Infidelity Deception and Delusion in Relationship

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FemmeFatale
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16 Sep 2010, 9:22 pm

In another thread, the dysfunctional (or non-existent?) relationship of NT Barbara and AS Danny was discussed. The perception by one of them that they were actually in a relationship brought to mind some thoughts on the need for communication and honesty in close friendships and romantic relationships. It seems that the concept of infidelity (sexual, financial or emotional) is highly subjective and that couples should communicate their values and expectations with each other in order to make a relationship work without the constant suspicion of infidelity or extreme rage when the partner does the unexpected (ie. cheating.) Delusion occurs when one or both partners assumes that he or she knows what the other one is thinking or doing at any given time - this is an NT problem as well.

Let me know your thoughts on the issue of infidelity and deception in relationships. I believe that many people do not set out to deceive another person but I suspect the ability to compartmentalize parts of one's life makes one appear to be deceptive or unfaithful when in fact asking the right questions would settle the suspcious partner's mind.

I will begin using an example of financial infidelity:
Wife overspends on credit card accounts (compulsive shopping, etc.), begins to borrow equity on the house to pay the credit cards, and so on. She does not tell her husband about her transactions. Husband probably has no knowledge of wife's spending problems until creditors begin calling the house at all hours. Marriage most likely ends in bankruptcy and divorce court. Naturally, husband is furious but has to decide if wife intentionally deceived him and whether he will remain with wife. However, trust is gone.

Wife, of course, has no remorse for financial failure and is angry at husband for being angry with her. She appears to have no understanding that her actions were unacceptable and thinks her husband is being unreasonable. Who is right or wrong? Are they just different personalities or would better communication about expectations for behavior (and compromise) have saved this relationship.

Both feel cheated by the other. What do you think?



ToughDiamond
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17 Sep 2010, 11:15 am

Dammit - just found this thread as I'm about to leave work and lose the broadband for a couple of days. I'll be back, but for now, the financial infidelity example isn't far remove from my experiences with my estranged wife, though I hasten to add she's not quite so bad as that one. I'd best go and have a think.........



FemmeFatale
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17 Sep 2010, 5:21 pm

Ok. Will look forward to your post. I have examples of other types of infidelity and deception but thought that financial infidelity would be a good one to start with...even if it hits too close to home for some...

Interested in differing perceptions on how we view the actions of others - as loyal or unfaithful - and how we react t to these revelations.



Taupey
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17 Sep 2010, 11:44 pm

My first husband had applied and received credit cards without my knowledge and charge them up behind my back. He made okay money as a Naval officer but he loved to spend money.

We met with one of my psychiatrists and discussed it many times because it was such an issue with us. He never did get a handle on it and we divorced.

I believe it's very important to be honest about the finances. I also believe that each person should be able to have their own spending money account that is seperate from their joint account so they will be able to buy each other gifts discreetly or go to lunch with girlfriends or have a couple of beers with buddies. These accounts should of course have a set limit agreed by both partners.


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FemmeFatale
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18 Sep 2010, 7:20 am

Taupey, finances seem to be the major reason for the breakup of relationships. Was your husband a compulsive spender or do you believe instead that he intended to deceive you by opening crecit card accounts without your knowledge for some other purpose? Of course, a compulsive spender is likely to use deceit to hide his or her problem.

I like your idea of having individual accounts as well as a joint account. I know married couples who have never combined their accounts and don't share their money or know each other's salary amount. Not sure how they effectively run their households. It also seems that they want to hide this information from their partner. But it doesn't make sense to me. I'd prefer to know about my partner's financial situation and make allowance for him to spend money within his means. If we are communicating properly, he will tell me when he is planning to make a major purchase or investment and I can review his budget and advise whether or not he should make the investment at the time. But that only works when the partner is fully willing to share information and/or wants advice.

Perhaps a partner chooses not to share spending habits with a partner because he or she does not want to be criticized or feel that he is asking for permission to spend money?



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18 Sep 2010, 10:36 am

i find this subject intriguing, as i watched two marriages in my family fall apart, and finances were definitely part of the mix.

in one case, there was severe emotional abuse (by the husband to the wife), and eventually it crossed over to abuse of the kids (which was when the wife finally left). the finances were a big mess. they both enjoyed living way beyond their means, but most of the big purchases were done together or by the husband. he also spent money secretly.

for years, we suggested to the wife that she get some active control of their finances, as she seemed to be oblivious as to where the money was going. we told her to get a separate bank account and start saving money. he always had business schemes going on, and borrowed large amounts of money from people to try to get those schemes off the ground. he also spent his money on online gaming.

he did not ever keep a steady job, ad she did not work at all. but the wife did not question where the expensive gifts came from (jewelry, etc.), and even when she found out he was engaging in crime to support their lifestyle, she didn't say anything. now that they are divorcing, she mentions his crime to illustrate what a horrible person he was, and says that she was too abused to come forward. it may be true - i really don't know the effect that emotional abuse can have in a marriage.

they eventually declared bankruptcy, but the spending didn't stop. he used a corporate credit card for his spending, and when someone came forward to his employer and exposd him, he sent his wife to beg money from her parents to pay the bill. she says that he told her that she had to lie and say it was for the mortgage. the mortgage was actually in arrears, but that's not where the money went. she said she had no idea what he was doing.

for years, he lied to her about his spending, but i wonder if she was sort of an active participant in a way. at the very least maybe she covered her own eyes from the truth.


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Weiss_Yohji
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18 Sep 2010, 11:13 am

Yet another reason why we need to abolish and ban all marriage.



FemmeFatale
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18 Sep 2010, 12:25 pm

Hyperlexian - I have seen this scenario played out in my family as well as in the relationships of my friends. In some cases, the unhappy spouse squirrels away cash in order to become independent when he or she finally abandons their partner. This is truly deceptive behavior.

As for the couples who spend with no thought to consequence, I see this as a matter of delusional (this is where the topic of delusion comes in) behavior or that the frugal partner has blind trust in their partner. In a case of blind trust that ends in financial ruin and divorce, the deluded partner now goes into relationships with trust issues concerning money and may be likely never to remarry if he or she feels that they will lose too much in another failed relationship. The money (trust) issue becomes obsessional with the deceived partner.

The wife who appears to be an active participant in a marriage where the husband's financial activities are suspect is probably just a more traditional spouse. Many non-abusive traditional marriages exist where only the husband works outside the home and the husband controls the wife's activities. The traditional marriage becomes a problem when the spouse dies or abandons their spouse. The wife/widow now relies on others as she does not know how to drive, has no employment skills, doesn't know how to pay the bills or make routine household decisions.

You have probably noticed that those who have lost everything in a bankruptcy will continue their behavior. They have not learned anything or don't care about their problem. I am amazed by this attitude and don't understand it.

Weiss-Yohji - It is not necessary to ban marriage. Perhaps more couples should decide whether or not they need a marriage certificate in order to stay together. Or perhaps date for several years first to observe their partner's habits in order to make the decision to marry their partner. Marriage is a partnership, I don't see that type of commitment in many people these days.



hyperlexian
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18 Sep 2010, 12:57 pm

FemmeFatale wrote:
Hyperlexian - I have seen this scenario played out in my family as well as in the relationships of my friends. In some cases, the unhappy spouse squirrels away cash in order to become independent when he or she finally abandons their partner. This is truly deceptive behavior.


yes, i agree it is deceptive. i think sometimes it might be necessary, as i don't know another way to leave a person but to still be financially okay. it costs money to make a fresh start. i wonder how it is possible to do that honestly?

FemmeFatale wrote:
As for the couples who spend with no thought to consequence, I see this as a matter of delusional (this is where the topic of delusion comes in) behavior or that the frugal partner has blind trust in their partner. In a case of blind trust that ends in financial ruin and divorce, the deluded partner now goes into relationships with trust issues concerning money and may be likely never to remarry if he or she feels that they will lose too much in another failed relationship. The money (trust) issue becomes obsessional with the deceived partner.


yes, she completely trusted her husband with the finances, it's true. even when we tried to convince her to get involved with knowing the financial input/output, she chose to stay uninformed. they had separated briefly a year or two prior, and we talked to her about how to be more financially responsible once she decided to return to him.

FemmeFatale wrote:
The wife who appears to be an active participant in a marriage where the husband's financial activities are suspect is probably just a more traditional spouse. Many non-abusive traditional marriages exist where only the husband works outside the home and the husband controls the wife's activities. The traditional marriage becomes a problem when the spouse dies or abandons their spouse. The wife/widow now relies on others as she does not know how to drive, has no employment skills, doesn't know how to pay the bills or make routine household decisions.

yes, exactly. before meeting her husband she was an independent woman, with her own career path (not a high-powered career, but she trained and worked hard at a job she loved). back then she had her own apartment, saved her money, traveled, etc.

after 8 years of the traditional marriage (and after experiencing abuse), she is now a single mother on welfare living with her parents. she has no recent work experience and no money. this happened very recently (a month ago) and i know she will be retraining to enter the workforce, but she put herself in a very messy situation for the next while. she is going to take a counselling course for marital abuse survivors, which should help her to become independent again...

FemmeFatale wrote:
You have probably noticed that those who have lost everything in a bankruptcy will continue their behavior. They have not learned anything or don't care about their problem. I am amazed by this attitude and don't understand it.

most of the time, this is true. this woman i am talking about is still very reluctant to live within her means. she is now overspending her parents' money as they are taking care of her and her children (welfare doesn't cover much). she is discussing getting a tattoo... this is hardly the time to spend money on that! but she is getting angry at people trying to give her advice, as she feels that they are trying to control her just like her ex-husband....


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FemmeFatale
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18 Sep 2010, 1:07 pm

I think it is deceptive to hide money in order to break away from a partner, but I understand the deception while not condoning it. In these situations, the person is already too stressed to make good and ethical decisions, even if they choose to ignore the advice of well-meaning friends and relatives. Perhaps that speaks to their need for control of the situation since they have been controlled for so long. So they will do only what they want to do when they want to do it. Even if they fail again.

Sometimes I think people allow themselves to be deceived because they may not really want to know the answers to their questions. So they don't ask the questions. And the deception continues.



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18 Sep 2010, 8:24 pm

FemmeFatale wrote:
Taupey, finances seem to be the major reason for the breakup of relationships. Was your husband a compulsive spender or do you believe instead that he intended to deceive you by opening crecit card accounts without your knowledge for some other purpose? Of course, a compulsive spender is likely to use deceit to hide his or her problem.


Definitely both, he did have his own account of money to buy things with but it was never enough for him. If he wanted something, he struggled not to buy it. He was always making excuses for buying things too. He would lie about buying things, for example, he bought a several guns one time but he came home and told me he was only keeping them for one of his friends while they were out of town because they didn't want to leave their guns in the house while no one was there. He loves to shop and he was very generous with his money and bought me lots of gifts which was nice of him.

But it extremely stressful because I was the one handling the finances and paying the bills and trying to keep things within a budget.

He's doing better now that he's older and he makes good money as engineer plus his military retirement but I believe he will always be the type of person to has a lot of debt because he loves to shop and buy things.

FemmeFatale wrote:
I like your idea of having individual accounts as well as a joint account. I know married couples who have never combined their accounts and don't share their money or know each other's salary amount. Not sure how they effectively run their households. It also seems that they want to hide this information from their partner. But it doesn't make sense to me. I'd prefer to know about my partner's financial situation and make allowance for him to spend money within his means. If we are communicating properly, he will tell me when he is planning to make a major purchase or investment and I can review his budget and advise whether or not he should make the investment at the time. But that only works when the partner is fully willing to share information and/or wants advice.

Perhaps a partner chooses not to share spending habits with a partner because he or she does not want to be criticized or feel that he is asking for permission to spend money?


I believe they should discuss major purchases and talk about their finances.

Most of the time, my exhusband would go shopping/looking for something and have what he wanted already picked out. Then he would come home and say, "I found a house, car, truck, furniture, piano, landscaping plants, lawnmower, etc we should buy." He would take me to look at it and I would say, "Okay, that's nice." because it was easier for him to make decisions about those things than it was for me.

One day he walked in the house and said to me, I saw a beautiful piano the other day that I know you would like and a minute later these men are bringing this beautiful grand piano through our front door. Another day he just drove this new truck home and told me he traded his old one in and bought the new one.

I had a difficult time saving money for emergencies and our kid's college and I had to start juggling bills and cutting back on things that we couldn't really cut back on. It just kept getting worse.

He did the same with his first wife and when we married he was still paying for debts from spending during their marriage.


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Taupey
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18 Sep 2010, 8:52 pm

I have very little debt (medical expense) now and I love it. I don't use a credit card for anything other than emergencies, as a result, I have no credit card debt at all, it takes me a while to decide to buy most things. I don't like shopping anyway unless it's books or music/CD's or fabric and art supplies. I do most of my shopping now days at home on the Internet. I wish I could have groceries delivered too. I would much rather stay at home than go to a grocery store.


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FemmeFatale
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18 Sep 2010, 9:16 pm

I know someone who bought thousands of dollars worth of toy trains and kept them at a friends house and told his wife that he had no money to give her to buy groceries. He had a lucrative business but she believed him when he told her that they had no money for groceries, insurance, etc. She eventually found out about the trains as well as other misdeeds and, needless to say, they are no longer married.

It seems as if your ex may have had a compulsive spending problem similar to those who might have a gambling addiction? It appears that you knew he was lying to you each time he bought something. Did you deal with the issue each time it happened or did you let it build up? Did he think that you believed the lies or was he just out of control with the spending and the lying? Did he ever try to get help for his problem?

I don't like spending money either. I like using the credit card as a 30-day float - it must be paid each month - and I only use cash back cards. I won't even shop for clothes until I notice that my clothes are really looking shabby.

I think I have seen too many instances of financial falure that makes me obsessed with not being in the same situation. I'd never hide money matters from a partner though.



Taupey
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18 Sep 2010, 10:22 pm

FemmeFatale wrote:
I know someone who bought thousands of dollars worth of toy trains and kept them at a friends house and told his wife that he had no money to give her to buy groceries. He had a lucrative business but she believed him when he told her that they had no money for groceries, insurance, etc. She eventually found out about the trains as well as other misdeeds and, needless to say, they are no longer married.

It seems as if your ex may have had a compulsive spending problem similar to those who might have a gambling addiction? It appears that you knew he was lying to you each time he bought something. Did you deal with the issue each time it happened or did you let it build up? Did he think that you believed the lies or was he just out of control with the spending and the lying? Did he ever try to get help for his problem?

I don't like spending money either. I like using the credit card as a 30-day float - it must be paid each month - and I only use cash back cards. I won't even shop for clothes until I notice that my clothes are really looking shabby.

I think I have seen too many instances of financial falure that makes me obsessed with not being in the same situation. I'd never hide money matters from a partner though.


I was very young and gullible when all this started. My husband was 18 years older than me. I trusted him and took his word for it when he told me anything. Some of the time which I knew what he had done, I talked to him about.

The guns, I had no idea he had bought them and was lying for a long time. But I eventually realized what had happened and talked to him about as well.

Yes, we were seeing my psychiatrist for his spending problem. We discussed it and my psychiatrist suggested somethings but he would never change and he decided he didn't want to go see him anymore.

I'm a security minded person too. I need to know that I will have the money and insurance to pay rent, pay utilities, buy groceries, buy Rxs, go to the doctors, etc, etc...


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FemmeFatale
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19 Sep 2010, 8:16 am

Taupey, As a result of this experience, do you find that you have any trust issues, money or otherwise, in beginning new relationships. I haven't experienced the problem with deception with regard to money, but because I have seen this take place with many people that I care about, I tend to be alert to this kind of problem. But I wouldn't want to judge another person based on their problems with money.

But we do judge people, don't we? If we discover that a friend has been (or is) sexually unfaithful to their partner, wouldn't it be natural to hold them in lower esteem, especially if we know their partner and feel bad that our friend is treating their partner with such disrespect?