Bitten with the love bug and rushing towards life long fidelity can be all sweetness and nice but there are some very important and sometimes difficult discussions to have before racing into a partnership.
Everyone has their own ideas around financials and how money should be spent. If you’ve spent the majority of your life managing your own money and have to start working in a couple, having decided to combine incomes, ideally you’d be working towards common goals and together on managing money. But, more often than not ideas around spending money are more complicated.
Everyone has their personal money habits just as they have their healthy or not so healthy eating habits. So how should you bring these to the table? If you’ve spent plenty of time together going out on dates or hanging out talking about each others shopping trips, hobbies or other ways they spend their time (and money) as an individual, you’ll already have an understanding of how the other person spends their money.
If you’re really honest you may have noticed some red flags waving at you as you have a secret little judge about the others’ spending habits. But, before it may not have mattered as you were both managing your own individual finances. And how you spend your money is your business right? But what about when you’re pairing up and deciding to combine financials for a future home purchase or to have kids together? How do you raise those red flags and try to alleviate each others concerns about how the other person is going to spend your money?
It’s a hard one. Money talks are some of the hardest to have and can raise stress levels to breaking points. If you want to avoid tension, aggravation, and of course breaking up, the best approach is a calm considered approach. This is not always possible though when dealing with certain personality types. There are some negative ways to communicate the money minefield and ways to overcome those communication styles.
This approach is the favoured approach by people whom try and avoid conflict but need to voice something. More often than not this is a communication style that creates more conflict, as well as a build up of resentment within the other party. Generally because the person is commenting, then not taking responsibility for their comments as they back track or just blatantly lie to avoid conflict. Here is a good professional article on passive aggressive behaviour to familiarise yourself.
Solution if you are a passive aggressive player: Take charge of your thoughts and feelings and be honest about them in a positive non harmful way. Acknowledge that a difficult conversation doesn’t have to mean conflict if handled in an honest, non-manipulative way.
Solution if you’re dealing with a passive aggressive player: Listen to what they’re not really trying to say and seek to address those issues. They will back track and try play them down but they’ve been said for a reason. However sometimes these people will continue their behaviour never being truly honest or overcoming their deep seated fear of conflict.
Straight out aggressive
Not sure this needs clarifying but generally means bullying, abuse or other manipulative behaviour that forces the other to comply with your way of thinking or doing things. Note: Passive aggressive people swing to this when pressed.
Solution if you are aggressive: Seek counselling and work through your issues before you have those talks with your partner. If you are prone to aggressive behaviour and are aware enough of those characteristics and you want to operate in a more positive way in relationships then work out your triggers and walk away when you feel the fire rising. Regroup then start over. Don’t beat yourself up either. Try and try again and give yourself credit when you have a breakthrough.
Solution if you’re are dealing with an aggressive player: First things first. If you are in a dangerous situation you need to seek support. We are in no way advocating staying in an unsafe place and remaining at risk. However, if your partner is just a strong personality and wilful with their opinion then you need to find ways to share your opinion that helps the aggressive partner continue to feel calm. Avoid accusatory statements that appear to make them feel wrong or stupid. Use terms like: I feel differently about that; I have a different perspective and it would make me happy to share it.
These people avoid talking about anything important. They just don’t want to know. Either because they don’t want to do anything different from what they do now or because they just find these conversation boring, tedious etc and are happy to go with the flow.
Solution if you are an avoider: Give your partner your time. If it’s important to them and you care about them, then spend an uncomfortable moment letting them air their thoughts. Who knows, you might become closer because of it.
Solution if you are dealing with an avoider: Trying to pin the avoider down for a conversation can be frustrating. They will make many excuses or find alternative conversation topics to pursue other than the one you need to approach. Be patient. Keep coming back around to the topic and have your statement prepared so you can say your piece then finish it up. They will most like want to take that information away to process, so they can come back to the table…or continue to avoid. But at least you’ve had your say. Think about leaving it as a note. But remember that written commentary has no inference. Meaning they cant hear how you are saying something so they may read/interpret it in a negative way if they are a negative thinker. They’ll see it through their internal filters.
If you are bringing debt to the table that needs to be discussed so both parties can come together honestly. If you are unsure of how to manage your debts then seek financial counselling so you can bring that information to the table with solutions and not just a big problem.
Looking for more way to improve your chances of having a positive money talk with your new partner? Check out our next blog post.
If you’re facing financial hardship we are here to talk about a solution. Call us on 1300 887 211 or Book a Free No Obligation Phone Consultation with our friendly team and we can discuss debt management options specially focused on your personal situation.