These five ways to stop money from causing issues in your relationship are inspired by my work with women who are leaving unhealthy relationships. The best time to resolve your financial issues is before you’re in a relationship, before you get married, before you’re in debt, and before you’re in too deep.
When it comes to money, do you feel out of your element? Read Financial Independence for Women: Take Control of Your Money and Live a Balanced Life. Vered Neta discusses the practical obstacles that keep women from financial success. She describes how to break through them, and helps women learn how to reach financial independence and become get smart about money issues that affect our relationships.
Getting a grip on your finances is extremely important to your physical, emotional, and spiritual health – not to mention your relationship! Money problems don’t just cause relationship issues, they can prevent you from living life fully. It takes time and energy to deal with your financial situation, but the sooner you tackle your money issues, the better your relationship and life will be.
5 Ways to Stop Money From Causing Relationship Issues
If you’re with a partner who constantly asks for money, read What to Do When Your Boyfriend Asks to Borrow Money. The tips in this article revolve around keeping your money separate, and loaning money in relationships is a whole separate issue.
Stay financially independent
This is the most important tip on how to stop money from controlling your relationship. Do NOT let your husband or partner control the finances, pay the bills, affect your credit rating, or take your paychecks. Keep your money separate from his accounts, his bills, his debts. It may seem easier to let your husband or partner take over all the financial affairs and spend your money the way he thinks it should be spent, but this is a huge mistake that will affect the rest of your life.
Discuss your and your partner’s financial decisions
Do you and he talk about money – beyond the household budget, monthly bills, and rent or mortgage payments? There’s nothing wrong with asking questions about how your boyfriend or husband spends his money – especially if you’re genuinely curious (as opposed to judgemental about his spending or savings habits). Make decisions about money together – and keep your finances separate from his. Have a joint household account, but make sure you also have your own checking or savings account and at least one credit card in your name.
Talk to a financially independent woman about money and relationship issues
Find a smart, financially savvy role model. Ask her how she stops money from causing issues in her relationship, how she budgets her money, what she spends her money on, and who she gets financial advice from. You might even ask her how she solves relationship issues – but more important is to focus on learning how she handles her money. Why? Because not having money or financial wisdom will keep you trapped in a relationship that is unhappy or unhealthy.
Keep your investments separate
I invest my money in RRSP’s (I live in Canada), and my husband invests his money in other stocks. He likes to research different types of investments, and think about how much money we’ll have when we retire. We often talk about his financial investments, and I have no doubt we’ll both reap the rewards of his investments when we retire! Even so, I have my own retirement plan. This is a good way to stop money from causing relationship issues because it gives us a cushion. For instance, if his investments fail and mine succeed, then we’re both still doing fine financially – and vice versa. Plus, separate investments gives both more freedom to invest the way that suits our personalities and beliefs.
Learn how money affects your relationship
The more money couples have and the more they value having lots of things, the more likely they will have relationship issues. Research from Brigham Young University studied over 1,000 couples and found that in one in five couples, both partners admitted a strong love of money. Though these couples were better off financially, money was often a bigger source of conflict and caused more relationship issues for them.
Couples where both spouses are materialistic were worse off on nearly every measure of relationship health. The more materialistic couples are, the less they communicate. They also have problems solving conflicts and being responsive to each other.
If you and your partner both enjoy buying and having things, read How to Have Both Love and Money.
Keep your money separate from your relationship issues
Do you find that money problems affect your relationship in seemingly unrelated ways? For instance, you may argue about whose turn it is to do the dishes….but really you’re fighting about how much financial debt you’re in or how you’ll pay for the expensive trip or holiday you’re planning. It’s important to figure out what you’re REALLY arguing about. Money can cause relationship issues that you aren’t even aware of, which is why insight and self-reflection are so important. You need to know yourself, so you can figure out which relationship issues are caused by money, which are caused by daily stressors, etc.
If money has already caused all types of issues in your relationship, read 13 Ways to Get Money to Leave Your Husband.
I welcome your thoughts on how to stop money from causing relationship issues, but I can’t offer personal advice or counseling.
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Source of research on materialism, money, and couples: Jason S. Carroll, Lukas R. Dean, Lindsey L. Call, Dean M. Busby. Materialism and Marriage: Couple Profiles of Congruent and Incongruent Spouses.Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 2011; 10 (4).