Is financial infidelity putting your relationship at risk?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but while many people are celebrating love and romance, other couples are contending with infidelity -- but not in the way you might think.

Some consumer experts warn Americans are keeping financial secrets from their spouses or partners.

While it may not be the basis for a scandalous soap opera storyline, financial infidelity can be the source of some serious relationship drama.

“Money is a really emotional, important topic,” said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst with Bankrate.

Rossman said secret spending along with hidden debt or accounts can be a real cause for concern in a relationship

“It’s hard enough to meet your financial goals if you’re pulling in the same direction,” Rossman said. “It’s that much harder if somebody is squirreling money away or keeping secret debt or secret accounts.”

And all that hiding can have lasting consequences.

“The longer the secret festers, the worse the breach of trust is going to feel if it does come out, and it probably will at some point,” Rossman said.

Talking about money, for many Americans, feels taboo.

“People want privacy. They don’t want somebody else looking over their shoulder. They’re embarrassed about the way they handle money,” Rossman said of the reasons many don’t like to discuss finances.

But the key to a healthy relationship -- and healthy finances -- Rossman said, is honesty and communication.

“It’s important to schedule some time, whether it’s formal or informal, just to check in with your spouse on money,” he encouraged. “Everything from the routine bills that need to be paid to the big picture stuff.”

He advised starting small and taking a positive approach while coming up with mutual financial goals for achieving your dreams.