The Money Secrets You Should Never Keep in a Relationship

Jealousy, cheating, couple

A husband keeping secrets from wife | Source: iStock

Some relationships are full of secrets and lies. Those secrets often pertain to personal finances. A recent report found roughly 13 million Americans have a hidden bank or credit card account. If you’re being financially unfaithful, it’s only a matter of time before those secrets catch up to you. Therapist Sunny Shulkin said the best way to put an end to financial infidelity is to be truthful and reveal your money secrets so that trust can re-enter the relationship:

Eventually, the [romantic feelings] wear off and the differences between us pile up. He sees my spending as frivolous; I see his scrimping as choosing money over my emotional well-being. Our worlds become awash in our differences. Financial infidelity is about the inevitable power struggle we will have over money and the way out of that struggle toward reclaiming the trust and safety we once had for the asking.

If you want to keep your relationship intact, it’s time to start telling the truth. Here is some financial dirty laundry you need to air out.

You’re paying child support for a child you never mentioned

If a large chunk of your money is going toward child support, you need to say something. It will eventually become difficult to keep a secret like this because your spouse will start to wonder why the household finances are always so tight. It would be in your best interest to mention any children from a previous relationship. Secrets like this usually don’t go over very well if they’re uncovered accidentally.

“The bottom line is this: if we do not feel financially safe and secure in our primary relationships, we cannot experience financial intimacy. In order to be truly financially intimate, we must first learn how to openly and honestly communicate about money while safely expressing our hopes, fears, needs, and desires,” said therapist Deborah Price. 

 You have a spending problem

Stacks of money being spent

Stacks of money being spent | Source: Thinkstock

Do you shop a lot and can’t seem to stop? If you make frequent purchases and feel the need to hide them in your closet or garage, you may have a problem with spending. If your spending is out of control, you should let your partner know what is going on so you can both work on getting help. A shopping addiction, if not addressed, can ruin your financial life. Come clean and work on a plan to help you get a handle on spending. One resource worth checking out is Stopping Overshopping, which features an online center and group coaching.

“The average American suffers from an excess of choice and a self-imposed mandate to ‘keep up with the Joneses.’ Meanwhile, the Joneses are drowning in credit card debt as nearly 24% of families are unable to pay off their credit card balances in full and most have bills that are at least 30 days past due,” said therapist Bonnie Eaker Weil.

You have an expensive hobby or secret lifestyle

If you secretly spend your time after work at the gentlemen’s club or you’re spending your paycheck on subscriptions to adult websites, this may eventually result in a money drain that could become harder to conceal. If you feel the need to hide these activities from your spouse, you may need to have a bigger conversation about how you spend your free time and explore why you feel the need to hide this part of your life. Sometimes financial infidelity is an outgrowth of a bigger problem in your relationship. You may discover you’ve both been feeling disconnected from each other and have been searching for something outside the marriage to fill the void.

“Bad financial lovemaking can be worse than bad sex: it can be driven by selfishness, deceit, or manipulation. As in a sexual relationship, a financially intimate relationship is no place to put misguided trust, because bad financial and sexual choices can ruin your life,” said Dr. Boyce Watkins.

Consider counseling so you can both get to the root of the problem. Get your issues resolved now before you have a much more expensive financial problem to deal with later on: divorce.

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