Sometimes, money can bring out the worst in people. Partners get divorced over it, family members don’t speak to each other, and even colleagues can become jealous of another’s fortune. So, it might be understandable if a person wishes to keep their wealth a secret.

However, how long should they keep that secret from their significant other? This is the dilemma the author of this story ran into. She came into a lot of money before meeting her husband but hasn’t told him even after five years of marriage. So, she went to Reddit to seek some advice. To tell or not to tell?

Winning a lottery can be a blessing and a curse: some people may be afraid to tell their loved ones out of fear that the relationship might change

Image credits: Erik Mclean / Unsplash (not the actual photo)

This woman asked the Internet whether she should finally tell her husband of 5 years about her wealth

Woman Readies Self To Tell Husband Of Her Wealth, Stops When He Drops A Bombshell On Her

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Image credits: Kaitlyn Baker / Unsplash (not the actual photo)

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Financial infidelity can cause a serious rift between people in a marriage

Financial therapists and experts refer to these types of situations as financial infidelity. Most claim that it’s not a must to combine your bank accounts, but keeping secrets is a huge red flag and can potentially lead to a breakup or even separation.

Financial planner Aaron Graham agrees. He told CNBC that hiding secrets about money from your spouse is simply not productive. “Relationships are built on trust, and violating that trust is not only bad for the relationship but unfair to your partner.”

So then why do people do it? Surely, they must know that their partner will feel betrayed after finding out. The most obvious reasons have to do with more significant secrets a partner might be keeping: addiction, affair, or just doing it to spite your spouse.

But from the OP’s story, it seems there were different reasons. AARP writes that self-preservation can be a common factor. One spouse might not feel safe enough in the marriage to disclose their true financial situation, or they just might not trust their partner as much.

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The best way to break the news is to be honest and not delay

When you’re as deep in your lie as the OP was, it might seem difficult to approach the subject with your partner. Financial planner Taylor Kovar from The Money Couple has some sound advice. He advises to start by taking a good look at yourself and determining why exactly you did this. After all, you will have to explain your decision to your spouse.

If the reason for the money secret wasn’t related to the partner directly (meaning, not kept out of fear), remember that a partner is a person you trust. “You have to rely on the foundation of trust you’ve built together,” Kovar writes.

However, expect your spouse to be angry. If the scale of the lie is as big as the OP’s, it’s likely the partner won’t be happy. And, lastly, don’t keep the secret for too long. The longer it goes on, the more hurtful it will be for the spouse.

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Couples should have a serious discussion about their finances before making serious commitments

When a couple is getting ready for a serious commitment, like marriage, they should have a conversation about what their financial future should look like. Again – shocker, I know – communication is key. Experts agree that if one person in a couple isn’t upfront about their finances, it may be “nearly impossible” to map out your financial future together.

Erin Lowry of Broke Millennial calls this “getting financially naked.” What does that mean? Simply telling each other how much you earn, how much you save, and how much you owe.

For those who feel this topic might be too awkward, Talaat McNeely, one half of the money-coaching couple behind His & Her Money, recommends starting by talking about yourself to make it more casual.

“Maybe you just paid off a student loan or a bill for the month, so you might say, ‘Man, I’ll be so glad when I’m done with these student loans…Do you have student loans? I’ve got X amount, how about you?’ That’s a way for you to get an understanding or, at least, a glimpse into what you may be getting yourself into if the relationship progresses.”

The people’s opinion was pretty unanimous – the OP was a jerk for not telling her husband

The plot thickens: it appears the husband had a secret of his own

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