Money is a loaded topic, and many people grow up conditioned not to discuss it. It can make for uncomfortable conversations, certainly, and it’s not advisable to disclose all the details of your financial life, but many people are taking the secrecy too far. In fact, forty percent of Americans now admit to lying outright to their partner about money, or to having a secret credit card or bank account. All these acts of “financial infidelity” can be damaging to a relationship because, regardless of the degree to which they are dishonest, they represent a choice to be deceitful rather than truthful.
So, why are people so apt to lie about money? Well, as with many things, being completely transparent with another person can feel vulnerable, leaving us open to judgment. Conversely, deception allows us to avoid discomfort and maintain the status quo in a relationship. With financial disputes consistently listed in the top reasons for divorce, it’s no wonder 15 million Americans are hiding secret credit cards and bank accounts.
Of course, this behavior isn’t healthy. If you find yourself committing some level of financial infidelity, it is vitally important to uncover the source of your dishonesty – shame, pride, fear or otherwise – in order to have a healthy relationship moving forward.