Financial infidelity in a marriage is very common and is often carried out during the course of an affair. 

financial infidelity in a marriage

This is the latest installment of our ‘You Decide’ series where you will provide your opinion on a semi-fictional affair scenario.

This time we’re considering an issue that is quite common – financial infidelity in a marriage – and whether or not a person who knows about it should spill the beans.

Please read on and share your thoughts in the comment section on how you would help this person.

Meet Victor and Veronica

Veronica and Victor have been married for 20 years and they have two children. Veronica and Victor met each other in their early 30’s and had children in their late 30’s. Veronica had been a high-powered executive for a global financial firm and created diversified stock portfolios for 401k plans. She had worked hard to get where she was and had invested most of her earnings by the time she met Victor.

Veronica brought wealth into the marriage and Victor brought in an enormous amount of student debt. Veronica continued to work after their first child was born and continued her career in finance. Veronica was working on special projects for a Board of Directors for a famous financial firm when she became pregnant with their second child. Veronica was an asset to the company and her company offered to hold her job for a year, since she wanted to take a year off to raise her family.

The Financial Consequences of Infidelity

By this time, Veronica’s husband was able to support the family due to Veronica’s investments during the marriage. They could live on one income. Veronica declined this generous job offer and became a full-time mom and continued to manage the family’s investment portfolio. It grew astronomically under her guidance.

During their 18th year of marriage, Victor decided that he wanted to manage all the investment funds. Veronica had made the family millions of dollars, ten years before the financial benchmarks she had set.

That’s when Victor stopped allowing Veronica to manage the investment portfolio. Victor explained that he had been reading finance articles and that he could be just as shrewd as an investor as Veronica. Veronica resisted, but Victor was adamant about his decision and Veronica backed down in order to keep the peace in their marriage.

financial infidelity

Victor Commits Financial Infidelity In a Marriage

One day, Victor started opening separate investment accounts in his name and having money deposited into them before his paycheck was deposited in the bank. Veronica was completely unaware of what Victor was doing because the number one rule Victor and Veronica had in their marriage was 100% financial transparency. They always had the understanding that all decisions were made as a team.

Even when Veronica was the head of the family finances, she kept a detailed spreadsheet and spoke to Victor about what she was planning to invest in and why. If Victor did not agree, then Veronica respected his wishes and chose a different set of investments that Victor approved. Veronica also kept the finance spreadsheet in a shared folder, so that Victor could view it at all times.

Veronica and Victor shared bank accounts, credit cards, and did not make financial decisions without the other. This was how their marriage had always been until Victor decided to take the investment portfolio away from Veronica because Victor wanted to manage it.

One day, Victor went to work and bragged very loudly about his financial genius, bragged about the numbers in his investment accounts, told everyone he had grown the wealth and then mentioned he was now opening accounts in his name only.

What Were You Thinking? Did You Think of Me?

Enter Martha

All of the people at work overheard the story and all of them knew Veronica very well. A woman named Martha, who had tremendous respect for Veronica and often had coffee with Veronica, was extremely distressed to hear Victor bragging so callously about diverting money in a way that Veronica would have a difficult time finding. Since Veronica trusted Victor, Martha knew such an act would never have occurred to Veronica. Veronica would have never expected Victor was capable of such behavior.

Martha had an internal battle as to whether or not to find a way to alert Veronica that life was not the way it appeared to be. This was so troubling for Martha to have this information. Martha felt very guilty and torn; it often kept her up at night.

Martha knew Veronica had always been a good and loyal wife and that Veronica gave up a high-powered career to raise children. It troubled Martha that this was happening to Veronica. She wanted to warn Veronica, but she was in between a rock in a hard place since she worked with Victor and had coffee with Veronica, who never suspected anything.

If you were in Martha’s shoes, what would you do?

Most of all, if you were Veronica, would you want someone to tell you?

Or, if you were Veronica, would you prefer that people intentionally withheld information about your spouse diverting money?

You decide!

**Also, if you’ve ever been the victim of financial infidelity (it is often an element that occurs as part of an affair) then please share your experiences.

    5 replies to "Financial Infidelity in a Marriage: To Spill the Beans or Not? – You Decide"

    • Shifting Impressions

      In my option Martha should absolutely let Veronica know what she “heard”. She doesn’t have to accuse Victor of anything. Giving Veronica the heads up allows her to investigate or not…..that would be her choice.

      The “not allowing” part is What raises a major red flag. I would think if one partner has been extremely successful managing the investments etc. it would be the cause of some suspicion for the other partner to “not allow” them to continue. She backed down to keep the peace…..that probably does not sit well with her unless that is a common pattern in the marriage.

      • Sarah P.

        Hi Shifting,
        Thanks for the comment. I actually agree with your point of view. And where there is financial infidelity, other types of infidelity could be present.

        Has anyone out there experienced financial infidelity in addition to physical or emotional infidelity?

        Sarah

    • Seenthelight

      If it were me I would like to know and be able to make my own determination of what to do. I réalisé that Victor will lie about it and like other infidelities, get indignant about it, but I would also believe there is more as to why he is doing this. More things he’s doing that are not good for his marriage.

    • leaningonhope

      Oh my gosh yes! This is my financial scenario! Not with millions though. But with MANY thousands!
      I came into this marriage (blended family) with wealth; he came with a load of debt, including student loan debt. After we married I paid it all off and we lived debt free/care free.
      In my situation, it was more financial exploitation and not related to his affair. It took me a few years to admit to myself that what I was seeing/experiencing was financial abuse. I tried to tell myself that I was selfless or generous or being a good wife, etc. But as the money slowly disappeared and debt came back into our marriage, and there wasn’t any apparent intention of replenishing what was spent, nor any forward thinking (aka plans for retirement), I started speaking up and putting away (in my own name) what remained.
      We did separate (fall 2018), and I drew up a legal separation document which he agreed to sign and have made legal. So going forward he has no claim on my assets. Nor I his. (He doesn’t have any.) And I am not responsible for any debt he creates.
      We are still working on our marriage. Back together since the covid shutdown (end of March). We had been in counseling but lost our health insurance. So I’m seeing a backsliding into old patterns and dynamics. I give voice to them, but it doesn’t change anything. I have boundaries. He resents them. I’m not sure what to do going forward. We still have this legally binding separation agreement. So we are separated yet back together, living under the same roof.
      I want my husband to treat me like we are on the same team. Shoulder to shoulder. You know? That I have his best in mind. That I am investing in us. That my allegiance is with him. That I am loyal and trustworthy. That I have empathy for him and want to come alongside as his friend.
      But I don’t get these things in return. I feel like I have a roommate. An intimate relationship (like marriage) isn’t a series of checklists. Do this. Check. Don’t do that. Check. I don’t want to be appeased (he admits this to me). I want to have shared values and goals or plans in common. I want to know thy my husband is for ME. FOR me.
      I’m realizing that what is want is more of a wish and not a hope (to quote Dr Henry Cloud or Leslie Vernick).

    • leaningonhope

      And, in response to the questions above about Martha and Veronica, that is a very difficult position to be in.
      With Martha’s, knowing that you have information that could drastically change someone’s life, that creates a lot of inner turmoil.
      I am potentially in that situation myself. With a friend and her husband. And I am just not quite sure what to do about it. What I observe may or may not necessarily indicate indiscretions. I don’t want my observations to lead to the wrong conclusions. What I am involved in isn’t as black-and-white as the scenario in the article.
      Being in Veronica’s position, I would want to know. In her case, ignorance is NOT bliss. What she doesn’t know CAN hurt her.

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