Do you and your partner constantly disagree about money? Do you find yourself frustrated and angry about your partner's spending habits? Do the two of you have issues because one of you makes more money than the other?
You are not alone! Money can be a sore spot for many couples. Studies show that 7 out of 10 couples say that money causes tension in their relationship.
Here is some advice on how to deal with money issues in your love relationship.
1. Talk Money
Couples don't usually communicate openly about money, so when money issues do arise, it becomes a sensitive subject and leads to conflict. Don't be afraid of sitting down with your partner every three months to have a "money talk."
List your short- and long-term money goals. Ask questions such as, "What are we spending?" and "What are we saving?" If you have concerns about your partner's spending habits, financial decisions, or your role in managing money, make sure you express those thoughts.
2. Share Responsibility
It is not unusual for one partner to play the primary role in managing the finances, but it is important that both people are involved and aware. Be certain you can clearly articulate your partnership's assets and debts and locate the necessary back up documentation.
3. Balance of Power
Couples have less conflict when they share (or consult one another) in all big financial decisions. Big financial decisions should not be made only by the partner bringing home the most money. I recommend that couples agree on a threshold amount (like $50, $100), that they can spend without needing to report or consult one another. Above that, they need to discuss it before the item is purchased.
4. Opposites Attract
When it comes to money, men and women often have different views. Women see money as a sign of security and stability. They like to save for emergencies and when financial problems arise, they become very concerned and worried. Men take more risks with money and see financial problems as a threat to their self esteem and confidence. Compromise is essential.
5. Underlying Issues
Too often disagreements about money have little to do with the money itself and more to do with issues of control, security, self esteem and love! Money is a tangible part of a relationship, so it is easy to project emotional issues onto these concrete money matters.
For example, you may think that your partner never listens to you or is too critical of what you say. So instead of discussing this communication issue, you bring up your partner's spending habits instead.
Think carefully as you discuss money issues with your partner, to make sure there isn't a larger problem at the core.
Dr. Terri Orbuch, The Love Doctor, is a psychologist, Oakland University professor, and research professor at The University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research. Dr. Orbuch is also the host of The Love Doctor radio program on VoiceAmerica. Her Love Doctor Relationship Segments are aired weekly on Fox TV-Detroit.