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By Blake Miller, REDBOOK

Denise* was keeping a lot of secrets from her husband: deleting voicemails, sneaking things into the house, intercepting mail. After 13 months, the stress from all of her cloak-and-dagger dealings became so intense that the 38-year-old mom came down with shingles (a disease that usually strikes the old and frail). Denise wasn’t having a torrid affair – she was hiding tens of thousands of dollars in debt from her congenitally frugal husband. When balances on her four credit cards became alarming, she had her bills sent to her parents’ house. “I live in fear every day that he’ll find out. I truly worry that he’d leave me if he knew,” she says. So Denise recently cashed out $20,000 from her 401(k), also without his knowledge, to pay everything off.

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