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Dealing with financial infidelity

Relationship expert Jo Lamble answers many prickly questions in her book, Answers to Everyday Questions about Relationships. This week she has advice on how John can get past his wife’s financial infidelity.

Q. John
I have just found out my wife has spent most of our savings and I am devastated. I love her dearly but can’t believe she has been so deceitful. Aside from the financial ruin we are now facing, how do I move forward with our relationship? I don’t think I can afford to leave.

A. Financial infidelity has devastating effects on a relationship. The betrayal you must feel would be on par with that felt by people whose partners have had an affair. Is it possible that your wife has a gambling problem? Or perhaps she has an ‘addiction’ to shopping.

Hopefully she is getting help for whatever led her to lose your savings. If she gains insight into her behaviour and learns some strategies, she is less likely to fall into the same trap. She will also be capable of showing you empathy once she understands her own actions.

Then, it is a matter of you both deciding whether or not you want to recommit to your marriage. When an affair is discovered, both people need to recommit or the relationship will end. The same can be said for financial infidelity. With insight, understanding, and a renewed commitment, it’s possible to move forward.

Editor’s note: You may wish to seek counselling both separately then together. Your GP will be able to assist you with a Mental Health Plan, which may entitle you to a number of free counselling sessions. You may also wish to seek financial counselling which can help you to create a plan of how you are going to get your finances back on track, as well as work out a solution to how you manage your finances in the future. You can find out more about financial counsellors by reading Resolving financial difficulty.


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