We have surveyed hundreds of couples about their financial communication and they have told us many of their stories. Some stories are incredibly inspiring, others make you wonder how the couple has managed to stay together. Some couples told us about big, blatant betrayals others offered examples of more subtle forms of financial infidelity. In some ways, those subtle problems can be even more damaging to a relationship than the big blow ups. Take this story for example:
A woman wrote, “Early in our marriage, my husband bought a travel mug. A friend of his had one that he liked, so he went out and bought the same kind. When I found out he paid $35 for it I was furious! He didn’t even bother to find out if it was a good buy—which it was not—or even to talk to me about it! As a result, we began to give each other a monthly allowance to be spent any way we want without input from the other person. This has eliminated bickering and we are both more conservative knowing that once the monthly allowance is gone, that’s it.”
Now on the surface, this sounds like a great solution. But look at the exclamation points this woman uses. You can feel her lingering irritation over a mug he bought years ago. It wasn’t a good buy and he didn’t clear it with her. Seriously … it was $35. And if she still needs exclamation points to tell us about it, you can bet she still uses them when she reminds her husband about it—something we’re pretty certain she does. He spent $35 on something that made him happy and she’s never let him forget it. This couple solved their money problem, but the relationship? Probably not so great. Her husband may have committed financial infidelity long ago, but this couple’s—particularly this woman’s—inability to participate in healthy financial communication and move on has most likely caused lasting damage to their marriage.
Financial Infidelity affects relationships, whether it be from a $35 purchase to a $10,000 hidden account. We want to be a resource and help you make your relationship better. For individual counsel on how to address Financial Infidelity and move forward in your financial relationship, go to our website and tell us your story. We would be happy to offer advice and counsel on how to proceed.