Money affects almost every decision we make in our relationship … and money decisions that are made in secret lead to what we call Financial Infidelity. Just like sexual infidelity starts with a little flirting here and an innocent business lunch there, Financial Infidelity sneaks into relationships without warning and creeps in through those little lies and harmless secrets. Financial Infidelity can start with one credit card used on a website: “I will only charge $100 a month.” But then $100 turns to $500, and $500 to $5000 and it can just spiral out of control.
Taylor and Megan’s Story of Financial Infidelity
Every year, a group of us go hunting on Thanksgiving morning. We wake up in the wee hours of the morning and head out for several hours of sitting, waiting, watching, and occasionally shooting. Then, we rush back, just in time for a delicious Turkey dinner. The Thanksgiving in question was no different. After a good hunt, we packed up our gear and hit the road home to fill our empty stomachs.
Now you should understand, several years ago, our financial situation was quite different than it is now and we most certainly did not have extra funds to pay for accidents or ‘incidentals’. So, when those blue and red lights started flashing behind me, I knew I was in trouble. Megan always warns me to slow down and pay attention to those cops hidden on the sides of the highway. But, especially when her delicious cooking is waiting, it’s hard for me to slow down. My stomach dropped and I immediately began worrying about how I was going to tell Megan what happened. I didn’t want to ruin the holiday, or the dinner, or our relationship for that matter!
“License and Registration”.
I began thinking about all of the ways I could possibly get out of this ticket. “Officer, there’s a family emergency.” “My wife is in labor.” Maybe if I just start crying, he’ll take pity on me, I thought. No. I knew there was no way out of it, and I couldn’t bring myself to lie to the officer either. So, I got a ticket. The rest of the drive home felt so long, not only was I no longer speeding, I was dreading telling my wife about the hefty fine I knew we couldn’t afford to pay. If only I had listened to her…
By the time I pulled into the driveway, my mind was made up and I had a fool-proof plan in place. A coworker of mine owed me a favor. I would borrow the money for the ticket from him and pay him back a little bit of a time with every paycheck. Megan would never have to know. I walked in the door with a smile on my face and my head held high because I thought I had figured everything out.
And I had…
Megan never found out. I paid the fine, paid off the loan from my coworker, and we moved on as if nothing had happened. Because as far as Megan was concerned, nothing had happened. But, the guilt and shame I felt weighed heavy. I had kept us from an argument, and paid off my debts. But I still felt like Megan somehow just knew and was waiting on me to admit it to her. I had cheated on her, lied to her. She didn’t deserve that, she was (and still is) the most amazing wife. How could I have kept something so silly from her?
Eventually, I built up the courage and told her what had happened. She laughed and told me she was shocked I was able to keep it a secret for so long. I was so worried, my Saver/Security Seeker wife was going to freak when I told her, but she didn’t. Of course, she was upset I didn’t tell her and expressed that she wished we had been able to handle it together. But she understood why I did what I did. My secondary Risk-Taker jumped into action to fix the money problem facing us and keep her from worrying. Understanding this helped both of us to feel loved, forgiven, and understood. We have learned how to communicate about our finances in a way that allows us to solve the problem and move on. My act of financial infidelity didn’t destroy us, we recovered from it and learned from it.
Are you willing to share a story of Financial Infidelity to help other couples? It doesn’t have to be big, it happens in even the small things. Leave us a comment and let’s talk!
Taylor and Megan Kovar
The Money Couple