Do you remember when your parents once told you that there are three things that shouldn’t be discussed at the dinner table… money, religion and politics?

In this case, money is definitely a topic that can ruffle some feathers depending on what the conversation is. That is exactly what happened when a photo of a scantily dressed woman posted on social media with a story that read:

While we’ve all heard stories about sexual infidelity, financial infidelity is an actual thing.

The definition is when couples with combined finances lie to each other about money. Examples of financial infidelity can include hiding existing debts, excessive expenditures without notifying the other partner, and lying about the use of money.

Money is a sensitive topic between two individuals and if both partners are not on the same page, financial issues can often lead to the couple splitting up or being disappointed in the relationship. This can be considered a serious breach of trust.

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Some might argue that it is okay for a stay-at-home wife to have her own nest egg as marriage insurance, considering women bare the brunt of the house management and childcare.

Houston-based licensed relationship therapist and co-founder of Melanin and Mental Health Eboni Harris has some advice for couples who may be in this situation.

Here are eight points Harris shared on the matter:

  • Honesty and transparency are extremely important in a relationship, so having a secret account goes against what I believe to be a foundational part of a marriage.
  • While there are valid reasons to have a secret account, those are rare. I advise clients to have joint accounts for bills, savings and investments while keeping a separate account for personal expenses, dates and gifts.
  • Everyone is aware of the separate accounts but that does not mean they have full access to the separate accounts and may not know exactly how much is in the account.
  • I would be curious about the reason for the secret account. Is it a lack of trust in your spouse because you fear they would feel entitled to your funds? Or is it to protect yourself because you don’t believe you will be together much longer or just in case?
  • In these situations, you should check to see if this is about your spouse’s behavior or some previous childhood or relationship experiences that have led you to these fears.
  • If your spouse has done something that has led you to feel a need to do this, you can communicate that to them and let them know you have the account, but due to previous issues, you don’t feel comfortable talking about the details.
  • You also may want to seek counsel to see if that fear is something you can get past with your spouse or if it is based on previous experiences.
  • The two instances I feel like it is ok to have a secret account are if you are being financially manipulated/abused or if you are in an abusive relationship and need to save money to leave safely. If either is the case, you should definitely seek counseling and create a safe plan to leave the relationship.

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Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...