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Financial Infidelity – The Leading Cause of Divorce?

I was doing my regular web money reading and came across an interesting article on MSN Money Central about marriage infidelity.  No, not that kind of infidelity, I'm talking about financial infidelity

What is financial infidelity? 

This is where one spouse in the relationship overspends without the other spouse knowing.  I can see this being a major problem if it happens often, especially if money is already tight.  According to divorce lawyers interviewed by MSN, they see more divorce cases lead by financial rather than sexual infidelity.

Some marriages never recover from that breach of trust, says Brandt, the lawyer. That's when they come to see her. "I get people at the end of the marriage when it's too late," says Brandt. "You have to start talking about these things before you even get into a marriage."

What's the solution? 

I believe that the key to avoid money related issues is through open communication about money.  Even with our most trusted partners, some of us still treat money as a taboo subject.

Here is what the MSN article suggests:

Brandt and others advise that the best way for couples to avoid this problem is for both partners to get actively involved in the finances. You don't both have to pay bills, but both partners must be aware of how much money they have and where it's going.

Couples should also have an agreement about how much they can spend using joint funds before they need to clear it with the spouse. Online banking makes it simple to periodically check for unusual withdrawals or changes in financial position. Don't leave financial management all up to one person, especially if that person has had spending problems in the past.

Money may seem like a secretly understood topic, but everyone has their own opinions/views.  In addition to the above, David Bach from Smart Couples Finish Rich teaches that the key to financial success between couples is to determine a common ground with regards to money.  He suggests to base family financial goals around values instead of monetary goals.

How do we handle purchases in our family?  I have to admit that I'm the family chief financial officer but all bigger purchases need to be agreed upon.  To give ourselves a little freedom, we each get some discretionary cash at the beginning of each month to spend on whatever we please without question. 

If you're in a relationship, how do you deal with purchases? Are you guilty of hiding purchases from your partner?

Photo Credit: hypertypos

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 34 comments… add one }
  • Trent Hamm April 28, 2008, 7:41 am

    No secrets. The second you start hiding financial statements from your spouse is the second you’ll start having marital troubles. If you want to hide a specific gift purchase, tell your spouse and redact just that line, but other than that, it should be 100% open.

  • The Financial Blogger April 28, 2008, 8:26 am

    No secrets here either. Everything is joint. This is definitely not optimal tax wise, but working as a team is more important for me than saving a few bucks in taxes.

    Hiding expenses to your spouse is lying. So I don’t think you should base a relationship on lying (unless you are living with a sugar mommy/daddy! ;-))

  • Mr.Archanfel April 28, 2008, 9:40 am

    Nothing is joined here. No problem whatsoever.

  • David April 28, 2008, 10:49 am

    My way of looking at it is a little different. We have a joint account for household expenses and we each keep seperate accounts for personal stuff. I may not understand the need for expensive shoes, and she may not understand the need for carbon wheels for my bicycle, but as long as our house expenses get paid, we can spend as we like with our personal money.

    This only works if there is money left over after paying expenses for both parties.

  • guinness416 April 28, 2008, 11:32 am

    We keep separate chequing accounts, and have a similar attitude to David above – we don’t hide purchases (!), but neither do we necessarily talk about personal expenses unless they’re really large or need advice or we’re excited about whatever we bought. We’re both gainfully employed adults, so we certainly do not need to justify purchases to each other. I have a colleague who discusses buying six dollar moisturiser with his girlfriend before doing it, which is completely insane to me.

  • fathersez April 28, 2008, 11:32 am

    My wife and I tell each other about the purchases or expenses. She has some plans which I do not completely agree with, and I have some plans she does not completely agree with.

    But the money only leaves the accounts after we have had our discussions, disagreements and finally agreed.

  • squawkfox April 28, 2008, 12:06 pm

    My “better half” and I are on the SAME page financially. When we first met eons ago I watched how he pondered his pennies. During our dating phase I asked him his thoughts on money, investing, spending, and saving. So many of my friends were appalled, but I’ve ended relationships early when I knew the guy was a poor financial fit for me. Too many couples leave the “money” talk for when it’s too late citing it’s “not romantic” or “not polite”. Jeepers!

    These days my “better half” and I meet weekly to review our Quicken data. I’m kinda the CEO of our financial matters since I am most sensitive to keeping things up-to-date, but we’re both equally mindful. Money is just such a big part of a relationship, as “unromantic” as that sounds. Because money is openly discussed, it’s never argued about.

  • Cannon_fodder April 28, 2008, 12:56 pm

    We have a joint account and our own accounts. The joint account funds our mortgage payments primarily. My wife appreciates the fact that I have brought discipline to spending and saving into the relationship and I appreciate the fact that she has brought a degree of reward spending. If it weren’t for her we would have more money saved away but we wouldn’t enjoy life today nearly as much.

    The one thing that I wish were different is her involvement with our investments and retirement plans. I have heard too many horror stories of women left in the dark about the family finances and then the husband dies. That is not the time to go into a crash course of where the money is coming/going.

    That is why I’ve tried to engage my wife in these discussions because I want her to be able to step in (with professional help if required) and ensure that her standard of living does not suffer if something should happen to me. While she states that she is very comfortable with how I’m handling things I would feel better if I knew she could carry on with an understanding that would prevent anyone from taking advantage.

    So, very recently, we have engaged a dear friend in the financial planning profession to handle the bulk of our retirement savings. His temperament suits us well and I know his counsel will be sound and in my wife’s best interests.

  • Telly April 28, 2008, 1:18 pm

    Like others, I am the CFO in our family but I always discuss the budget thoroughly with my husband. We have joint accounts across the board but transfer a small amount of “spending money” to our individual accounts to do with what we please. Things like gym memberships, hockey, etc. do not come out of our spending accounts but dinners out, golf, etc. do so no one feels like the other is keeping tabs.

  • JR April 28, 2008, 3:25 pm

    Squarkfox & Telly hinted on something that has a different side to the male respondants to this thread so far.

    Being in my 60’s I can relate back to the good old days (50 odd years ago) when mum stayed at home and dad worked. In my family growing up I seem to remember the bank accounts & financial decisions belonged to Father.

    As the 60′ came into being it would appear that more women took on careers, (working outside of the home) for them came independance with their financial fortitude, females began to take on the role and responsibility of being financially independant as well as being the financial decision makers.

    From personal observation, it can swing both ways in the male/female co-habit relationship, in that, one or the other will handle most of the finances and that person generally makes the decisions for major expenditure. Thre are no secrets or lies in a good relationship.

    What I have observed is each have identity independance, both having seperate bank accounts, both working and the most important thing to the relationship (money and everything that goes with it) is the communication.

    “According to divorce lawyers interviewed by MSN, they see more divorce cases lead by financial rather than sexual infidelity”

    FT, your header talks about “financial infidelity” , funny is that (mostly male respondants, I think) but the real crux of this surely is about ‘communication’, or the lack thereof. Zero communication or very little in a relationship, then it will breakdown real quick… this IMHO is the major cause of divorce, not the financial or sexual infidelity kind

  • Dividend Growth Investor April 28, 2008, 4:32 pm

    Yeah, you need to have both partners involved in the finances.. That might be tough though if one of them is a genius, and the other one is not ( I am not the genius )

  • The Reverend April 28, 2008, 7:23 pm

    I’d be interested to hear people’s reasons for keeping separate accounts, even small separate savings accounts.

    My wife and I have everything joint (other than RRSPs and investment accounts, for which we are each other’s beneficiaries) and it works fine and I see no reason why I would want an account of my own.

  • The Reverend April 28, 2008, 7:28 pm

    (edit) we have our own credit cards. This serves the dual purpose of allowing us to surprise one another and both of us maintaining long credit histories.

  • nancy (aka money coach) April 29, 2008, 12:58 am

    I work with so many women (and sometimes vice-versa) who are disappointed and angry at their partner’s money management – or more accurately, lack thereof. And in the mix, serious questions about continuing the marriage/relationship comes up.

    Some women still had anticipated (yes, even in this day and age) that their partner would both be a strong provider and also manage the money well. Others are strong income earners themselves, but are angry that their spouses are not on board with saving/getting rid of debt.

    I also meet with groups as part of various marriage-prep courses, and anecdotally would say typically only half have had coffee-and-conversation about how they intend to function as an economic unit.

    It’s nuts. We’ll see each other naked but won’t talk about money before we commit our lives to one another.

    As noted in various comments above, dealbreaker questions include: can the couple at this point, agree on common values? And, can they learn to set common goals thinking as an economic unit? And, can they let go of some judgement and see things from the others point of view?

  • Al April 29, 2008, 9:59 am

    Before my wife and I got married, we had an unfortunate event that had positive sides. One week after proposing to my wife, her car was rear-ended while waiting at a red light. She wasn’t hurt luckily (though shaken up), and the car was a write-off.

    The positive side was that it got us talking about finances. She had a plan of taking out a loan to buy another vehicle in a certain price range. Since I had a decent cash reserve, I suggested we buy a car together without a loan. After that we learned all the details of how we managed money which was valuable when we bought a house.

    Today we have shared chequing and saving accounts, and separate investment accounts. I know more about investing so I make suggestions on what we could do for either of us and we discuss the upsides and downsides together. She has the veto. When considering risk we look at all accounts together. It works well for us.

  • Enginerd April 29, 2008, 12:16 pm

    I live with my girlfriend, and we split rent, utilities, groceries, general expenses according to our incomes. I make twice as much as she does, so I shoulder 2/3’s of the total burden. We don’t pool accounts, but I keep complete records of all expenditures, and we settle up at the end of each month. This means she writes me a check, because I am the one that actually sends in the rent/utilities/etc. She checks with me about most purchases, although I’ve said that I trust her on small (< $50) items. We discuss and agree on major purchases, which so far have just been apartment and furniture.

    I like the idea of a joint checking account, which each part contributes a certain part of their income, and each party could see all activity of the other online. But we haven’t set that up, because we don’t really need it.

  • Adventures In Money Making April 29, 2008, 5:39 pm

    Wifey and I have joint accounts. Our approach is quite simple. She vetos everything I suggest, and I approve everything she wants.

    This system is working quite well for us!

  • JR April 29, 2008, 8:50 pm

    FT said:

    “You might be thinking that I’m crazy for buying such small lots, but since I have a bunch of free trades to use up, why not?”

    I dont think so FT.

    It reminds me of the $50 rule which is quite simple.

    Take the avearge Jane or John Doe who may spend (waste) $50 per week on either a 2/4 or booze, lunches, entertainment, possibly even junk food groceries or toys they really dont need.

    Simply stick a $50 in an account every week (a good forced savings habit), then at the end of each month have your broker take the $200 by direct withdrawal and put it into your trading account to buy dividend stocks. If your have an RRSP all the better, then you can compound the tax return also.

    It does not take very long to accumulate wealth this way &with the many rollover options reinvesting on dividends, you end up accumulating dividends larger than the $200 per month that goes into the trading account.

    Small steps get you to the top much easier than running

    Consider the possible multiples of $50 for those of you that have more spare change or if you frugal it a bit more

  • Topher April 30, 2008, 1:19 am

    Dr. Joyce Brothers suggested a plan for married couples that went something like this: both parties put all their current income in a single pool. Out of that is paid everything that the two agree on — essentials, probably a budget for mutual fun, and savings for the future. The remainder is split evenly between the two, for each to use without being answerable to the other.

    Seems pretty good to me.

  • Mr. Cents May 5, 2008, 7:11 pm

    I agree whole-heartedly in that both spouses must have complete transparency in their finances. Problems start with the little white-lies, half-truths, and the hidden purchases.

    My wife, Mrs. Cents, and I utilize financial software and online banking to ensure all expenses, incomes, and transfers are known to each other. We each have our own allowances every month that we can use for whatever we choose, but these purchases are shown when downloaded from our credit cards or bank accounts. The specific item/purchase/service might not be conveyed, but we must tell the other that it was for allowance (and sometimes face a question or two like “Honey, what’s ‘The Silver Slipper Saloon’ and why did you go there twice last week?”)

    It’s this transparency that keeps us honest with each other and ourselves and keeps us off the road to financial ruin.

  • Investor X May 16, 2008, 12:54 am

    My take on bank accounts is this:

    1. 2 Separate bank accounts ( a third joint account is going to attract more bank charges). I did the joint bank account thing and when the overdraft reached critical point there was nobody to point the finger at because nobody took responsibility for the spending or overspending. 4 years of separate accounts and I’m still in the black.

    2.Separate bank accounts allows for 2 different people with different levels of urgency. If I overspend, I will suffer and that makes me responsible for my own finances. I don’t appreciate suffering from someone else’s spending habits. That doesn’t mean that you can’t offer advise to your partner but I would rather give friendly advice than yell when things have gone too far.

    3. The major bread winner pays all of the bills and recoups a flat amount each pay from the partner for a reasonable share of the non-mortgage, non-taxes expenses (or however you want to split expenses). At the end of the year or when there is a significant
    change in wage for a partner, there should be a reasonable adjustment in the flat amount paid. It should always be fair.

    My wife-to-be appreciates that I take the bull by the horn when it comes to finances. I appreciate that she understands me and thinks the same way. Life is great when you are on the same wave-length. Its really nice not to argue about money. Its easier to negotiate splitting the bills once per year than arguing about mounting debt when there is nothing left.

    Separate accounts might not be politically correct but I’d rather be happy and politically incorrect.

  • Enginerd May 17, 2008, 4:18 pm

    “point there was nobody to point the finger at because nobody took responsibility for the spending or overspending”

    I’m assuming there were only 2 people in this relationship? Assigning blame shouldn’t be too hard, even if it was equal between the two of you. Keeping good records would solve this problem, although if all purchases are made by debit card/check, this should be automatic.

    “Separate accounts might not be politically correct but I’d rather be happy and politically incorrect.”

    Couldn’t agree more. My girlfriend and I have separate accounts. Joint accounts do have their drawbacks (fees, more paperwork), they can also make things easier (easier to track joint expenses). Then again, separate accounts work just fine if you keep good records, and you don’t have to put your financial wellbeing in somebody elses hands.

  • Investor X May 18, 2008, 11:39 am

    Enginerd,

    I think that we are on the same page (or a similar one). The only difference is that you are all for good record-keeping and I can’t knock that. At the end of the day, by keeping a tight control on money you will probably be financially ahead of me. My control over finances is more focused on keeping my bank balances positive by maintaining a general grasp on how much cash is available without going into overdraft. I know that is very minimalist but I’m too busy to invest too much time in record-keeping.

    I don’t use my credit card too much – mostly required if cash is not available and there are car repairs. When I get my credit card bill, there are few items on there so it is easy to visually scan the bill with some comfort that I did make those purchases. With a joint account, good luck with that!

    I’m not big on a savings account (unless there is a specific thing that I’m saving for) because there is usually a small debt somewhere that makes more sense to pay off than earning 2% interest less taxes. You get taxed on interest earned but can’ t write off interest on purchases (other than the SM).

    My objective is to live within my means and make my “means” a little better through the SM when its time to retire.

  • FI 101 June 8, 2008, 6:11 pm

    Financial Infidelity is completely destructive. Believe me, I am the who committed it in our relationship. Insight from someone who just got caught…again:

    My husband and I have been married for five years. In that period of time I have lied to him just about every day when it comes to finances. Through other areas of our life together I’ve been supportive, encouraging, and honest. The finances; however, are my downfall. I’m simply a coward when it comes to talking about these things with him.

    My infidelity relates to getting a credit card and keeping it a secret from him…several times. The last one has just recently been discovered and held a $3000 balance. Now I knew when I signed up for it that it was the wrong thing to do. I also knew when I used it that it was the wrong thing to do. To try and explain my reasons for keeping it from him, well there just is no explanation worthy enough. He caught it on our credit report and confronted me about it yesterday. I have a lot of self-discovery to do about why I’m this way but the worst part is knowing that I have now jeopardized our marriage and destroyed any semblance of trust he may have had left it me.

    We do have joint accounts and we do have full access to each other’s accounts. We’ve been trying to get out of debt and one thing I am okay with is that I did close the account several months ago when I realized that I can NOT be trusted when it comes to holding a credit card in hand. Not telling him about it though is utterly childish and stupid. My reason…which feel free to harp on and run amuck with…I wanted to be able to spend money on small things without him constantly getting on my case about it. I theorized that I’m a grown woman who should be able to buy a pair of running shoes, go drink some coffee, buy a book to read, or go to the movies without having him harp on me about it when he spend money on a boat that is nothing but a sinking ship waiting to happen.
    What I’ve learned is that just isn’t so when you don’t divulge that information to him straight forward. He always tells me about the boat repairs that are needed, he is always open an honest when he needs to use the credit card for something in particular, and he never hides his spending from me the way I do from him.
    So now I’m on the path of discovery of figuring out my ‘why’ my fear of telling him and need to hide this from him is more important than having the truth and respect in our marriage. For all of you who have posted about how it is working for you, I’m in awe. For me, I’ll post again on here when I can actually state that I too am able to stop the hidden ‘me’ spending and accountability into ‘this is how we figured it out’.

  • Topher June 9, 2008, 3:53 pm

    I think that “him constantly getting on my case about it” and “without having him harp on me about it” are HUGE clues. I’m not saying he’s to blame, but I would start my search for truth with these sentiments.

  • 4Shiggles August 29, 2008, 10:00 pm

    Hi-

    Barring all cases of bipolar psychological disorders or extreme domestic abuse, HIDING DEBT from your spouse is in the SAME category as CHEATING! It is a deception, a breach of trust on the same scale. No, your spouse does not run the risk of bringing home cooties, or getting some bimbo knocked-up as in the case of an adulterous affair. However, your spouse will most likely bring home hardship, disgrace, instability, struggle, distrust, great expense, and the ringing of bill collectors all day and all night. Oh yeah, and don’t forget all of the missed opportunities that go by while your working two jobs to pay back credit card companies at 29% interest. Worth it? C’mon people, has the collective character of our great country stooped so low in recent times? Are unnecessary goods, services, and keeping up with the Jones of more importance than the psychological, financial, and emotional stability within your very home?

    I am what you would call a saver. This is the fashionable distinction to make these days; either you’re a SPENDER or a SAVER…whatever. Let me just say that I think this distinction is a load of crap. Either you are a responsible adult accountable for your actions, or you are behaving like an out of control child. The laws of money are based on simple mathematics that you learned in grade school. Apply them and you will reap success, forgo them and you will suffer more or less like those other fools out there right now getting foreclosed on. The banks and credit card companies don’t care how emotionally needy you were while you drank your $6 latte’s, bought a hummer, or just had to impress the neighbors with this, that, and the other thing. Unless you file for bankruptcy, you are basically on the hook, a slave to the lender. And another thing, the banks and lenders are smarter than you, they hire finance MBAs and PhDs who will work 80hrs per week figuring out how to get you in debt and keep you there.

    How do I know this – EXPERIENCE. I was married to just such a person; she duped me three times in our 8yr marriage. Each time with a promise to change and that it would never happen again. I bailed us out of it each time, and when enough time went by and I let my guard down, she did it again. This third and final time I am forced to file bankruptcy, attempt to sell my house in a down market (all offers have been less than I paid for the home), my credit is ruined because she put my name on some of the cards which she never intended to pay, and to forfeit all of the sweat equity that I put into this home over the past four years of back breaking renovations that were done on nights and weekends after my 60 hour work week.

  • econobiker November 3, 2008, 3:52 pm

    The term is “financial infidelity” which is what happened to me in my first marriage. My college educated/degree now ex-wife had a MLM business that wasn’t working and she was leveraging bills through credit cards without telling me. Hidden credit cards, past due phone accounts, potential car repos, going behind my back to get a loan from her parents to attend a sales event, stealing the tax return check to get the past due car loan up to date, owing money to a friend, purchasing new contact lenses versus using the vision plan I had from my job, etc. Every issue was always a “small finacial mistake” in her words- “nothing to get worked up about- everyone makes them.”

    She was always after the “big sale” versus working diligently to make money. I had to threaten her with divorce for her to get even a temp job. Funny thing was that the first temp placement she had was at a bank call center calling people who had just missed their first auto loan payment!!!

    I threatened to kick her out a second time when I found yet another hidden credit card with $1300 on it. The time when we should have been DINKs- double income no kids- we were OINKs- one income no kids- because her employment was going to pay off credit bills only.

    She always wanted to live beyond our means. I wrangled the new SUV for her in late 2001, I wrangled the 80% loan /20%ARM for a home for us, I wrangled the refinance to get out of the 20% ARM, but it was never enough.

    The pressure built over the years even after we had paid off the debt she incurred. I nearly went crazy over time. I was misdiagnosed as being depressed and perscribed anti-depressants. The meds assisted me to commit physical adultrey when I had been faithful for over 8 years even when all the credit debt craziness was going on. The only reason I tell you this is that when I was in the “exit phase” of the marriage, the ex-wife went and bought $8,000 to $11,000 worth of brand new furniture for what would become “her house” (no equity of course due to the two financings within three years). She said she got the new furniture because I had kept her “down” financialy and had us using old hand-me-down furniture gifts from various family members. While that new furniture was solely her debt, it was the marriage’s final indication that she had no concept of financial management. Neither of us had that type of money nor did her parents pay for it.

    Even after the divorce, she is all about the money and lack of foresite. We had two children together. I am happy to pay the child support but when I was laid off and looking for new work, she sued me for almost a full years amount of child support. This was even though she had garnished my meggar temp job wages and I was paying support when I fixed up and sold old cars. The court granted her a sum under $100 (yes one hundred as in between 99 and 101) in back support and required us to each pay our own lawyer fees.

    I live under my means. I have a new spouse (unrelated to the prior marriage adultrey) who has the same financial values as I do. I am currently planning that I will have to pay my childrens entire college even though my ex and I are supposed to pay 50% each as I figure my ex will be bankrupt by that time.

    It is “financial infidelity”. I almost could have dealt with it easier if the ex-wife had gotten a boyfriend behind my back. I would have just kicked her out and been done with it rather than try to be the “good husband” and kept the coupleship together by fighting her and the debt…

  • Mrs. Trusing March 25, 2009, 3:53 am

    Financial infidelity is as destructive to trust in the relationship as sexual cheating is, I think. Especially if it happens more than once. My husband brought credit card debt into our marriage without telling me (I didn’t run a check on him), then cried when he had to tell me. Years later we had started a family and were living beyond our means, so we ran up a bit more consumer debt. When I suggested we get organized and pay it off, we got our credit reports and guess what? You guessed it-we had almost triple what I thought in debt! He cried, we filed bankruptcy. I went back to school, sacrificing a lot on the motherhood front, so we might have a financial future. Husband and I discussed that NO new accounts would be opened without us agreeing. And we lived debt free. I was so proud! I finished my training and have a good career. I doubled our income, but now I work nights and still feel I’m neglecting my kids. But it’s worth it to me, ’cause I’m making a future for us. Well, that’s how I felt until I put away the laundry and found more credit card statements the other day (plus a new twist: phone sex numbers and names of extensions he likes!). How can he keep doing this? How can I keep being so trusting (i.e., stupid)? I don’t want a divorce because it will screw up my kids too bad and he is a good “coworker” sharing the childcare and household, but I don’t love him anymore and it is really down to all this. No matter what I do, I’m responsible for his debt, and I can’t stop him. I could monitor him, but why should I have to police my spouse? I keep trying to dig us out and create a future, and he just throws dirt back on top of me.

  • DAvid March 25, 2009, 11:11 am

    Mrs. T,

    To paraphrase Shakespeare: “Get thee to a Marriage / Debt Counselor.”

    Until your husband comes to understand how destructive his behaviours are, they will continue. As unpalatable as it may seem, you and he may have to take some draconian measures to address this financial infidelity.

    Best wishes on getting things straightened out.

    DAvid

  • Firefly April 1, 2009, 1:47 pm

    I believe financial infidelity is conceived when one partner EVEN MAKES PLANS for spending unknown to his/her supposedly significant other. Once you enter into a life together, there should be no need for financial secrecy of any kind (barring the situation of a surprise gift for each other).

    The husband should be able to trust his wife not to jeopardize the trust in their relationship with a purchase of (or plans to buy) things which may cripple their finances (be that a dishcloth, or a new car). The wife should have the same tranquility regarding her husband’s purchases (or plans to purchase).

    The bottom line is that each should be able to believe that the preservation of their marriage (and the trust they each need) is more important than ANY financial selfishness one may entertain. It’s pretty simple…either bring trust to nurture & honor the marriage in a responsible way or tear apart the trust and the marriage when you insist on individual wants (akin to stomping your feet in a childish display of selfishness). And it all begins at which point one partner makes plans without the other.

    I choose to nurture and honor my partner and my marriage. Once the necessities of providing for our food, etc., and paying our bills is accomplished, savings are in order. Beyond that, we feel no need to talk about responsible small purchases. We trust ourselves (and the other) to BE RESPONSIBLE. For non-necessary items, we will BOTH know of the planning before the purchase. If not, the purchase simply is not made. There are no hidden agendas. It’s far better to share and anticipate wishes (leading to support or a discussion) than planning or spending selfishly. This sharing shows respect for your originial, and continuing union.

    If there are differences and an ensuing discussion, often one partner can bring insight to the other regarding the pros and cons of the plans and/or purchase. In the end, both should understand fully any detractions of the plan (or purchase), and each should then trust the other to honor the outcome of the discussion. Making the decision together brings support and trust to the marriage. Conversely, if your plans can’t stand the light of day (cannot be shared with your life partner), it’s a foregone conclusion that selfishness on your part will erode trust and happiness in the maggiage. Grow up and smell the coffee, folks!

    If you are making plans or purchases without your partner’s knowledge or support, you forfeit trust, respect, and joy in your relationship. For if one can’t trust the other to care for and nurture the relationship, respect is lost, and joy in the marriage becomes a very remote possibility.

    P. S. This year marks the 40th year of our union. We have always had
    a joint checking account. There is no he or she separation. This is a
    marriage and partnership…plain and simple.

  • emily July 2, 2009, 8:28 pm

    I think this blog should be reserved for spouses who have been ripped financially by other. Financially infidelity should be grounds for divorce as it is often more devestating than other abuses.My strange estranged spouse removed $1000,000 out of joint account. Perfectly legal as he did not try to close acct. Afer 20 years of working in home, volunteer cook driver, business builder etc. I am royally screwed. IWANT MY MONEY BACK. No legal recourse. So if you’re out there and have any info, please respond. Will be pursuing civil action. with no $ I cannnot hire atty to file for divorce. Considering ending my life

  • cannon_fodder July 4, 2009, 12:33 am

    Emily,

    I’m not an expert, but would there not be lawyers who would work on a contingency basis for your case? I know that many of them will have an opening consultation (1 hour) for free.

    I hope that you get the money that you rightly deserve.

  • Phoebe December 1, 2009, 7:36 pm

    I’ve been married for 6 months and we’ve had major fights about money. I’ve got good credit (spouse does not) and therefore I have high credit card limits, which we’ve had to use since both of us own property that has fallen underwater and we’ve struggled to make payments. However, when I do the budget every month, I see at least $500 overflow, but I have no idea where this money goes each month. My husband simply refuses to get a joint checking account with me. He is always coming up with excuses. I tried dragging him to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace classes, he only went to one. It gets so tiresome fighting about it all the time. He just makes up excuse after excuse. I don’t have any savings anymore (I have drained it all to keep us afloat on his mortgage, which is where we live). I am close to my credit card limits, and I don’t have enough money to pay all my bills. I’m at the point where I just want to walk away from my property in order to get rid of that payment even though it will damage my credit. I don’t live at my property, I rent it out, and take quite a loss each month. The property is losing money every day. That’s another story. The bottom line is I almost feel like I want to ruin my finances so that my husband will stop turning to me for money all the time. I really don’t know what to do anymore. The more we talk about money, the more we fight.

  • cannon_fodder December 2, 2009, 1:40 pm

    Phoebe,

    I am sorry to hear that things are so difficult for you and that part of the issue is that you and your spouse aren’t pulling together. You can’t, and shouldn’t, take this burden on by yourself. Your spouse needs to get engaged and that may need you to sit him down and explain quite strongly that this isn’t just about money – it is about the future of your marriage.

    Do either of your employers offer counselling services as part of your benefits package? It may be prudent to get some professional assistance to help you cope with your spouse’s ignorance of his responsibilities to your marriage. A 3rd party might finally get the message through by articulating the situation without being confrontational and emotional.

    Good luck with this…

    Hopefully Kathryn reads your post – she will have many pearls of wisdom to add, I’m sure.

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