One of the most devastating things you can deal with in a marriage is infidelity. It can be difficult to overcome and may single the end of your relationship. Though it is not quite as serious financial infidelity can cause similar issues in regards to trust. Not only do you have to work through this aspect of the relationship, you usually have to work to get out of a financial mess that happened as a result of the financial infidelity hiding purchases from your spouse is one form of financial infidelity.
The first step is to begin with a meeting where the person who has been hiding financial transactions comes completely clean. Both people in the relationship should be completely honest about all of their financial mistakes in the past, so that you know what you are working with and can begin to truly repair the damage done. This means bringing out every credit card, every loan you have and any other financial pieces of information you may have hidden in the past.
Next both parties need to commit to work through this together. The person who was not aware of the situation may need time to adjust and wrap her head around the problem. This problem will not be fixed over night and the person who hid things should not expect his spouse to be able to adjust quickly and be ready and eager to fix the problem. If the problem is serious enough the couple should consider seeing a marriage counselor to begin rebuilding the relationship or to determine if it is best to end the relationship now.
The reasons for the financial infidelity should be looked at and addressed. For example if one spouse is a compulsive shopper, she should join a group that will help her work through the addiction. Additionally, that spouse needs to be willing to change daily patterns so that shopping does not continue to be a problem. If one spouse has a gambling problem, that spouse should join a group that can help him address the gambling addiction and create a new pattern of behavior that will help him stop gambling completely. The commitment of the spouse who has made mistakes to this part of the process can help the relationship heal and give the partner a chance to forgive and recommit to the relationship.
The next step is putting together a new budget and a plan to clear up the debt. This needs to be done as a team. Access to all of the accounts need to be given to both spouses so that each spouse can check on balances and make payments on the debt. Start by creating a debt payment plan for the debts. The budget may need to be tightened up so that there is extra money to put towards the debt. Additionally you may need to bring in extra income to clear up the debts. This may require selling items, or getting a part-time job in addition to your regular job. The more money you can find to throw at the debts the more quickly they will be cleared up. In order for this to work both people need to work together on this, if one is reluctant to work on the finances you may need to address the underlying causes of not working together financially.
Regular meetings about the budget and financial situation are essential to get the relationship and finances back on track. These meetings need to be calm. It does not help the situation to continue to bring up and dwell on past mistakes. The meetings should cover the money spent since the last meeting on all accounts. It should look at what categories in the budget have reached the spending limit, and it should review the balance in all of the accounts. At first you may need to meet each day, and then once a week.
This is a process and it will take time to repair the relationship to where it was before this happened. Every time there is another indiscretion, the process begins again. If the behavior does not change permanently the marriage may eventually end. Some spouses choose to keep separate finances, but this may detrimental to the marriage. There are course designed to help couples learn to handle finances.
Each person is going to be dealing with different emotions throughout the entire process. A counselor can help you work through these emotions. If the problem continues to a happen a separation and time away from the relationship may make it easier for each person to make the commitment to the relationship. If one party is unwilling or unable to make the changes necessary to change past behaviors or forgive the other person, it is okay to end the relationship. However, it is best to not make the decision lightly. You will need to carefully work to handle your finances during the divorce, especially when you cannot trust the other person in your relationship.