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Financial infidelity emerges as a major marital disruptor

Have you ever hidden a purchase from your spouse? Has your spouse ever done that to you? An occasional small expenditure probably isn't a cause for alarm but regular occurrences of this -- along with other acts of financial infidelity -- can lead to a breaking point in your marriage.

A new research study out of Indiana University is believed to be the first systematic look into financial infidelity and its effect on romantic relationships. Financial infidelity, researchers say, goes a bit beyond occasionally sneaking an extra expense into the budget that you know your spouse won't appreciate. It includes many different financial deceptions, like:

  • Investing in stocks, bond or other securities without telling your spouse
  • Stockpiling cryptocurrency in a secret account somewhere
  • Secretly keeping a separate checking or savings account
  • Concealing major debts, including loans and credit cards from your partner
  • Taking out loans or buying property without consulting your spouse

What are some of the signs of financial infidelity? Financial infidelity can be hard to spot thanks to today's online services and "paper-free" accounts -- but there are still usually signs. If your spouse is a shopaholic, for example, you may constantly find bags (empty or full) around the house even though your spouse insists that there have been no recent purchases. A spouse hiding money in secret accounts may be hiding a banking app on their phone. A spouse hiding secret investments may constantly be checking the stock market or cryptocurrency markets to see what's happening.

When you and your spouse have drastically different takes on financial responsibility, financial openness and your financial goals, that usually is the sign of greater incompatibility -- especially if one or both of you feel compelled to keep your financial activities secret from the other. These kinds of problems are often as detrimental to marriage as physical infidelity.

If you can no longer see a future with your spouse because you simply have vastly different ways of being or goals, it may be time for a divorce.

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