The Road from Financial Infidelity to Financial Intimacy

The Spitzer Scandal has ignited a firestorm of discussion regarding the broader spectrum of what can be considered “infidelity.” Along with the marital betrayal and the criminal act, many people are also taking note of the breach of financial trust.

As New York relationship therapist Bonnie Eaker Weil notes “Everyone in my practice who is committing adultery is committing financial infidelity.”

While it is not always possible to protect yourself from this kind of event (it’s important in a healthy relationship for there to be trust and autonomy, which means you can’t always be trying to guard yourself from potential betrayal by your partner), you can reduce the chances that you will be blindsided by such an egregious act of deception.

Have a budget.
Have an agreed upon allocation for all family funds. If you have a plan for where your dollars should be directed, you won’t be confused about where your money is (or isn’t).

Each partner should share in the money management responsibilities.

If both partners are involved in executing the financial plan, there is less opportunity for sums of money to go missing or be diverted to unauthorized activities (be they extramarital or simply extra clearance shopping).

Review your credit reports together at least once a year.

Neither partner should ever open a new credit account without the other’s knowledge. Never, ever, ever. Jointly reviewing your credit reports also ensures that you are both aware of how each is managing credit and debt payments.

Financial infidelity is getting a lot of press these days but we should take a moment to consider the positive side of the couples and money issue, too. Financial intimacy calls for open, constructive discussion about how both partners want to use their money. As part of this process each person should feel heard by the other and should see their goals represented in the joint plan.

At its heart, financial intimacy addresses each person’s dearest hopes and darkest fears. It’s a great foundation for emotional intimacy in all areas of the relationship.


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