If you got showered with gifts on Valentine’s Day, don’t assume your partner has the money to pay for them.
Financial infidelity, which is basically lying about money, is widespread among many generations, according to a recent survey by CreditCards.com. That can include hiding debt, harboring a secret bank account or holding extra credit cards, among many other covert money moves.
In fact, roughly 40% of people in a serious relationship admitted in the survey that they’ve committed financial infidelity.
And the biggest money liars are apparently Millennials, of whom 51% say they’ve been a money cheater before. Among Gen X, about 41% say they have committed a financial fib, while 33% of Baby Boomers said the same, the poll showed. Of all the financial infidelity culprits, 74% committed their “crime” in 2020.
Why do People Commit Financial Infidelity?
Financial cheaters come in many forms, from an overspending spouse to a husband hiding credit card statements.
Here are a few examples:
- A wife whose spending is out of control. She may keep her shopping a secret so she her spouse doesn’t try to put the brakes on her sprees.
- A husband who has a secret credit card account. He may want to spend money on another lover without his spouse knowing.
- A romantic partner who lies about their debt. They may be ashamed to reveal their true financial situation.
The main reason people said they keep secret debt or account is to have more control over their finances in privacy, according to the 30% of respondents who cited that as the reason behind their financial infidelity. Others say they simply don’t feel a need to share information about their money matters, while still others said they were ashamed of their financial situation.
Other main reasons people commit financial infidelity is because they don’t trust their partners or they are hiding money as security in case their relationship ends. Finally, some people hide money to fuel their secret activities like gambling, drinking or using drugs.
Overcoming Financial Infidelity
As trust and honesty are critical in healthy relationships, it makes sense that financial cheaters can do serious harm, perhaps even causing a relationship to crumble.
Some might say that financial infidelity is a form of abuse and grounds for leaving the relationship.
In fact, 28% of the people in the CreditCards.com survey said that they think cheating with money is worse than physical cheating. (38% said physical cheating is worse and 34% were undecided.)
But many couples can survive financial infidelity. The first step for anyone violating someone’s trust is learning how to apologize afterwards.