Trust and openness are essential to any healthy relationship. That applies to anything you might have to deal with as a couple, including money. 

Whilst we’re all familiar with the concept of infidelity, financial infidelity is something you may not consider when it comes to your relationship. Financial infidelity can range from excessive spending to accumulating large amounts of debt you weren’t aware of. The effects of this secrecy and carelessness can be incredibly damaging, leaving you in a difficult financial position, destroying trust and even leading to the eventual breakdown of a relationship. 

Here we’re looking at five ways financial infidelity can present itself.

Hidden debts

Whether past or present, debts and loans can put a lot of strain on your family, especially if you’re unaware of them, they might come as an unwelcome surprise should you try to apply for a mortgage or even pay for essentials such as rent and bills. 

You also might not have discovered your partner’s financial recklessness until going through a divorce. At that point, it’s essential to seek expert advice to try and minimise the impact of their debts and overspending on you. 

Inexplicable costs

Is money disappearing from your shared account, and you’re unsure why? You might find your partner withdrawing large sums of money, but be unsure where exactly the cash is going. 

Although it’s normal to have personal expenses, unexplained withdrawals and transactions when sharing a life together could signal a cause for concern.   

Secret accounts 

Whilst it’s important to maintain independence in a relationship, both partners need to be aware of family finances to budget effectively, keep track of spending and meet the family’s needs. 

If your partner has opened bank accounts or signed up for credit cards that you aren’t aware of, this could lead to them running up significant debts that you’ve got no idea about until it’s too late. 

A change in behaviour

A lack of communication and secrecy are red flags that point to something being amiss. A partner committing financial infidelity might try to hide their phone or laptop from you or take complete control of the family finances to ensure you don’t realise what’s happening. 

This secretive behaviour can be incredibly worrying if it progresses over time and may involve gaslighting or manipulation. 


You might have tried to discuss the finances with your partner but find they either refuse to discuss the subject or immediately change topics. You might also find that you’re spending less time together and that they’re finding any excuse to avoid you. 

This can be upsetting, but remember that you have every right to know what your joint finances look like. If your partner refuses to disclose their spending habits, it could be time to seek relationship counselling. Your partner could also explore independent coaching to help them address their relationship with money and try to make changes to the relationship. 

If you’re dealing with financial infidelity and contemplating a separation or divorce, it’s always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Our dedicated team is here to support you. 

At Harrogate Family Law, we’re here to guide you towards a happier future with your best interests in mind. Contact us today to see how we can help you.