I was married for over 20 years and during that time, I never had the courage to not keep money secrets from my husband. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact I got married at a very young age, and I didn’t know entirely how to handle money communications in the first place. Or perhaps it was because I’d never had the chance to develop my own money personality. Whatever the reason, I learned over the course of 20 years that keeping secrets, telling half-truths, or outright lying about money is one of the worst mistakes you can make in a marriage or committed, life partner relationship.
The Ugly History
When we’d been married for a little over one year, we borrowed several hundred dollars from my father. The next time my husband received a paycheck (he was in the Navy, so we were paid twice monthly), I withdrew the amount we’d borrowed and gave it to my father. That night, my husband got off work, and went to the bank.
When he found all but about $30.00 of his paycheck had been removed, and learned from the bank that I had removed it, he came to my work and spent the next three hours sitting in the car, shining the headlights on my station at the beauty salon and didn’t once come inside.
We’d fought in the past, and I was very familiar with his temper. I became nervous and by the time I left work and joined him in the car, I was terrified. I still did not understand why he was so angry with me. Of course, he every right to be angry, or at least upset, with me. I’d left us with nothing to live on. I made the decision to give all of our money to my father. My husband was forced to go back to my father and borrow that money back. This did not excuse his behavior, but that is another story.
What I learned from that instance was that I had to do everything in my power to keep this kind of situation from arising in the future. I did this by hiding bills, destroying mail, and obtaining secret credit cards to make borrowing from Peter to pay Paul all that much easier.
As a result we were constantly in debt, and on several occasions, I had to come clean with him. These period confessions made life unbearable, as did the secrecy with which I’d forced myself to live.
Reason #1 — Stress
Living a lie about anything, including money, can lead to unnecessary stress, which can cause health problems, mental anxiety and just plain misery for the person forced to keep up the act. It will also cause a false sense of security in the party to whom the lies are told. You spouse will feel the pressure of having to dig you out of the hole, so to speak, when they had no idea there was a problem. It is a shock to the system, which can increase whatever stress they may be feeling from other sources.
Reason #2 — Trust
A long term relationship, marriage or partnership, is based on love and trust. One cannot exist without the other. If you do not trust your partner enough to be honest, about everything, then you do not love your partner as much as you think you do. Period.
Rather than to continue to live a lie on two fronts, it is better to be honest with yourself and look for a healthier relationship once you’ve disengaged from the relationship.
Reason #3 — Financial Health
Bankruptcy is an ugly word, sometimes. Sometimes, it is necessary to get a good, running start when you’re forced to start life over. Life is hard enough without self-sabotaging your financial health by lying to yourself or your spouse about solvency. This can only lead to more borrowing to cover the lies, and more depth to the hole of debt you’re creating. In the end, the lies will damage you financially.
The only way to adequately control your financial and physical health when it comes to dealing with money in a relationship is to be completely honest with yourself and your partner. In the end, whether you’re still together or not, you will be better for it.
Sources: Personal Experience
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