One of the most common sticking points in any relationship is money. It doesn’t matter whether you’re married, dating, or just starting. This aspect of your life is an essential part of any relationship, but no one wants to talk about it.
There are many reasons why someone might feel ashamed, uncomfortable, or unwilling to talk about money with their partner. However, being open about your financial situation and habits with your partner can ultimately lead to a stronger relationship.
Money can be a sensitive subject, but it doesn’t have to be. The keys are honesty and an open mind. Here are a few tips on how to have a productive discussion about money with your partner:
Start with, “What If?”
So, it probably won’t be easy to start this conversation. That’s understandable. This is why it’s best to go slow. Take baby steps. You and your partner don’t have to deep dive into your financial situations right away. You can start by discussing habits and possible future scenarios.
Start with, “What if?” You can ask each other questions like, “If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?” From this question alone, you can gain a better understanding of how they think what they value.
Be Open and Honest
Honesty is the foundation of any good relationship. When you start talking about money, you don’t necessarily have to reveal everything about your financial situation right away. But neither of you should ever lie about it. It can be uncomfortable at first, especially if you and your partner value different things. In those cases, it’s even more important to be open about your financial habits.
Try your best to be open about what you like to spend money on and understand what they want to spend. This can give you two a better idea of when to back off and reel each other in from big purchases.
The more you tell each other about what you value and don’t, the easier it can be to agree to disagree. It can also help you two become a better team when handling your finances.
Talk About the Future
Once you get more comfortable discussing money, you can bring up the future. Don’t just talk about debts and spending. Talk about earning money and financial expectations. It can be easier to align with one another if you know each other’s goals.
This is an integral part of your financial discussions as it heavily affects your future. You need to talk about how you want to earn and sustain yourselves. Each of you might be working in different industries and make different amounts but you can still work towards the same goal at the end of the day.
You might be working hard for early retirement while they’re working hard to open up a business. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have different goals, just that you need to come up with a game plan to end up where you want to be together.
Having “the talk” with your partner can be nerve-wracking, especially if that’s not something you’ve ever done with previous partners. However, it is an essential part of your life and your future as a couple. Just like any other aspect of your relationship, it’s just going to take time and effort. Take it slowly and stop when you need to. As long as you’re having the discussion, your relationship will be all the better for it.
If you’re having a hard time starting the conversation about money, reach out for help. Every couple is different, and some need more help than others. There’s no shame in that. Here at the Thriving Center of Psychology, we understand that every couple has different needs and financial situations. Through couple’s therapy, we do our best to help you navigate through financial discussions and more. Visit one of our locations in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami today to get started.