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Financial Infidelity

We are all guilty of financial infidelity every now and then. Whether it’s tucking a shopping bag into the closet, underneath the bed or leaving it in the trunk of our cars so that our spouse does not see it. Sometimes we even go the length of asking someone to pretend to give us a gift that we ourself purchase; or choosing to hide the full truth about our money situation from our friends and family.

Why do we feel the need to cover up certain details of our financial lives? It is that we fear if the other person knew the truth about what we spent, our total debt or earnings, their impression of us would change. Maybe we are trying to avoid another argument to maintain peace in the relationship. Maybe we feel we will not get the financial help when we ask if our loves ones see how we handle money. But when is a little lie not so little?

When is a little green lie not so little?

I truly believe that in most cases our intentions are good, but it comes down to the person you are lying to. The closer the relationship, the more likely it is that any untruth or deliberate omission will cause damage. As we were going through our debt free journey, I often find myself fighting back thoughts of hiding purchases or wanting to hide purchases from my husband. For example, I would go grocery shopping and pick up my favorite pack of cookies and feel guilty because it was not on the shopping list we agreed upon or I would go into a store and see a nice pair of shoes that I tried on and it looks so good on my feet and as I sat there looking in the mirror seeing how sexy they are on my feet. I am trying to figure out in my head how am I going to get this pass my husband. How, am I going to explain this purchase, where can I hide it for a while until I can say ‘Oh! it was something I bought a while ago but haven’t got the chance to wear it.”

Then that little voice in my head would ask me is it really worth it. Isn’t what you are working for greater than a pair of shoes or the voice would remind me that when I reach my goal of being debt free, I would be able to buy whatever shoes I want without any sacrifices. I would then take them off and put them back. But I had to asked myself why is that. Why is it that I feel guilty or I feel the need to lie or hide?

This was the result of doing something that we both agree was not in the budget and I was breaking a promise to my husband and possible damaging the trust in our relationship. This is a question we should ask ourselves. Why do you feel the need to lie? Is there a deeper issue that could be dealt with in a more constructive way? Are you trying to get back at your partner but do not want to have a full out argument?

Sometimes these untruths and omissions rise to a level of a major betrayal and they are lines that we should not cross such as:

  • Taking out a loan or opening a new credit card without telling your spouse

  • Failing to make payments or missing payments on joint expenses without letting your partner know

  • Giving or loaning money to a friend or family member without your partner’s consent

  • Mismanaging money in joint accounts

  • Hiding Money from spouse

I know sometimes we make decision with the best intentions, but when we link our money with another person, we are linking our lives. It might seem that omitting a truth here or there will keep the peace but really it is a statement of mistrust. It is saying that “I don’t feel like I can trust you to accept me.” Financial intimacy can be hard, but when we begin to have honest and authentic conversation with our partners you will find that it strengthens our relationship and help in the building a stronger foundation that decreases our fears.

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