<img src = "https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016 /03/07/gettyimages-83479153_sq-aa341a042d36d2a2199be1f0278c5d613db1ddee-s100-c15.jpg "data-original =" https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/03/07/gettyimages-83479153_sq-aa341a042d36d2a2199be1f0278c5d613db1ddee-s100. jpg "class =" img lazyOnLoad "alt =" How can you keep the money away from your marriage? ] Infidelity in marriage is well known, but financial infidelity could actually be more common.
Few studies show that as many as 41% of American adults admit that they hide their spouse or partner's accounts, debts, or habits.
"It appears that financial infidelity is on the rise," says Ted Rossman, an industry analyst with CreditCards.com. The company's recent survey found that millennials hide money or accounts from partners almost twice as often as other generations.
Rossman says it's easier to hide because of the technology: "You can sign up for the account you can get. With the statements, you can do your spending – all without showing anything in the mail."  Each couple may differ in the definition of financial infidelity. Typical cases often include hiding obsessive shopping or gambling debts. In other cases, a spouse may extract money from family funds for a secret purpose. In any case, when the deception is exposed, it evokes feelings of betrayal and loss of trust that can lead to the dissolution of the relationship.
"It's hard to do You realize that someone might be so phony to you, someone you believed you understood and read ", says Megan McCoy, a professor at Kansas State University specializing in financial therapy, a new area that combines financial consulting with family counseling.
Money means retired security or the education of a child. "That's why money fights are worse and take longer," says McCoy. "Financial fraud makes a deep cut."
This is painfully familiar to Ed Coambs. He met Ann 15 years ago at a party he lived at the other end of Houston. At 23, Ed already had his finances in order.
This impressed Ann, who was three years older and obsessed with school debt. "I thought," Gosh, I cracked the jackpot. That's amazing, "she says.
Within two years, they got married and settled in Charlotte, NC, differing on some points in their efforts to manage their funds, Ed arguing for joint accounts, for example.
I never had the idea that people in a marriage would keep their money in separate accounts or hide from each other, "he says, his parents had shared accounts, and everything else seemed alien.
Ann says that she sometimes felt undecided about that, partly because she had been watching her parents for money while fighting for her divorce. But the money talks with her own husband were not fierce, she says.
At some point I came to say, "Okay, let's do that," says Ann. All of her accounts – including those for her dental practice – were shared and shared.
Ed stayed with her little boys and helped her manage her business accounts while his wife supported them. Later, he returned to school to become a therapist, but his counseling practice slowly faded.
"I had a time of struggle," he admits. "It had to do with my own insecurities and what it meant for me to be a provider or not a provider." At that point, Ed borrowed several thousand dollars for his business credit card – the only account they did not share – without talking to his wife.
Ironically, the practice that Ed built was based on financial therapy – an advice for couples struggling for money. Over the next year, the debt grew to over $ 20,000, but he did not tell his wife about it.
In many ways, Ed says he fell into some of the typical pattern of financial infidelity. He says many people justify financial unfaithfulness because there is an income gap or they feel inadequate. He kept his secret secret, hoping his business would grow and he could pay back the credit card debt. Instead, the debt grew. Even for him, it made no sense. He was afraid of how Ann – who called him "Mr. Financially Responsible" – might react.
He says that the strain of hiding isolated and depressed him.
"Most people thought," Well, Ed succeeds, he's smart, he's capable, "he says. "Inwardly, nothing felt the truth."
It's been over two and a half years since Ed got clean with Ann about his debt. He says he has learned to empathize with those who break his moral code, like himself, and with people like his wife who work hard to forgive. The Coambs say they agreed to tell their story in the hope that it could help others in a similar position.
To those who still hide in the shadows, they say: Come here – the sooner the better.