It's easy to do, right? Just a little white lie here and there about where that new handbag came from or how much that designer dress cost... We're all guilty of it from time to time, but I recently heard about a case that takes the concept of lying to your partner about money to the absolute extreme.Last week, my boyfriend was telling me about a post on Reddit's personal finance forum that he'd seen about a woman who had been lying to her partner about money for five years. The couple were struggling financially; both were working full-time jobs and struggling to cover their rent and bills each month.
But one day, completely innocently, the guy looked over his girlfriend's shoulder while she was logged into online banking and - boom - he found out she had a hidden trust fund. One to the tune of £100,000; money that she'd not mentioned to him once.
He was shocked by this revelation to say the least. Why keep this money a secret from your long-term partner? This is an especially pertinent question at a time when that extra cash would make such a difference to their lives. She justified it by saying she had a 'right' to 'financial privacy', but I disagree - if you're in a serious relationship and money is a problem, it's completely unjustifiable to hide a lifeline like this from your beloved partner.
Intrigued by this jaw-dropping story, I started looking for data about financial ingenuity in relationships, wanting to know how widespread this kind of peculiar behaviour is.
Image: Simon Cunningham via Flickr
Well, as it turns out, it's happening all the time in the UK. According to recent research conducted by OnePoll, 1.4 million people in Britain hold a 'secret' credit card - one kept purely to conceal spending from their loved ones. Meanwhile, the survey also revealed that 1 in 3 people "go to great lengths" to hide purchases from their other half. Surprising, right?
According to the survey, residents of the West Midlands are the worst culprits with 35% of people from this part of the country admitting they hide purchases from their partner. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland are the most honest of the lot with 63% of those asked claiming they have never concealed a purchase.
And Brits seem to be so worried about keeping their secret spending just that - secret - that another survey conducted last year showed that one in five respondents admitted they'd rather reveal the number of people they've slept with before confessing the full extent of their spending habits to a partner.
As much as I can appreciate that finances should be private to some extent, and that individuals have a right to be considered separately from their partners, I just can't imagine keeping a secret credit card or putting lots of effort into hiding big purchases from my partner on a regular basis. I certainly wouldn't dream of hiding £100,000 from him!
There might be the occasional half-truth about exactly how much that pair of shoes set me back, just as I'm sure there are a few reconfigurations about how much that brand new, special edition Xbox game cost my boyfriend. But when it comes to the big, serious things like housing and utilities, I think I'll keep away from this West Midlands trend and stick to a policy of honesty in my relationship.
Do you lie to your partner about money? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Read more of my work at www.takeontheroad.com.