New relationship tips: the first money problem
There comes a point in every new relationship where the couple have to talk about the dirtiest of subjects – money. Whether it’s because they’ve decided to save up for a holiday together, or one of them is having money issues, the topic will arise. Different people earn different salaries, and have different spending habits, and this can cause friction in a relationship.
However, as with many of the situations that new couples have to face, it’s not what you have to deal with, it’s how you deal with it that decides whether or not you come out the other side unscathed. In a new relationship any topic is uncharted territory, so it’s best to tread carefully. To help you along the path, here are our four new relationship tips on surviving your first argument about money.
1. Everyone’s circumstances are different
Maybe you earn £40,000 a year and your other half earns £12,000. Or perhaps your partner is still dealing with the aftermath of a previous relationship or divorce that has left them out of pocket. Or maybe they’ve been used to their previous partner dealing with all the bills and now are a bit lost money wise. Whatever the circumstances you find yourselves in, however you’ve come to face a money issue in your relationship, it’s worth remembering that everyone is different.
Some people think that money is not overly important, whereas others believe in squirreling every penny away into an ISA for a rainy day. Whatever your attitude and personal finances, use this issue as a chance to take stock and accept you’re learning something new about your partner. The fact is that you only really have two choices: accept their financial situation and move on, or end the relationship.
2. Don’t rub their face in it
If your partner has made a money mistake, your instinct will be to make them feel bad about it. After all, if you make a big deal over it, they won’t do it again, right? Wrong. They’ll simply resent you, and it might push them into even worse money habits. If it’s their money they’ve blown on something inappropriate, it’s still their money, not yours. If they’ve spent your joint money, that’s a bigger problem, but getting angry or treating them like a child won’t help.
Draw a line under the issue and start to move on. We’re not saying you should be pleased your partner has been frivolous with money, we’re just saying that if you want to retain peace in your relationship, continually harking back to the time ‘you lost £100 in a stupid bet’ isn’t going to help matters.
3. Take baby steps
Taking control of your finances can be a very scary thing for someone who’s never done it before. Telling your partner that it’s time they shaped up and opened and ISA and a savings account when they’re dipping into their overdraft each month might be a bit much. Start slowly, encouraging them to draw up a budget and look into where there money’s gone, for example.
4. Leave them to it
Remember that you can’t push someone; you can only guide them and leave them to their own devices. And most importantly remember that if someone who can’t look after their own money is a real ‘Can’t Stand’ for you, then perhaps the relationship needs re-evaluating.
Please also remember though that if your partner is in serious debt then they may need professional advice. If you are worried you’re in this situation, you can find lots of help here.
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