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Are You Guilty Of Financial Infidelity?

May 29, 2012, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

Are You Guilty Of Financial Infidelity?

You've heard it before.  Disputes over money and how to spend it are one of the hot button issues that can lead to divorce. 

Hiding a debt or spending habit is called financial infidelity and it can break up a marriage as surely as the other kind of cheating.  The issue affects three out of ten marriages. 

Kathryn Swanson owns the clothing boutique Attitudes by Designers in the Park Ridge Galleria.  She's been married for 30 years and understands the conflict money can cause in a marriage. 

"I think it's a huge issue. I think it comes up in every marriage and it's a huge issue," Swanson said.

She also knows many of her customers aren't exactly "honest" with their husbands when it comes to their purchases from her store. 

"I work with so many women and so many people and everybody has a little something they do hide at sometime, men included," Swanson said.

"Whether it's the little blouse you didn't need to get, but it was on the sale rack for $20, but I know my husband doesn't want me to purchase, our budget is limited and so I hide that," marriage and family therapist Ann Marie Rossing said. 

Rossing says the size of the deception doesn't really matter and it can come in all forms from a secret bank account to hiding cash.

"Women are a little more notorious for hiding cash from checking account. They'll go to grocery store overwrite the check for $15 or $20 and squirrel that away. It doesn't sound like much, but that's deception," Rossing said.

But the bigger the deception, the harder it can be for couples to overcome.

"I'm not telling you enough about my background and we get married and find out I've had this affair with gambling and I'm bringing $40-50,000 debt into our relationship. That's a huge betrayal. How do you ever trust someone again?" Rossing said. 

Rossing says it can be done, but not without honesty and commitment to sticking to a budget together.

"The offending partner needs to sit down and put all the cards on the table.  'This is what I owe in credit cards, and these are all my debts.'  Getting all the truth out there, as much hard information as you can in order to clear the table so everything is known," Rossing said.

Rossing says keeping a secret in the marriage is actually harder on the person who is trying to hide something.  Find more information on dealing with financial infidelity online.

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