41 percent of American couples reported having hidden accounts, spending habits, or debt from their partners, indicates the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). The worst part is that research shows this number is likely to increase with the millennial generation. Ideally, like sexual infidelity, financial infidelity can potentially harm relationship longevity or even lead to divorce. This often occurs when married partners with shared finances hide their financial situation from one another. Subsequently, most Talkspace therapists warn that hiding your finances from your partner can have significant impacts on your relationship and mental health. Check out some of the most common.
Increases Financial Anxiety
Some of the anxiety symptoms related to financial infidelity may include feeling nervous, having trouble sleeping, increased heart rate, sweating, and others. While it’s normal to experience these symptoms at times, extreme cases can lead to anxiety disorders, which can result in severe health complications. A recent study by the Royal College of Physicians shows that almost half of the individuals with anxiety-related problems struggle with debt issues. Furthermore, finances are one of the common reasons why couples fight or even separate. With most Baby Boomers approaching retirement, financial infidelity is projected to be on the rise.
Consistent lying about finances can affect even the strongest relationship, breaking the trust between two partners. Remember that trust is a critical component of any relationship, which can be hard to restore once broken. Without a proper foundation of trust, partners may face difficult times requiring joint effort, time, and professional help to rebuild. Cynthia Catchings, one of the Washington D.Cs Talkspace therapists, says that it is hard to repair trust once it’s broken.
She further explains that when one of the partners covers up or withholds financial or any other information, it’s normal to feel anxious, depressed, guilty, and betrayed. If these feelings prolong, they can potentially affect a person’s mental health. Similarly, a financial therapist and professor at Kansas State University, Megan McCoy, says that money-related fights are usually tenser and can last longer due to its significant function.
Leads to Bigger Lies
A small lie today has the potential of turning into something bigger and dangerous in the future. Whether it is a single private loan or trashed receipt, financial lies can ultimately damage an otherwise healthy relationship. Brain researchers who study people’s brain activity found out that individuals who tell small lies were more likely to commit serious crimes in the future. Moreover, in a news article, co-author Tali Sharot explains that smaller lies such as evading tax, doping in sports, infinitely, financial fraud, or making up data could snowball over time and lead to more enormous crimes.
Like other Talkspace therapists, Catchings encourages couples to think beyond common generalizations. She further says that if there are no consequences of financial infidelity, an individual may continue lying. She advises that the deceitful person should instead feel remorseful and change the behavior to build a valuable relationship. Catchings also notes that the most important thing is for people to accept they need help and be willing to work with their fears.