Published in: Banks | Sept. 10, 2019

Hiding Financial Secrets From Your Partner? Here's Why You Should Come Clean


Have you lied about money? Here are three reasons to let your partner know the truth ASAP. 

Financial infidelity is incredibly common. In fact, recent research by The Ascent revealed that 71% of survey respondents in committed relationships have committed at least one instance of financial infidelity. This can include lying about debt, being dishonest about purchases, or even hiding assets. 

Although it is common, financial infidelity can be more than just a minor relationship problem. If you’ve committed it and your partner finds out, it can lead to feelings of betrayal that have far-reaching consequences. 

Woman consoling sulking man.

Image source: Getty Images

When you’ve told a lie about your finances, coming clean is often the best thing to do. Although it may seem daunting to confess your secret to your partner, there are many reasons why revealing it is the best course of action. Here are just a few of those reasons. 

1. To restore trust

Many lies about money come out eventually. Your secret could be revealed if your partner finds the hidden purchase you made, for example, or comes across bills showing you have a lot more debt than you let on. 

If your partner finds out about your money lies before you confess, this will heighten feelings of betrayal and can be incredibly damaging to the future of your union. Confessing before you are caught at least shows that you are trying to be honest and rebuild a strong foundation of sharing. 

When confessing to financial infidelity, you should be ready with an explanation for your behavior and a heartfelt apology. Hopefully, if you are open, honest, and show you are willing to be more transparent going forward, your confession will lead to forgiveness and will be the first step toward building a relationship in which you can both trust each other with financial management. 

2. To resolve the issues that lead to financial infidelity

Most people aren’t financially unfaithful just for the fun of it. You may have felt you had to lie about your purchase because your partner is too controlling or may have downplayed what you owe because you feared judgment from your partner when it comes to your debt.

These aren’t justifications for lying about money. But the fact that you did lie shows there are underlying money issues that need to be addressed if your relationship is going to have a future.

When you make a confession, you should never blame your partner for your financial lies, but instead explain what prompted you to be untruthful. Hopefully, this will open the door to a conversation in which you are able to talk about a new approach to money management that can work better for both of you. 

For example, if you feel so constrained in your relationship that you can’t make any purchases you want, you and your partner can work on a compromise budget or a way that you can each have a little money to spend on whatever you’d like. But you can’t have these discussions about how to find consensus until you both acknowledge that there’s a problem with how money is currently addressed. 

3. To prevent little lies from turning into big lies 

One little lie about money may seem harmless, but one lie has a way of turning into another. If you overspend on purchases and end up in credit card debt, for example, then you may find yourself having to lie about what you owe. Or you may start hiding income to pay off the credit card bills. Before you know it, you may have told so many falsehoods to your partner about your finances that your lies become impossible to keep track of.

Rather than let your situation spiral out of control, come clean to your partner and make a commitment to more transparency in the future. If you really have a spending problem, being more accountable to your partner about finances by telling the truth can help you find a way to overcome that problem together. That way, you can accomplish financial goals that matter to you both, like saving for the future.

Don’t wait to come clean about financial infidelity

The longer you wait to fess up to your partner about your financial lies, the harder it will be to come clean -- and the more betrayed your partner will feel when you’re eventually honest about what’s going on. Set aside time to confess and to talk to your partner ASAP about how you can handle money as a team going forward so that nothing similar happens in the future. 

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