When you are part of a couple, you share everything in your life — you share your living space, your circle of friends and time together. Unfortunately, you will also share the money troubles both of you have accumulated over the years. You can try to keep your partner away from this aspect of your life, but your finances are going to come up eventually. It’s better that you are upfront about your financial situation and find out about theirs before it’s too late.
There are plenty of ways that your money habits can cause tension in a relationship. The most obvious reason is that you have mountains of debt and piles of overdue bills filling up the mailbox. When you have a big financial hole to climb out of, your partner will be concerned — in a sense, they have inherited that hole without spending a single dollar. Your significant other cares about you, but they may not like the baggage that comes with you, especially if they feel like it could impede their own ambitions and expectations in life.
What a lot of people do in this situation is hide that they have any financial difficulties at all. They can often make the problem worse by spending money on dates, gifts and activities that are far out of their means to keep up the impression that nothing is wrong when they should be paying off bills and shrinking their debt. Keeping this issue as a major secret is called financial infidelity and it is one of the ways that money ruins relationships — when the truth is finally out, one partner will be upset that they were habitually lied to and they may feel like the other can’t be trusted.
On the other hand, people who feel like they are incredibly responsible with their money can still put unnecessary strain on their relationship. It can be a relationship-ending issue when you are too stingy or cheap with your money — it’s important to avoid impulse purchases and save up for a future together, but you shouldn’t avoid going on dates or buying nice gifts in the present. Pinching every single penny and splitting every check with your partner will make you appear miserly and selfish. It will make your bank account look like a bigger priority than your desire for a respectful relationship.
To avoid relationship disasters, couples should talk about money and communicate any concerns that they have to each other as soon as possible — the longer it takes to make the step, the longer the secret bubbles beneath the surface and creates a rift between you two. Be compassionate and understanding when talking to them about their finances, even if the news is less than favorable. Yelling and lecturing will only make them defensive or inspire them to hide difficult news from you in the future.
The most important thing to remember is that as partners, you are officially a team. Once you change this mindset of two separate people into a cohesive unit, you can divvy up finances — this means slowly combining your assets and putting them into joint accounts so that you can tackle shared expenses. You will also want to form a manageable budget so that both of you reach financial stability together and afford long-term goals like buying a home, getting a pet or having kids.
It’s possible that the both of you are struggling to make ends meet and living paycheck to paycheck. Together you can create a budget that helps you pay for essentials and put money away for long-term savings and emergencies, like a broken water heater or a flat tire replacement.
People who have no money left in the bank when an urgent surprise comes up can go to a website like MoneyKey for a fast answer — it’s possible for people to get a quick loan a single day after putting in their online application. It lets you skip the long and often arduous process of borrowing from traditional financial institutions. This will give you the opportunity to get that water heater fixed and that tire replaced, so that you can get back to your regular budgeting routine.
On the positive side, it’s possible that your relationship helps your finances. When you live together, you can cut the costs of expenses like rent and utilities in half, leaving you more room for savings. Cohabiting and married partners can be added to work benefits packages, providing coverage for healthcare and other services. Finally, a significant other can hold you accountable for your poor spending decisions and celebrate your saving accomplishments, giving you support that you can’t find anywhere else.