Quick question: Is financial dishonesty a deal breaker in a relationship?

Last year, around this time i made a new friend. She was wife of another recently made friend who ran a business close to where I worked. We became fast friends because we realised we shared many things in common. For one thing we shared a similar name and we came from the same place and lived in the same place. Kindred spirits.
We had many conversations on the evenings we drove home together, like new friends usually do. And also like most new girlfriends do, we like to talk about men and share our love-hate relationship with these very special creatures. I was at the time out of a not-so-great relationship and presently just dating different people.
She told me to make my decision to settle down carefully, that it would take more than love to keep us together once i made my decision. Of course i was doing my best to not roll my eyes and think how every newly married woman thinks they are an expert on marriage these days.
She went on to tell me about that after a ten-year relationship that had had its share of ups and downs, a normalcy, she claims, she walked away, met her husband and within a year was married.
“And i think i made a mistake”. She said, while she kept her eyes on the road.

Of course i don’t think that was what anyone would be expecting to hear. On reflex, I asked, “What? Why would you say that?”
The story I was about to hear pretty close to what i usually watch on IDX, “Who did i marry?” I have said this before, haven’t i? A love story that fast turned sour once it was pretty clear that it was built on lies and half-truths. For an hour and half, i stared, gaping at this beautiful lady who was obviously carrying a lot of unanswered questions and baggage around. So i’ll cut the drama and go straight to a few facts i learned about her marriage from the conversation.

– He lied about how much he was earning
– He lied about how much more he had and how much he was making.
– He owed months of rent for his office space and home.
– He had debtors in his ear 24/7

“For me, I was just playing my part, Maame, I furnished the house we lived in. The furniture, the beds, the curtains, the fridge, because I thought I was helping my husband. But he really didn’t have anything. He was just putting on a show so I could marry him.”

Ever heard this thing before? Well, these days i keeping hearing more of it. So really how open should you be about your finances with your partner before you settle down? Are most men averse to telling their partners how much they earn and are women unwilling to ask? Is it ok to consider your income and finances personal and separate? What are the right questions to ask and when do you know it’s a deal breaker ?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! Thanks!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. J.Phoenix says:

    Hi. Long time reader, first time commentator. So first of, I don’t get the point of hiding finances from your significant other especially when you’re going to get married. I think in Ghana, men are always assumed to be the breadwinners in any relationship. So if a guy makes less than his girlfriend, it seems like a sense of shame.

    But if you’re dating casually, I don’t really think you should dive deep into finances. Now, if the guy keeps insisting on you always paying when you go out, that might be a red flag….

    I think couples should go deep into finances when it seems like there’s marriage coming up or you guys are deciding to live together. All in all, honesty is always best in a relationship.

    Thanks. I’ll hang up and listen to your feedback.

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  2. Thanks for your feedback Joe! The truth i know do how much recklessness in finances can cause a family’s stability. Personal experiences. I guess it’s a tough place to be when you are young and just a few years in the marriage. You don’t know if it will change, you don’t know if its enough to leave. In a relationship , you’re definitely right, you have to watch the ways we both spend money. There’s a lot to observe from habits and decisions

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  3. Kweku Otchere says:

    Hi Ky,

    I enjoy reading your posts. Marriage is a union and for that union to thrive, each partner must be open and transparent. Finance is a strong pillar in every marriage. In any case, a man and woman will have to eat or find shelter and this requires money.

    For a couple who agree to get married, each person must state clearly what they earn and make known their debt exposure if any. How long can you keep that debt away from your spouse? How long can you sustain the lie of earning 10,000 euros instead of 700 cedis? Gradually the truth will lay bare. If you earn 10k euros, then let’s take our son to a 3,000k euro/term crèche! Then that’s when the issues erupt.

    When both of you know from the word GO, that at the end of the month what you expect to bring home is a total of 1,000 Ghc then you know what expenditure you can or cannot make. However if you tell me you earn soo much, you are only sending the marriage into a ditch and you don’t love me.

    I prefer to let my spouse know every penny I can make so that you don’t expect me to be able to afford a luxury holiday in Dubai every month in a 5-star hotel. Let’s be mindful, marriage is built on love, and love is made through the brick of trust!

    Don’t celebrate non-existing glories, create them!

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    1. This is a whole post on its own and a very good one at that! Honesty is fundamental! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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