Meet Tara Padua Wise. Tara shops at the same store twice a week, throws away receipts, refuses bags, cuts off tags when her husband isn't looking and pretends that everything she owns, her husband already knew about. She likes to shop, hates to budget, and doesn't think it's the biggest deal that she lies to her husband about her shopping habits. One time, he came home with two sweaters and a pair of shoes for himself, so she flew to Montreal and spent more money than she's willing to admit out of revenge. Are they a divorce waiting to happen? I would guess that anyone who spends that much energy lying about a new shirt (even if they can afford it) and admits that she doesn't even recall most of her lies has bigger problems than a little shopping habit, but that's just me.

For one, I think lying in relationships is counterproductive. I consider it extremely disrespectful to my intelligence (because especially in a close relationship, the truth comes out eventually) and to the purpose of having a relationship in the first place. Isn't the goal to have someone to love you for who you are, shoe addiction and all? It's obviously one thing if you're trying to save for a house, or a new car, or simply to pay off your credit card debt, but if you have the money to buy one, then what does a shirt matter?

I just keep thinking, though, there's no need for deception in the first place. If it's so important for you to consume without regret, it's easy enough to keep your money separate. Several friends of mine do this — you get one joint account from which the bills are paid and contribute to that as you agree, and then keep your own accounts. As long as the mortgage is paid, the 401K is growing and nobody is going into debt on the sly, then her money is hers and his is his and no one complains about the new golf clubs or the new shoes because no one is feeling like they contribute to the joint expenses more than the other, or that their money is feeding the other person's silly spending habits.

Spouses Who Spend And Pretend [Wall Street Journal]