You don’t want to shout your money problems from the rooftops. You’d rather keep that “embarrassing” information under wraps. No one needs to know that your savings account is almost empty or that your credit cards are maxed out — not even your significant other.
It’s understandable that you don’t want to announce this uncomfortable truth to everyone, but you should reconsider hiding it from your closest relationships. Keeping your money issues a secret could hurt you in the long run.
Keeping your money problems a secret from your partner is called financial infidelity. It’s often compared to cheating on a partner romantically because both acts erode the trust in a relationship and risk a breakup. It may not be a torrid affair, but it’s still an emotional betrayal, nonetheless. Here are some examples of financial infidelity:
- Hiding a poor credit score
- Hiding debt
- Secret credit cards and bank accounts
- Making large purchases and keeping them secret
Essentially, you know that these secrets could upset your partner and even affect their own financial security, but you keep them in the dark because you’re afraid of the consequences. And you’re not the only one. A poll from Rates.ca found that 1 in 5 people are committing financial infidelity across the country. But, just because it’s a popular habit, that doesn’t mean that you should be doing it.
Much like other types of fidelity, there is a chance that your partner will find out. If you’re hiding purchases, they might discover a hidden stash of shopping bags at the back of your closet. If you’re hiding a lot of debt, they might notice the bills and the collection calls. If you’re hiding a poor credit score, they might notice when you decide to rent an apartment, get a mortgage, or buy a new car together.
What Can You Do?
The first thing that you can do is start tackling your money problems. If you have a poor credit score, you can sign up for credit counselling and make changes to slowly bring the score up. If you have a lot of debt, you can look into consumer proposal services in Ontario — this is may be a better debt management option than filing personal bankruptcy. A consumer proposal lowers your debt load and allows you to keep your assets, including vehicles and properties.
Doing this proves that you’re taking the initiative to solve your financial problems because it’s the right thing to do — not because your partner told you to.
The next thing that you have to do is talk to your partner about your debt or other money issues, and try to be as open and honest as possible. They may be angry or upset. Try to be understanding and remember that you’re sharing this with them because you want your relationship to work. If necessary, you may want to sign up for couples’ counselling with a specialist.
Money is an important part of your relationship. You need it to pay the bills. You need it to plan a future together. So, hiding your money problems could dissolve your partner’s trust and push them away from you.