Is secret spending an issue in your marriage?

In any relationship between two people, deception can lead to an erosion of trust and the relationship’s eventual demise. This is especially true when it comes to the relationship between spouses. Within a marriage, infidelity is often regarded as the ultimate act of betrayal and many marriages that are tested by such challenges ultimately fail. It’s important to note, however, that not all acts of infidelity within a marriage involve another man or woman.

It turns out that there’s another type of infidelity in which, according to a recent study by and, a whopping 46 percent of married individuals admit to engaging. So-called financial infidelity is common in many marriages and frequently spouses who hide purchases from a husband or wife don’t believe they are necessarily doing anything wrong.

Secret expenditures are especially common among wealthy married couples where it’s typically easier to steal away ATM withdrawals and gift card purchases that end up being used for personal use. While, in the study, approximately 11 percent of individuals who admit to lying to a spouse about purchases said they did so because they were self-proclaimed shopaholics; “rebellion against control” was cited by the majority as fueling their covert spending habits.

In marriages where one spouse oversees and controls the finances, the non-money-controlling spouse may feel financially constrained. Therefore spending freely using one’s own secret cash stash or credit card can make a spouse feel both defiant and empowered at the same time.

Marriages in which financial infidelity is an issue are often also plagued by other underlying problems related to control, mistrust and inequality. In cases where an individual is contemplating leaving a spouse, it’s wise to discuss these plans with a divorce attorney.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Financial Infidelity: A Plague of Modern Marriage,” Monica Mehta, Nov. 2, 2015