Has your partner ever come home from an afternoon outing at the mall proudly announcing she only bought one pair of designer jeans that were a great deal? Did you notice any red flags like fuzzy eye contact that may signify a trunkload of not-so-great deals waiting to be secretly shuffled to the closet so she can practice expert camouflage techniques?
Or have you applied for a joint loan with your new honey and been rejected because of the $50,000 in credit card debt that popped up out of the blue? His stuttering explanation includes a luxury trip to Comic Con International five years ago, a primo saltwater fish tank that was awesome before all the fish died, and an addiction to 900 numbers that has since been cured.
Financial infidelity comes in many shapes and sizes. Surveys show that it is not unusual for a couple to have money related secrets. The stage of the relationship is a large factor as to whether it makes sense to disclose debt and net worth info. A committed relationship is the basis for such discussions.
Reasons for Money-Related Problems
Research has shown that money trouble is one of the top reasons for breakups. The truth is that there is always more depth to relationship problems than just money itself. Examples include the following:
- Lack of education and development of financial knowledge such as establishing budgets and financial goal setting.
- Lack of Responsibility to Partner – the idea that one doesn’t have to step up and contribute to shared responsibilities, including earning money and spending limits – aka, “slacker.”
- Lack of Trust – fear that the other person is capable of taking advantage of them like a bloodsucker if they disclose expenses & overall financial situation.
- Fear of Retribution – fear that the other person will freak out over debt reality or shopping habits.
- Lack of Self Esteem – embarrassment and shame over bad decisions, loss of self control, or a family history of poverty. These emotions can turn into greed, lying, accumulating debt & overspending to “Keep up with the Joneses.”
- Disrespect of Partner – not understanding or appreciating the contributions of a partner and only seeing their own contributions. This is being a “selfie” with or without a camera around.
Honey Money Summit
Is it possible to dig your way out of this mountain of money misery? Yes. If you need to hire a relationship counselor that specializes in resolving financial issues to jump start the process, do it.
Otherwise, establish some ground rules for your own Honey Money Summit that includes: No fights. No sugarcoating. Speaking is essential. No hogging the conversation. Stay solution focused.
Now it’s time to lay all poop on the table. Some poop will stink more than others, so stay focused on the super stink. Establish the root causes and negotiate a solution. If this does not go well, try again with professional assistance. There may be severe problems within the relationship that can’t be solved, even with the help of a relationship counselor.
If it does go well, you have a new opportunity to get rid of any habits associated with financial infidelity, strengthen your relationship, and improve your finances. Stronger love. Increased financial security. Ahhh, yes!!