Are you being ‘financially faithful’ in your marriage?

If you were to conduct a survey about secrets among married couples, there’s a very good chance that you’d find that the majority of respondents did indeed keep some things hidden from their partners.

While the majority of these secrets likely wouldn’t be altogether shocking or scandalous — rising to the level of infidelity or criminal behavior — they could nevertheless touch on some important issues.

For instance, consider a survey by the nonprofit group the National Endowment for Financial Education, which determined that at least one in three adults whose money was combined as part of a committed relationship had been dishonest with their partner about financial issues. Furthermore, the survey found that 76 percent of these people indicated that their dishonesty had some sort of effect on their relationships.

One of the more common types of this so-called “financial infidelity,” say experts, is where people decide to hide money or purchases from their significant other. For example, a spouse might maintain a secret bank account or keep newly purchased clothes hidden in their closet.

Experts indicate that the reasons spouses typically engage in this conduct is either because 1) they are embarrassed by their spending habits and don’t want to be judged by their spouse, or 2) they are acting out against a spouse who they see as being too financially domineering.

As disconcerting as this may be, experts indicate it’s not an insurmountable issue, as the spouse who is being dishonest about finances can first conduct a sort of self-assessment to determine how they feel and what it would feel like to be honest.

This, in turn, can give them the motivation and confidence needed to sit down with their former spouse, and have an open and hopefully constructive conversation about the underlying problem.

While this is certainly a worthwhile strategy, the sad fact remains that some spouses might not be receptive to this step and may even use the revelation as an impetus to seek a dissolution of marriage.

In the unfortunate event this happens, a spouse doesn’t need to panic. That’s because they can sit down with an experienced legal professional to discuss the law, explore their options and craft a strategy going forward.

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