James* and I met at an Italian-themed dinner party when we were in our late 20s and clicked instantly. I’d had a few too many martinis and we chatted for hours about how frustrated we were by our nine-to-five routines and how we dreamt of running our own businesses. Soon after we both took the leap of faith – he started a legal consulting practice and I started running bread-making courses – and in 2014, four years after we met, he proposed.
Though I was overjoyed and said yes instantly, there was a tiny niggle. We lived in my flat and shared pretty much everything, but there was something I’d always kept from him: I had a secret savings account containing £10,000.
As the wedding approached I thought about telling him, but the big day came and went, and as the years rolled on, I told myself it was too late.
I’d started saving the money at university and though I adored James – and our businesses were going well – having the money there made me feel safer and independent.
This might sound strange, coming from someone who is happily married, but looking back it was all because of my childhood. Growing up, my parents argued constantly. Though well off, they were incredibly frugal and as I got older I noticed that Dad kept a tight hold over the family finances, using them to control Mum.