Financial infidelity can end your marriage. These five steps will help you fix the number one relationship wrecker, save your marriage, and turn financial infidelity around.
“Nearly every relationship harbors some level of financial infidelity,” say The Money Couple, Scott and Bethany Palmer. “It might be as minor as not telling your partner what you really spent on her birthday gift or as major as keeping a secret bank account to pay for your gambling addiction. Either way, the path to healthy financial communication will never be smooth unless you are honest about your behavior and committed to changing your ways.”
If you’ve been lying to your spouse about money, you need to ‘fess up and start working to rebuild your marriage.
For help, read Financial Infidelity: Seven Steps to Conquering the #1 Relationship Wrecker. And, here are five steps to overcoming financial infidelity…
5 Steps to Fixing the #1 Relationship Wrecker
If you have a history of lying about spending or hiding money from your partner, it’s time to come clean.
Do you regret the break up? It's not too late... How to Get Your Ex Back
1. Admit your financial infidelity to yourself. Take a good look at what you’ve been doing and why you’ve been doing it. What’s behind your behavior: Fear? Anger? Control? Resentment? Shame? Before you tell your partner about your infidelity, you need to understand what led you to these behaviors. This isn’t about making excuses or blaming your partner, it’s about being honest with yourself so you can take ownership of what you’ve done. No one made you do these things, and the sooner you and your spouse get back on track, the sooner you can achieve your financial goals!
2. Be prepared for feelings of betrayal, hurt, and anger. Your partner is going to be angry that you’ve been lying about money. He’s going to be hurt. He’s going to resent you, especially if your financial infidelity has led to debt or other money problems. As much as we’d like to tell you this won’t happen or that everything’s going to be just fine, the truth is that financial infidelity is a real problem that brings with it real pain. That’s why some people call it the number one relationship wrecker!
3. Get your confession over with. There isn’t a perfect time to confess your financial infidelity. Naturally, you don’t want to bring it up in the midst of some other argument or use your confession as a weapon against your partner. Instead, pick a quiet evening, sit down together, and tell your partner the truth. Preface your confession by saying something like, “Honey, I know we’ve had some disagreements about money in the past. And I want you to know that I’ve done some things with our finances that I’m not proud of. I want to tell you about those things so that we can work together to build a better relationship and a better financial future.”
4. Listen to your partner. Once you’ve confessed your financial infidelity, it’s time to listen. As hard as it might be to hear, your partner will want to respond to what you’ve said-and it might not be very pleasant. But if you don’t let your partner react and respond, the questions, the anger, the resentment that she is bound to feel will only fester and blow up later. So take it in, listen without getting defensive, and apologize and seek forgiveness.
5. Focus on your future as a couple. Depending on the level of financial infidelity you’re dealing with, your partner might have a lot of questions or concerns. There might be some serious financial damage and a lot of financial stress you’ll need to repair. There might be issues of trust and resentment that will be hard for you to deal with. If there has been a severe breach of trust, we strongly recommend seeking professional marriage counseling. But don’t let your past define your relationship! Come to this conversation with ideas for repairing the financial and relational damage and make a plan for moving forward. Show your partner that you are committed to building something new, together.
Recovering from financial infidelity is never easy. But with time, patience, trust, and a true commitment to change, you and your partner can rebuild your financial relationship.
Scott and Bethany Palmer are “the Money Couple” – financial communication experts and authors of First Comes Love, Then Comes Money: A Couple’s Guide to Financial Communication.
If you have any questions or thoughts on financial infidelity as the “number one relationship wrecker”, please comment below.
You may also be interested in Money and Love – 5 Money Tips for the New Year, also contributed by The Money Couple.