When financial advisor Neal Van Zutphen recently met with new prospective clients, a married couple, the meeting did not go as planned.
The process of going through their financial records prompted the husband to reveal a secret he had been keeping from his wife: $60,000 in credit card debt.
The debts had ballooned during a job transition to supplement the household's cash flow and to pay a business consultant.
"It was probably my most emotionally charged client session in 35 years," said Van Zutphen, president and founder of Intrinsic Wealth Counsel in Tempe, Arizona.
Keeping financial secrets from your spouse or significant other has a name: financial infidelity.
And chances are, suspicions that your partner is not being fully honest with you about money is affecting your relationship.
Two in 5 individuals have deceived their partner financially, according to a new survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education.
Those actions had big consequences, with 75 percent of respondents indicating it affected their relationships. Of that number, 44 percent said it caused an argument and 35 percent said it led to less trust in the relationship, followed by those who ultimately said it led to a divorce (13 percent) or separation as a couple (10 percent). Some 9 percent of respondents, on the other hand, said the deceptions caused them to grow closer.
Those surveyed cited various reasons for the financial infidelity, with 36 percent indicating they believe their finances should be private. That was followed by those who knew their partners wouldn't approve; were embarrassed by their situations and didn't want their partner to find out; and those who feared their partners wouldn't agree with their actions.
A recent report from CreditCards.com found just 52 percent of individuals polled believe their significant other is honest with them when it comes to money. Meanwhile, 61 percent said they are fully honest with their partner about their finances.
About one-third of survey respondents said keeping credit cards and other accounts from a partner is worse than physical infidelity.
The reasons for the dishonesty around finances range from failure to communicate to deceit.
Financial professionals who handle these situations regularly say there are some tell-tale signals to watch out for.