Every. Couple. Lies. "Oh, not in my relationship," you say? Shut up, liar. We all deliver tiny lies at some point. Benign stuff. Financial lies, however... That's cancerous territory.
CreditCards.com randomly surveyed 843 adults (a very precise number) in relationships and found that approximately 6% had maintained secret bank accounts or credit cards unbeknownst to their partner. The percentage sounds small but NBC does the math: That's approximately 7.2 million Americans committing financial infidelity, a term that sounds overdramatic but quite accurately pinpoints the fact that when it comes to money in your relationship, you're shady as shit.
One in five surveyed had spent $500 or more on a purchase without informing their partner. Contrary to popular assumptions, this isn't just a matter of ladies buying shoes behind their husbands' backs: Men were almost twice as likely as women to make major purchases without informing their significant other. (Because the wife will never understand why the man cave needs that cherry-stained beech wood foosball table with twelve drawers. Six drawers are enough.)
This bit on specific purchases doesn't sound great, but whether or not the spending is bad news depends on how you have your household finances organized. Unlike the sketchy bank account stuff, spending isn't necessarily a matter of secrecy (though it certainly can be). In addition to our joint account for all of our expenses, my husband knows I have our own separate bank accounts. We both know exactly how much of our paychecks go to those private accounts, which we refer to as our "play money" because we're twelve years old. Beyond that, it's very DADT; if one of us makes a pricey personal purchase with the play money, there's no expectation or need to share that information with one another. We're not keeping secrets, we're just not checking in. So sure, I've made a couple of purchases over $500 without informing ol' husbandpants, because it's from my account. And I know he's done the same, because I got home from work before he did and saw the giant Amazon box waiting on our front porch.
Paula Levy, a marriage and family therapist in Connecticut who's also a certified public accountant, says it's common for couples to keep at least some financial secrets from each other.
"In most cases, the secret is mostly to avoid conflict and to make sure they get what they want," she says.
Yes, well, money is inherently about getting what you want, from food and shelter to vacations and retirement. We lie for the exact same reason: to get what we want or avoid doing whatever it is we don't want to do. Money and lies go together hand in glove, just like you and your darling partner.
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