Having money problems is hard. Having money problems when you’re in a relationship is harder. Now you have to consider how the problem affects you and your partner.
If you’re worried that your financial trouble is going to put your relationship on the rocks, here are three things that you should do:
Address the Money Problem
It’s not enough to talk to your partner and resolve the conflict between you. If the money problem still exists, it’s sure to resurface and cause more tension in the future.
Think of it like this: if your partner kept you awake most nights with their snoring, it could start a conflict between you. You might snap at them in the morning or argue before bed. Would apologizing and sharing your feelings be enough to resolve this? No, because when you’d go back to bed, you’d still have the same problem. Your sleep deprivation will just continue if you don’t find solutions like buying earplugs or getting them nasal strips.
Don’t just address the results of the problem (tension, arguments, hurt feelings). Address the actual problem.
For instance, if your money problem is that you keep spending every dime that you have, then you should start a budget. Take a close look at your monthly expenses and what you can adjust to get more savings.
You can put these savings into an emergency fund. It will be a good safety net that can help you recover from bumps in the road without affecting your budget. You should also consider going to a website like CreditFresh to apply for a personal line of credit. You can use this open-end credit tool to help you cover urgent costs when you don’t have enough savings in your emergency fund. Having safety nets is a good way to keep control of your finances.
Talk to Your Partner
The next thing that you should do is talk to your partner. A healthy relationship requires honesty, so you need to be forthcoming about your financial issues, even if they feel embarrassing or shameful. If you’re too nervous to start, look at tips on how to have serious talks with your partner to see how you could open up the conversation without causing any conflict.
Keeping these things secret from your partner isn’t a good idea. For one, they will probably find out at some point, especially if you intend to share financial responsibilities like rent and groceries together. Secondly, keeping financial problems a secret is often called financial infidelity — it’s a significant breach of trust that could cause a big rift in the relationship and even a breakup. The longer that you wait to come clean about this, the more betrayed they could feel.
If talking one-on-one isn’t working, you might want to consider talking together in couple’s therapy for several sessions. Couple’s therapy provides a safe space to discuss your relationship issues, insecurities and worries in a healthy and constructive way. There are even therapists that specialize in discussing financial problems between partners.
There’s no shame in signing up for it, and the both of you could be better for it.
Money problems are serious, but they’re not insurmountable. You and your partner can get through this together.