Not all betrayals between married couples involve an illicit romance. In fact, financial infidelity is so common that 22% of Americans admit that they have lied to their partners about money matters. Some keep a secret credit card or hide gambling debts, while others hide investments or a private savings account — and women are more likely than men to be dishonest about money with their spouses.
Why exactly do people lie to their partners about money so often? Experts agree that it usually comes down to one of these reasons:
- Addictions: Whether your spouse is addicted to gambling, drugs, alcohol, shopping or something else, an addiction is expensive. Most addicts struggle with acknowledging how much of a financial strain they cause their families.
- Appearances: People sometimes struggle so hard to “keep up with the Joneses” that they fall into deep debt and don’t want to admit it to their spouse.
- Anger: Sometimes, a spouse overspends or hides money because they’re harboring a lot of resentment or anger toward the other spouse. Maybe they feel that their spouse isn’t fair to them about money in some way.
- Differing goals: When couples deeply disagree on how money should be spent in the first place, that often sets the foundation for deception.
- Sexual infidelity: An affair can be expensive — and it’s hard to carry off unless a spouse keeps at least some of their financial affairs private.
- Anxiety: Some people have unhealthy coping mechanisms, which can include “hoarding” wealth or spending it too freely.
- Self-protection: If one spouse is particularly controlling, the other may be stockpiling money to pay for things their spouse wouldn’t otherwise allow.
Discovering that your spouse has been lying about money in some way can be emotionally devastating. Not every marriage can recover, especially if the lies hide a deeper problem. If financial infidelity is leading to your divorce, find out what you can do to protect yourself during the upcoming split.