We all have emotions regarding money that evolved as we grew up and we bring those feelings into our relationships. Issues regarding money can be tricky to navigate. Money is one of the major things that cause arguments for couples. The following are some situations to try to avoid in order to maintain a happy, healthy relationship.
1. Keeping Bank Accounts Separate
Some couples decide to maintain their own accounts and split the bills down the middle or in some way that is fair and equitable. Once the bills are paid, each partner can spend their remaining money in whatever way they see fit.
This is obviously what happens at the beginning of a relationship when couples are first getting together and haven’t felt comfortable to merge bank accounts yet. For couples who are married or committed to the long term though, this situation can often lead to resentment about purchases and less spending power for the couple as they work towards their goals.
Making decisions about money is one of the main ways that couples feel hurt or confused by their partner. Money is an energy source that flows from one person to another. When a partner doesn’t know how the other is spending their money or feels like they are being secretive about it, it can lead to a lot of frustration.
I’m not saying it’s never okay to have separate bank accounts. Some partners may want to maintain a small personal account for buying gifts or having money to spend for their own individual interests or hobbies. Openness and communication is the key.
2. Not Being Understanding of Differences
All of us have some kind of emotional baggage about money whether we realize it or not. Bringing this into a relationship with a partner can lead to some stressful situations when deciding how to spend money. When a saver and a spender get together it can be very difficult for them to reconcile their differences in opinions of how to spend or save.
If one partner wants to take a romantic vacation and the other says, “no” it can potentially trigger deeper emotions that bring into question the entire relationship. In this situation the other partner might just have different money priorities and feel that spending money on a vacation takes away from their ability to save up for buying their first house together.
These differences can feel like rejection. Both partners might be completely committed, but simply have different values about how to best plan their budget.
I would highly recommend for couples to write down their goals separately and then come together in a way that they can try to be understanding of each other. It will be necessary to compromise, but the realization that each partner wants what is best for their lives in the long run can make a world of difference.
Money has the potential to create unhealthy power dynamics for couples. There are two main examples of this. One is when one partner makes all the income for the family. The other is when one partner makes significantly more than the other. These situations can lead to one partner feeling like they don’t have as much control of making decisions for the couple’s life or their own life.
Imbalances like this can serve to affect the relationship at deeper levels that one or both partner may not even be aware of. Decisions such as moving to a new city for someone’s job, deciding whether to have children, or even whether one can sign up for a gym membership can all be much more stressful if there is a power imbalance with money in the relationship.
Couples should make financial decisions together and think about their money as both of theirs no matter who is bringing it in. To be in a relationship requires teamwork and balance and of course the “c” word, communication.
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