Hiding something? 25% of cohabiting couples keep secrets from each other

NEW YORK — Nearly one in four people have a secret they keep from their partner — even after moving in together! The recent survey of 2,000 Americans who live with their significant other reveals that more secrets lie under the surface when couples make the move to share a home than many might expect. 

It turns out that millennials are the most likely to keep a few details confidential when taking the big step (33%), followed closely by Gen Z (27%). Baby boomers were the most forthcoming of all generations (11%). 

One-third of respondents who kept information hidden from their partner did so for over a year and nearly half (48%) still have private details they haven’t shared. Although the majority feel guilty about keeping a few things hidden (68%), not even half (43%) are planning to reveal all their secrets to their partner. 

One in five respondents who hid something from their partner say their significant other also hid something from them. In fact, 52 percent believe their partner is still hiding something. The most common secrets include details about past relationships (26%), doing something they know their partner would be upset about (20%), and undisclosed spending habits (19%). 

The survey, commissioned by Lemonade and conducted by OnePoll, looks at the most common conversations and timelines couples have when moving in together and finds that most couples dated for an average of one and a half years before living together.

A third of couples (31%) say they moved in together gradually and without an official conversation, and nearly a fifth (19%) say they wished they had discussed both day-to-day and long-term finances together before shacking up. Common topics for couples who did have a move-in conversation include life goals (51%), work-life balance (45%), and relationships with each other’s families (43%).

Shy woman and man sitting on sofa. First date.
Millennials are the most likely to keep a few details confidential when taking the big step to move in together (33%). (© Voyagerix – stock.adobe.com)

Of those who did talk about money with their current partner, which generation are the best financial planners? Both Gen Z (42%) and baby boomers (54%) talk more about day-to-day finances than millennials (30%) and Gen Z planned their long-term finances the most (44%). 

However, almost half of all generations (40%) say they need to spend more time planning and discussing pragmatic matters like insurance and budgetsThis could be helpful considering 56 percent of those surveyed say they don’t have a plan about how to handle realities like splitting up joint memberships and moving out if a breakup were to occur.

“Whatever conversations you have or haven’t had up until now, it’s imperative that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to everyday responsibilities,” says Sean Burgess, Chief Claims Officer at Lemonade, in a statement. “Financial planning and being open about personal finances can be a sensitive topic, but it can make any potential issues down the road much easier to manage if you’re aligned at the start.”

Pets play into future plans, too: Almost three-fourths of couples who live together (74%) currently own a pet. Forty-eight percent bought or adopted a pet together and 35 percent of respondents owned a pet by themselves before their significant other entered the scene.

Of those who owned a pet before meeting their partner, more than half (53%) say their pet needed to show obvious signs of approval before their partner was allowed to move in.

However, most of these pets now enjoy two loving parents instead of one. Almost four in five (78%) of those who owned a pet by themselves say their partner is now the co-parent of their pet. 

“Talking about how a pet fits into the picture before moving in together is a big deal. It’s important to plan for who will take care of the pet on a daily basis but also how the pet will be financially taken care of,” says spokesperson Dr. Stephanie Liff, Lemonade’s vet health expert. “The last thing any couple wants to deal with is a surprise bill from the vet, so just as they would themselves, making sure the practicalities like pet insurance are part of those conversations are just as important.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of U.S. adults who live with their partner split evenly by generation was commissioned by Lemonade between Feb. 6 and Feb. 12, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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