Money is considered as one of the top four reasons for divorce. In a recent survey conducted by the American Consumer Credit Counselling, it was found that half of those surveyed have committed some or the other form of financial infidelity. In most cases they don’t go on to become a cause for bitter marital disputes but those that do, end up causing a relationship breakdown or even divorce.
Unlike sexual infidelity, financial infidelity is very subtle. It does not seem to be a threat to the relationship. And because of this, people seem to commit it over and over again inspite of knowing what they are doing is not right.
A Dangerous Sign
A study conducted by Kansas State University found that marital disputes based on money matters are a dangerous sign for a marriage relationship. After gathering information from 4,500 couples, Researcher Sonya Britt points out that the sooner the fight began after the start of a relationship, the higher the chances of it ending in divorce.
Sonya also found that financial infidelity was a leading cause for stress in marriage compared to sexual infidelity. This could be because financial infidelity is something that could happen on a daily basis while sexual infidelity occurred rarely.
Effects of Hiding the Infidelity
There are various reasons behind financial infidelity. From hiding small personal expenses to spending on extra-marital relationships, financial infidelity varies in depth and effect. Those who indulge in it find it hard to come clean on it because they do not want to be caught having done wrong. They would like to avoid embarrassing themselves or overwhelming their partners.
They have a tough choice with them. Revealing it could cause a bitter dispute and a lifelong of ridicule. So they feel it better to continue hiding their mistakes. But if your debt is more than you can handle then it is better to come clean as soon as possible as delaying it further would only make matters worse.
You may be able to get away with your lies for a while but soon something is going to give away. Your wife need not be a math genius to figure out the reason behind a huge outstanding bill or a call from the creditors. He or she can also figure out that something is wrong when your salary seem to vaporise at the end of the month. That is when it all turns upside down. The longer you have cheated your partner, the deeper the hurt and greater its fallout.
According to the survey, women take financial infidelity more seriously than men. Fifty five percent of the women said that they would break up with their partners if they indulged in it. But only 37% of men felt the same way. It could be because women give more importance to emotions than men and men are not as concerned as a woman about material things. But it was found that men are more prone to commit financial infidelity. It may be because of the adventurous nature of men that urges him to seek secret pleasures.
While entering into a marital relationship money matters are the most ignored point in discussions. Each one assumes that the other has it all under control. A survey has revealed that 10% of couples never discussed about money, while 38% said that they rarely discussed about it.
One’s attitude towards money depends on one’s upbringing and personality. Some become spend-thrifts while others become stingy. Both the partners need not have the same attitude towards money, but they need to understand and complement each other well. It is not about how much money is involved, but it is about how each one is involved. For this there needs to be a serious discussion and plan.
Having an open discussion about who will handle what, how much each one will contribute in terms of sharing ideas and contributing financially, revealing any pending debts or other issues, etc are important at the start of a relationship. A regular discussion to track income and expense is also essential. Honesty is always the best policy all the more in a marital relationship.