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    These Stories About Financial Secrets In Relationships Are Equal Parts Sad And Shocking

    "I wish I had seen the money issue for the red flag that it was and ended things then."

    Keeping secrets in a relationship can be a serious trust killer, especially when it comes to money.

    Starz / Via giphy.com

    Lots of couples fight about money, so it's understandable why some people try to hide potentially upsetting money matters from their partners. But secrets can only stay buried for so long. When the truth comes out, some financial secrets can be absolutely devastating. 

    So I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share how financial secrets have affected their relationships. Here are their stories:

    1. "My ex-husband and I both contributed financially, but he was always in charge of the bills. Turns out, he wasn’t paying them. Our electricity got shut off, resulting in our sump pump turning off and our finished basement flooding."

    A bucket of water in a flooded basement
    Catherine Mcqueen / Getty Images

    "There was thousands of dollars in damage, our furniture was ruined, and we had to totally gut our beautiful basement. Oh, then a day later, my car got repossessed because he wasn’t making the payments. What he spent all that money on I will never know. I filed for divorce shortly after and have been financially independent and thriving ever since!"

    theformermrsbutterworth

    2. "About six months into our relationship, my partner told me about a bunch of outstanding payday loans she had. She was always pretty vague about the exact total, but assured me she had it under control with a payment plan."

    "Fast-forward three years to the birth of our son, and I find a bunch of final notice letters stuffed behind our dresser. She'd taken out more loans without either consulting or telling me first. She owed thousands of pounds, and even worse, she'd used most of it to gamble and lost it. She hadn't paid rent or utilities in months, so I had to use my savings to pay off the arrears. 

    After that, we agreed that until I could trust her, I'd handle the finances and I'd give her an 'allowance' to pay for her bills/loans/living costs. I probably would've been more easygoing had this happened when it was just the two of us, but we're responsible for the safety and well-being of our son now, so reckless spending and gambling affects him too."

    —anonymous

    3. "My ex-partner and I were looking to buy a house together and his behavior was concerning me. He never wanted to go past the viewing stage. It was only when we found one we really liked that he said he couldn’t get a mortgage as he was thousands of pounds in credit card debt."

    ABC / Via giphy.com

    "We split up eventually. His debt wasn’t the reason for the split, but I definitely felt differently about how secure our future would be from then on."

    —anonymous

    4. "My ex didn't reveal that he had over $10K in debt to me until a year into the relationship. Once he did, he expected me to pay for all the lavish things he wanted to do, even though I constantly asked to stay home and just chill."

    "He was addicted to buying figures and continued racking up debt despite me trying to help by paying some of it back. In the end, his selfishness and my naivety put me in debt. I realized it was only ever going to get worse and ended things."

    —anonymous

    5. "I had been dating a guy for about six months and he still hadn't invited me over to his place. I was kind of suspicious, thinking the worst, like he had a secret wife or children or something."

    Woman looking suspiciously at a man while he texts on his phone
    Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

    "I pushed and pushed and he always told me he wasn't ready and other excuses. I was extremely suspicious, but eventually he told me the truth. He lived in a beat-up, run down, hole-in-the-wall place. He was on a low income and was embarrassed of how he lived. I wouldn't have cared, but for the longest time I felt betrayed because I came up with the most colorful explanations for why he wasn't budging."

    —anonymous

    6. "My husband and I had been married for about nine months and we hadn't gotten a joint account yet, though we had discussed getting one many times. When COVID hit, my husband decided that we needed to move to a new state so he could get a better job."

    "I figured moving to a new state would be the perfect time to open a joint account. It took me about six months after the move to find a new job, and we still hadn't gotten a joint account. My husband finally admitted that he had put off getting a joint account because he thought if I saw how much money he was making, I wouldn't ever want to go back to work, and that started our first really big fight."

    —anonymous

    7. "I lived with undiagnosed bipolar disorder for decades. During that time, manic episodes would trigger compulsive spending. I would be up at three in the morning applying for credit cards. I ran up thousands of dollars in charges, oftentimes not remembering even buying anything."

    A big pile of packages from online shopping stacked up on a porch
    Cavan Images / Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

    "I would spend hours at the mall shopping, then sit in my room among a sea of bags with no recollection of buying half of it. When I became overwhelmed by patterns of trying to use one card to pay another card, I had to tell my husband. We went through two consolidation loans and one of his annual bonuses before I was finally diagnosed. I felt so much confusion and shame while spending, and he had no idea how close I’d come to serious financial trouble. I thank God every day for mental healthcare and a very supportive husband. I was able to pay off everything and rebuild my credit score within five years. It was not easy, but I am so grateful I had the chance."

    —anonymous

    8. "In my early 20s, I was dating a guy who appeared to be very successful. He was part of a start-up that did custom clothing and sneakers. Everything seemed legit, and he was very focused on the business, always working long hours and meeting investors. Except I just had a feeling that something was missing."

    "Turns out, my gut was right! He and his friends were maxing out credit cards, borrowing money, and defaulting on loans, just to keep up the aesthetic of their 'brand' — which meant throwing parties every weekend and paying to get into VIP clubs in the hopes of cutting a deal with someone famous. Their clothing wasn't even organic or made locally like they claimed. It was all lower-grade textiles made in factories overseas. I only found all this out when I went over to his house and there were foreclosure notices all on his front door. That's when he finally came clean."

    —anonymous

    9. "Ugh, flash back to 13 years ago and my ex-boyfriend resenting me because he spent all his money on things I suggested for his house, like a bed that wasn't a blow-up mattress on the floor. I never nagged or anything; he just kept his problems a secret and got into debt. I still don't know why he didn't just communicate."

    PopTv / Via giphy.com

    10. "My ex and I moved in together together after college. He made twice as much as me at least, but said he had way more student loan debt. I believed him and we split everything 50/50 because I thought our debt to income ratios were the same."

    "He acted like he had no money all the time, but after two years of living together, somehow almost all his debt was paid. I was still drowning in mine because I spent all that time thinking we were both struggling.

    I totally understand some people prioritize saving more than others. But it’s really frustrating and insulting when they’re trying to literally step on you to get ahead. Like his debt and ability to save mattered so much more than mine. Why? It’s heartbreaking."

    victorianghostchild

    11. "My ex and I lived together, were engaged, and were saving up to buy a house. Or at least I was. He always said he was too. We had talked about debt and he said he had none."

    FX / Via giphy.com

    "His car broke down, so he took mine to work one day. I came outside to check the mail and his car was gone. Frantic, I called him and said his car had been stolen. Come to find out, he had taken out a title loan on his car over a year ago and had stopped making the payments. Even worse, he had absolutely nothing in savings. He made a good income but spent all of his money on frivolous junk. We tried therapy for a while, but ultimately, the relationship ended when he cheated on me. I wish I had seen the money issue for the red flag that it was and ended things then."

    —anonymous

    Can you relate to these experiences? Share how financial secrets have affected your relationships in the comments.

    And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts

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    Close up of a man paying online with credit card.