It’s that feeling in your gut, that intuition that something isn’t quite right.

Things just don’t add up financially. Infidelity in a relationship isn’t necessarily sexual … it can be financial as well and equally devastating. We know of one couple where the wife had that intuition something was awry, did nothing about it and was confronted by the Sheriff evicting her from the family home.

He’d bet everything they had on a dodgy investment which went bad and they lost everything.

Financial infidelity comes in many guises. Hiding a new clothing purchase (“this old thing”), having a small secret TAB account to have the occasional punt or splurging on a good night out with friends is one level of financial infidelity.

But then there’s operating secret credit cards, taking out loans to make risky investments and hiding sources of income.

This is a much more serious and damaging level of financial infidelity. Yes, couples need their own financial space. It allows you to breathe and spoil yourself with little pick-me-ups which are so important to keeping life in perspective.

Keeping you financial sanity with little indulgences keeps you motivated and on top of things.

But there is a limit. When financial infidelity gets to a stage where large amounts of money are involved, either earned or spent, without a partners knowledge then that “cheating” becomes a serious breach of trust.

So what are the warning signs that you have a serious problem with your partner?

Your money questions are met with evasive or defensive responses which leave you none the wiser. Responses like “no need to worry, don’t you trust me” or “I’ll check on it but it’s under control”. Even more worrying is an angry response out of proportion with the question.

Your partner refuses to go through your finances. Even if you explain it’s for your peace of mind, you’re not included in managing finances.

Financial statements start to disappear. You can’t find recent credit card or bank statements or investment files. Even worse if your partner won’t produce them or denies anything to do with them.

There are unexpected cash withdrawals or transfers from accounts.

Your partner asks you to sign documents without explanation or a chance to review.

Strange phone calls or letters and emails demanding payment that you know nothing about.

You discover a secret account or credit card you never knew existed and you’re partner doesn’t explain it properly.

If a couple of these red flags start to appear together then you must confront the situation immediately. Often the guilty partner will be relieved to unburden their secret which could have been tearing them apart.

To sort the mess out;

Agree on financial goals and a budget.

Discuss your money styles. If you have different styles of spending, consider creating separate accounts.

Forgive and forget. Within reason. But your partner should make some financial sacrifices to get the family budget on track.