Financial Infidelity: How Money Can Ruin a Marriage

Being dishonest with your partner about money can cause big problems.

ByABC News via logo
October 20, 2008, 7:08 PM

Oct. 21, 2008— -- Marriage is supposed to be for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. But what happens to your relationship when the sickness comes in the form of finances?

The current financial crisis may be putting a strain on some couples.

According to the American Psychological Association, 83 percent of women are stressed about money, compared with 78 percent of men.

For Abelardo and Angela Muniz, money troubles put a drastic strain on their relationship and they almost divorced. And after 32 years together, the couple still clashed over finances.

Angela said she is a saver and more cautious than her husband when it comes to money.

"I am a little more cautious. I don't like to take as many risks," she said. "I am a worry wart. I worry. He doesn't. He sleeps. I don't."

Abelardo, on the other hand, said he is a spender.

"I like to take risks. I like to always look ahead," he said.

The entrepreneur buys and renovates houses, and back in the 1980s, his auto body shop business was going belly up, but he committed financial infidelity by not telling his wife and lying to her about their finances.

"We sold the business at a loss. We had a $30,000 debt, three children and we almost lost our home," Angela said.

Angela, a dental office manager, said her husband was withholding lots of important information.

"When my daughter was born, he had changed insurance policies and he forgot to tell me and I got pregnant in the process -- there was no insurance," she said. "I was in the hospital and everything was wonderful, according to him, 'til the bills started coming in."

Abelardo remembers it differently.

"I don't believe that I was holding anything back. I don't believe that I was lying or holding anything. The reason why I did it was to save her from getting all upset and whatever," he said. "I didn't feel it was necessary to tell her all the wrong things, all the bad things. I thought I was going to deal with them and get them over."

No matter what the reasons were, the result was a lot of arguments between the pair with Abelardo sometimes sleeping on the couch.