In relationships, the balance between money, power, and sex are intertwined. Often, when power of control shifts, interest in the desire for sex changes.
If a couple does not discuss how money will be spent, saved, or managed, misunderstandings develop. If ongoing, the person in charge of the bills may become resentful and the other angry because he or she feels angry for not having enough spending money or savings. For example, one partner may like to have a nest egg to feel comfortable while the other likes to “live in the now,” spending money on what he or she feels deserving of after working long hours. Without communication and equal responsibility for managing and saving, resentment and anger may build.
Unspoken anger and resentment can lead to severe conflict, which interferes with desire and sometimes frequency of intimacy. To avoid this, take time to discuss how “we” are going to save and spend is very important. I recommend this type of discussion on a weekly basis to couples I see in therapy.
“Essentially, unresolved conflicts about money, sex, and power are what bring couples into therapy,” said Dr. Carl Richards, a financial planner, in the New York Times blog post Your Financial Honeymoon Will Eventually End. “Learning to have meaningful and honest conversations about money is something that should be part of every relationship both new and old.”
What Can You Do Now?
1. Sit down together and decide to record every dollar that is being spent.
2. Look at the figures together.
- What is your income?
- What are you spending?
- How much do you want to save?
- What are your short-term goals (upcoming events to save for) and long-term goals (i.e., take a vacation, save for college, change careers, or buy a home)?
3. Agree to spending and saving goals.
4. Once a week, discuss your progress together and talk in terms of “we,” (i.e., what are we going to do about this or that — not you or me). This helps to develop a team approach to your financial relationship as well as your overall relationship.
5. Keep the stress lowered and also make time to enjoy each other by planning fun, lighthearted time together.
If you follow these five steps, your relationship will blossom as you develop partnership and equal control over major areas of your shared life.
Overall, accountant David Cowles agrees on how important it is budget.
Recording where the money goes is essential to understanding true costs and being fiscally responsible and budgeting. I tell clients that it is OK to have some funds just budgeted for “spending money” and not having to account for it all but both partners have to agree on what this amount is – whether it is $40 each per week or whatever. $40 a week for 2 people adds up to $4,160 a year which can be significant to be careful in deciding what you spend.
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