After you find your special someone, the thought of physically or emotionally cheating on them will seem like an impossibility. But there’s another form of infidelity that can be just as damaging. Committing financial infidelity is a form of hiding and cheating that can be as dangerous as any other form. According to recent survey, almost 30 million Americans hide spending, credit cards, checking and savings accounts from their partners. That’s about 1 in 5 Americans.

Why people lie about finances

People lie about finances for a variety of reasons. Some have spending habits they aren’t proud of and others feel the need to keep information hidden. Whatever the reasons, this can be a big problem in trust and communication.

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In some instances, people in the survey felt that they are insecure about how much income they bring to the table or how much debt they have. These people may hide their spending, have hidden accounts or debt that their partners aren’t aware of.

This can be especially stressful when your partner makes a lot more or less than you do. If you make a lot more and like to buy expensive things, this may make your partner insecure. If you make less than your partner, you may feel guilty shopping and spending money.

Another cause for concern is when you and your partner aren’t on the same page financially. One of you is a saver and the other is a spender. One of you has a specific financial goal in mind and you spend with no regard to this goal. Some people may keep saving a secret if they are insecure in their relationship. They may fear a divorce or separation will cause financial turmoil. A hidden savings account can seem like a lifeline or security blanket in trying times.

Whatever the reason people may have for doing this, lying and keeping secrets isn’t worth the temporary avoidance of a tough conversation.

The damage lying can do

Lying is always harmful to our partners and ourselves. When someone lies about how much they make or how much they spend, it can be difficult for the other person to trust them again on other fronts. Lying can make your partner fearful that you aren’t ever telling the truth. They may not know when you’re being honest or when you’re hiding something.

If you’re being lied to, it can be hard to trust that you and your partner are on the same page. You may be saving for one thing and your partner is secretly spending on something else. This can be an uneasy feeling and one that’s hard to shake.

How to open up

Luckily, this problem isn’t one that can’t be fixed. By opening up the lines of communication with one another, you can create a safe place to share your needs and goals. If you can’t trust your partner enough to tell them the truth about your debt, spending or concerns, then communication may be a bigger issue.

By being honest and open you both can share where you’re at financially and where you’d like to be. You can set achievable goals to pay off debt or save more. Start small and tackle the lowest hanging fruit first. Once you’re open about your finances you can hold each other accountable and help each other when problems arise. Focusing on a big goal by tackling smaller ones, you’ll both feel the rewards of working together. Maybe you want to buy a home together, put a child through college, get married or pay off your mortgage. Whatever your goals, doing them together is going to be the key to achieving them.

Take secrets and lies out of your relationship and you’ll both feel better about tackling finances together.