You know it's bad. So bad you'd really rather keep it to yourself. Why, you figure, ruin your partner's day with news of your mounting debt or the fact that you've been living off your savings?
Because if you don't, the truth will out at the worst possible time -- like when you go to apply for a mortgage and realize that your credit score or lack of savings is killing your chances of getting that house your partner loves. "Then that creates a double problem. Knowing is safer," said Ruth Hayden, author of "For Richer, Not Poorer: The Money Book for Couples."
Chances are you're afraid that your partner will think less of you and want to leave you or, possibly worse, try to control every dollar you spend from now on.
But remember, Hayden said, "you're more than money - there are so many more facets to a relationship. Plus, everyone has some kind of a downside. And money baggage is easier to deal with than others."
Try this: Have the conversation no matter what. It may be uncomfortable but it will pay off down the line, Hayden said. Then make an agreement about what you both want to achieve (e.g., pay down debt, save more for retirement, buy a house) and agree on what you'll both do (and won't do) to reach that goal. Beyond that, allow each other autonomy money - money you can spend that the other person can't question.