Money and relationships: How open are you?

How often do you and your partner talk about money? According to research seven out of ten couples admit that money causes tension in their relationships. Which could possibly be the reason why most couples choose to avoid the topic entirely.  In the early stages of a relationship it is easy to avoid the topic. However if you and your partner plan on a long term relationship the topic about money is bound to crop up.  In a relationship couples should be open to talk about anything therefore money shouldn’t be an exception. Talking about money is never easy but remember that the sooner you start talking about it the better.


Here are few pointers that might help approach the issue:

Make Sure the Issue is Really About Money. Too often, disagreements about money have little to do with money itself and more to do with issues of control, security, self esteem and love. Think carefully as you discuss money issues with your partner to make sure there isn’t a larger problem at the core. Be honest with yourself about how you personally feel about money. Ask yourself how other couples deal with money issues, talk to your friends they might share pointers that will help you in future. Money is a tangible part of a relationship, so it is easy to project emotional issues onto real money matters.

• Find a Neutral Time to Talk Money. Couples don’t usually talk openly about money. The goal with your new partner is to have a calm, relaxed discussion when there’s no particular money issue at hand. Sit down with your partner and  discuss different money scenarios. For example  how each of you might address or resolve the scenarios like being fired from a high paying job, lost credit card, the pros and cons of joint or separate accounts in a committed relationship, etc. If you have concerns about your new partner’s spending habits, financial decisions or role in managing money, express those thoughts during this talk as well.

Bear in mind that not all people are comfortable talking about money right away in a relationship. Be patient but persistent. If you bring up the topic several times and your partner still gets defensive, that might be a red flag that he or she may not be able to have honest communications about other things.

• Understand Your Partner’s Perspective. Studies show that when it comes to money, men and women often have different views. Women see it as a sign of security and stability. They like to save for emergencies and become worried when financial problems arise. Men take more risks with money and see money issues as a threat to their self esteem. Try to understand your partner’s perspective. Compromise is often essential. It is fine to disagree on some issues, but don’t let them get in the way of your overall  goals as a couple.

• Set Rules and Limits. Once you become a committed couple, it is important to work together to come up with general spending rules or limits. Couples can pick from a number of possibilities. For instance, you can agree on a threshold amount (like R100, R200), which you can spend without needing to report or consult one another. Above that, you need to discuss it before the item is purchased. Alternatively, for some couples it is important to keep a budget, which includes tracking all spending on a weekly or monthly basis. Remember to discuss these options with your partner first to make sure they are comfortable with them.

It is vital to compromise in a relationship, be aware of each others needs and make time for one another. Don’t let money ruin your relationship  being together is much more important. Communication should be a central part of your shared life and take some time to discuss matters that affect your relationship. While every relationship has to establish its own dynamic, allow for personal growth. If mutual respect and honesty are  fundamentals of your relationship, then compromise can be achieved without sacrificing connectedness.


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