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I was financially unfaithful to my partner

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People lie for all sorts of reasons, and lying about money is no exception. Perhaps you, too, have told a white lie or two about your finances when you’ve gone out for a meal with a friends or shown off a new purchase to your significant other. You’re in good company: More than 40% of Americans who combine finances with a partner have been dishonest about their money, according to a survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education conducted last year. Whether those individuals hid money from a spouse or lied about debt, their reasons for lying ranged from being embarrassed about their financial standing to thinking they deserved a modicum of privacy, even in a relationship.

When couples lie about their finances, it can be the result of “speaking different financial languages,” according to personal finance expert and author Tarra Jackson. Hiding the truth can feel like the easier choice. “Sometimes they’re saying the same thing, but because they’re speaking in different languages, it just sounds different to them,” she says. “So they fight.”

We spoke to Jackson and others about their reasons for lying about finances—and how they try to stay financially honest now.

Jackson experienced exactly the financial miscommunication she describes when she was in a live-in relationship with someone whose approach to money was diametrically opposite to hers. A self-proclaimed spender, Jackson spent years indulging her spending habits. She was “financially promiscuous” with her credit card, usually dropping her money on food, alcohol, and technology. Jackson says she also did a lot of “guilt spending,” lavishing her son with gifts because she worked a lot and didn’t spend enough time with him. “I would overspend and buy him gifts, but he didn’t want the gifts—he just wanted to be next to mommy,” she says.

The act of spending money brought Jackson pleasure—and it still does—but that wasn’t the case for her partner. “My significant other was more of a saver,” she says. “He needed the security and the control of saving and being on a budget. We actually lived together, so we had a lot of conflict about spending and saving money. He would always chastise me and say, ‘You spend too much.’ Because we’d argue so much, I retaliated by spending more.”

To avoid conflict, it became easier to lie about her spending than to be honest and face the music. “Although he needed the money to feel........

© Fast Company