Two cheque books, a couple of credit cards and investment schemes she had no clues about, found stacked between her husband’s office files — it was a discovery that left Ananya Guha (name changed) puzzled and hurt. The 26-year-old research analyst failed to figure out what made him conceal his monetary assets from her. "I had been transparent about everything in our two year old marriage. Although I chose not to confront him, it shattered my trust," says Guha. ‘A scary trend’, as experts call it, financial infidelity is becoming a growing cause of discord between couples. "There is an increasing tendency among couples to hide money from each other. Financial cheating is symbolic of insecurity, paranoia and the fear that the relationship may cease to exist one day," says psychiatrist Dr Deepak Raheja.
Financial cheating also generates suspicions. "The wife may think the money goes to a girlfriend who may not even exist. Being transparent about money on the other hand, conveys that your partner is important for you and everything else comes lower down," says psychiatrist Dr Avdesh Sharma. But there may be cases where the spouse has no choice but to save money secretively. "A man who spends on his ageing parents without his wife’s knowledge or a spendthrift’s wife who’s worried about the children’s education hardly has an option. Don’t put such issues under the carpet but discuss it out with your partner," advises the psychiatrist.
Working towards financial intimacy:
Communicate clearly how you want to spend the money. “Once two people come together, ‘my money’ becomes ‘family money’, but a couple can mutually decide what part of their money can be allocated to their exclusive needs,” says Dr Sharma.
“Work out a budget together. Respect each other’s concern and don’t let the trust wither way by maintaining transparency,” says Dr Raheja.