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What Is Financial Infidelity? Is It Abuse?

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

Financial infidelity refers to lying about or withholding important information about money. This can occur within romantic relationships, with business partners, and even roommates. 

What Is Financial Infidelity? Is It Abuse?

This article will be discussing the ins and outs of financial infidelity, more specifically within romantic relationships, and will be discussing whether it is seen as a form of abuse. 

What is Financial Infidelity?

Similar to romantic infidelity, financial infidelity refers to certain actions that are done without your partner knowing about them. These can be anything such as hiding debt and financial information and lying about important financial decisions. 

What Is Classified As Financial Infidelity?

There are a wide range of actions that can be classified as financial infidelity. Some of them are less serious than others. Below will state some actions that are known as financial infidelity. 

Spending Joint Funds

If you and your partner have a joint bank account or several of them, then some clear rules should be followed with regard to spending that money. 

Perhaps it will be used to settle the bills each month or to pay off a loan you both took out together. However, if one partner begins to spend money from that joint account without their partner knowing about it, it is classified as financial infidelity. 

This is a very serious form of financial infidelity, as one partner is spending the other’s money. 

Secret Accounts 

If one partner has a secret account or credit card, then they could be overspending and trying to hide it. If there are children involved in this relationship, then it could end up putting the entire family in jeopardy. 

Much of the time, there’s a reason why a partner is hiding money. Perhaps they are hiding money from an abusive partner, and that money is part of their escape plan. 

In other cases, a partner may have a secret account to spend money on someone they are having an affair with. This could also be the case when it comes to addiction. A partner may have a secret account that they use to spend on drugs or alcohol. 

Hiding Big Purchases

Making big purchases without telling your partner, or lying about them, makes you liable for committing financial infidelity. 

While it is healthy for both partners to continue to have separate money, any big purchases should be discussed, especially if you have a family. 

For example, if one partner decides they want to buy a new car, this should be discussed with the other partner. If they do it without discussing it or lying about it, this can be detrimental to the relationship, especially if they can’t afford the new car. 

Lying About Spending Money

Stating that you are spending money on something such as bills, groceries, or rent, and then spending it on other things, classifies as financial infidelity, especially if it comes from the other person’s money. 

Oftentimes, when people get caught, they pretend to act shocked and caught off guard. Lying about where money is going can ruin a relationship, and it can ruin families. 

What Is Financial Infidelity? Is It Abuse? (1)

How Harmful Is Financial Infidelity?

Financial infidelity within a relationship can cause a lot of harm. First and foremost, it can lead to a loss of trust. 

Research shows that those who experience financial infidelity stated that it had a very negative impact on their relationship. Money is one of the top causes of divorce, and two people need to be on the same page when it comes to money in order to have a relationship that works. 

Financial infidelity can also lead to financial ruin. If someone is racking up debt in someone else’s name, then that can really affect their credit score and other aspects of their life. If one partner says they are paying the bills and rent, and then spends that money on something else entirely, then that can leave the other person in a horrible financial situation. 

In severe cases, this can lead to families losing their homes, and filing for bankruptcy. 

How To Move On

There are a few steps you can take if you find that your partner has committed financial infidelity. Depending on the severity of the situation, things may be salvageable, or they may not. 

Discuss Money

This should be done when you begin to progress in your relationship. If things are getting serious, then you can avoid any issues of financial infidelity by having a discussion about money. 

Here, you should make sure you’re both on the same page, so that no dishonesty or lying takes place later down the line. 

Come Clean Or Confront

If you’re in a relationship, and you have committed financial infidelity, then you should approach your partner and come clean. You can be honest and open about why you did what you did, and perhaps together you can overcome the issue. 

If your partner has been dishonest about money, then you should confront them about it calmly. It is important that you do not throw wild accusations around, and that you do not go into the conversation angry. 

If your emotions are running high, then be sure to have the conversation at a time when you feel calm and neutral. Your partner may have had some serious reasons for doing what they did, and being approachable will encourage them to be honest about it. 

Rebuild The Relationship

After discussing the infidelity, if you feel the relationship is salvageable, you can begin to rebuild. 

Firstly, steps need to be taken in order to rebuild trust. You must both get back on the same page about finances, and discuss ways in which you can begin to show each other that you can be trusted. 

One way you can do this is by setting up a weekly date where you both sit down and discuss the progress of your finances. You can also set yourself up on some apps where you can both see where the money is going from your joint account. 

Taking small steps like these will allow you to work on your trust in each other, and you can slowly rebuild the relationship. 

Know When It’s Time To Say Goodbye

It is also important to know when it is time to walk away. For example, if financial infidelity occurred as a result of an affair, you may feel like the relationship has passed the point of no return.  

If you feel like you can no longer trust your partner, and you never will, then it is perfectly okay to admit that and part ways as a result. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, financial infidelity is when someone is hiding important information with regard to money. 

This can include having a secret bank account, spending joint funds, and lying about big purchases. While this can happen in all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones, this article has focused more on romantic relationships. 

Financial infidelity can ruin relationships and families, and it is especially detrimental when children are involved. 

If you suspect your partner has been lying to you about finances, you should confront them calmly, and see if you can salvage your relationship. If too much damage has been done, then it may be time to say goodbye. 

Read More about Narcissist Abuse and Domestic Violence

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories

Canada

UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories

Canada

UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

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