Are you completely open and honest about where you spend your money with your partner? If you are…congratulations! You are honoring your relationship. Are you hiding money secrets in your relationship? You are screwing up your relationship, even if you think that it is harmless.
Little White Lies about Money in your Relationship
I had a conversation the other day with a client. We were talking about money and for some people, it is harder to talk about money than it is to talk about sex. Teresa (not her real name) was very uncomfortable admitting that she is not up front and honest with her husband about where the money goes.
“I shouldn’t have to account for all of my money. I earn my own income” was her rationalization. Even though each member of a couple may earn separate incomes, this way of thinking is full of pitfalls.
“I don’t need to tell him when I spend $5 on a latte.” No, you don’t need to be that explicit…however, if you haven’t sat down and discussed how much disposable income you have (after bills and necessities are paid), you are in essence not being completely honest with your partner.
The Money Lies
Are you guilty of any of these money lies?
- You buy clothes/shoes, take the tags off and hide your purchase deep inside your closet…then you bring it out and say “This old thing? I have had it forever”
- You spend cash because it is harder to keep track of it and feel like you are getting away with something
- You don’t acknowledge the debt that you have created or share that knowledge with your partner
- You say that you spend less than you do; you round it down in order to make it appear less expensive
- You buy on an installment plan and don’t tell
- You secretly don’t think that it is any of your partner’s business how much money you spend
- You lie about sticking to the budget that you have both agreed on
There are more…aren’t there?
What do Money Secrets Say About Your Relationship
Here is the problem that is created about lying about money, even in small ways, in your relationship.
- It indicates a lack of trust in the relationship
- It indicates a lack of commitment in the relationship
- It indicates a lack of caring, on a deep level, for the other person
- It indicates a lack of respect for yourself and for the other person
- It indicates a lack of fidelity in the relationship, sometimes termed financial infidelity
Do you think that having a lack of trust, commitment, caring, and respect is harmful to a relationship? It is…isn’t it? If you have even one of those aspects in your relationship, it can cause a big enough crack so that the relationship will not survive.
Coming Clean with Your Partner about Your Money Secrets
In order to repair the damage that keeping money secrets in your relationship can do, you need to acknowledge them…first to yourself and then to your partner. If you are lying to yourself about the extent of lying that you are doing, it will be almost impossible to come clean to your partner.
Make a list of all of the areas that you have been keeping secrets about money. There might not be many, there may be a lot…
If you are the partner who is on the receiving end of someone who is keeping secrets from you about money, you will need to talk to them about it, in a way that is kind. A lot of emotions can get stirred up when you are talking about money, so here are some tips about when to do it.
Make sure that you broach the subject when neither of you are tired or hungry
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed…if necessary, go to a public place if you are concerned that it might lead to an argument
You might want to have a third person present, a trusted confidante of both you and your partner, if you are really concerned about their reaction to the news you’re presenting
Take a deep breath and remember that you are talking about numbers…take the emotion out of it…keep calm and carry forward
It can be painful to discuss money secrets, especially if you have created debt that your partner does not know about…nothing can be gained by lying, though. Relationships can recover from financial infidelity, if both partners are willing to work through them and be forgiving.
It takes time to rebuild that trust, that commitment, that respect, that deep level of caring and that feeling of financial fidelity…and you can do it…yes, you really can…
Forgive yourself, forgive your partner and make a pledge: “NO MORE SECRETS”.
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