Infidelity, a word synonymous with cheating and disloyalty, doesn’t only happen within the confines of the bedroom.
Lying to your spouse or partner about how much something cost, lending money (belonging to both of you) to a friend or relative without their knowledge, or being secretive about your income may seem innocuous. However, what you’re actually engaging in has a name: financial infidelity, and the consequences can be incredibly damaging.
What exactly is financial infidelity?
According to Faeeza Khan, the Legal Marketing Specialist at Liberty, “It is when one partner in a committed relationship makes unilateral financial decisions which risks the financial future of both parties. These actions jeopardise the core of the relationship, namely trust and communication.”
There are different ways in which a person can deceive their partner in respect of financial non-disclosure. For example, Khan said, they will not disclose one or more of the following circumstances:
- total income earned
- source of income
- illegal activity to gain wealth
- credit spend
- increase indebtedness of joint estate (in community of property marriages)
- common expenditure
- actual price of goods purchased
- actual term of credit
- actual interest rate given
- money borrowed from loan sharks
- indebtedness with drug dealers
- indebtedness as a result of a gambling addiction
- supporting one's wider family
- supporting another partner
What are the crucial steps, with regard to setting boundaries and making agreements, that need to be taken to prevent, and overcome, financial infidelity?
Getting married out of community of property. This ensures that your estate is governed by the terms and conditions of your registered antenuptial contract. “Each party has a separate estate and can contract without the consent of the other party and any financial decisions which may have a negative impact will only affect the contracting party and not the spouse,” said Khan.
Seek counselling. This aids in uncovering the root of the problem. Khan said, “Try to obtain a solution; if it is an addiction of some sort, perhaps seek guidance from a professional.”