Cheating on a spouse takes more forms than just the physical variety. Financial cheating is certainly among the most common and damaging, and experts increasingly offer useful advice and data about its realities.

Opinion poll shows the other partner is usually the cheater

Every two years, the National Endowment for Financial Education works with the polling research firm Harris Poll to find out about financial infidelity among American couples.

The most recent found that 75% of adults say financial cheating has hurt their current relationship. However, only 41% said they, not the other person, were to blame for the financial deceit.

The survey asked those who admitted to committing financial infidelity why they did it, and 36% explained that some financial things are private and not even their romantic partner has a right to know. About a quarter said they did it because they felt sure the other person would judge them. And about one in six said that they were nervous about their finances or embarrassed by them and did not want their partner to know.

How and why some financial cheaters cheat

A pioneering academic study systematically looked at the behavior of financial cheaters and identified some of the specific shopping behaviors they used. Such shoppers tried to avoid shopping in name-brand stores and often bought products in plain unbranded packaging. They also tried to get individual instead of joint credit cards or just used cash.

These researchers suggested that this and many other details they uncovered might be useful to anyone trying to help couples stay together, or retail businesses could use the information to attract shoppers from the financially cheating set.

They also cautioned readers to remember that anyone using these concealment strategies could be hiding their behavior from physically or emotionally violent partners or partners who use finances as a means of abusive control. Also, cultural attitudes vary about women making financial transactions or handling money, and retailers could also learn to serve those shoppers better.