The true cost of avoiding talking about money with your significant other.

Not talking about money can seriously damage an otherwise healthy relationship.

Only a couple of years ago, the idea of sharing how much money you make with your colleagues or friends was one of those taboos that you just don’t mess with.

But recently, there’s been a huge conversation about getting those numbers out in the open.


When salaries are public, it helps everyone have more honest conversations about what they should be making. And it especially helps women and people of color, who tend to make less than their white male counterparts.

Yeah, you might want to talk if your partner carries their money around like this. Photo via 401(K) 2012/Flickr.

But when it comes to being that transparent with a romantic partner, it can seem even more tricky ... but why?

Despite the slowly turning tide in the professional world, there’s still a lot of stuff we keep to ourselves when it comes to money and our personal relationships.

For many couples, deciding how to split the check is the most involved money conversation they have regularly.

Not talking about money — or worse, lying about money — can seriously damage an otherwise healthy relationship.

Consider these facts:

About a quarter of American couples actively avoid talking about money. 31% of married people have lied to their spouse about money. And only 51% of couples talk about how they will manage their money before getting married.

That's huge!

How you feel when you talk with your partner about money. GIF via "Broad City."

Not talking about money — or worse, lying about money — can seriously damage an otherwise healthy relationship.

In fact, a 2013 study found that not being on the same page about money is the #1 predictor of divorce.

"It's not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It's money — for both men and women," said Sonya Britt, who led the study.

This doesn't count as a conversation about money. GIF via "Parks and Recreation."

Britt and her colleagues studied 4,500 couples in different financial circumstances and found that money tension was a major factor in relationship dissatisfaction. Regardless of income level, amount of debt, or net worth, couples who didn't deal with their money issues were putting their marriages at risk.

On the other hand, research by TD Bank found that partners who talk about their finances openly and honestly tend to have happier relationships.

The bank polled 1,339 Americans who are in relationships and found that "among respondents who said they talk about money at least once per week, 42 percent described their relationship as 'extremely happy,' compared with 27 percent of those who talk about money less than once per month and 38 percent of all respondents."

The elephant in the room — whether it's consumer debt, incompatible spending habits, or a miscommunication about savings goals — is going to be there whether you acknowledge it or not.

That's why both financial and relationship experts say that talking about money is crucial for healthy partnerships.

Talk to your partner about your wishing-well budget. Photo via Paulo OrdovezaWikimedia Commons.

It's not a complete surprise that couples tend to put off conversations involving their finances.


You and your SO after a great money convo. GIF via tr1ppy-j/Tumblr.

Almost all of us have some hang-ups about money, whether that's shame about not making enough, fear of student debt catching up to us, or just your run-of-the-mill compulsive online shopping habit that you'd prefer to keep from your partner (other people have those, right?).

And that's OK!

The important part is that you and your partner work through those issues with openness, kindness, and patience.

(And maybe a bottle of wine. Totally optional, but I've found it helps with money convos with the significant other.)

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