Honey I Shrunk the Budget: Letting Your Spouse Know You're in Debt

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Ever hear of “financial infidelity”? That’s when you hide a debt issue from a spouse, and it’s a toxic poison that eats away at even the most stable marriage.

The good news is that you can do something about it – as long as you’re committed to being open and honest about the problem.

Don’t doubt for a minute how high the stakes are with financial infidelity. Study after study shows that money - or lack of it – is a huge factor in the success of a marriage, especially a new one.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a marriage is at its most fragile during the first five years.

In fact, 20% of all divorces occur within those first five years. Another study from Forbes Women and the National Endowment for Financial Education, 31% of spouses have lied to their partners about money.

“A third of the population admits to not being honest with their spouse,” says NEFE chief executive Ted Beck, in a statement. “That is a big number. These indiscretions cause significant damage to the relationship.”

The need to deceive a spouse about financial problems is a huge issue, and one that grows worse the longer the deception lasts. But spouses who hide debt apparently can’t bring themselves to open and up and admit the problem, primarily because they know the rift it may cause in the relationship, and partly out of shame and/or guilt.