24 Aug

What Is Financial Infidelity

Infidelity is the the act of engaging in sexual or emotional intimacy behind your spouses back, and outside your marriage. Financial infidelity is engaging in financial things behind your spouses back without their knowledge. It could be having a secret bank account, or spending money on private things behind your spouses back. This can break trust with your spouse and have significant consequences in your relationship which we will cover in this article.

Financial Infidelity according to money guru Dave Ramsey is:

“lying about your money, whether it’s spending, debt or saving, when it’s a secret from your spouse, that’s financial infidelity,”

I am guilty of financial infidelity in my marriage and I know better than anyone the harm it can cause. Growing up, my dad always told me to work for myself or own my own business, however my wife grew up in a home where the harder you work, the more money you can make. Her dad had several jobs and worked around the clock with this mentality.

Early on in our marriage, I had a dream I wanted to pursue and new it would be a huge undertaking. We had some money saved up and put away but like many things, it slowly started to get smaller and smaller until we have nothing left. I needed to keep things going so behind the scenes I started borrowing money from my dad as things were looking really close to coming together and month by month I continued to do this without telling my wife about much of it.

This lasted for a few years and I ended up owning my dad and mom a good amount of money. I justified that it was for our future and that I was doing it for us. I felt like as the man of the house it was my job to provide and I just did what I thought was best. I justified my actions (and not sharing with my wife) thinking everything would just work out fine and the only person it was impacting was me. In the end, things did work out but not before it caused significant damage to my marriage.

My wife felt like I had cheated on her financially (which I did) and there was alot of hurt and trust to the point it almost ended our marriage. Even though everything is behind us, our marriage may never be the same because of what I did. Although my intentions were good and I had no intention of hurting her or making her distrust me, I learned how important it is to communicate and be open about everything, and to work together as a team.

If you have committed financial infidelity in your marriage, you have to accept the fact that your marriage will never be the same

These money behaviors are signs of financial infidelity

  • Controlling money
  • Secretly putting money aside
  • Hiding purchases and money from your spouse
  • Lying about money or purchases
  • Borrowing money or going into debt without your spouses knowledge
  • Not sharing info banking, credit card and other info with your spouse
  • Even lack of communication when it comes to money issues can be a sign.

This is a huge problem for many couples. In a CNBC article, it states that 53% of Americans have kept money secrets from their partner. You can read more about that HERE

How To Avoid Financial Infidelity


Communicate together about ALL financial decisions that have an impact on your relationship. Since our experience, my wife and I talk about any big financial purchase, investment or decision we make. Of course that does not include buying a new shirt, going to the grocery store or things like that, but any decisions that are important or impact us both we make together. Even signing the kids up for tennis lessons or buying new school clothes, we discuss and make sure we are both in agreement.

Both Be Involved In Financial Matters

There are a lot of couples where one spouse handles all the bills and finances and the other doesn’t deal with any financial things at all. While this may work if you have both set clear expectations and understandings, it is much better if both spouses are always talking about or being involved in financial decisions.

Set Goals Together About Your Finances

Another great way to stay out of financial infidelity is to set goals together about your finances. This could include how much you are going to invest, save, or spend. Set up a budget together and put together a plan of how you are going to deal with your finances and accomplish any short term or long term goals together. If you have a plan, you both know what is expected and are going to both work towards that plan together.

Have Monthly Finance Dates Together

This may sound crazy, but schedule a time every month or quarter (whatever makes sense for your relationship) to talk about your goals, money and how you are doing with things. As life and situations are always changing, it is good to talk about your financial health in your marriage and make adjustments as needed.

Get On A Monthly Budget

When many of us hear the word “budget” we think that is there to keep us from spending money. Actually a budget is in place to identify where the money is being spent. Many people that put a budget in place actually have excess money left over that they are able to put into savings or spend on other things but the important thing is putting together a budget as a couple can help you be transparent about where the money is going.

Always be Honest

If you make a money mistake or do something that could be considered “financial infidelity”, come clean and just be honest with your spouse. The longer you wait or the more you do things, the more harm, hurt and pain will be caused. Just be open and honest with each other in all money matters.

Many couples have expressed that they consider financial infidelity to be worse than infidelity which is crazy, but it shows how important it is for couples to be open and honest about their finances, money and spending. just follow these easy steps and apply them in your relationship and talk to your spouse openly about finances and money to avoid financial infidelity in your relationship.

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