Are You Guilty of ... Financial Infidelity?

Financial Infidelity in Couples

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Say you see a great pair of shoes (on sale—but still expensive!) and you buy them, even knowing it will break your budget a tiny bit for the month. Would you fess up to your husband? Surprisingly, a new survey conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education/Harris Interactive found that one out of three American couples keeps secrets from each other about their spending habits.

"People commit financial infidelity because although they are sharing everything with their partner or spouse they believe that certain parts of their financial situation still should remain private," said Patricia Seaman, senior director with NEFE.

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Such behavior, according to the survey, is putting a huge strain on marriage in America. In fact, more than 75 percent of the respondents said that so-called financial infidelity spells big trouble for their relationships.

But what, exactly, equals financial trouble when it comes to marriage? And just what are Americans hiding from each other?

Thirty percent say they've tried to hide bills, purchases, or even bank accounts from their partners—and the deceptions get worse from there. A whopping 13 percent admitted to lying about their debt or how much they make at their jobs. These types of lies have risen slightly since 2011, causing experts to note the financial strain facing many married couples today.

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"You would think with the recession that people are talking to each other more about money," Ted Beck, president and C.E.O. of the National Endowment for Financial Education, told CNBC. "But people are continuing bad habits."

How can you buck the trend? Considering that a little deception can turn into a bigger deception, experts say you should always be open and honest with your husband about finances. Yes, even about those shoes!

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