Is Financial Infidelity Compromising Your Mental Health?

By: First Union


Is Financial Infidelity Compromising Your Mental Health?

Marital infidelity is fairly easy to understand and diagnose—one partner cheats either emotionally or physically on the other. Marriages end because of marital infidelity. People become depressed, divorces drain you. But what about the financial aspect of infidelity in a marriage. Not as well known…In some marriages the spouses may opt to keep separate credit cards, some may even choose separate checking accounts. For whatever ever reason, be it to keep some economic autonomy or to use such accounts in events of gift-giving for example, the couple wants to maintain that bit of separateness in their marriage.

What happens though when these accounts are kept hidden? Recent studies have shown that over forty percent of adults say that indeed they have a hidden financial account that their spouse is unaware of. Others have reported that they also hide spending habits from their partner.

But what is this type of pattern doing to your marriage; what does it to you? Surprisingly, having secret accounts can not only hurt the relationship, but it can also be detrimental to your mental health. Stress can lead to so many health problems down the road…

The Issue of Trust

Trust is at the core of any relationship; without it, the relationship starts to crumble until eventually there's little left holding it together. When one partner deliberately conceals finances, this most definitely impacts the trust factor in the marriage. And then particularly, when finally exposed, that lie becomes a central point of contention between the two people involved.

Most therapists will argue the same thing: once that trust is violated, once that fabric of honesty goes away, it can be almost impossible to repair it. Even though it is about money and not, for instance, an affair, there is still the element of deceit and with deceit comes an unwillingness on one spouse's part to let themselves get hurt like that again. This then inevitably leads to feelings of betrayal, anger, potentially depression.

Some experts would say that fights over money are more intense than some other kinds of fights, as finances center on major life events such as home buying, retirement, and college to name but a few. Fights centering on these types of issues tend to last longer as well. Plus, there's the realization that someone you truly loved has lied—this is one of the most painful things to intuit.

Long-Term Stress and Secrets

The stress factor is also quite heavy on the side of the person who is hiding accounts or secretly spending. There's that double life syndrome in which you're always questioning and wondering whether or not the other person will find out. Will they discover your credit card statement? Will she see all of the debt you've accumulated? These questions boil in one's mind until stress levels are through the roof.

Such stress can and will impact your health, make no mistake about it. Health effects can manifest themselves by a multitude of symptoms to include; sleeplessness, negative immune system responses, digestive problems, even issues with your reproductive system. Stress can also have a more major impact and contribute to things such as heart disease and diabetes.

Financial Anxiety Can Be Worse Than Other Types of Anxiety

Another serious issue that can afflict those who are dealing with financial secrets that snowball into stress is anxiety. Anxiety disorders do affect people who struggle with debt quite frequently. Depression is a common one, but there are others as well. The problem with financial secrets is that the fester and they only worsen with time until the anxiety symptoms become difficult to cope with. And these problems tend to persist even after the secret's been revealed.

Fights regarding finances are becoming more and more prevalent especially with the aging Baby Boomers. Concerns about retirement and living on a fixed income can be a tremendous source of stress. However, it's not just older generations who contend with this. A recent study did find that over twenty-five percent of millennials also have at one time or another felt physically ill as a result of problems involving their finances. And once you factor deceit and secrecy into the mix, it's easy to see how such concerns can be exacerbated.

The Snowballing Lies

Researchers have discovered that those likely to tell small lies are also likely to let such lies snowball into larger ones. So it's not simply a hidden receipt; it becomes more. Until you're trying to cover up a mountain of debt and keep this problem from your spouse.

Every couple is different and thus every couple will approach their financial issues differently; however, most experts agree that as difficult as it may be, honesty when it comes to finances, needs to be front and center. There's no way to work through significant economic issues if you don't address them candidly and openly.

If you are hiding such secrets from your partner, it's okay to admit that you need help, it's encouraged. Otherwise, those lies will begin to snowball, the marriage will suffer and your emotional stability will be at stake. Working together, you can devise a strategy for getting out of your financial situation. You can find ways to repair and even strengthen the relationship and you will ease your mental anguish and the burden of the secret you've been carrying.

If your business is in need of funding, First Union Lending can help. We offer products from lines of credit to short term loans. Give us a call or fill out an online application and we can go over your options.

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