Shelley was putting away her husband’s laundry when she discovered a stash of bills for a credit card she didn’t recognize. It’s a story that plays out over and over with couples we talk to. Everything seems to be fine and then Bam! One of them discovers the other has been keeping money secrets.
If you’ve just discovered your partner has been hiding money from you, using a secret credit card, or lying about spending, what we call ”Financial Infidelity“, you have a choice to make: Ignore the problem and hope it goes away or confront it, and start to heal your relationship.
Here’s what constructive confrontation looks like:
- Calm down. Don’t call your spouse the minute you find a bill or a stash of cash. Give yourself an hour – or even a day – to let your initial anger ebb a bit.
- Find out what’s real. Your assumptions might be wrong. The “secret” credit card might not be an intentional secret but merely an oversight or even a business card your spouse didn’t think was a big deal. You might still want to talk about it, but start with a presumption of good intentions, not bad. That will go a long way toward keeping your conversation on track.
- Keep emotions out of the conversation. Yes it’s hard, but if you want to have a healthy Money Relationship™, you need to approach your partner with what you’ve found, not what you think you found. State your concern and ask for an explanation. Words like “I found this. I’m confused about it. Help me understand,” show your partner you want to solve this problem together.
- Be prepared for some hard work. If there is Financial Infidelity in your relationship, it’s going to take a real commitment to honesty and communication to recover. Take the Financial Relationship Index to find out how deep the infidelity goes and how you can start removing it from your relationship.
The Money Couple®
Scott & Bethany Palmer
Creators of The 5 Money Personalities™