Money“A half truth is a whole lie.” – Yiddish Proverb

Anyone remember the story about Kathy Griffin’s husband sneaking into her wallet, taking her ATM cards and withdrawing money from accounts without her knowledge? The guy is now her ex-husband.

According to a Harris Interactive survey, twenty-four percent of all those currently in a relationship say honesty about finances is more important than honesty about fidelity. Nearly a third of these people in this same survey say they have been dishonest with their partner about spending habits. Remember the post about women paying cash to hide splurges from their husbands?

Or do you recall that first big money fight I had with Jeanine? That hovered in the “white lie” category… what you don’t know won’t hurt you? Or can it hurt your relationship? The USA Today reported recently that money and fidelity go hand in hand:

In the wake of the revelations regarding former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s trysts with high-dollar call girls, couples — especially women — were giving their own relationships the once-over. In online chats and call-in radio programs, the discussions followed a common theme: “What would I do if that happened to me? Surely I would have had a clue it was coming. And anyway, how could he spend serious money on an affair or a prostitute — or on anything else, for that matter — without my knowing?”

How indeed. Many couples commit monetary deceit in their marriages. Someone lies about finances or doesn’t share the details. It can be innocuous, such as fudging on the cost of purchases or hiding a spending spree. Or it could be more significant, such as having a secret credit card or bank account, serious enough to be considered what some relationship experts call “financial infidelity.”

But what constitutes deceit? Take this quiz and find out. Bankrate lists 5 reasons why spouses financially ‘cheat’:

1. Lack of trust in spouse.
2. Reluctance to share with spouse.
3. Compulsion to lie because you don’t feel entitled to buy things for yourself.
4. Spouse doesn’t feel you’re entitled to buy things for yourself.
5. Inability to problem-solve together about money matters.

Wouldn’t these reasons be eliminated by communicating with our spouse? The key is to keep each other involved and this requires talking about money. Bankrate elaborates:

Cheating may be the presenting issue, but underneath it, it usually has something to do with ongoing lack of trust, lack of respect or one of us doesn’t have commitment… Open, honest communication about all things financial, including the couple’s money agreements, can help two people rebuild their relationship together. It’s in the dark places, from secret spending to hidden account balances, that doubt and suspicion take root and grow.

Just ask Kathy Griffin… or maybe you’d like to tell us your own story. Have you ever kept a “money” secret from your spouse? Feel free to comment below.