This week I thought it would be fun to focus on the topic of money and relationships. Maybe it’s the stress of wedding planning (and constantly re-working our budget), or the fact that my BF and I have just celebrated our first anniversary of living together, but money and everything it encapsulates has been very present in our relationship over this past year.
When I met my BF five and half years ago, I was a poor student and he had just graduated college. We were broke, in love, and besides talking about how we can’t wait to make more than $8 an hour, we never really talked about money. When we moved in together several years later, we were finally forced to talk about it because for the first time in our relationship we had to split more than just a dinner bill.
Now, this may shock you, but I love talking about money. I could honestly segue it into any conversation and have to try really hard not to give unsolicited advice when the subject does come up. My BF on the other hand isn’t as enthusiastic about personal finance as I am and only likes to talk about it when it’s absolutely necessary.
So how do we talk about money without killing the romance? Well, first things first, we never talk about bills or money when it’s an especially romantic time. If you’re about to put the moves on your lad or lass, don’t kill things by saying “I just remembered our cable bill is due tomorrow!” Save it for the next day, that bill isn’t going anywhere.
Secondly, we try to be conscientious of the other person’s feelings about money. For instance, maybe your partner feels uncomfortable talking about how much or little money they make compared to you, or maybe making lots of money isn’t as much of a priority to them as it is to you. It’s definitely important to find out what type of money person your partner is (saver, spender, billionaire, etc…) before diving into a serious money talk. Once you know their sentiments about finances, make sure to be respectful. It’s when you aren’t respectful and disregard their feelings that arguments can occur.
Thirdly, we don’t go dutch anymore. There was a time in our relationship when my BF and I split the bill whenever we went out to dinner. I know it sounds silly, but at a certain point it seemed like we were less on a date and more friends going out for dinner. The simple gesture of offering to pay for the other person’s dinner is more important to keeping the romance alive than you may think.
Lastly, we limit the amount of time we talk about money. If you need to have a conversation about paying the bills or a new expense that has come up, instead of talking about these things every time they come up, set aside an evening every week to discuss everything.
Why not go through all of your finances together every Sunday evening? I remember reading about doing this in a book and it suggested getting together once a week over coffee and some sweet treat to make the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone. My BF may not be as excited as I am to talk about our finances, but I know he’d have a hard time turning down a latte and a piece of cake if it was part of the deal.
How do you talk about money with your partner while keeping the romance alive?