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Money: How These Secrets are Screwing Up Your Relationship


Money Secrets

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”.


"Drive your own life…you deserve to, don't you?"  Sherie Venner
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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Designer Rob Russo March 17, 2012, 10:40 am

    My wife and I try not to keep any secrets. Especially about money. Stresses with finances can be the source of huge problems within couples. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sherie March 17, 2012, 10:42 am

      …and that is one of the signs of a great relationship!! Awesome, Rob, and thank you for your thoughts and your comment! : D

  • Lori March 10, 2012, 7:46 am

    You bring up a lot of good things in this article. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Sherie March 10, 2012, 10:33 am

      Thank you, Lori, I appreciate your comment!

  • Anita March 8, 2012, 6:10 am

    What an interesting take on an age old problem! I will certainly be sharing your wisdom!

    • Sherie March 8, 2012, 10:46 am

      Thank you, Anita, I appreciate you doing that! : D

  • Stacy March 8, 2012, 4:46 am

    You’ve made some great points. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sherie March 8, 2012, 10:45 am

      Thank you, Stacy, I appreciate you reading the post and commenting!

  • Sarah David March 7, 2012, 10:22 pm

    Sherie, you bring up some very good points. Financial challenges seem to be prevalent in many relationships and making this a part of the routine discussion would really help keep everyone on track on and on the same page. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sherie March 7, 2012, 10:40 pm

      Yes,making it a routine part of discussion and clarifying what both people want is necessary. Thank you for your comment, Sarah!

  • Suzanne Jones March 7, 2012, 7:07 pm

    Good article to attack. It is too bad when this has to happen. Honesty is honesty. It would be so much easier to fess up and be done with it then the weight is lifted, pressure gone and recovery can begin. The sooner the better.

    • Sherie March 7, 2012, 7:25 pm

      Yes, the sooner the better! Thanks for your comment, Suzanne, I appreciate it!

  • Sara Nickleberry March 7, 2012, 9:39 am

    I admit I used to hide clothing purchases 🙂 I don’t do that anymore. Because I didn’t like when he’d come home with electronic gadgets either! Live and learn.

    • Sherie March 7, 2012, 10:30 am

      Totally, Sara, live and learn! Love it! Thanks for the comment!

  • Tara Geissinger March 7, 2012, 8:54 am

    I’ve never really understood how people can lie to each other about money when they are in a committed relationship. Then again, I’m not a big fan of “my money” and “your money” type relationships either! 🙂 My husband is a CFP, so he handles our finances, and I’m okay with that. We talk about any purchase that would be over $100 or so and that keeps us in line. Great post!

    • Sherie March 7, 2012, 8:56 am

      Those are great strategies to have, Tara! Yes, it can be surprising how many people lie about money in a committed relationship. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon! Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it!

  • Lorii March 7, 2012, 8:44 am

    good advice Sherie!

    • Sherie March 7, 2012, 8:50 am

      Thank you, Lorii!

  • denny hagel March 7, 2012, 7:44 am

    What an interesting topic! I would guess most people would categorize lies about money as white lies which in my mind are just lies with an excuse attached. Because we own and operate our own family business (I am the bookkeeper!) there is no room or reason to not be forthright about spending! Thanks for sharing!

    • Sherie March 7, 2012, 8:50 am

      Thank you for your comment, Denny! I agree that white lies are still lies. Sounds like you have a great strategy for your money, way to go!

  • Rob Hodgins March 6, 2012, 6:00 am

    Money lies are still lies. And it’s fascinating to realize that people ARE far and away more honest about everything in their lives except their use of, and attitudes about, money.

    I think that people lie about money because it is so…countable. It can be quantified where other aspects of a relationship cannot. And people face a disconnect when attempting to make a comparison.

    “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.”

    This is so true. And relationships can only get stronger by working through the lies.

    • Sherie March 6, 2012, 9:23 am

      They are still lies. That is an interesting point, Rob, that people lie about money because it is quantifiable. Yes, if people acknowledge the lies and work on them and pledge to have no more secrets, relationships can get stronger than they were before. Thank you so much for your very insightful comment!