Whether it is who makes more, who spends more, how it is spent and on what and who, some couples fight over finances, and it is more common than you think. The fights, however, should not escalate and lead to ultimatums or all-out wars. The disagreements certainly should not send anyone to ‘splitsville’, as money management is a skill that most of us can master with a lot of patience and a little help.
There are several reasons money is such a contentious issue in a relationship. The first one stems from how we grew up. Our upbringing dictates a lot, and one of its components is the relationship we have with money. Some grow up with lots of it, as their parents were well off and so they spent a lot, hence it was never a big issue. Others grew up with money being in short supply, therefore they had to conserve every extra dollar. There may have been worries about it running out, and so their relationship with money is tense. When these two types of individuals come together, issues will arise and spill over into their everyday relationship.
Another possible factor could be that one party is in debt but has not been honest about the scope of their indebtedness, and when their spouse finds out all hell breaks loose. It could be gambling debt or credit card debt of about a few hundred dollars or thousands, they did not come to the table with clean hands. So, when their partner finds out, they naturally feel betrayed. That kind of betrayal leads to mistrust and arguing is a natural result of this.
A difference in values can also be a major sore point as what you value may not be of importance to your spouse. Say you value having the security of life insurance and a retirement plan, but your partner says you only live once and declares that they do not believe in planning for the future. They say that they are spontaneous and like to live in the moment. Both world views are bound to clash and clash big time.
You must start with open and honest communication about how much you each spend and what you spend on. If you still do not trust your partner totally, start by having a joint account only for the utilities, etc, and keep the rest of your individual income in separate accounts, as that will bring a sense relief and also ensure that you do not feel that you are not absorbing all of their debt. Money is a necessity but should not be so important that it harms your relationship, as while it can buy almost everything, it can buy neither happiness nor love.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.