June 9, 2021 at 9:29 am #381221
Hello! This is my first ever post, although I’ve loved this site for years. My partner committed financial infidelity and disclosed it to me recently. I never even knew the term “financial infidelity” existed until he told the debt he accrued and lied to me about for years. It’s been helpful to have a term for it as it absolutely feels like infidelity, but of course not the traditional “infidelity” that we think about.
There’s grief that our relationship has shifted, there’s fear that now I know he can lie that well for that long, there’s feelings of great betrayal. And then there’s hope that he’s working on himself and we’re working together as a team on more open communication in all areas of the relationship. Either way, it’s very hard to process this.
Any advice? Anyone else who has experienced this and came through with a stronger relationship?
I feel like I’m playing many roles. I’m healing myself, while processing the anger towards him, while being active in couples therapy with a team approach, while just digesting all of it.
Any guidance would be helpful. Thank you. Gratitude to you all.June 9, 2021 at 11:33 am #381240
I don’t know the nature of his debt and how it is a betrayal of your trust. You mentioned that he is your partner. If you and him are not a legal team (as in married), and you are therefore not responsible for his financial debts, and if he believed that he would be able to pay off the debt by a certain time without harm to you, wanting to protect you from unnecessary distress- I don’t see a betrayal.
If, on the other hand, he married you without disclosing to you a significant/ huge financial debt, and by marriage you became unknowingly responsible for his debt- that’s a betrayal.
Would you like to elaborate on the nature of what you believe to be his “Financial Infidelity”?
anitaJune 9, 2021 at 1:02 pm #381241
Yes – we are married and it is debt that was accrued pre and post marriage that I did not know about. It also feels like a betrayal because I asked about any debts many times in the last year and I was told there wasn’t any more debt, but then finally I was told the entire truth.
-AnnaJune 9, 2021 at 2:14 pm #381245
I don’t want to ask too many questions (not wanting to cause you to feel uncomfortable), but it occurred to me that I still don’t know enough: is it a big/ huge debt, what was his reason, and his purpose for finally telling you about the debt, what is the current plan (not in specifics, of course) regarding the debt… (?) Feel free to answer, or not.
anitaJune 9, 2021 at 5:29 pm #381254
I appreciate your response to this ❤️ While I don’t feel comfortable giving too many specifics, I will provide a bit for understanding.
In regarding the amount, it’s a lot for us. In the thousands.
Plan is to consolidate the debt and begin payments.
Reason for telling me I guess was because he finally got the courage to.
Reason for the debt was to try and sustain his business.
AnnaJune 9, 2021 at 8:25 pm #381258
You are welcome. “Reason for telling me I guess because he finally got the courage to”- meaning he was too afraid to tell you earlier. He was trying to sustain his business. It seems to me that infidelity (part of the term “financial infidelity) is a harsh and an inaccurate term for what he did: his motivation to not tell you about the debt was his fear and his desire to make his business work for the benefit of the two of you. A man’s motivation when cheating on a wife with another woman is lust, and wanting something to enjoy for his benefit alone, at the expense of his wife. See the difference?
My suggestion is that you remove the “infidelity” interpretation of what happened and let him know that you and him are in this life together, as a team, that he doesn’t have to worry about finances alone. Let him know that you understand that men are in great social pressure to succeed materially and take care of their women and children, but you believe that this pressure is unfair (if you do). I hope this makes sense to you..?
anitaJune 11, 2021 at 2:55 pm #381289
Thank you for your response and perspective.
I respectfully disagree with your opinion on the “infidelity” aspect. “Financial infidelity” is described as “when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. For example, one partner may hide significant debts in a separate account while the other partner is unaware.” This is a definition taken from an investment website. This term is also used in the marriage counseling world.
There were many times in the last year that I asked about further debt and he said over and over again “there is no more debt.” He would stonewall me when I would try and talk about ways that we could pay off the debt we already had; which now I know was because he was lying about the “more debt” part. He would discourage me when I had ideas of how to handle our finances, saying “it wouldn’t work.” But this was because he didn’t want me to have access to knowing all the debt through credit checks or some other way. So as I’m typing this I guess he didn’t just tell me because “he had the courage to.” I guess it was also because he knew eventually I’d find out because I was trying so desperately to be strategic in mending the debt we already had. I was talking to mortgage lenders for refinancing, financial advisors, learning about consolidation, etc. So eventually I would have found out through a credit check.
I respect your opinion in feeling that “infidelity” is too harsh of a term, but I have to disagree with you. There was continual lying, stonewalling, him discouraging me to try and “fix our finances,” and withholding debt from me for years. This was a break in trust for me and a betrayal. Perhaps it wouldn’t be for someone else, but it was for me. I wrote this post with the intention that maybe who has experienced this would understand where I’m coming from, or maybe they too have experienced this and didn’t understand why they were having such a roller coaster of emotions – anger, sadness, depression, distrust, confusion (because for years I thought I was being “too active” with our finances, but really his discouragement was to protect the lie).
It’s been a roller coaster for me. For the longest time I thought I was being to “pushy” or “active” in trying to mend our finances because of his comments and resistance in telling me the truth. This is hurtful. I am now understanding that I was doing exactly what I needed to do to be financially safe. He acknowledges that. He acknowledges that he was trying to keep me from knowing the truth.
I do understand and agree with the societal pressures on men to financially provide. I feel that I am sensitive to this. I have forgiven him for why he accrued the debt. However, it is hard to forgive and heal from the lying, dissuading, stonewalling, and sending the message that my ideas “wouldn’t work.” It’s important that I clarify this, especially if some other person is reading this and has experienced the same. Maybe they would disagree with me, too. But maybe there are some that would be validated by this, thus being able to process their roller coaster of emotions more easily.
Dr. Debi Silber has done extensive research on healing after a betrayal. Here is a blog post restating the topic: https://thepbtinstitute.com/the-many-sides-of-betrayal/
So, I guess I’m healing from the betrayal. I’m acknowledging that his intentions for the debt were exasperated by societal pressures; however, I’m also honoring my feelings from betrayal from the lying, stonewalling, and dissuading that he carried out.
Thank you, Anita, for creating an online space for me to process this ❤️
-AnnaJune 11, 2021 at 3:30 pm #381309
I didnt have the fuller picture of “the lying, dissuading, stonewalling, and sending the message that my ideas ‘wouldn’t work'” that you provided in your most recent post. Particularly, I wasn’t aware that you were actively trying to solve with him already existing debts. Of course, I can see that the repeating lying by itself is an act of his betrayal of you, and I am sorry, Anna- I wish this didn’t happen to you. Betrayal by a person we love is a very difficult thing to process.
You are welcome, but I did not create this online space for you. I am a member, just like you- only very active. I will probably have more to say in about 15 hours from now. It’s been slow on the forums for a long time, but I hope other members answer you as well.