Romance vs Finance: Resolving Arguments About Money In Relationships
Even people in stable, happy relationships will admit that they argue from time to time. In fact research has shown that it’s healthier to argue regularly, in terms of relationship longevity, than to avoid issues or sweep them under the carpet. And what do most couples argue about? Sex and money. There’s plenty of sex advice elsewhere on this website – but how do you resolve arguments about money in relationships?
How Money Causes Arguments In Relationships
On an everyday basis, a lack of funds for paying household bills puts a huge stress on relationships, whether couples or those with families to provide for.
Money is also the usual means of accessing the wide variety of adventures this world has to offer. A lack of money, therefore, often equals diminished opportunity to experience that exciting and life-enriching diversity. When you’re sharing your life with a partner, it’s natural to want to taste as much as the world has to offer as possible – not just for yourself, but to experience it with your loved one and relish their enjoyment, too.
Lots of things couples are advised to do to increase the intimacy in their relationship costs money. It’s extremely challenging to find activities to enjoy together which don’t cost anything – aside from sex, of course, which you may not be in the mood for if you can’t afford to go on a date or you’ve been arguing about money.
Who Is At Fault?
Perhaps no-one is to blame for this low finance situation, it could be down to a lack of employment for one or both partners, or low income for whatever reason.
Or perhaps you’re just at odds in the way you view and treat money. It’s fairly standard that there’ll be a ‘spender’ and a ‘saver’ in most relationships. Extremes of these attitudes, reckless spending versus frugality/prioritising savings, can lead to mounting tensions and explosive arguments. Especially if you draw from a joint bank account.
However, sometimes one or both partners is to blame. Secretive financial activities, like most secrets in a relationship, can lead to problems. In contrast to the obvious spends from a joint account, separate bank accounts open the way for a person to spend as they like, avoiding or at least delaying the impact on & reaction from the other partner.
If one of the people in a relationship is especially irresponsible when it comes to money, racking up debts ie. from gambling, credit card usage or similar, this can put the relationship under a tangible strain. It can lead to falling behind on household bills such as utilities, risking their supply -or the rent/mortgage payments, risking the very roof over your heads.
Using The Resources You Do Have
It may be cheesy, but it’s true. You need to reflect on the love that you have for one another, and it will –well, it won’t solve your problems, but it will make them seem more bearable. Remember what initially attracted you to your partner, and appreciate the fact that you’re still together, that they’re still around. That’s what really counts.
Also: don’t forget to communicate this loving appreciation to your partner on a regular basis. A fleeting thought about how you do love them really is much more helpful if you put words to it. Frequent reassurances of the strength of your feelings, and therefore your relationship, will help see you through the tougher times when it comes to financial struggles.
Time which is sadly not spent travelling the world, and is instead spent arguing about your lack of money, could be put to a much better use. If you have time to argue then you have time to reflect, to reassess the situation, to maybe even try and find a solution, whether that’s permanent or temporary.
A quick chat in the hall during a hectic life schedule isn’t as beneficial as a properly scheduled, sit-down situation where you can (try to) relax, discuss matters calmly rather than blurt out knee-jerk responses and work with each other rather than against each other.
Set times for ‘at home’ dates. If budget allows, you could buy something different for dinner, offer to cook it for your partner if they usually do the cooking. Or if you need to get out of the house, put together a little picnic to make the walk and time together that bit more special. If at home, promise to watch a movie on TV together after you’ve spent at least one hour talking through any previously unsaid relationship tensions and issues.
During romantically inclined dates together –yes, even if they take place on your sofa or at the kitchen table- promise not to talk about money or your financial situation the whole time. On occasions you’ve set aside specifically to try and resolve financial problems, some couples find it helpful to research short-term debt management solutions such as Cashfloat.
Forging A Stronger Relationship
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – and this can most definitely be true in relationship terms. Facing trials and tribulations together can lead to an impenetrably strong bond – especially when those trials are finance-related, a popular theme for arguments in relationships.
Shared struggles forge a stronger relationship, but only if you keep (calmly) communicating how you feel –both about the financial problems, and your love for your partner.