Discovering a spouse has been financially cheating in a marriage can cause numerous ill feelings including anger, guilt, fear, betrayal, embarrassment and helplessness.
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 problem worse.
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 finances together.
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.