Financial Infidelity – Part One

Financial Infidelity

Financial infidelity has been an area that’s interested me for some time. I wrote this blog post several weeks ago – before a quarantine was even on our radar.

We are now going through a massive global health crisis that causes many of us to feel emotionally unstable. I’d bet very few people say they are feeling great right now. There are so many complicated emotions about what we are dealing with. So much fear and uncertainty about the health of ourselves and our loved ones. Financial concerns are also abounding due to the potential instability of our economy.

I’ve been at a loss about putting out a post about something other than Covid-19. Obviously it is on the minds of all of us. Considering that many people have lost their jobs or sources of income, there might be some relevance to posting this now.

What is so intriguing about this topic is that very few topics are as intimate as our interaction with money. Last month, the New York Times published an article about this very subject that once again, piqued my interest.

If you’re interested in checking it out, here’s a link to the article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/14/parenting/financial-infidelity.html?searchResultPosition=1

Financial infidelity, like affairs, can be defined in many different ways. It can mean so many different things to so many different people. Generally, financial infidelity could be defined as withholding certain details about finances from one’s partner. This involves one’s spending habits or whether someone is paying the bills as agreed upon. This could mean buying items in excess of what was planned and then hiding evidence of those items.  It could also mean taking out a loan or a credit card without informing the other partner or using money to gamble with, indulge in pornography, or buy drugs or alcohol with.

The article I shared above is typical of most articles on this subject. They always contain stories about doing something behind the back of your partner. But rather than dig into the emotional reasons that someone is pulled to deceive the other, they interview a marketing professional, provide data from a bank that seems to be in everyone’s neighborhood these days, and get the opinion of the head of a wealth management company. The closest they get to emotions is a quote from a financial coach. I had some high hopes about what he was going to contribute, but his advice involved the ambiguous “get your partner to do x, y, and z.” But selling your partner on a behavior isn’t what relationships are all about. It becomes more about creating a sales pitch to your partner than truly digging into what is driving their emotional train (and yours!) behind these behaviors.

I’m going to contribute my two-cents (sorry – I couldn’t avoid a money-oriented pun here!) from the perspective of a mental health professional. There’s an undercurrent to our emotions and behaviors that is worth exploring. This undercurrent causes us to eat when we know we aren’t hungry, curb our drinking when we know we drink for the wrong reasons, and spend money when we know we should save.

If financial infidelity is occurring in your relationship, changing it requires a clearer understanding why you are (or your partner is) concealing financial information or transactions.

There are two areas that I’d like to spend more time discussing that will appear in future blog posts.  The two areas to consider thinking about are:

1) our money stories and

2) what transparency means to us in our relationships.

If you or your partner is struggling with transparency in your relationship and you would like to consider working with me to resolve this, please contact me at cmgsnyder@gmail.com. My practice is located in Livingston, New Jersey. Due to the quarantine, I am providing services on a secure, online platform to clients anywhere in the state of New Jersey.

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