Accusations typically get people defensive, which is the worst way to start what is supposed to be a productive conversation. Another reason not to accuse is that you might be wrong.

Suggest A Regular Budget Meeting Date Night

Honesty and communication are the cornerstones of a healthy marriage. To keep those blocks of foundation strong, two spouses must regularly check in with each other.

When it comes to finances, it helps to set a regular date night routine in which you discuss simply where you both stand on financial matters, what your goals are together, and how you’ll both contribute to reach those goals. Have a drink and make “budget night” more fun.

Ensure Financial Transparency

If you expect financial honesty from your spouse, ensure that you must also be completely honest – always.

Create a Financial Agreement to Avoid Future Problems

Money is one of the most arguable topics in marriage.

Your spouse’s financial infidelity does not necessarily mean the marriage is over. It might just mean your marriage needs more work (as all marriages do). A financial agreement can be a great solution to setting expectations that can function as a kind of mediator should any discrepancies arise.

Forgive or Seek Help

You and your spouse are both human and surely, both of you have made mistakes. Depending on your situation, forgiving your spouse for his or her financial infidelity could be the sweet icing on the cake you baked together. However, some situations cross a line that may make this impossible withoutside help. Seek marriage counseling if this is the case.

When your spouse breaks the promises of marriage by cheating on you financially, it can be a hard blow to your marriage. However, it is possible to overcome your spouse’s financial infidelity and move forward – perhaps, hopefully, even richer in trust than before.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.