5 Signs Your Relationship Is Headed Toward Financial Infidelity

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When you're in a relationship, it becomes easy to focus so much on the person you're falling in love with that everything else falls out of focus. And sadly, it might cost you. A new survey reveals nearly one-third of millennials experience financial infidelity in their relationships that not only causes heartache, but poses a serious threat to their financial well-being.

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CentSai, an online destination to help millennials achieve financial wellness, reveals that financial abuse -- where a partner tries to manipulate and control a relationship using money -- isn't that uncommon.

"Financial abuse is a top reason why many victims are unable to escape abusive relationships or [they] return to such relationships once they have fled," says Robbin Itkin, business solutions, bankruptcy, and debt restructuring expert. "[Financial abuse] is manipulation employed to create trust and confidence, when reliance, control, and entrapment is the goal," Itkin adds.

In addition, financial abuse can lead to "financial infidelity," when a person in a relationship lies to the other about money, leaving his or her significant other in the dark about the couple's financial stability. Needless to say, no one wants to deal with an unexpected money crisis because someone you once loved jeopardized your financial future.

Here to help are financial experts who are giving us warning signs you are (or could soon be) experiencing financial abuse and infidelity.

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1. Accounts opened in your name without your knowledge.

Believe it or not, this can and does happen to many people. (It's so unfortunate.) Checking your credit report every year will allow you to see a clearer picture of your finances -- including secret credit cards your partner might've opened in your name and without your consent. Alexis Nicole White, motivational speaker and author of The Covered, also warns that financial infidelity can also occur in relationships when someone uses your identity to create a bank account or make financial investments in secrecy.

2. Shady behaviors around financial transparency.

"If you've decided to share funds and pay bills together, beware if your partner is secretive or defensive when you express curiosity about your monthly transactions, especially if you notice something irregular or out of the ordinary," cautions Jessica Wade, a relationship expert and licensed professional clinical counselor.

3. "Hidden purchases" without explanation.

While there's nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time, you might want to question your partner if he or she is constantly buying items without telling you. "If your partner suddenly shows up with high-ticket items, outside of a holiday or birthday season, question it," notes Jessica Wade.

4. Refusal to give access to financial accounts and information.

Donna Andersen, author of the books Red Flags of Love Fraud: 10 Signs You're Dating a Sociopath and Love Fraud: How Marriage to a Sociopath Fulfilled My Spiritual Plan, says to head for the hills if you're trying to build a life with your partner and he or she won't give you access to any financial information. Common examples of financial abuse include a person's taking control of the money and not giving you access to the accounts, refusing to give up passwords, and intercepting mail. Even allowances can be looked at as a warning sign.

More from The Stir: 15 Signs You're in an Emotional Abusive Relationship

5. Attempts at crippling your financial independence.

As much as there's nothing wrong with traditional household structures, women should beware of partners who try to prevent you from having financial independence of any kind. Alexis Nicole White warns millennials that a love interest who pushes for you not to work -- or encourages you to only accept underpaying positions -- doesn't have your best interest at heart. Another indicator of financial abuse White mentions is the constant reminder of who has the money. As White says, consider it a red flag if "he is threatening to leave you without access to money or [the ability] to provide for yourself."

  

Image via iStock.com/hynci

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