Discovering a spouse has been financially cheating in a marriage can cause
numerous ill feelings including anger, guilt, fear, betrayal, embarrassment
Letting your spouse know how you feel about this betrayal is the first
step to improving the situation and preventing future cheating. Ignoring
it, hoping it will go away, or thinking it will all turn out well, will
not make the problem go away. In fact, ignoring it will only make the
Now is the time to take control of your marital financial situation.
Begin by having a serious talk with your spouse.
If you caused the financial problems, admit your error, apologize (be sincere!)
and ask for forgiveness. Stop lying about the family finances and promise
to be open and above board about them in the future. Keep your promise!
If your spouse caused your current poor financial situation, find out why.
Find out what can be done to rectify the situation, and if not determine
your options. Be realistic. If your financial situation is so dire that
you cannot see daylight, perhaps refinancing your debts is in order, or
even bankruptcy may be necessary. Either way, consult a financial or marital
counselor specializing in financial martial problems.
Now that the financial situation is out in the open, prevent any recurrences.
You and your spouse need to decide whether the non-cheating spouse should
take over the family finances. Maybe both spouses should handle the family
Do you need to have separate checking accounts? How about each partner
having a separate account and a joint account for community debts?
Have weekly discussions about the current family/marital finances and make
plans for future financial responsibilities.
Finally, have a discussion about how money makes you feel. Money invokes
different emotions in people. Do you equate money with security? Does
your spouse equate money with status and/or with power? By understanding
each other’s financial feelings, you can compromise on how to handle
the money you have.
One final note, if you and your spouse cannot see eye-to-eye on your finances,
or your spouse continues to financially cheat, perhaps it is time to separate
yourself from your spouse either financially or completely.