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Relationships: Money Matters

June 21, 2024 Paula Gurnett, C.C.C.

Experiencing relationship troubles due to financial issues is a common and challenging situation. Money problems can place significant stress on a relationship, often leading to misunderstandings, arguments, and a feeling of disconnection. Here are some steps you can take to address and potentially resolve these issues:


1. Open Communication

  • Honesty and Transparency: Be open about your financial situation, including debts, income, and expenses. Hiding financial problems will only make things worse.

  • Regular Discussions: Schedule regular meetings to discuss finances. This can help both partners stay informed and involved in financial decisions.


2. Understand Each Other's Financial Perspectives

  • Background and Values: Discuss how each of you was raised regarding money and how those experiences shape your current financial behaviours and attitudes.

  • Goals and Priorities: Align on short-term and long-term financial goals. Understanding each other's priorities can help you work together more effectively.


3. Create a Budget Together

  • Track Spending: Identify where your money is going and find areas where you can cut back.

  • Set Limits: Agree on spending limits for discretionary expenses to avoid overspending.

  • Savings Plan: Plan for savings and emergency funds to prepare for unexpected expenses.


4. Seek Professional Help

  • Financial Advisor: A financial advisor can help you create a plan to manage your finances better and reach your financial goals.

  • Therapist or Counsellor: Sometimes, underlying relationship issues need to be addressed with the help of a professional. A couples therapist can help you improve communication and resolve conflicts.


5. Work as a Team

  • Shared Responsibility: Ensure both partners are involved in financial decisions and responsibilities. This looks very different in every relationship, but a main theme in moving out of conflict and into teamwork is both partners feeling included and in the "know".

  • Support Each Other: Offer emotional support during tough financial times. Acknowledge each other's efforts and be patient.


6. Plan for the Future

  • Debt Repayment: Create a plan to pay off debts systematically. Speak to a financial advisor for help or guidance in planning and prioritization.

  • Increase Income: Explore ways to increase your household income, such as taking on additional work, selling unused items, or furthering your education for better job opportunities.


7. Avoid Blame

  • Focus on Solutions: Instead of blaming each other for financial problems, work together to find solutions.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate small financial victories and progress towards your goals.

  • Self Reflection: Examine your contribution to the situation escalating, this may be in something you have done or not done. Seeking individual therapy to process and be intentional about personal growth can be empowering.


8. Practice Patience and Empathy

  • Empathy: Understand that financial stress affects both partners differently. Be empathetic towards each other’s feelings and concerns.

  • Patience: Financial recovery and stability take time. Be patient with the process and with each other.


By addressing financial troubles with a cooperative and understanding approach, couples can often strengthen their relationship and build a more secure financial future together. If conflicts persist despite these efforts, seeking help from a professional counsellor can be a valuable step.

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