3 Ways Money Can Affect Your Relationships

by Lauren Caggiano

Like it or not, money can be an emotionally charged topic. It can spill over into healthy relationships and sour them if not addressed properly. In fact, stress related to finances is a leading cause of divorce. Whether it’s a significant other or spouse, if you are going to be involved with someone, expect that finances will enter the equation somehow.

Here are 3 ways money can affect your relationships, along with some tips for managing expectations:

Finances Could Be a Barrier to Dating

If you’re on a budget you might not have the means to go out a lot. While it might not prevent you from dating altogether, it could put a damper on things. If you’re concerned about reining in spending, experts suggest starting with budget-friendly activities like coffee or a cocktail or even going on a walk. You can still put forth an effort without draining your bank account.

Even though it might seem a bit unromantic to think of a date as an investment, this line of thinking makes sense. Keep your dates simple and inexpensive until you the feel the relationship has potential. And even when you’re serious, you can still be prudent. Save fancy dinners and movies out for special occasions. Besides, you can learn a lot about someone outside of a noisy bar.

Money Could Complicate Things

Two people bring their own attitudes and values to the table when it comes to money. They might not necessarily be compatible and this can make things awkward. For example, if you are always paying for dinner out and your partner never offers, you might feel resentful over time. On the other hand, the person on the receiving side may feel insecure.

That’s why the conversation has to go from “me” only to “us.” If and when you co mingle your finances —or at least share in expenses—what's most important is that you both talk about how you want to spend it, and stick to the budget. Communication can help reduce friction.

Side Note: You should also know that getting married can affect how lenders view your marketability as an applicant. No longer do you just have to worry about your own credit score when purchasing a home. Companies will look at both partners’ financial history. This could help or hurt your cause. That’s why paying down debt before you apply for a home loan can make a difference. Remember, we are here to help you navigate this process.

Another thing that can make a difference is transparency. Everyone wants to feel like they’re being heard—and discussions about budget, expenses, and goals can help curb those negative feelings.  Financial experts recommend carving out time monthly for these conversations so there are no surprises and both partners feel plugged in.

It Could Bring You Together

Co-mingling finances is probably the most significant financial decision you can make as a couple and can pave the way for future moves. If you learn to communicate calmly and openly, you’re more apt to diffuse conflict earlier and easier. While a budget isn’t the most romantic thing ever, it can save you some heartache down the road.

Don’t let heated arguments about money pull you apart. It has to be a give and take.  

If you are in a relationship, what useful tips or tricks do you have for making money matters manageable? 

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