How financial fraud can destroy relationships

Vinod, a 38-year-old writer, learns that sometimes love is a luxury that comes at a high price. He came to this bitter conclusion after his friend cheated on him with money for years, while – fearing to be alone – he continued to maintain the relationship.

“He wasn’t making much money, so he borrowed money from me, which I thought was okay at first,” Vinod told VICE. “At first he told me what he needed money for, for example to go to work, or food, clothes and bills. But over time, it became his habit to borrow money from me. I let him get used to it, and I shouldn’t do that.”

Vinod himself was keeping track of how much money he had lent, but when he noticed that his friend was not ready to give it back, he finally asked him where the money had already gone.

“He evaded my questions, and kept showering me with phrases like, ‘Honey, I’ll give you back. You know I want to take care of you. He was very persuasive. I think we like to believe scammers because we’re afraid to be alone and because we don’t take financial fraud seriously. enough “.

The pattern in which Vinod has fallen victim is known as “financial betrayal”, when someone withholds some financial matters or decisions from the partner.

Financial infidelity covers a whole range of behaviors. It could be things that may seem small or trivial – like not informing your partner about your online purchases or not saying anything about your high work drink bill. It can also be related to more serious matters, such as transferring money from joint accounts, or lying about income or debt. Borrowing large amounts of money without the partner’s permission, or keeping bank accounts or credit cards secret are also forms of financial infidelity.

The Nibud survey showed that more than twenty percent of those surveyed did not always approve of a partner’s spending. A 2015 British study found that one in five participants lied to their partner about their income, while one in four lied about their debts.

The pandemic has also had negative effects on the financial health of relationships. Recent research from Utrecht University and Radboud University found that eight percent of adults believe the pandemic has had a negative impact on their relationship. Financial stress was mentioned as an important factor.

This was also the case with Rami, the 28-year-old lawyer. A year after she moved in with her boyfriend in June 2020, she noticed he had a strange spending pattern in order to “keep up appearances”, as I understood in retrospect.

“He got fired a month after we moved in together, but he didn’t tell us,” she says.

For a year he kept that lie and everything seemed normal. He paid his share of the rent and contributed equally to the daily expenses. But then he began to delay his payment under the pretext of delaying his salary. Sometimes it seemed like he had had no money for weeks. One day, a friend of Rami called her. It turns out that Rami’s friend had borrowed money from her with a promise to pay it back soon, after which she never heard anything about him again.

“When I confronted him about it, he broke down. He’s been in debt to half a dozen people, including two of my friends who never even told me they cheated,” she says. “He kept borrowing money from people, thinking that he would eventually find a good job and pay off the debts. But this job did not materialize and the debts kept piling up.” Rami broke off the relationship and returned to her parents.

Financial infidelity is also often a source of misery in divorce. Daniel Coombs, director of a London-based family law firm, said: Watchman: “When it comes to divorce, accumulating debt is really sad,” because the court can only work with what is there. “If someone spends all that money, it’s gone,” he added. In many cases, Combs noted, the extent of financial infidelity only becomes apparent during divorce proceedings.

It is therefore important to recognize the signs of this form of infidelity in time. according to m There are three ways that people “financial cheat” – secretly expensive purchases, secret savings accounts, and hidden debts.

Dominic Broadway, consultant specializing in financial literacy CNBC That the partners should constantly take more time to discuss financial matters with each other. You think partners should go on “financial dates” more often. We need more “sharing and talking,” which means opening accounts together or even making a spreadsheet to keep track of shared finances.

Setting up a spreadsheet can go a long way for many people, but you can also prevent a lot of misery in your relationship once you’re honest about money and purchases.

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia.

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