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Sex with Dr. Jess


August 24, 2023

Financial Infidelity & How To Talk About Money

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  • Has your partner lied to you about their finances?
  • Have you ever hid spending (or debt) from a partner?
  • Do you and your partner disagree about money – saving, spending, sharing, etc?
  • Do you struggle to talk about money without fighting?
  • What constitutes ‘cheating’ or financial fidelity?

Jess and Brandon discuss their experience with financial infidelity and dive into why people lie about money. They also share prompts & language to help you navigate sensitive conversations related to financial values.

Be sure to check out Bloomi in a Target near you, or check out their website for your Bloomi needs.

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Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health, or other professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

Financial Infidelity & How To Talk About Money

Episode 331

[00:00:00] Jess O’Reilly: You’re listening to the sex with Dr. Jess podcast, sex and relationship advice you can use tonight.

[00:00:13] Brandon Ware: Today, we’re going to be talking about financial infidelity,

[00:00:19] Jess O’Reilly: talking about money, money, money, honey. Okay. Are we good at talking about money with each other?

[00:00:26] Brandon Ware: I think we’re good about talking about some aspects of money.

[00:00:30] Jess O’Reilly: Okay, let’s start with the good.

[00:00:31] Brandon Ware: I think we communicate a lot when it comes to certain investment opportunities. Oh, sure. Uh, things like that. Um, I think we’re both generally on the same page in terms of how much money we have. So those are some good things. I don’t know. What do you, what are your thoughts?

[00:00:45] Jess O’Reilly: You know, it’s funny. As soon as you start talking about money, especially, You know, with others in the room with us, so to speak, it’s, uh, I get uncomfortable. Like I feel uncomfortable.

[00:00:56] Brandon Ware: I grew up with the understanding that talking about money was something you did not do. And it’s becoming much more open now where people talk about how much money they make at work and how much money, um, I guess they, they want to have in the future and how much they currently have.

[00:01:10] Brandon Ware: But I did not grow up like that. You do not talk about money.

[00:01:13] Jess O’Reilly: No, and we, we do need that transparency because one, you know, exercise of power from people who do have money, who control the resources involves convincing everyone that we shouldn’t talk about it so we don’t know about their billions and whatnot.

[00:01:27] Jess O’Reilly: But I have to admit that it’s definitely not in my background to talk about it. I can talk about it in specifics when it’s relevant to the conversation. Like anytime I’ve done business with family, we’ve been very open, very straightforward about the projects themselves. But not about specifics that are personal.

[00:01:45] Jess O’Reilly: So I feel a little bit nervous, but we’re going to get into it. So, okay. You said we’re good at talking about certain things. What do we struggle with? Do you think?

[00:01:53] Brandon Ware: Sometimes I think that there’s a difference in terms of where we want to spend our money and how we want to spend our money. [00:02:00] Um, so that’s the first thing.

[00:02:00] Jess O’Reilly: You mean I want to spend it?

[00:02:02] Brandon Ware: Yeah. I want to spend our money too. I don’t want to hoard. I don’t want to hoard my money. Okay. I do want to spend it. I want to enjoy it. I think because of my upbringing, because about, I think there’s an element of shame, of guilt, about having money, about maybe not sharing the money that you have with other others.

[00:02:20] Brandon Ware: And I’m talking about with, I’m referencing my family. So I think that that is something that, um, makes me uncomfortable.

[00:02:27] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah. And I definitely, you know, I come from a background where we do share money with family, where we pick up tabs, where you take people places, where you treat people, things are not split down the middle.

[00:02:37] Jess O’Reilly: It is a full on. Is it WWE wrestling fight at the dim sum table to see who gets it. There’s a lot of sneaking because we want the bill, not because we don’t want the bill. I think there’s actually, for me, more shame in not paying the bill. Like you notice anywhere I go, I would rather just pick up the tab because I feel uncomfortable with the splitting.

[00:02:57] Brandon Ware: We’re going down a whole other avenue now because I mean, for me, there’s a, there’s a power dynamic when, when somebody like, when I feel like somebody is picking up the tab, but that there’s. Strings with it. Ooh, yeah. Do you know what I mean? So I want, and now let me be clear to any of my friends that are listening.

[00:03:14] Brandon Ware: I don’t feel that way with you. Friends? Any of my friend that is listening, I don’t feel that way with you, but it is something that, you know, money, money was like a power play, right? Where it’s like you, you picked up the tab and you did it with purpose, with reason. And I’ve had to, you know, I’ve had to kind of dismantle that, that idea that, that it was like holding something over someone’s head, which is not, first of all, when I reflected on it, it’s not the way I want to live.

[00:03:43] Brandon Ware: I never grew up like that.

[00:03:45] Jess O’Reilly: It’s not the way I want to conduct myself. Like anyone who is generous to me. In my life. Uh, like I think about an auntie who bought me a Nintendo when I was little, yeah, I got a Nintendo. And I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Did you get Duck Hunt? Of course I had Duck Hunt.

[00:03:56] Jess O’Reilly: That’s the only game I, I only had Mario and Duck Hunt [00:04:00] because it’s what came with the console. We never got another game. I don’t think.

[00:04:03] Brandon Ware: I remember Johnny who lived across the street from me. He had a Nintendo and it was.

[00:04:07] Jess O’Reilly: Actually, eventually I think we got Tetris. We, is that for Nintendo?

[00:04:11] Brandon Ware: Well, that was the, uh, what was the handheld one?

[00:04:14] Brandon Ware: Game Boy.

[00:04:14] Jess O’Reilly: No, I think I had Tetris on the computer if I’m not on the Nintendo console. Anyhow, it was given without strings. And I do have so many people in my life who give without strings. Like one of my cousins who I’m closest with is just a natural giver. And I don’t just mean financial. I know we’re talking about money, but giving of time and energy and space and hospitality and food.

[00:04:35] Jess O’Reilly: They are also very generous, super generous. So I think the more you’re around those people. And they don’t want anything from you, the more you pick up that same attitude of giving.

[00:04:44] Brandon Ware: And I, and I feel like I need to clarify, I don’t think, I mean, having had been with you now for 22 years, I do try to model your behavior, which is be generous, you know, don’t expect anything in return.

[00:04:55] Brandon Ware: And I hope that I, I come across that way now because I genuinely, when I pick up the bill, it’s because I want to, it’s because I take pleasure in, in. You know, in paying for that meal or, or being, or the company that has chosen to join me for that meal. Like I’m very appreciative of that.

[00:05:12] Jess O’Reilly: Can I just tell you, I’m super nervous.

[00:05:14] Jess O’Reilly: I feel like it’s just the talking about money. I can’t kind of shake the nerves today, but yes. And you know. Especially if you’ve come from a background where you maybe you didn’t, for me, we didn’t grow up with as much and now we have, we have a great life. And so we’re able to pick up the tab, like that feels really good, but I guess I wonder if there’s a difference where I might want to pick it up more than you.

[00:05:34] Brandon Ware: Uh, I don’t know. I, I, I still feel like I, I generally want to. Pick up the bill with some people with, yeah, with, with most people.

[00:05:42] Jess O’Reilly: Most people. Yeah. Is it an, it’s, it’s actually a bit of a response where I don’t like that moment where you’re trying to figure out who pays it. So I’d rather just pay it.

[00:05:50] Brandon Ware: Yeah. I mean, that’s definitely something that crosses my mind too. I think I was lucky to end of a meal when you’re waiting for the bill to come. I’d rather just pay the bill.

[00:05:58] Jess O’Reilly: I started [00:06:00] 18 years old, so I had cash. So even when I was in university and I was paying my way through university, I had cash.

[00:06:06] Brandon Ware: I did not.

[00:06:07] Brandon Ware: You didn’t. I remember the day I became a hundredaire.

[00:06:11] Jess O’Reilly: So I was used to paying for things cause. You know, when you’re younger, especially people have different amounts of money and actually that’s still the case in our lives. And so to me, it’s like, if I have a little bit more, I want to pay for it. Okay, let’s move away from you and me and talk more generally about financial infidelity because I have a whole bunch of questions that I’ve received from you folks that relate to financial infidelity.

[00:06:34] Jess O’Reilly: And I want to, before we dive into it, shout out. Our friends over at Bloomi again. So Bloomi is a sexologist led sexual wellness brand, and they make a range of products from fabulous vibrators to organic lubes, all available at Target. And they’re a partner of ours. And we were involved in their last round of investment because we’re fans of what they’re doing.

[00:06:55] Jess O’Reilly: So they’ve established the industry’s first clean standard for intimacy products in the U S their lubes are five, 10 K cleared by that. FDA. Toys are made with medical grade silicone. They make sustainable, really high quality products. Again, accessible price points. Ergonomic, designed with accessibility in mind for different sizes, different shapes, different abilities, and with a prioritization of sustainability with eco friendly packaging, recyclable sugar cane, treeless cartons, all.

[00:07:22] Jess O’Reilly: Compostable, that’s such a hard word for me. . Uh, and again, once again, available at Target, over a thousand stores across the us so please do check them out. The first Tina founded brand in Target sexual wellness aisle. And if you aren’t in the States, you can check them And Bloom is b l o o m i.

[00:07:45] Jess O’Reilly: So Nice and simple. Please do check them out. Okay, financial infidelity. So I was looking at some of the data. Around a third of us have lied to our partners about money. An equal number have been on the [00:08:00] receiving end of some form of financial infidelity. And financial infidelity, of course, can take so many different forms.

[00:08:07] Jess O’Reilly: So it might involve hiding money, lying about debt, lying about income, inflating or deflating figures. falsifying records, uh, definitely using financial power to manipulate or control a partner. And of course it wreaks havoc on all relationships. It doesn’t even have to be a partner, families as well. Uh, and it can be a symptom of relationship troubles as opposed to the root issue itself.

[00:08:31] Jess O’Reilly: So I want to get into this. And in defining financial infidelity, I think sometimes we set the bar for so called fidelity at a level that most of us can’t live up to, right? If you define financial cheating as any spending that you hide from your partner, you know, maybe you sneak an item of clothing in at the grocery store, treat yourself to a special edition pair of sneakers, and maybe just don’t show them the receipts.

[00:08:55] Jess O’Reilly: Some people are going to consider that cheating.

[00:08:57] Brandon Ware: I thought you were going to say something like they had it. An extra beer or a coffee, you could buy some new kicks, you could drop three, four hundred bucks.

[00:09:03] Jess O’Reilly: Oh yeah. Some kicks cost more than that. Oh yeah. Not mine, but I, and you know, for others it’s more serious where it’s a secret bank account, undisclosed debt, losses from investments that went wrong.

[00:09:13] Jess O’Reilly: And I think anytime you’re hiding something, you might consider it cheating, but okay, let’s be realistic. I think we’ve all covered something up or neglected to mention. AKA lie by omission. Some purchase at some point in time, because I don’t know, maybe sometimes it’s not relevant to your budget or your relationship.

[00:09:31] Jess O’Reilly: Some people keep their finances separate. And so to get back to the definition, I think if you’re breaking an agreed upon contract by lying directly or indirectly, you might be cheating. financially, so I don’t know if I really defined it there. Okay, have you lied to me about money?

[00:09:48] Brandon Ware: I mean, based on that description, I’m sure that I have.

[00:09:51] Brandon Ware: I feel like I’m very transparent when it comes to our money. Um, we’ve shared money since, like, we shared a bank account since the moment we [00:10:00] more or less met.

[00:10:00] Jess O’Reilly: Right, because who was going to pay our rent if I didn’t let you into mine?

[00:10:03] Brandon Ware: Let’s be real, I had no money. I was like, let’s share money because I’ve got none, so you.

[00:10:09] Brandon Ware: Actually, that reminds me of the conversation that we had with, uh, Justin, the, uh, the divorce lawyer, right? And he was saying, it depends who’s coming to the table with what assets in advance and the importance of getting a prenup sign.

[00:10:21] Jess O’Reilly: I didn’t really have assets. Like I was 21. Some cash.

[00:10:25] Brandon Ware: If you had 20 bucks, it was assets based on what I had.

[00:10:28] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. And we were working in a business where we earned cash quickly. Mm hmm, right? Like the money came in quickly and the money went out quickly.

[00:10:37] Brandon Ware: Mine not so quickly as yours, but definitely quickly.

[00:10:40] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, but as soon as you learned to bartend. Then it came in quicker. Yeah, exactly.

[00:10:44] Jess O’Reilly: We’re pretty grateful for that job. We were very lucky to have those jobs in the heyday of nightclubs, too. I don’t know if it’s the same anymore.

[00:10:51] Brandon Ware: I remember my first outfit bartending. Pair of gold shorts. Gold, they’re not even shorts. Gold underwear.

[00:10:58] Jess O’Reilly: Brandon’s first bartending gig was at a nightclub in Toronto called Fly.

[00:11:02] Jess O’Reilly: And you guys went all night because it was like a circuit party.

[00:11:05] Brandon Ware: Yeah man, they partied until like 8am.

[00:11:08] Jess O’Reilly: I remember that you would come home and the sun was up.

[00:11:11] Brandon Ware: Oh yeah. I remember I got pulled over by the cops once on the way home, um, because I think I slow rolled a stop sign. Okay, and the guy pulled me over and he’s like, where are you coming from?

[00:11:19] Brandon Ware: Now I had changed out of my gold briefs, but uh, I was like, I was bartending at Fly and I’m like He kind of looked at me and nodded and he’s like He could tell that I had not been drinking. He’s like, just go home. Go to bed.

[00:11:32] Jess O’Reilly: And Fly, honestly, was just a few minutes from our house. I’m surprised you even drove.

[00:11:35] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, I’m not sure I drove. Like, It was super close. So, okay, I want to get into why we lie about money, but I want to admit that I’ve definitely hidden stuff from you. Oh, I know. I’m laughing

[00:11:46] Brandon Ware: because I know you’ve hidden stuff from me. Like, it’s not. It’s probably, let me ask, it’s not huge things. It was like clothing purchases.

[00:11:53] Jess O’Reilly: Not clothing.

[00:11:54] Brandon Ware: Maybe a car. I don’t know. I’ve never owned a car.

[00:11:57] Jess O’Reilly: I don’t buy clothing, uh, [00:12:00] but it would be more, for example, the most recent one I can think of. Oh, something recent. Okay, tell me. Yeah, so I would tell you if you asked me point blank, but I’d rather not show you. It’s like lying by omission. So yeah, just stalling here.

[00:12:12] Jess O’Reilly: Do you remember that super fun karaoke night I had in December? Yeah, the most fun night.

[00:12:18] Brandon Ware: So I know you paid for everything that day. What did you buy the bar around a shot? You did, didn’t you? Did you really that’s awesome.

[00:12:28] Jess O’Reilly: It was really fun and it was sort of this bar where it was all students and then old people And then me and my two friends come in dressed up because we had this like fancy dinner for the holidays And everyone was just so warm and welcoming.

[00:12:43] Brandon Ware: Oh, that was great. I had a good time there. Yeah. Until I left.

[00:12:45] Jess O’Reilly: You were only there for a minute.

[00:12:46] Brandon Ware: No, I, I stayed for like an hour or so. I got in a couple of ballads. Do you not remember my performance?

[00:12:51] Jess O’Reilly: Okay, so after you were done singing. Pretty amazing. I got some rounds. And so it’s not that I

[00:12:56] Brandon Ware: You just went from A round to buy some rounds.

[00:13:00] Brandon Ware: Oh, this is hilarious.

[00:13:01] Jess O’Reilly: They were vodka shots. Do you, using air quotes with vodka? No, they were vodka shots. I tried to convince them to sell me a bottle, but it’s not the bottle service type of place. It’s like a neighborhood. I like that place, man. It’s a bar slash Chinese food restaurant. Anyhow. So I would, for example, not put those receipts in your file.

[00:13:22] Brandon Ware: What do you think? I’m not going to see the credit card statement?

[00:13:24] Jess O’Reilly: No, I know you’re going to know, but I kind of just don’t want to talk about it and I’m sweating right now. So those types of things are the things that I would. Not be as honest about.

[00:13:36] Brandon Ware: And also recognize, recognizing the privilege with which we operate where it’s like, that’s okay.

[00:13:40] Brandon Ware: Like it’s not gonna, it’s not gonna, you know, send a, we’re not going to miss a rent payment or food for the children or whatever it is. But I’m laughing about it because I’m like, what did you, what was the concern with telling me about it? Because I’m laughing about it right now. I would have laughed about it then.

[00:13:55] Brandon Ware: I was actually more surprised that any of the three of you, because you went with your two friends, [00:14:00] could even

[00:14:00] Brandon Ware: communicate with each other the next day.

[00:14:03] Jess O’Reilly: Listen, I was singing some George Michaels, some Mariah Carey Christmas albums, and I was very communicative.

[00:14:10] Brandon Ware: I saw Mel trying to sing, and it was, it was a lot of yelling.

[00:14:14] Jess O’Reilly: Okay, so now that we’ve cleared the air on that, no, I’m not afraid of your response. I think maybe I’m just a little embarrassed where I’m like, yeah, I might’ve bought a round of shots or two. Or

[00:14:24] Brandon Ware: two or three.

[00:14:27] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, something like that. So I have to say that there are things that I haven’t shown you. over time.

[00:14:33] Jess O’Reilly: And we are, yes, absolutely in a position of privilege where if I go spend a little too much at a bar, I mean really like that was a one time a year thing, we’re still okay. So for me, it was embarrassment because you wouldn’t do that. Like you wouldn’t drink too much and be like, you’re all my best friends.

[00:14:49] Jess O’Reilly: Here’s some polarized vodka.

[00:14:51] Brandon Ware: Mind you, if everyone gave me a standing ovation for my, uh, for my karaoke performance, I might be inclined to buy everybody.

[00:14:57] Jess O’Reilly: Nobody gave me a standing ovation. So that’s why you had to buy their love. I, I, listen, folks, I buy love. I was giving a dog treats this morning. Okay, we need to continue.

[00:15:05] Jess O’Reilly: So I’m thinking about why I lied and why people lie about money. And I think there are so many layers and reasons. I think sometimes it has to do with shame. and fear of judgment, right? We’re ashamed that we made an impulse buy. We’re embarrassed that we still carry student debt or credit card debt, and we don’t want to be judged.

[00:15:23] Jess O’Reilly: You know, people lie because they don’t want to be judged for what they earn. Others begin with a small lie that kind of blossoms into ongoing deception by accident. I think other times it’s about pressure to meet societal or familial or cultural expectations with regard to earning or saving or building for the future.

[00:15:42] Jess O’Reilly: You know, there’s a client I’m thinking of who hid her debt from her husband and her entire family after losing a high sum. Okay, a big sum to a dishonest business partner because after decades of kind of one financial success [00:16:00] after another, she was mortified and she was just. And of course, lying affects the relationship, but I think if you talk about why you lied, if you can have some understanding and vulnerability there, you can, you can talk, get through it.

[00:16:13] Jess O’Reilly: You know, sometimes lies about money are actually pro social, meaning that we use them to engage, Protect or support others, or at least that’s our perception. So maybe you hide a parking ticket because you know, it’s something that would stress your partner out. Or sometimes I think it’s about a lack of safety and security, whether those be emotional or financial, right?

[00:16:33] Jess O’Reilly: You don’t feel like you can open up to your partner if you’ve made a mistake or a decision that led to a loss or a spend, maybe you don’t feel safe telling your partner where you’re at financially, because maybe there’s a dynamic or an unrealistic expectation. about how much you should earn or save or bring to the table.

[00:16:51] Jess O’Reilly: You know, in other cases, these ones are really hard. I find folks will hide their spending habits because they fundamentally disagree with their partner on financial values. So for example, if your partner refuses to see your perspective on spending on something that you value, or if your expectations around.

[00:17:08] Jess O’Reilly: debt or savings differ really greatly. You know, sometimes it’s easier to just keep money separate in those cases. But I have to say, I’ve seen so many relationships break up over a values misalignment. Like it can be really hard to bridge.

[00:17:21] Brandon Ware: Would you say that our values have always been aligned financial values?

[00:17:25] Jess O’Reilly: That’s a good question. Um, No, I think that we’ve kind of built together because we’re in such a different space than we were when we met. I think we’re probably more aligned now than we ever were and that does come from a place of privilege, which I’m again uncomfortable talking about. But I think that your safety net needed to be bigger than my safety net.

[00:17:46] Jess O’Reilly: Mm hmm. And I think it’s because from a young age, from 18, I was earning money. Mm hmm. Right? Whereas, you know, you had… lower paying jobs. And so there was a nervousness that if I were to lose my job, if there was an [00:18:00] unexpected expense, if something fell through that you wouldn’t be able to pay rent or you wouldn’t be able to make the car payment.

[00:18:07] Jess O’Reilly: And so I think that probably the privilege of earning, because earning is a privilege. It’s not that I’m brilliant or I worked harder. It’s I’m lucky. To have had those jobs at the bar, in the clubs, to have had security. I think maybe I’ve had more financial security since I’ve been financially independent.

[00:18:23] Brandon Ware: I can say that I certainly didn’t get the number of tips as a stock boy at Kmart that I think you got working in the bars.

[00:18:28] Jess O’Reilly: Well, you didn’t wear a bikini like I did.

[00:18:29] Brandon Ware: No, I didn’t. I don’t think they would. have let me. But I would, I would agree though. And I’m, I’m not surprised. I agree with you that our financial values were not terribly different from the beginning, but slightly different.

[00:18:42] Brandon Ware: And I would say that you’ve flexed more towards my side of the spectrum, or at least you did, I think initially. And then now I feel like we’re Pretty much parallel in terms of our alignment with financial values. I don’t know how that will change moving forward because I do see you approaching things a little bit differently than I do right now.

[00:19:03] Brandon Ware: And I feel like I need to kind of swing or become at least receptive to how you want to spend our money. Now, moving forward,

[00:19:11] Jess O’Reilly: I think one of the things to, to be honest, if we’re talking about ourselves is that we don’t spend a lot, like neither of us is a shopper. I don’t buy clothing. I used to buy more, but I mean, definitely post pandemic, like I just don’t spend a lot.

[00:19:25] Jess O’Reilly: We’re not buying clothes. We’re not buying shoes. I don’t collect handbags, any of those things. I have, we have everything we need, right? I’m not naked.

[00:19:33] Brandon Ware: I feel, I feel very lucky for all the things that I have, but I also feel like I don’t think that we have the financial, maybe. Some people see them as like vices or kind of desires for certain things, bags, watches, cars that can, you know, make life very difficult if you don’t have the financial means to continue to upkeep them or trade them in and get new ones and so on.

[00:19:55] Jess O’Reilly: And the flip side of that is when you don’t have financial stress. [00:20:00] It’s easier to align when you’re really dealing with the fact that people are underpaid, overworked, inflation, cost of living is so high, of course that’s going to take a toll on your relationship. So if you’re comfortably above the poverty line, I think it makes it easier for us to have these conversations and align.

[00:20:18] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, I completely agree. Now, I’m thinking about red flags because if you’re worried that your partner is being dishonest, you’ve probably encountered some of the red flags already, right? People hiding their mail, changing their passwords, discarding receipts, like the one from the bar that night. Um, you know, I’ve heard from people, listen, I’ve heard some serious stories around financial infidelity.

[00:20:39] Jess O’Reilly: Folks who have had partners kind of insisting that they sign documents without reading them. Folks who refuse to set a budget. And I get it that people are not keen on budgets necessarily, but become defensive or avoidant or really angry when you even. Try and talk about money. Now, I don’t want to say that those are universal red flags, because there’s a lot of reasons why people don’t want to talk about money.

[00:21:00] Jess O’Reilly: But I think about if, if you’re on the side where you have been hiding something, you have to think about, okay, so how do I come clean? Should I come clean? Do I have to tell you every little thing, but I think if something to do with money and maybe hiding a habit or. An experience, if it’s causing you distress, and if money is adversely affecting the relationship, I think it is time to speak up.

[00:21:22] Jess O’Reilly: And if you don’t feel like you can have this conversation, if it becomes explosive, if your partner, you know, just gets too upset or withdraws, it can be helpful to just do it with a therapist or a financial counselor support and guidance. And it does involve, if you’ve been hiding money, you have to take responsibility first.

[00:21:38] Jess O’Reilly: And Sure, you can help to explain why you did it, but you can’t really make excuses. And I do think if you are going to open up to somebody that you love about having lied about money, it’s good to have a plan in place for recovery and for recovery. Moving forward. Right.

[00:21:57] Brandon Ware: And great. That’s a great piece of it.

[00:21:58] Brandon Ware: Don’t just come to me with problems. Come [00:22:00] to me with solutions.

[00:22:00] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah. And it doesn’t have to be the solution. It’s just, you know, here are some of our options. And of course, you know, there’s no, there are no universal rules for sharing or in disclosing and relationships. Some people believe you should share everything and others have more Value for separation of privacy.

[00:22:16] Jess O’Reilly: But here’s it all comes down to this to me. If you can open up about the vulnerable feelings that underpin your financial decisions, including infidelity, I think your partner is going to be more likely to listen and understand and have empathy and work toward a collaborative resolution. But one thing I see is people will do something where clearly they’re the ones breaking the contract, like clearly they’re the ones hiding money, and then they blame their partner.

[00:22:41] Jess O’Reilly: Right. I would,

[00:22:41] Brandon Ware: I would hear that all the time, I shouldn’t say all the time, but I heard it a number of times in, when I was working in real estate and to the point where I would have to say to people, I can’t work with you if you’re doing this, like this is malicious. This is, this is conniving, like, and I can’t, I can’t be a part of this legally, I can’t be a part of this.

[00:23:00] Jess O’Reilly: What about people? Did you see people in couples who would be hiding things from each other?

[00:23:04] Brandon Ware: Yes. Especially in couples where the relationship wasn’t. Um, a solid and where one partner felt they weren’t unsure about the relationship moving forward. And another partner wanted to, to advance the relationship by moving in together, by buying something together or on the flip side where the relationship already existed and somebody wanted to separate.

[00:23:23] Brandon Ware: And they were like thinking about like, how do I, how do I move, save, hide money. And as soon as that came up, I’m like, I can’t, I can’t, I will not be involved in this. I’m like. You might be, I, I, I would just, I remember a circumstance where I said, like, I can’t work with you, you have to go and talk to a lawyer and you have to figure out what you can and can’t do because I can’t be a part of this and I won’t be a part.

[00:23:46] Brandon Ware: So I’ve seen it on both sides going in and coming out.

[00:23:49] Jess O’Reilly: That sucks.

[00:23:50] Brandon Ware: It does suck.

[00:23:51] Jess O’Reilly: It really sucks. And I, when I think about the why’s I’m like, okay, what stops us from just. being honest. And I mean, I know so many people just want to avoid uncomfortable [00:24:00] conversations, but the hurt that we cause in the long run.

[00:24:03] Jess O’Reilly: So, you know, on, on the one side, if you have been hiding things, think about how you can open up. And if you’re on the other side, if you discover that someone you love is being financially dishonest, I think, can you keep an open mind? Can you contemplate why they might have felt pressured by themselves?

[00:24:20] Jess O’Reilly: by society, by their family, even by the dynamic in your relationship, why might they have felt pressured to lie about money? And obviously, if they are hiding something, you probably want to talk to them. And I would definitely consider seeking professional support on that end, right? The stress of financial infidelity can be similar to that of sexual or relational infidelity.

[00:24:40] Jess O’Reilly: So rebuilding trust becomes the name of the game. And with professional support. I think that can be easier. And again, when you open up about those vulnerable feelings, I think that leads the conversation in in the right direction. And I think what we have to remember when I talk about layers, we have to realize that financial expectations, financial values intersect with our upbringing, with our familial beliefs, with personal values, with insecurities, with conceptions of responsibility, roles we play, identity related to gender, and so much more.

[00:25:12] Jess O’Reilly: But it really is an essential discussion.

[00:25:14] Brandon Ware: I remember when we first got together, I mean, the embarrassment that I had not having the money. to do some of the things that you wanted to do and how it really flipped the, the kind of the gender roles where you were taking me out and I had to learn to be okay with that.

[00:25:29] Brandon Ware: And it drove Hang on, you seemed okay. Well, I seemed okay because I was like, I’d like to go out with you. Um, but I do remember feeling genuinely feeling uncomfortable, but not having. I don’t want to say the emotional intelligence, but, but just to the, the time, the effort, the, the, yeah, like the ability to reflect back on like, why am I feeling this way?

[00:25:46] Brandon Ware: It’s okay. You know, that somebody else is doing something for me that cares about me. And then that sad to admit that that was a driving force behind, you know, the first few years of my work, if not longer, which was, you know, [00:26:00] needing to, to kind of embrace the social hierarchy of how much money I had to make.

[00:26:06] Brandon Ware: And it really sucks when you define yourself by how much money you have in the bank, as opposed to the person that you are. And especially with your partner. Like I’m so grateful and so thankful for you taking care of me. Not that I didn’t work and not that I didn’t earn money. You worked a ton when I met you.

[00:26:22] Brandon Ware: I had to, I felt like I had to work a ton just to keep up. But that’s not for, that’s not to, for you to feel bad for me or anything like that. But it was, you know, these pressures that are there. That you’re constantly being fed and that I do think that the younger generations are aware of and they’re saying, you know what, screw this.

[00:26:40] Brandon Ware: I’m not going to play your games. I’m not going to kind of just capitulate to this capitalistic way of life and wake up in 30 years and be unhappy. I’m going to recognize it now, say screw it. And I’m going to live the way that I want to live.

[00:26:53] Jess O’Reilly: Still have to support yourself within the system, but definitely not making it all about making money.

[00:26:59] Brandon Ware: Yeah.

[00:27:00] Jess O’Reilly: Or as fun as money is, of course.

[00:27:02] Brandon Ware: Of course. And I mean, I’m, I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t enjoy. Having money to do things. Mm hmm. So.

[00:27:09] Jess O’Reilly: Ah, well I have a bunch of questions from folks and I’m going to weigh in kind of briefly on them. So I’m going to dive right in here. So this first person writes in and says, My husband doesn’t let me see the accounts and it’s getting worse and worse.

[00:27:21] Jess O’Reilly: I think. He spends on golf, poker, clothes, watches. I’m always on a tight budget trying to get the staples like groceries and kids clothes. He says we’re fine and not to worry but I saw the credit card statement six months ago. And we are really in debt. Now, he won’t let me see a thing, and I don’t know what to do.

[00:27:36] Jess O’Reilly: I love him. He’s good to me, and he’s a great dad. Everything else feels good in the life that we’ve built together, but I’m stressed about money. And I should add that he’s from money, and I’m not. Ooh, so. You know, this is a dynamic and arrangement that, that worries me a little. You know, when one partner spends more, hides debt, and has most or all of the control.

[00:27:55] Jess O’Reilly: over the finances because money is survival in a world, in the world we live in, [00:28:00] whether we like it or not. So I think it’s important that we have both financial literacy and an understanding of where we’re at financially. So you don’t have to know everything, but I would think, for example, you, you want to know where your money is and have access to it, right?

[00:28:13] Jess O’Reilly: Especially if you’re buying staples like kids clothes and groceries, you probably want to have an idea of how much you’re spending and. Maybe how much you’re saving. I know not everybody can save. If you’re in debt, you may not be saving and I think you want to know what you need to do financially if your partner wasn’t around or if they were incapacitated.

[00:28:33] Jess O’Reilly: And this is something that oftentimes gets lost in relationships. Um, you know, in older relationships, it was often a gender thing or one partner worked and the other partner didn’t. That’s less common today, although it still exists. I was talking to a woman who’s 77 the other day and her partner died and He handled everything financially.

[00:28:50] Jess O’Reilly: She doesn’t know anything, like, doesn’t know what the 401k is, how the investments work. So, I think it’s easier to learn those things when, earlier on, right? When you’re not dealing with the stress of the loss of the love of your life. So my suggestion is… Sit down, let him know that you want to learn and that you want to understand.

[00:29:07] Jess O’Reilly: It’s not about accusations, but it’s about your own understanding. And if he is resistant or refuses to talk, let him know you’re going to take a look at the bills and the statements. And you say he’s good to you, so it doesn’t sound like you’re in a dangerous position. But if you do feel, you know, a flip of a switch, because people will flip.

[00:29:24] Jess O’Reilly: into a new person when it comes to money, especially if there’s any shame or embarrassment or feelings of having their identity threatened around it. Definitely get professional help, like talk to a counselor even just once. If your name is on the accounts, I’d say go to your financial institution and ask them to explain.

[00:29:39] Jess O’Reilly: where you’re at and what your options are. Because just with this small amount of info, I don’t know if maybe he does want help, but doesn’t want to burden you with it. Or if he doesn’t realize how serious this debt is, or perhaps doesn’t realize that you’re scrimping and saving to get the staples, while some of the discretionary spending on his end is a little bit higher.

[00:29:58] Jess O’Reilly: But I do hope you start this [00:30:00] conversation and go to your financial institution. Hopefully your name is… is on the accounts. Okay. Next one. It’s kind of similar. My wife is always hiding bills from me and shopping behind my back. I don’t mean here and there. I mean every week, new outfits, new stuff for our house.

[00:30:17] Jess O’Reilly: We earn about 50 50. We’re not in debt and I don’t want to control her spending. She’s amazing in every way. I just want her to be honest because if it feels like she’s hiding her shopping, it makes me think she can hide other things and I want it to be more open. Yeah, I mean, I think some people might say, oh, this isn’t so serious because you’re in a strong financial position.

[00:30:39] Jess O’Reilly: Let her do what she wants. But I’d say, no, you’re absolutely right. Being lied to hurts. Um, and repeated lies undermine the existing trust and connection and admiration. You have for her and, and even the relationship itself. So I think you need to let her know that last part, maybe even read her what you wrote to me here.

[00:30:56] Brandon Ware: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I was like the way that they wrote that statement was very, you know, empathetic, carefully crafted. And if the partner on the other end is as receptive, then I would imagine, hopefully it results in a fruitful conversation.

[00:31:08] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, you can have a conversation maybe about why she’s hiding or lying when you don’t seem particularly reactive about it.

[00:31:14] Jess O’Reilly: Um, you know, there maybe is a fear or a self consciousness or financially related trauma or shame underlying her behavior. So, yeah, let her know exactly what you said. You’re amazing. But also let her know, you know, your behavior is making me feel however it’s making you feel. Is it making you feel alone or disconnected or hurt or unsure or whatever feelings are coming up for you.

[00:31:34] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, please go have that convo. Next. Okay. My husband spends too much and saves too little. How do I convince him that we need to save for the future? We’re 43 and 45 with two young kids and we don’t even have an RESP, let alone an RRSP. So for, those are Canadian terms. That your RSP is like the American version of the 401k and then our ESP is, uh, savings for education.

[00:31:59] Jess O’Reilly: [00:32:00] Education savings account. Yeah. And when you put money in, the government also contributes some funds so that your kid can use it for college or something, learning in the future, uh, for the, for those who are not Canadian and are not familiar with those. So listen, I could say, Hey, start the conversation, but I would also say maybe prepare first, go to your bank.

[00:32:16] Jess O’Reilly: Or a financial planner to draw up scenarios and put together some plans for you because they’re going to be able to map out, Hey, you’re 43 and 45, which is a bit later to, to start saving for our ESPs and our RSPs, but never, ever too late. It is never, ever too late. I mean, I’m not a financial person, but I would say go to them and they’ll drop different plans to show you how.

[00:32:40] Jess O’Reilly: You may be able to retire or how you’re perhaps able to send your kids to school or support them in some way if that’s, if that’s a goal of yours, which I assume it is because you brought up the R E S P. And I’d also say, you know, I think again, this is a financial side, not the relational side, but use an app to create a budget, right?

[00:32:56] Jess O’Reilly: So there’s an app, like for example, Y N A B. So it stands for you need a budget. So if you don’t have access to a professional right now, use the app. But I will say like in Canada and you’re in Canada, it sounds like most banks will because They want your money, they want you to save, they want you to invest with them, so they will probably draw up scenarios and they have software that will do that, and you can probably even find some on online, but I would say before you go to him to have this conversation, don’t put it off too long, but have some sort of a plan so you can show him what you have in mind.

[00:33:26] Brandon Ware: I’m also wondering because They say, she said at the beginning that they’re saving too little, spending too much. What, what is like, what is it that your goal, what is it that you consider to be a reasonable amount? Because maybe it’s unreasonable and I’m not being critical. Maybe it’s totally reasonable, but as you said, maybe coming forward with two or three different options where it’s like, I’d like to, I like to save this much.

[00:33:48] Brandon Ware: Because then maybe they want to save less and you can find some middle ground or something and at least start the process so you feel a little bit more comfortable. But understanding that I think would be important from the beginning.

[00:33:57] Jess O’Reilly: Yeah, no, that’s a really good point. Absolutely. Okay. [00:34:00] To a younger couple now, they say, actually it’s just one of them writing in.

[00:34:05] Jess O’Reilly: It’s never both, right? We’re moving in soon, 26 and 28 years old, but our spending habits and financial backgrounds are totally different. He’s a cheapskate. Ooh. He still wants to split everything down the middle. I earn more than him and I don’t mind paying more. Is this a red flag? Ooh, so I think this is an opportunity to learn and understand one another better.

[00:34:24] Jess O’Reilly: I don’t think his desire to split things is a red flag, but I do think that maybe the judgment of calling him a cheapskate might be something you want to reflect on because to be fair, maybe it’s just a little bit of lost in translation in terms of how I read the text, right? Sometimes it lacks the tone or the playfulness, but I do hope that you’re starting from a place of respecting your differences because you come from divergent financial backgrounds.

[00:34:49] Jess O’Reilly: And I will say, those of us who maybe didn’t have As much of a financial safety net, we are maybe looking to build more of a financial safety net. Maybe we can’t move back in with our parents. Maybe, you know, we don’t have something to fall back on. So, and I’m not saying that’s the case, but I do know that there’s many reasons why people have different expectations with regard to how they spend their money.

[00:35:10] Jess O’Reilly: And you might see someone as cheap, but they also might just be being careful. So… Mmm, before you move in together, please, talk about money, and do it with a professional if you could use some additional support. And I’ll actually share a few prompts to get you started if you don’t have the support of a professional, or you can take these to your counselor.

[00:35:27] Jess O’Reilly: And you can answer these on your own, kind of jot down your responses, and then come together to share. And these are just some conversation starters. Right? That we, I use with clients. So I’ll read them out to you now. Let me pull them up here. All right.

[00:35:38] Brandon Ware: I think it, I, I think it’s important though, just thinking about her approaching him for the first time and using the word, and maybe it was playful cheapskate, that I would suggest using we statements instead of you statements.

[00:35:51] Jess O’Reilly: It’s like, you’re cheap. Let’s sit, listen, you’re a cheapskate, so let’s talk. Why don’t, why don’t we talk about

[00:35:55] Brandon Ware: what we can, what we can do to save more money, you know?

[00:35:58] Jess O’Reilly: Well, actually, [00:36:00] back to us. Thank you. Thanks. Have you felt like I thought you were cheap at points in time?

[00:36:04] Brandon Ware: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think and my, I don’t think I am cheap.

[00:36:10] Brandon Ware: I think I felt, and I think it came down to judgment. I think it was, I felt like I was being judged. So, you know, what’s funny is I would. I would end up doing the opposite. So because I was afraid of being judged for being cheap, I would actually spend more, give more, tip more, sometimes to the point where I was like, well, just tip the same cost as the meal, but it was, I mean, really, when you think about these are all parts of what I felt were.

[00:36:39] Brandon Ware: We’re me that kind of defined me as opposed to, you know, it being, I know that my actions reflect, you know, who I am, but I just, anyway,

[00:36:47] Jess O’Reilly: I’m sorry if you felt judged by me,

[00:36:49] Brandon Ware: you know what? It’s not that I think I felt judged by me. I don’t think I felt judged by you. Now that I’m reflecting back on the, on the circumstance, on the situations, I think it was my own discomfort

[00:37:01] Jess O’Reilly: and let’s be honest, this was about gender.

[00:37:04] Jess O’Reilly: This is

[00:37:04] Brandon Ware: about masculinity and the problems associated with that and like learning to decouple those, like the toxic masculinity, the, the social pressures, like. It’s one thing to say, Oh, don’t worry about it. Don’t play into it. And it’s like, well, I’m bombarded with these messages so frequently throughout the day that it’s hard to, to, for me to walk away from, but it’s taken time and I still am influenced.

[00:37:27] Brandon Ware: For sure. I am. I’d be lying if I said I would.

[00:37:29] Jess O’Reilly: And your takeaway is don’t start the conversation with, Hey, we’re teasing you

[00:37:36] Jess O’Reilly: too. So I hope. But we do appreciate your question. And I think it’s, I actually really appreciate when people are honest. Yeah. Because someone, me, when I speak, listen, I misspeak all the time. I say things that I think are funny that are not. And so having a mirror held up or somebody kind of calling me in and saying, Hey, maybe you want to consider other language.

[00:37:52] Jess O’Reilly: So let me give you some language to get started in this conversation. So here are some of the questions from this money exercise I do with [00:38:00] clients. What did you learn about money growing up in your household? How did your parents or caregivers talk about money? If there were money related disputes, what were the issues?

[00:38:10] Jess O’Reilly: How were these issues discussed or resolved, if at all? How do you feel about your current financial situation? Do you have a set amount that you plan to save or spend? And of course, not everyone can afford to save and that. Of course, can affect how we relate to money. Do you have a budget? What flexibilities exist in your budget?

[00:38:30] Jess O’Reilly: If you don’t have a budget, can we talk about planning one? Have you thought about merging finances or accounts? Do you want to keep your accounts separate? How will you split expenses? And there was a new study, I was on Global TV this week or last week, talking about This finding that couples who merge their accounts have less conflict about money, more unity in the relationship, and overall happier relationships because fewer conflicts around an intense issue.

[00:38:57] Jess O’Reilly: Uh, but having said that, that doesn’t mean you should say, look, this study showed we need to merge our accounts because there’s no one size fits all approach. Right? There’s different ways that people make their money work. There’s hybrid models where you have a pooled account, but then you have separate accounts for discretionary spending, which I think can be really fun for some couples because it means you can still treat each other, surprise each other, like buy a little gift or take them for dinner if that’s within your budget.

[00:39:21] Jess O’Reilly: And this conversation, these questions, these prompts are really just the beginning. And I know money’s just such a hot button issue. Again, because it’s so personal, it connects so deeply to shame and early family trauma for so many of us. So what’s important is that you start talking and you keep the conversations going.

[00:39:38] Jess O’Reilly: And I do want to add, if you find yourself judging him, this is for anyone, I take a look at why that feeling is coming up for you, right? Why do you think he’s a cheapskate and what does that mean to you and how does it relate to your experiences? of money in relationships. You know, ask yourself how it relates to your financial identity.

[00:39:57] Jess O’Reilly: For example, do you [00:40:00] overspend some time and then feel guilty about it? So you judge people who err on the other side, who don’t spend. Maybe you’re having this reflective or deflective lens. And I’m not saying that’s the case, but just consider how your own money hangups, your own money issues, because we’ve all got them, might lead to judgment that holds you back from really having these conversations and finding common ground as you build this next stage of your life together.

[00:40:22] Brandon Ware: Yeah, which is exciting, right? I mean, it can be a really fun time. It can also be a point where some of the pressure is relieved. Like if you’re both contributing to household expenses or rent, because I mean, things are so expensive right now.

[00:40:34] Jess O’Reilly: Oh, yes. Okay. I have one last question with a short answer. If my new girlfriend hid her credit card and student loan debt from me, Does this qualify as financial infidelity?

[00:40:44] Jess O’Reilly: You want me to answer first? No, my answer is, I don’t know. I need more context. And I don’t think it matters what we call it. I think if you’re having feelings, if you’re feeling betrayed, if you’re feeling like someone has been dishonest with you, whether it’s about money or sex or anything else in your lives, just start talking about it.

[00:41:00] Brandon Ware: I feel so much more empathy when somebody comes to me and is, is vulnerable or is honest where it’s like, if that was the case and I came to you and I’m like, I’m so, I’m so uncomfortable having this conversation, but I want to bring it to your attention because it’s been eating at me for so long. I want to talk about the debt that I have, or I want to talk about the recent spending that I did.

[00:41:19] Brandon Ware: And, um, however you feel, however you feel about it, or I feel about it, then, you know, kind of conveying that to you immediately. I want to meet you where you are. I don’t, I don’t want to freak out. I want to be like, wow, I want to mirror how you’ve come to me emotionally. And I want to say, you know, it’s okay.

[00:41:35] Brandon Ware: We’re going to get through this. Like we’re, we’re going to work through and we’re going to find a solution.

[00:41:39] Jess O’Reilly: You just did three things in a potentially difficult conversation. Like you had that soft startup with, with vulnerability saying, you know what, this is tough for me. And then you. You reaffirmed your commitment, like, I want to make this work.

[00:41:52] Jess O’Reilly: And then you reassured me that it was going to be okay. And I think that if you can use that language, and maybe it feels cheesy to be like, use I statements or, you know, reassure your [00:42:00] partner, but it’s really meaningful in the heat of the moment, especially when you’re angry, especially when you’re triggered, especially when you’re talking about such personal.

[00:42:07] Jess O’Reilly: and intense topics. So I hope some of these questions, some of these prompts, some of the language we’ve shared will lead to more conversations about money because it is a hot button issue. I see relationships struggle and even deteriorate because of a lack of communication around money. It’s not oftentimes about just the money itself.

[00:42:27] Jess O’Reilly: It is about communicating and obviously some of these questions will pertain to your financial situation. Sometimes they won’t. I get that not everybody has the privilege to save or the privilege to make these choices because you’re just trying to get by, but the more you talk about the feelings you attach to money.

[00:42:42] Jess O’Reilly: the better off you are. So we’ll leave it at that. Tell you to, I don’t want to say it this way, go spend your money at Target with Blumi. Um, but if you do want to check out an affordable, good quality, safe silicone, medical grade silicone vibrator, go check out Blumi at Target and we’ll leave it there.

[00:43:02] Jess O’Reilly: Wherever you’re at. I hope you have a great one and you start some sort of meaningful conversation for happier, more fulfilling relationships today.

[00:43:11] Jess O’Reilly: You’re listening to the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast. Improve your sex life, improve your life.