Financial Infidelity: Can spending hurt your marriage?


Author: Sheilah Overman, MS., Marriage & Family Therapy Intern, IMF #71336

It is undeniable that money can be a large source of anxiety for many individuals. Balancing check books, paying bills on time, saving for retirement, and paying back student loans can often be very time consuming and lead to mounds of stress. Now, add all of those fiscal responsibilities with an intimate relationship; and you may suddenly feel overwhelmed…who wouldn’t?

While beginning to merge finances with a spouse, there may be an element of  shame that goes along with certain spending behaviors. All of a sudden, you find yourself hiding your shopping bags in the trunk of your car, you might fib about how much your new haircut cost, and cringe at the thought of sharing with your partner how much you spent on groceries. If that is the case, “financial infidelity” could be creeping into your relationship.

Here are a list of some ways to potentially avoid this kind of infidelity:

  • initiate a calm conversation about your financial concerns
  • create an inventory of shared expenses
  • understand your monthly budget
  • envision your financial future together. What kind of lifestyle do you want in 1, 5, 10, 20 years? Then work on tweaking  your current spending behaviors to accommodate your future plans.

A wonderful and free online tool that I use and often recommend to my clients is It is a simple tool that may allow for you and your partner to begin tracking your expenses and understanding your spending behaviors more clearly.

Cheers to financial health!

*I am not affiliated with, nor am I a financial consultant*

  1. The common denominator in most marriages is that there just isn’t enough money to cover everything that both partners might want. In fact, in many instances, there isn’t enough to meet the necessary bills which leaves nothing for recreation or “wants”. People in these relationships often find this lack of spending power to be a point of contention. It’s no secret that everyone dislikes having to deny themselves from the things they deem important in a quality life, and it’s easy to blame your mate for this forced self-denial. “Why don’t you get a better job?” “Why is everyone else’s husband so much more successful than you are?” Blame like this hurts, and inflicting pain on each other is going to erode the relationship badly given enough time.

    • Great insights Kristie. I am glad you stopped by the blog. Please feel free to swing by anytime. Have a great Friday!

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