Financial infidelity finally gets airtime. Here’s why a former Housewife says it’s just as important as the other kind of cheating.

4 minute read

Last night on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the best moment wasn’t Kyle, Dorit, and Kathy whining about catching COVID. It wasn’t Crystal and Sutton yelling at each other for the second straight week. It wasn’t Sutton “violating” Crystal when she tried to return a coat and walked in on all that nakedness.

No, it happened at the end of the episode, when Erika lamented that people were calling her divorce a “sham” to hide money – and then Erika tells Crystal to keep her eyes on her own money.

That exchange is something a former Housewife has seen before. Vicki Gunvalson, the OG from the OC of Real Housewives of Orange County, says that short conversation raises a crucial issue – which affects not only rich housewives, but also the rest of us.

“I believe that everybody needs to know where the money goes,” Gunvalson says. “You can’t just sit back with your hands behind your head and go, ‘He’s handling it.’ Well, what if he isn’t? What if he’s having an affair? You need to know what’s going on.”

Watch Vicki and her pal Howard, a CPA and financial counselor, tell you how to tell if your spouse is having an illicit affair with your money…

Here’s a deeper dive into the tips Vicki and Howard were talking about in the video…

1. Refusing to talk about credit cards, debt and personal finance

A financial cheater stonewalls all talk of money because that could lead to questions that he or she doesn’t want to answer. For example, if he doesn’t want to discuss how much credit card debt he has or she refuses to disclose her total student loan debt, those amounts are probably beyond your financial comfort zone.

Other topics financial philanderers hate to talk about include bank accounts, credit scores, shopping habits and saving money as a couple for a large purchase.

2. Guarding the mailbox

Does your girlfriend leap on the mail like a Bulldog on a chicken bone when she hears letters drop in the slot? Does your husband race home for lunch every day so he can snag the mail first? If so, your beloved may not be simply trying to get an early jump on the grocery store circular.

When someone has secret credit cards and loans, the last thing that person wants is for you to stumble onto undisclosed credit card statements, past-due notices or concealed loans.

3. Refusing to divulge credit report information

Someone with good credit shouldn’t have a problem reviewing his or her credit report with a spouse when the couple plans to buy a home, have a baby or plan a financial future. On the other hand, a person with something to hide doesn’t want you to discover his or her credit secrets.

What kind of secrets? A credit report shows all credit and loan accounts and balances, including ones you may not even know existed. The report also reveals whether your partner has a deadbeat past that includes foreclosure, eviction, judgments, late payments, and unpaid bills.

4. Indulging in addictive behaviors

A person with addictions such as gambling, shopping, drugs or alcohol can blow through a lot of money fast. When that money is gone, an addict needs to find new money sources. That’s where financial infidelity steps in.

Watch for ATM withdrawals from joint checking or savings accounts and excessive online or other shopping purchases. If you can grab the mail before your main squeeze snags it, look for mystery credit card and other statements.

5. Rushing home to hide online shopping deliveries

Did you come home for lunch unexpectedly to find your wife unpacking a big Zappos box when she was supposed to be at work? Did you call in sick but had to get out of bed to sign for delivery of the newest electronic device that you and your husband agreed your budget couldn’t afford? If so, there’s insufficient fun looming on the relationship horizon.

Shopping addictions make people do crazy things like order stuff they don’t need and can’t afford and then rush home to hide the evidence, so their partner knows nothing about their secret purchases.

6. Hiding credit card statements

Did you happen onto your partner’s secret stash of credit card statements for cards you knew nothing about? That’s a big red flag of financial infidelity. Worse yet, those cards could all be charged to the maximum credit limit.

If you’re planning to buy a house together, get married or make a huge purchase as a couple, hidden debt can be a problem later, especially when it causes money to be tight.

Find out if you and your spouse are talking about money enough.

7. Taking out secret loans

There’s nothing worse than driving past a payday loan store and spying your boyfriend slinking out the door with check in hand. Oh, wait, there is one thing worse: The statement you find beneath your wife’s car seat for a secret $15,000 loan from a shady, high-interest lender.

If you find out about one secret loan, get ready to discover others. Financial cheaters love to take out loans to pay off all their other secret loans.

8. Buying new clothes, new car, new everything

If you’ve budgeted as a couple on a tight income but your husband or wife dresses like a magazine model, has all the latest electronic devices and dines out regularly, he or she could have a few maxed-out credit cards you know nothing about.

If your significant other lives a lavish lifestyle while you limp along on a cracked smartphone until it’s time for an upgrade, it may also be time to trade up in your relationship – to someone who knows how to be financially faithful.

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About the Author

Jilliana Ourth

Jilliana Ourth

Jilliana Ourth holds a communications degree from the University of Houston. Ourth is an experienced TV broadcast reporter who formerly reported in Idaho and Texas.

Published by Debt.com, LLC