Three Secret Ways to Stop Fighting About Money – and Start Lovin Again

Of course their might be some discrepancy between how much one partner wants to spend on items such as clothing, entertainment and/or vacation. However, the majority of the time money fights have very little to do with money! For better or for worse, money often becomes the battlefield for even the most romantic and otherwise compatible couples.

So what is going on here?

We are all cognizant of the fact that people enter into their intimate relationships with their own psychological portfolio of emotions, hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses; all of which have been created by an emotional blueprint of our past life experiences. Amazingly, we enter into our relationships without thinking about, or having very little awareness of the portfolio of emotions we bring to money and finances. (Research suggests our attitude and feelings about money is shaped by the age of twelve).

Therefore, our attitude and feelings about money is usually the six hundred pound gorilla in the middle of the room when we merge our life with the person we love. That is – until the credit card bill arrives! Then we are blindsided when this gorilla rears its ugly and not so little head! All of a sudden we discover our partner does not share our values about how much money we should spend vs. how much money we should save.

Let me provide you with some facts regarding this 600 pound gorilla so we can turn it into a gentle teddy bear. Otherwise, this gorilla will slowly but surely destroy all the love and intimacy you and your partner have for each other with each credit card bill that arrives in the mailbox.

1. Separate the myth that love and money are intimately connected. They are not! Love and money have absolutely nothing to do with each other when you view money for what it is, a commodity, and it should be treated as such. Money becomes an emotionally loaded issue for couples because each person brings their own set of values, beliefs and attitudes about money to their relationship. Conflicting values and attitudes about money are at the core of financial conflict in relationships – they do not indicate a lack of love! Therefore, handle your different values about money the way you would handle any other issue in your relationship – with effective communication skills!

2. As indicated earlier, most people don’t really know how their views and attitudes about money have been formed. We tend to know we are either a “spender” or a “saver”, but if hard pressed to tell you why or how we got this way, most people couldn’t tell you. Therefore, it becomes quite a daunting task to build a financial life that blends both partner’s hopes and dreams for today and the future if you have different values about money from your partner (but you don’t even understand your own views about money). Do a little soul-searching and think about how your parents and family-of-origin handled and felt about money. Did they believe you should save every penny you make or did they live beyond their means and not care about being in debt? This is a great start to understanding your own attitudes about money, and then convey them to your partner.

3. Whether you are aware of this or not, money symbolizes different things for different people. Does money represent emotional security or control and power to you? Do you understand what money represents to your partner?This information is absolutely essential if you want to begin to bridge the gap between what money represents for you as a couple. Since the two of you grew up in two different homes, chances are there will be a lot of bridging to do on this issue. The ability to bridge this gap will allow you to begin to mend and emotionally defuse your fights about money.

Yes money is a very emotionally charged topic for many couples; but it doesn’t have to be a six hundred pound gorilla in the middle of your relationship. Many couples have used the three secrets provided above and they have been able to bridge the differences between themselves and their partner on the subject of money – I know you can too!

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Dr. Patty Ann
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