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Financial Infidelity - A Different Type of Betrayal

Woman upset counting money
Woman experiencing financial infidelity

On Episode 8 (Season 3) of She’s Got Issues, Jill sits down with Lisa Brateman, LCSW expert psychotherapist and relationship specialist to discuss her new workbook “The Courage to Walk Away: Move On after Infidelity by Mourning What You Lost, Identifying Your Relationship Needs, and Empowering Yourself for the Future.”

Here’s what she had to say:


Q: What are the three types of infidelity discussed in your book?


A: The book discusses three types of infidelity: sexual infidelity, emotional infidelity, and financial infidelity. Sexual infidelity involves physically cheating with someone else, emotional infidelity entails forming a deep emotional connection with someone other than a partner, and financial infidelity refers to secretive financial behaviors such as hiding money, maintaining private accounts, or lying about financial matters.


Q: How does financial infidelity affect trust in a relationship?


A: Financial infidelity can severely damage trust in a relationship. When one partner engages in secretive financial behaviors, such as hiding money or lying about spending habits, it undermines the trust that forms the foundation of a healthy relationship. Regardless of whether the infidelity is sexual, emotional, or financial, the betrayal of trust is a common theme, making it challenging to rebuild trust in the aftermath.


Q: How can partners detect signs of financial infidelity in a relationship?


A: Partners may detect signs of financial infidelity through various means, such as discovering unfamiliar credit card charges, noticing discrepancies in financial records, or receiving unexpected notices about financial matters. Changes in spending habits, secrecy surrounding finances, or sudden shifts in financial decisions may also raise suspicions. Open communication and awareness of financial matters are crucial in identifying and addressing signs of financial infidelity in a relationship.


Q: What impact did COVID-19 have on infidelity rates?


A: COVID-19 had varying effects on infidelity rates. During the initial stages of the pandemic when people were confined to their homes, sexual infidelity reportedly decreased, but other forms of infidelity, such as emotional infidelity, may have increased due to heightened emotional connections formed during times of isolation. Additionally, financial infidelity could have surged as individuals coped with financial stressors by overspending or engaging in secretive financial behaviors.


Q: How can couples navigate reconciliation after experiencing betrayal?


A: Rebuilding trust after experiencing betrayal requires time, effort, and open communication from both partners. Couples must establish clear guidelines for rebuilding trust and address the underlying issues that led to the betrayal. This process often involves transparency, accountability, and a willingness to address uncomfortable truths. Seeking therapy or counseling can provide valuable support and guidance as couples work towards reconciliation and healing.


Q: What advice can you offer for individuals suspecting infidelity in their relationship?


A: Individuals should trust their instincts and address suspicions of infidelity with open communication. Rather than ignoring red flags or assuming they're imagining things, individuals should ask their partners directly about any concerns. Engaging in honest conversations early on can prevent misunderstandings from escalating and provide an opportunity to address issues before they become more significant challenges in the relationship.


Q: How can individuals prepare for independence within a relationship before considering separation?


A: Individuals contemplating separation should take steps to prepare for independence within the relationship, especially if immediate separation isn't feasible. This may involve establishing clear boundaries, discussing future living arrangements, and openly communicating about financial matters. Seeking support from therapists or counselors can also help individuals navigate the emotional complexities of preparing for independence while still in the relationship.


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