Are you facing money issues in dating relationships? If yes, you’re at the right place at the right time, my friend. Here, we’re going to look at how to deal with money issues in a relationship. Once you’re done reading this article, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of how to deal with the financial aspects of your romantic life.
When the “I dos” are exchanged, nobody anticipates that they might one day be plagued by financial problems. The reality is, however, that money relationship problems might just end up making the couple sleep in different rooms, cursing each other under their breath. What seemed destined to be a ‘happily ever after’ suddenly turns into a ticking time bomb, all because finances were never discussed.
Discussing finances before marriage or even having a constructive conversation early on in the relationship can save you both from a slew of money problems in your relationship. Unfortunately, love isn’t really all it takes to keep a healthy partnership going. After that wave of passion subsides, real life problems surface that you must tackle unless you want to be stuck in a situation from where there’s no rescue.
So just how bad are financial problems in a relationship? How much damage can they do? More importantly, how do you overcome money relationship problems? Read on to find out how money issues in dating relationships can weaken the strongest of bonds.
how to deal with money issues in dating relationships
The fact that you are here and want to understand how to handle finances in a relationship is the first and most important step, so congratulations on that. Money is the biggest source of conflicts in relationships after infidelity, and this is mainly because couples don’t figure out how to handle their combined financial situation. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that money ruins relationships.
When Rachel and I moved in together after a relationship of six years, we assumed it’d be a dry run for our future together. The house she picked was slightly out of my reach, but I went with it anyway. “I can always pick up some extra work,” I thought while justifying the out-of-budget house.
That was followed by home shopping, setting up the kitchen, and other expenses I did not account for. I did, on occasion, feel that Rachel was going overboard with the budget, considering we weren’t really married yet. But I kept my thoughts to myself. After all, nobody really tells you it could be one of the biggest priorities in a relationship.
Since I made more money, the responsibility of paying the rent and other expenses came to me. In addition, I handed her an amount for monthly purchases. Rachel would occasionally get a loaf of bread or a few cartons of milk of her own accord, but that was where her financial involvement ended. Her expenses were more of a personal nature; shampoo, body wash, lotions, trinkets, and such.
Over time, I found my expenses rising substantially and without a solution in sight, I brought up the matter with her. The discussion seemed fruitful, as we decided to open a joint account and put in a certain amount every month for domestic expenses. But the very next month, Rachel decided to pursue her long-overdue doctorate, while taking on projects on the side to help me out financially. As I’d soon find out, this was just the beginning of our financial woes.
What nobody tells you about when you move in with someone or marry someone is just how big of a role financial stress can play in your relationship. In six years of dating, it had never seemed like we’d ever reach a stage where we’d avoid talking to each other just because of money issues in our relationship.
Financial issues in relationships, while completely avoidable, can still cause sleepless nights, a million arguments, and even failed marriages. With the tips and suggestions given below, you will be able to avoid the mistakes I made with Rachel and be able to better understand how to handle finances in a relationship. There are different ways to deal with financial issues in a relationship for every couple out there, read on to see what suits your situation.
1. Talk about your lifestyle choices
When it comes to preventing money issues in dating relationships, it’s all about gauging the different factors that shape how you spend money and live your lives. There are broadly two types of people when it comes to spending habits: those who like to save and those who like to spend it all. And if these two types of people marry each other, problems are bound to arise. To settle the money issues in relationships, it’s crucial that you discuss these things and find out a middle path that works for both.
The differences in our mindset had become apparent in no time, with a little bit of retrospection. I, for example, didn’t mind walking an extra mile to save 30 bucks on a kilo of chicken for the dog. Given that he ate almost 5 kilos a week, it was a sizable saving for me. Rachel, on the other hand, preferred buying it from the neighborhood store for a little extra money instead of wasting time traveling farther.
It probably didn’t even occur to her. But back in those days, it drove me nuts because it felt like I was the only one putting in the toil and the sweat to keep both of us afloat. While she had grown up without ever thinking much about saving money, I grew up witnessing the turmoil financial problems can cause in a household.
Related Reading: 12 Tips For Married Couples To Split Finances
Soon, our financial disagreements morphed into less communication, reduced intimacy, aggravated tempers, and lesser patience. Things went from bad to worse, leading to a major showdown. While she accused me of not being financially responsible, I retorted that she had conveniently dumped all expenses on me.
She concluded that I was trumpeting my financial contribution, while I thought she had no appreciation of the hard work I was putting in with the freelance projects, given the absence of a regular job. For a week, we didn’t talk. Not much good came from the never-ending fights. The only result was that I felt lonely in my relationship. It took her some time, too, to go from “My boyfriend is being too rigid” to “My boyfriend is struggling financially”.
It’s important to understand that marriage is all about understanding each other and making little compromises here and there. Say, if one partner is expected to support the family financially, and the other keeps purchasing those branded clothes that they fancy, wouldn’t that destroy their relationship? Your lifestyle should be a reflection of what you earn, not what others’ Instagram feeds look like. Only when you understand this can you proceed to have a healthy and successful bond.
The golden rule of handling money issues in relationships is by talking about it with your partner. Once you improve communication in your relationship and encourage a healthy, judgment-free environment, conclusions will be reached efficiently. Try to avoid playing the blame game, all that’ll get you is another week of fighting.
Instead, through effective communication, answer the question of “what now?”. Going forward, devise a plan to deal with money relationship problems, and don’t delay the important conversations fearing they will incite a fight.
Related Reading: Does It Help To Talk About Mutual Finances Before Marriage?
2. Keep realistic expectations
One of the reasons behind money issues in dating relationships is expecting everything to go the same way. We tend to forget there are factors outside our control too. Maybe your husband had a stable job just two months ago, but is now struggling financially, which is causing conflicts in your marriage. If this is so, it could be because you didn’t plan your financial future by keeping realistic expectations toward each other.
Maybe you never saw yourself dating a man who is not financially stable which is the reason behind your anger and resentment. But this raises the question of what stability is if not a state of mind and a fictional concept to hold on to? Only when you gauge all future possibilities can you ensure that you have a financially secure relationship.
A year into the house, Rachel and I got ourselves a dog to feel more like a family. Unfortunately, disaster struck when my company decided to downsize two months later and I was out of a job. To make matters worse, it turned out Rachel wasn’t getting much work either. What seemed like a bad situation with money relationship problems in the beginning, now seemed as though it’d be impossible to cope with.
Between her doctorate and my unemployment, things became progressively worse. Rent was delayed for the next few months and since I was mostly out hunting for work, the landlord gave Rachel a piece of his mind instead. What followed was Rachel blaming me for not being able to pay the rent, in an attempt to vent her frustration. As the argument escalated, I blamed her for being too high-maintenance.
We couldn’t figure out how to stop fighting, there seemed to be no resolution in sight. While to each of us it seemed as though the other was being irresponsible, in hindsight, we were both trying our best. She had stopped ordering in and I was constantly on the lookout for new projects. Now I understand that the difference was in our upbringing. Our perceptions of luxury and necessity were slightly different.
You have to keep in mind that often, money ruins relationships. When you allow things to go unresolved for a long time, they only get worse. There’s no magic wand out there to make everything right one fine day. You have to constantly work toward achieving a stable and secure relationship no matter whether you lose your job or are dating a man who is not financially stable.
Related Reading: 11 Signs Your Husband Uses You Financially
3. Keep everything out in the open
The best way to avoid financial issues is when you discuss all your financial aspects with each other and create a plan in accordance with both of your personalities and expectations. For that, it’s necessary that you don’t hide any purchases from your partner. Many partners keep a secret bank account or have a credit card the other one has no idea about. This can cause fights in your marriage. Similarly, you shouldn’t hesitate to gently voice any issues you might have about your partner’s financial habits.
When we finally allowed each other some effective personal space and tempers had cooled down a little, we sat down together and talked. Should we stay together and try to find a way through our financial disagreements, or should we just walk out? We came to the consensus that the financial crunch had brought out the worst in us, but like all rough times, this too shall pass. There are several ways of saving money as a couple, and we’d try to follow those.
So we settled on putting a fixed amount of money in a box that holds our home expenses, excluding the rent. Both of us contribute an equal amount. Barring the occasional tiff, everything is back to being great now. But for us to come to a financial understanding, we had to go through hell, which can be completely avoided if couples set the ground rules for finances before they move in together. After all, there are far worthier reasons to break up than money, right?
Related Reading: 8 Signs Your Boyfriend Is In the Relationship Only For the Money
4. Salary differences shouldn’t create power equations
More often than not, partners have unequal salaries. That shouldn’t be the reason for the one who earns more to assert more power in the relationship. This can create unnecessary power games that would only lead to gaps in your relationship. Even if you’re dating a man who is not financially stable, it shouldn’t mean you try and dominate him at every point. There is a proper way of doing things and communication is one of the simplest and most effective way.
When you’re dating a man struggling financially or a woman who has just lost her job, remember that a romantic relationship is between two equal people. Otherwise, it just becomes a power equation where one tries to exert their authority and the other one tries to resist it. A friend, Nora, adds to this, “It may be that my boyfriend is struggling financially right now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t resolve our issues through communication or try to ‘show him his place’.”
Remember that strict adherence to the “what’s mine is yours” policy isn’t always the best strategy to use when it comes to finances in your relationship either. Sooner rather than later, you’ll end up saying something along the lines of “please get your hands off what’s mine”! It’s important to create healthy boundaries too. That also doesn’t mean that you have entirely separate finances because that would ultimately lead to resentment and jealousy in a marriage.
The most effective way out of money issues in dating relationships is to talk to your partner, and then talk some more. As a result, you’ll see not only the bank account looking a lot healthier but your relationship as well. A healthy relationship, a healthy financial situation, a healthy dog. What more could one ask for?
(As told to Vakratuund)
(Names changed to protect identities)
Financial issues in a relationship can end up driving a wedge between a couple. The “your money is my money” approach quickly turns inefficient and money issues can very easily drive two people apart, who otherwise might be perfect for each other.
Both go hand in hand, and to have a loving relationship, you must be harmonious in all aspects of it, including the financial. Agreeing on money matters is extremely important if you want to experience love in its truest form.
Indeed. Money is one of the primary reasons behind divorces, second only to infidelity. This only shows how important financial planning is in relationships. Only when you regularly communicate and plan things together can you have any chance at avoiding the inevitable.
There can be several red flags in a relationship, financially speaking. Your partner might be keeping crucial information from you, such as their debts or savings. They might be leading a completely different lifestyle than what their bank account should allow for. They might often borrow money from you and never pay it back, coming up with an excuse every time. It’s important to be on lookout for such red flags and have honest conversations about them.
Absolutely. In fact, as per a Policygenius survey, the likelihood of a breakup is 10 times more if one partner thinks the other has bad financial habits. If you want to keep your relationship secure from financial troubles, it’s necessary that you have a conversation on the different money issues in dating relationships and how you should go about avoiding them.
The simplest and easiest way is to stop procrastinating and have direct communication about your finances with your partner. Normalize talking about money regularly and keep all things sorted mutually. Partners can deal with financial stress in a relationship when they are aware of the problem and work towards solving it.