April 30th, 2012 // 11:39 am @ Janine Elias
We’ve all heard the saying “money cant’ buy you love” as true as this statement is the lack of money can cause the love you do have to wain. I bet as you read this you are getting mad. The thoughts “gold digger, shallow, superficial, heartless” might all be coming to mind when you think someone’s love might wain because of a lack of money but there is more to this concept then meets the eye.
The lack of money is the symptom of the underlying problems. The main issue here is power and control. To give you an example: the most common cause of fighting in relationships about money, besides the obvious of not having it, is how to spend the money you do have. This is a fundamental issue of values not money. Let’s say I value having a savings fund in case of an unexpected expence. I simply want a few thousand dollars to sit in the bank in case the house needs a new roof, there are plumbing problems, one of the cars need repair or some other sudden need for liquid funds and my partner thinks we should be spending this money on incidentals or to take a vacation.
For me it threatens my feelings of safety and my partner might think I’m being cheap, selfish, overly cautious, or unfair and I think my partner is unrealistic, frivolous, and selfish with no impulse control. Both people may begin to lose respect for each other and resent each others perspective because it blocks their desire and or need to save or spend.
The person who wants to spend the money might be dealing with a power struggle of wanting to have the freedom to spend their money in any way they see fit without having to answer to another person. This might bring up issues from a previous romantic relationship or childhood memories of similar struggles and their need for independence and self expression is pushing them to want to spend spend spend. The reality is this is not a money issue it’s a values issue. It has to do with what or how each partner places value and how they choose to spend their hard earned cash.
Depending on the circumstances both partners could be wrong or both could be right and this is where their ability to talk about their money is so very important. Both have valid views of what they want and need from their money but they are not talking to each other and discussing why they want what they want because more often then not they don’t know “why” they just want it. This is why we must also know what we want and why so we can articulate to our partners what our needs and want’s are.
The constant fighting over when and how to spend your money wears down the love you share, it effects the level of respect you have for each other, and whether you feel heard and understood by your partner. Fighting for extended periods of time will kill the love and end the marriage. The reality is it more then the money that’s ending the marriage it’s a difference in values, feeling disrespected and unappreciated because of the fights around the money, and feelings of fundamental safety needs.
There are two things you can do to overcome this problem:
1. You can overcome this difference in the selection process of a mate. When you are dating, in the first few months, you see your partner can not manage finances in a way that is suitable to you you can decide it’s simply not a good fit and continue your search. (There is nothing wrong with doing this in fact you are saving yourself and your partner years of heartache. You would do the same thing if it were another issue say you want kids and they don’t, or they don’t want pets and you do, or you like to travel the world and their idea of traveling is going to the corner market.)
2. You’ve already married or are engaged to marry a person who have completely different values in regards to money then it’s time to enlist the assistance of a professional. I recommend you get a coach or therapist to help you talk through your differences, take courses on financial planing, and teach each other the value of saving with moderation. It’s one thing to have a sound financial portfolio and another thing entirely to stop living your life because you are afraid.
Where have you had trouble in your relationship about where and how to spend money?