“When poverty comes in the door, love goes out the window.”
The old saying seems to have a lot of truth to it. Many divorces cite money disagreements as being the cause of the couple’s split.
However, like sex – another common justification for divorce – there’s often much more to it.
It’s unusual to find a marriage or other relationship in which incomes are similar and other financial resources roughly even. There is almost always a financial imbalance and sometimes it’s a significant one.
Money is a form of power, so where there is an imbalance there is the possibility – or probability, given a high enough general stress level – that one partner will exercise that power in their own interest in preference to the other.
For this reason, it is always useful to hold important discussions around money with a relationship coach or counselor present.
This is not so the counselor can tell you what to do, but simply because the presence of a third party goes a long way to reducing the overall level of tension. That frees both partners to be more creative and empathic in their discussion.
Counseling is not financial advising
I am not a financial advisor and will not offer advice on what you should do with your money.
My role as a couple counselor working with you on money issues is to facilitate your own good process. Then you will arrive at decisions that are your own and that you both feel comfortable with.
This comfort is hard to achieve because of incompatibilities in spending priorities, risk tolerance, social aspirations and so on. To point to the extreme, you can assume it’s going to be hard for a frugal saver to come to agreement with a habitual gambler.
However, even this is possible with tolerance and understanding of each other’s needs, combined with a commitment to collaborate.
It’s a joint responsibility: so it’s better to talk
Very often, when a marriage or other relationship reaches the point of no return, one partner is heard saying: “But I didn’t know what was going on! I thought we had much more!”.
Sadly, it’s usually too late then to start to learn about the joint finances.
One key to taking responsibility for financial matters is to take talking about money seriously. Explore what it means to you, how you want to manage it, where it is and whether it’s time to make changes in your arrangements.
A consciously scheduled quarterly ‘meeting’ is a good way to keep financial matters under control. If either of you find yourself avoiding this it may be time to call in some outside help.
Remember, no matter how diffcult it may be, it’s much better to do it before you discover the worst.
If you think I might be able to help you by facilitating your money discussions, you can start in the most frugal way possible with a no-charge, no obligation interview. Just call or email me to set up an appoinment.