Money: The relationship maker or breaker
The Big Takeaway: Money is one of the most common things couples argue about, but it doesn’t have to be. If you take the time to learn how your partner feels about money and be clear about where you stand (or how to talk to potential partners about finance, if you’re single), it can drastically improve your relationship.
It’s never easy to talk about money with anyone, even with our partners. That’s why money issues are the third most common reason couples break up. But if we take the time to talk about money and learn how our partner or potential partner feels about money, it could lead to a stronger relationship and more financial security for everyone.
Even before marriage, money is important. According to OKCupid Dating Coach Damona Hoffman, money is still one of the main attractors. If someone is better with their finances, they’re more likely to attract partners.
Once the relationship progresses, however, money could become an issue. The partner who makes less might feel resentment toward the one who earns more or makes more savvy financial moves. One person in the relationship might want to spend money and have fun, while the other might want to stash it away for a rainy day.
These feelings about money start at an early age. Most people pick up their money beliefs from watching their parents or guardians. And if two people with opposing money beliefs get together, it can cause tension in the relationship.
To help couples build stronger relationships, this article from CNBC Select outlines a few tips to help you discuss finances with your spouse, significant other, or even potential partner:
- Try to understand – If you prefer to spend while your partner would rather save, take the time to ask questions and understand why they would rather save instead of spend. Then, explain why you feel the way you do. Discuss your values and try to reach a common ground.
- Don’t impose – There’s no right or wrong when it comes to money beliefs. Your partner’s money feelings are just as legitimate as yours. Don’t impose your values on someone else, even if they seem wrong.
- Be clear – Many money issues in a relationship come from the classic “who pays for what.” Be clear about monetary responsibilities early, before the bill arrives or you reach the cash register. That will help avoid surprises—and hopefully a few arguments.
- Be honest – Whenever you’re thinking about taking a relationship to the next level (whether that be moving in, marriage, or anything else), have a real, honest discussion with your partner about money. Share every detail about your finances, including the tough subjects like student loans or credit card debt. Hiding financial details is called financial infidelity, and it’s just as harmful to a relationship as sexual infidelity.
There is no denying the reality that finances affect the operation and strength of our relationships. And like anything with relationships, the more open and honest you can be, the better. Take the time to understand how your partner feels about money and be open and honest about your own feelings and finances. You can even test your financial satisfaction with this quick quiz.
Talking about money might not be the easiest thing in the world, but it’s an important part of building solid relationships. You might be surprised how much an open-and-honest financial conversation helps you and your partner get along.