Financial infidelity is a major cause of anxiety for couples. Here are some ways to handle this problem.

6 Tell-tale signs of financial infidelity and 6 ways to deal with it

Financial infidelity refers to a situation where one spouse takes significant money decisions without consulting their partner. Although financial infidelity can be caused by either party, in most cases it is the woman who is left in the dark. For couples leading a highly co-dependent life, it can be difficult to spot the signs. However, the following occurrences could be a sign of alarm. 

1. Being removed from a joint account

Many married couples in India have a joint account. This helps to keep their finances in check and allows both partners to have an equal say in how their money is spent. Some factors – such wanting to improve one’s credit score – could be a valid reason to remove a spouse from a joint account. However, in many instances, removing a partner’s name from such accounts could be a calculated move to push a more selfish agenda.

2. Being unaware of cash transactions

It is completely normal for couples to lead separate lives and spend money on individual interests. However, if one partner withdraws a considerable sum of money without informing their spouse, this could be a matter of concern. The ideal thing to do would be to discuss all big expenses as a family and jointly arrive at a suitable decision. 

Related: Does your partner spend impulsively? Here’s how to handle it

3. Finding a new credit card

Debt can eat away a person’s hard-earned income. This is why it is extremely important for couples to rationally plan their credit card activities. Finding a new credit card in the name of your spouse could mean that they are hiding something. This could also ultimately lead to them using the joint account to pay off the dues on the new credit card. 

4. Discovering new assets and possessions 

Usually, couples discuss all major expenses beforehand. This could include buying an expensive electronic gadget, purchasing a car, or indulging in a luxurious vacation. But if one partner splurges on such things without informing their spouse, there could be more to the situation than what meets the eye. It could also be an indication of emotional or physical infidelity. 

5. Not being aware of a loan

A loan can be a giant commitment that takes years to settle. Whether it is a small personal loan or a bigger one – such as a home, business, or car loan – its implications can be severe for both partners. Loans can also interfere with a person’s credit score, making it challenging to apply for another loan for a different cause. This is why it is vital for two people to thoroughly talk about these decisions before taking on such a long-term responsibility. 

Related: 10 Bank loan schemes for women entrepreneurs

6. Noticing changes in behaviour

Financial infidelity can lead to guilt, which may compel an individual to compensate by being over-friendly, bringing flowers, or showering their spouse with gifts. In some cases, a person may also resort to lying and worrying and show an increased level of financial anxiety. It is crucial to look for these behavioural patterns and try to decipher what they could mean. 

Things to do to handle financial infidelity:

1. Have open conversations

Nothing can help more than being honest about matters. Finance is a tricky subject that can sometimes make people extremely uncomfortable. However, as long as a couple is not hiding anything and is able to talk about their financial worries, goals, and strategies, there should be no awkwardness between them. The difference between salaries or career aspirations should not come in the way of joint goals. 

2. Stay calm

Matters of money can be very delicate. Sometimes, it may seem like the other person is hiding crucial things, but the reality could be very different. Instead of getting into a heated argument, it would be more helpful to try and understand the reasons behind a partner’s financial moves. 

3. Revisit essential documents 

Going through common investments, savings, and insurance papers can bring in more certainty. This will also help to identify any possible discrepancies. Sometimes, consulting a professional financial advisor can also be an effective way to identify potential inconsistencies. 

4. Give each other space

A person can have individual goals outside of their marriage. This may be to start a business or visit a country of their choice. Not all goals between couples are mutually decided. Allowing some breathing space in a relationship from the very beginning will eliminate the chances of lying and deception later. 

5. Keep personal savings aside

To ensure financial security in unprecedented situations, it is good to maintain an emergency fund that is separate from the joint savings account. This can shield one spouse from the other’s financial mistakes. It can also help them stay afloat in case of a separation or divorce. 

Related: How to deal with debt liability after the death of your partner? 

6. Take legal action

Financial infidelity can trigger a bigger offence. Many women have been victims of it. It can happen due to negligence or blind faith in the other person. Either way, the repercussions can be significant. Therefore, if you find things getting out of hand, the last resort is to take immediate legal action. 

Last words

It is very difficult to come out of a bad relationship, and things get even more challenging when money is involved. However, being frank and honest about individual goals can help two people navigate these choppy waters without getting in each other’s way. While it is advisable to give one's partner the benefit of the doubt, it is also essential to know where to draw the line. The signs and tips mentioned above can help couples deal with financial infidelity, but in extreme cases, one should get professional legal counsel. If you and your partner disagree over money issues, read this to get some insights on how you can achieve financial compatibility in your relationship.