The Sunday Mail
One of the most devastating things you can deal with in a relationship is infidelity.
It can be difficult to overcome and may even end the relationship. While emotional or physical infidelity is devastating, many couples today are facing another kind of infidelity.
If you have been a victim of financial infidelity, you might find yourself having trouble trusting your partner again or wondering about other types of financial infidelities that they may be committing. Here’s how to deal with financial infidelity.
Clear the air
A good first step is for the person who has committed financial infidelity to come completely clean about all of their financial mistakes. Once everything is truly out in the open, then you can begin to repair the damage done.
Next, both parties need to commit to work through this together. The person who was not aware of the situation may need time to adjust and wrap his or her head around the problem. This problem will not be fixed overnight and the person who hid things should not expect his or her partner to be able to adjust quickly and be ready and eager to fix the problem.
If the problem is serious enough—for example, a large amount of debt was accrued—then the couple may consider seeing a counsellor in order to begin rebuilding the relationship.
Dig deep to understand
The reasons for the financial infidelity should be looked at and addressed. For example, if one partner is a compulsive shopper, he or she should join a group that will help work through the addiction.
Additionally, that partner needs to be willing to change daily patterns so that shopping does not continue to be a problem. Or if one partner has a gambling problem, he or she can join a group to help address the gambling addiction and create a new pattern of behaviour.
Create a debt payoff plan
The next step in overcoming financial infidelity is creating a debt payoff plan. This needs to be done as a team. Access to all of the accounts needs to be given to both partners so that each person can ensure that debt payments are being made and no further debt is being accumulated.
Start by creating a debt payment plan for the debts. The budget may need to be tightened up so that there is extra money to put towards the debt. Additionally, you may need to bring in extra income to clear up the debts. This may require selling items for extra cash, or getting a part-time job in addition to your regular job.
Plan for the Future
Holding regular budget meetings about the financial situation is essential to get both the relationship and finances back on track. These meetings need to be calm. It does not help the situation to continue to bring up and dwell on past mistakes.
The meetings should cover the money spent since the last meeting on all accounts. It should look at what categories in the budget have reached the spending limit, and it should review the balance in all of the accounts. At first, you may need to meet each day, and then perhaps move to once weekly.
This is a process and it will take time to repair the relationship to where it was before this happened. Everytime there is another indiscretion, the process begins again. If the behaviour does not change, the relationship may end.
Tip: If you’ve experienced financial infidelity, you may need to separate your finances until trust can be re-established in your relationship. — The Balance.