When it comes to relationships, it seems that we’ve pretty much come to a general consensus on what the most serious and breakup-worthy offenses are. Many would put physical cheating at the top of their list, with emotional cheating probably coming in at a close second.
But there’s another type of infidelity that is often overlooked, and it can cause just as much damage as physical or emotional cheating. It’s called financial infidelity, and it refers to any sort of deception between partners about money. While the occasional little white lie about a purchase may be harmless for a relationship, serious deception involving debt or assets could lead to a breakup.
Types of financial infidelity
In a recent survey by The Ascent, researchers had 1,000 participants in serious relationships rate the severity of financial infidelity within their relationships on a scale from one to five, with one signifying no problem and five indicating an extreme problem.
The financial infidelity was divided into three categories: deception regarding debt, deception about earnings or assets, and deception regarding purchases. The participants’ average scores were as follows:
- Deception regarding debt:5
- Deception about earnings or assets:2
- Deception regarding purchases:1
These results show that the various forms of financial infidelity rank in the three (moderate problem) to four (severe problem) range, meaning that lying about money can actually have some serious consequences for a relationship. And with 71 percent of participants reporting that they’ve committed at least one instance of financial infidelity, the problem is more common than you’d think.
4 red flags to watch out for
With the study revealing the prevalence of financial infidelity, it’s easy to wonder what our partner could be hiding from us. Have you found bank statements that aren’t adding up? Is your partner vague or shallow about recent purchases? Here are four signs that your partner is being financially unfaithful.
You find statements for a credit card you knew nothing about
If your partner is hiding debt or purchases, they could be using another credit card to do so, especially if you share a joint bank account. And in order to pay off the bills and interest fees of their secret spending, they may need to dip into family funds. This can take away from other goals or plans that you made together. Even if their spending habits on this private card are minimal, their hesitancy to tell you about it could signify a larger problem in the relationship.
Cash has gone missing
Do the balances in your shared checking or savings accounts seem a bit lower than they should be? Have you noticed ATM withdrawals on your statements, but you can’t figure out where the cash has gone? This could be a sign that your partner is hiding purchases from you or spending unnecessarily. Sure, taking out cash is sometimes unavoidable, but if you’re noticing more than a few unexplained withdrawals on your statements, you should speak to your partner.
Your partner engages in a financially addicting hobby
It’s possible that your partner may like to partake in activities that carry a financial burden, like gambling, playing the lottery, or buying alcohol or cigarettes. These hobbies can add up over time and become physically and financially addictive. If you notice your partner’s diversions are becoming problematic, or they’ve started hiding money to satisfy them, you should take the time to set some boundaries.
Your partner gets extremely emotional when money topics come up
If your partner reacts with extreme emotion whenever you bring up the topic of money, it could be a sign of financial infidelity. Crying, unnecessary anger, or cold avoidance when discussing financial matters are all causes for concern and could signal that your partner is struggling with debt or overspending.
These are just a few signs that your partner may be committing financial infidelity. If you notice other strange financial behavior, or suspect that your partner is hiding something, speak to them openly and find a way to come to an understanding about your finances. Financial infidelity can be a serious problem, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship has to end.