India’s Supreme Court has ruled that adultery is no longer a criminal offence. But, are you cheating on your spouse financially? Yes, being secretive about money and investments can be a big betrayal. Just like in a marriage, flings with financial investments without taking your partner in confidence is a strict no-no.
A stash of money in your almirah or secret closet is not what we are talking about. Financial infidelity is different. It could be things like lying about investments, hiding debt, withdrawing money from joint accounts without consent, making excuses to pay bills and splurging money that you have borrowed are small things. But, these extra-financial affairs can change a marriage or a relationship. Read on.
If you suspect your partner of financially cheating, here are some signals that they might give. Be careful though in your assessment. Because straightaway accusing your husband/wife/partner of financial cheating is not a good thing especially if you are proven wrong!
One of the common red flags in a marriage is lying about money. Some lie about their salary or income. Others hide money matters. They will always leave a signal. How do you understand that they might be lying? You could check if they are getting too defensive about discussing the money topic. Some may throw a fit and create a scene just to escape the situation. Others might be aggressive. Normally, when somebody is lying (unless they are a class-A liar), there will be plenty of signs. You need to pick them up.
Many people lie about money to their partners due to reasons as varied as fear of being controlled, guilt and lack of trust. Often, some people indulge in revenge spending. Here, one partner overspends to prove their independence. They may also try to get back at the other for something lacking in their otherwise happy relationship. Habitual offenders like gamblers etc. knowingly indulge in irresponsible behaviour. They suffer from guilt and embarrassment but will make all attempts to cover it up.
Another red flag is your partner’s behaviour with others when it comes to discussing his/her own expenditure or income. Many spouses lie to other people about expenditures or income. They will quote a figure in front of you but change it drastically in front of somebody else. When confronted, they might wink at you. Such repeated attempts is a warning signal.
While we live in a society where typically men handle financial matters, women do have a big role. Even a houswife has a financial stake in the household. Do check if your spouse handles all the responsibility of paying bills but doesn’t want you to know anything about the finances. That could be a signal of something fishy going on. Often, many good-natured people try to go out of their way to help debt-ridden relatives and they may lie to their spouses about the same. While helping is not essentially bad, but harming family finances to aid a third person is not good as well. Any which way, lying about financial help is not done. Period.
You may discover secret bank accounts or secret debts. That’s a clear sign of financial adultery. While hiding such things are normal in the initial 1-2 years of a marriage, tumbling upon skeletons in the money chest after years of marriage is not an enthusing sign. Secrecy, however, can also be a reaction of spouse’s dislike for a particular thing or person. But, matured individuals and spouses are expected to talk about even the most difficult things in an open manner.
Many a time you just have a gut feeling that your spouse is hiding something from you concerning your finances. Trusting your gut is important, especially if your track-record shows you are right about your gut. Do remember everybody has some secrets. But having an Rs 3-lakh personal loan is not a small secret. Lying about your income by as much as 20-30% is not a small secret especially if the family is passing through a tough phase monetarily.
So, they are limits for secrets. Many people take on debt that they served at a high cost. Hiding recurring payments on such expensive loans is a tough job because there is a big hole in finances. Calls and the personnel visit from lending institutions to your home when your spouse is not present can be both embarrassing and shocking.
Find out why such debt was taken in the first place. No matter whatever you do, don’t bury your head in the sand. It may be time to have the difficult and serious talk about your finances with your spouse. You can begin by telling your spouse about how you felt when you realized about his/her lying. Share your concerns, guilt, anger, panic, sense of betrayal and helplessness, etc. Financial infidelity is more common than you think, but discussions can help solve such situations. If you are a financial cheater, admit you made a mistake. Stop lying about your finances. Be honest, and try to stick to your promises. The truth shall set you free, once you make up your mind.