How Do You Apologize for Financial Infidelity?

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Financial infidelity is a real thing. And just like other kinds of infidelity, it can ruin a marriage. But if you were the one that did it, how do you apologize for financial infidelity?

Here’s what I think:

Apologize for financial infidelity by admitting it to your spouse as quickly as possible. It is always better to admit to it first rather than be caught. Don’t make excuses or justify the behavior but do ask for your spouse’s help and forgiveness.

Financial infidelity is much more than just secretly hiding and spending money.

It ruins trust and robs the relationship of financial stability. Addressing it and repairing the damage starts with honesty.

But there’s a lot more to coming back from financial infidelity.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into financial infidelity. We’ll talk about why it happens. Most importantly, we’ll discuss how to fix your marriage after financial infidelity.

It is important to understand why you did it in the first place. It’s also important to take full responsibility for your actions.

You CAN recover from your financial infidelity before it completely derails your marriage and your finances.

I’ve been in your shoes. You want to move beyond their feeling of betrayal. And you desperately want your marriage to have trust, mutual acceptance, and to feel like you are both on the same team.

And let’s face it. Sometimes good people do bad things.

Luckily, all hope is NOT lost, and there is something you can do, even if your spouse doesn’t seem willing to forgive your actions.

The website Marriage Helper has been helping tens of thousands of marriages for more than 2 decades. Their in-person 3-day event is legendary and has an unbelievable 77% success rate at saving marriages on the brink of divorce.

But you don’t have to pay for that workshop- especially if your spouse isn’t even likely to be willing to attend.

CLICK HERE to book a virtual session with one of their marriage coaches. You can meet just you or with your wife, and get your finances and marriage back on track!

You literally have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.

How do you forgive your spouse for financial infidelity?

The first step is to talk about it. Talk about why it happened, with both spouses being willing to accept any responsibility they have, and figure out the total financial costs. Then, figure out how to resolve it. A budget is a good first step.

It can be hard to forgive any kind of infidelity.

After all, this is a total breach of trust. But there’s also a lot of emotions involved, and egos too. If your spouse comes to you honestly and has openly admitted the financial infidelity, feel your feelings.

Express your anger and disappointment.

But don’t belittle them as a person or criticize them or talk down to them. Chances are they already feel bad enough. And unless you are perfect (and let’s be honest), you’ve likely done things to damage the marriage also.

So, resist the urge to play some sort of moral high card, even if you’ve never done anything that bad yourself. But they should be willing to turn things around with honesty and accountability.

Here are the stages to go through:

  1. Express your feelings in a way that doesn’t belittle them – It’s crucial you let go of the anger and pain. Otherwise, it will come out later in inappropriate ways.
  2. Ask them questions about why they did what they did.
  3. Ask them if there was anything you did that made them feel they had to go behind your back (and really listen).
  4. Talk about a solution to clean up any debt created by their financial infidelity.
  5. Then put a system in place to monitor your finances moving forward.
  6. Your spouse needs to understand that there will be a probationary period of extra monitoring and communication on your part while they earn your trust back.

But as I said above, a budget is a great place to start if you don’t have one already.

Read this recent article to learn how to talk to your partner about a budget. And more importantly, learn how to get them to stick to the budget.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is financial infidelity a crime?

No, financial infidelity is not a crime unless there was fraud involved. But being secretive about spending money, hiding money, or having secret accounts can lead to a divorce.

Money, and fights about money, are one of the top three reasons for divorce. Infidelity is also one of the top reasons for divorce. (source)

Combine the two, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

While financial infidelity is not a crime, it can be very damaging to your marriage. It is a breach of trust, and it can rock a marriage to its core. Without trust, there is no reason to continue any relationship.

And if you are lying to your spouse about money, what else are you lying about? This question is going to be in the back of your spouse’s mind every time they think about your indiscretion.

Money is a huge stressor in a relationship because it touches every part of your life.

Couples save money for large joint purchases, like buying a piece of property or even retirement. They also save for unexpected events like unforeseen medical bills.

If one person in the relationship is dishonest about finances, they are jeopardizing all of their shared goals and putting the entire future at risk.

Can a marriage survive repeated financial infidelity?

Financial infidelity, just like sexual or emotional infidelity, can be overcome, and a marriage can survive and even thrive. It takes open and honest communication, a checks and balances system, and the spouse who committed the infidelity must be willing to work hard to rebuild the trust.

Financial infidelity in marriage can be devastating.

It completely undermines any trust between you and your partner. Surviving it once is hard enough. It can be very difficult to overcome multiple times.

If you have developed a pattern of infidelity, and your partner has forgiven you once, it can be very difficult to overcome.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. 

It’s going to take a lot of extra work on your part. You need to get to the bottom of why you keep lying to your partner.

Do you just feel insecure about money? Do you feel like you’re being judged every time you make a purchase? Did your parents set an example and do this to one another?

There is an underlying cause to your lying. You feeling insecure or judged are not excuses to commit financial infidelity. But it’s important for you to actually understand your problems and move forward.

Individual counseling or therapy can help you work through those issues. Marriage counseling can help you and your partner move forward.

Depending on how severe your financial infidelity has been, you may need to agree to be financially restrained.

If you are making some impulse purchases, and it’s just making a dent in your savings account, then that would be a little drastic.

If you’re getting your family into debt and making it difficult to pay your bills and feed your kids, then this level of dishonesty warrants a drastic move.

When you present your case to your partner, be prepared to make suggestions to limit your spending, so they don’t have to.

Possible solutions to consider

If you are at the stage where it’s hard to provide for your family, then consider limiting spending to prepaid credit or debit cards.

Stop overdraft fees on your checking account. If you opt-out of your bank’s overdraft protection program, your transactions will be denied if the funds are not available.

This will not only stop you from spending money that is not there and will ensure that you don’t incur overdraft fees.

Finally, encourage your partner to open a separate savings account. One that you don’t have access to. This way, they can put away money to ensure that the household bills are covered, at a minimum.

Just be sure to consistently communicate with each other about how much money is going into the account. Otherwise, that could also turn into a source of distrust.

How do you stop being tempted to commit financial infidelity?

One way is to share bank accounts. If a spouse is seeing everything the other is spending, they may be less likely to make that impulse buy. Alternately, cut up credit cards and get a weekly cash spending allowance.

It is very important to be completely transparent with your spouse.

So, you’ve got a budget in place and an action plan. You’ve talked it out with your spouse, and you are in a better place.

But sometimes, you still feel the need to make secret purchases. Remember, actions speak louder than words.

Before you make impulse buys, talk to your spouse about it. Or find something productive to do. You can do workouts or clean something that hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Find some kind of distraction the minute you feel yourself wanting to make that discretionary purchase.

Also, combine bank accounts.

If you are sharing a bank account and the app, your partner will know every time you make a purchase. If you know that your spouse could be watching you spend the money, you may be less inclined to make the purchase.

It shows complete transparency and helps rebuild trust.

But really, rebuilding trust isn’t the only reason to share a bank account with your partner. 75% of couples in the US share at least one bank account.

The younger the couple, the less likely they are to share bank accounts.

They also have a much higher divorce rate than couples over 50. So, this indicates that couples who share a bank account are less likely to get divorced. To read more about why couples should share a bank account, read this recent article.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do you fix a marriage after financial infidelity?

1. Confess and take responsibility

The first step in rebuilding your relationship and regaining trust is to take full accountability for your actions.

No excuses. No justification. Take 100% true accountability.

Give your partner all of the information they will need. Ensure they have access to all financial records, including secret credit cards, bank accounts, and loans.

This first step is going to be painful for both of you. But it is necessary to begin repairing your relationship and the financial damage that has been done.

2. Evaluate your goals

You both have money goals. They won’t always align. Your partner’s goal may be to retire early, while yours may be to take an extended vacation every couple of years.

This is a good time to talk about your goals and discuss how your money should be spent.

Figure out how to achieve each of your goals. Looking towards the future will reassure your partner that you are serious about wanting to repair the marriage.

3. Establish new routines

Obviously, things cannot keep going the way they have been. Think of this moment as a new season for your marriage—a chance to start with a clean slate.

Anything can become a habit within just a couple of weeks.

It just takes willpower, commitment, and drive. Initially, when trying anything new, it won’t feel comfortable or right. Just power through and “fake it ‘till you make it”.

A lot of people hate that expression.

But really, it just describes how anything new (like budgeting or financial accountability) feels uncomfortable until we get used to it.

Then it becomes second nature.

Change up how you’ve been handling money by downloading a budgeting app. That way, you can both be involved with the finances. Many budgeting apps can also show you how much you are saving. You can actually see how close you are to achieving your savings goal.

There are so many budgeting apps; it can be hard to know which one to choose. 

So, I did the hard part for you and did some research to find the best budgeting apps for couples. Just check out this recent article to learn more.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

4. Communicate

It’s so important to communicate with one another during this trying time.

You must work together to develop and implement a recovery plan. A recovery plan will allow both of you to work to take responsibility for the family’s financial well-being.

It will also hold you both accountable to one another. Talk to your partner about how you plan to repay the debt and prevent future slip-ups.

Do expect your spouse (if you committed financial infidelity) to be mad.

Allow them to vent. But don’t allow them to verbally abuse you. There is a difference between criticizing you as a person and being disappointed in your actions.

Fix Your Marriage

5. Seek professional help

Seek help from a financial advisor and/or marriage counselor if the financial damage is bad enough.

Even if it’s able to be overcome, seek out the help of a marriage counselor. If you can find one with experience in financial matters, even better.

If you broke your arm, you would see a doctor. So don’t hold back when it comes to hiring someone to fix your marriage.

6. Celebrate successes

With all of the heartache, it can be easy to forget, but it’s important to celebrate the small things together.

When you set your budget, be sure to include money for entertainment. Once you’ve stuck to it for a month or two, go on a date or go to the big game together that weekend.

Spending quality time together can also help strengthen the relationship.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to fixing your marriage after financial infidelity is to take complete responsibility. Be transparent about the damage and be ready with a game plan to fix it.

Get on a budget and stick to it. Anytime you feel like you are going to fall off the wagon, get over your pride, and talk to your spouse about it.

You CAN recover from your financial infidelity before it completely derails your marriage and your finances.

I’ve been in your shoes. You want to move beyond their feeling of betrayal. And you desperately want your marriage to have trust, mutual acceptance, and to feel like you are both on the same team.

And let’s face it. Sometimes good people do bad things.

Luckily, all hope is NOT lost, and there is something you can do, even if your spouse doesn’t seem willing to forgive your actions.

The website Marriage Helper has been helping tens of thousands of marriages for more than 2 decades. Their in-person 3-day event is legendary and has an unbelievable 77% success rate at saving marriages on the brink of divorce.

But you don’t have to pay for that workshop- especially if your spouse isn’t even likely to be willing to attend.

CLICK HERE to book a virtual session with one of their marriage coaches. You can meet just you or with your wife, and get your finances and marriage back on track!

You literally have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain.


While I have years of successful financial & budgeting experience and run several million-dollar businesses and handled the accounting, P&L and been responsible for the financial assets of them, I am not an accountant or CPA. Like all my posts, my posts are opinions based on experience, observations, research, and mistakes. While I believe all my personal finance posts to be thorough, accurate, and well-researched, if you need financial advice, you should seek out a qualified professional in your area.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

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