News broke this week that Larry King will be getting his eighth divorce due to a supposed affair with his sister-in-law. Reports are also being made the King’s wife, Shawn Southwick, committed adultery as well. King is also reported to have given Southwick’s sister over $100K in gifts, including an expensive car. From ABC News:
“On Wednesday, King filed for divorce for the eighth time (he married wife Alene Akins twice), this time from Shawn Southwick, 50, with whom he has two children, Chance and Cannon King. Later the same day, Southwick also filed for divorce. Both spouses claimed irreconcilable differences.”
These accusations carry with them the baggage of previous failed relationships and an attitude that appears to treat relationships as impermanent; as well as a penchant for financial infidelity. While most of us will likely not be faced with such extravagant, extreme acts in our relationships, that doesn’t mean we can’t fall subject to these things – financial infidelity – on a smaller scale. In fact here’s how I describe financial infidelity in my book of the same name, when I see it in most of my clients (who aren’t throwing about $100K on their spouses siblings!).
It can be as simple and mundane as keeping $20 for yourself when you go to deposit a check or it can be as complicated and public as keeping a woman in every city – or even just one city! The basic idea underlying financial infidelity is that it’s something you’re trying to keep from your significant other. To some, a $20 withdrawal may not be a big deal but if that’s beyond what you’ve discussed in your personal relationship as being over the limit then it’s a form of financial infidelity.
We see the extreme behavior frequently from people in the public eye, but in my research I’ve found that anyone in facing stress, separation or loss is susceptible to this behavior and, let’s face it, nowadays who among us isn’t a little stressed. I call it the Biochemical Craving for Connection, and I treat it as an addiction. For instance, for any addict, the choice to self-medicate in any number of ways—with alchohol, medications, sex, or money—can begin with a desire to relieve stress or mute depression. The addiction then progresses to a preoccupation with where their next “fix” will come from, and often involves a strong desire to create rituals around obtaining the “high.” This preoccupation becomes a compulsion—to use drugs or alcohol, or to have sex, or to shop—followed by depression and despair as the effects wear off, leading to the start of the cycle all over again.
Fortunately, I believe any relationship can be saved and while it appears that Larry King and his wife have already drawn their lines in the sand, the same doesn’t have to happen if you’re experiencing similar circumstances. There are numerous techniques on how to deal with these situations, many of which can be found in my book Make Up Don’t Break Up. Communication with your partner is key in resolving these issues – and in preventing them from happening again!

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