Money can be a difficult and awkward topic to talk about. We clam up when we have to reveal our financial positions. We fear being judged for having too little or too much. We lie and make up alternative excuses for why we cannot participate in events, instead of admitting that our budget does not allow us to take part. It is an uncomfortable conversation that most of us would rather avoid, but by brushing it under the carpet it will only lead to greater tension in our relationships. After all, there’s a reason why money worries are the leading cause of marriages falling apart.
Respect is crucial to conversations about money. It can be a very sensitive subject to talk about, so it requires a great deal of care when engaging in the topic. It is important to remember that not everyone’s financial position is the same, so we must take a check of our own privilege and enter the conversation with an open mind. My partner and I see each other as equals in every way, and with finances it is no different. Regardless of our financial position at any given time, neither one of us is superior. We talk about our budgets honestly and without judgement, in order to create a productive dialogue that is respectful and without shame.
To be ignorant of the information you have been given will show a complete lack of understanding for your significant other
Following an open conversation about finances, it is important to be mindful of what you have been told. To be ignorant of the information you have been given will show a complete lack of understanding for your significant other. There is nothing worse than for you to suggest activities and plans that evidently are not within your partner’s budget. It can feel humiliating to time and time again have to say no and will only reiterate that you have not listened or understood your partner’s position.
With some consideration for your loved one, you can easily plan things that match your budgets. As students, mine and my partner’s finances have always been somewhat tight, but that does not mean we have to have a boring relationship. If you have had a productive discussion about the limitations of your budget, then you can adjust your search for activities to do together to match that. Often for us that means googling what free things there are to do in the city we are in, or looking for at home date ideas, to keep the costs low without missing out on the fun.
Just remember to keep respectful, to listen to each other and to always be conscious of your privilege
Nevertheless, unfortunately not everything we want to do in life can be achieved for free. There are some things that at the moment may be financially out of our reach, but it does not mean they always have to be. For me and my partner, that is our mutual ambition to travel the world. However, by creating a safe environment to talk about money, we now feel able to help each other to save to reach our goal. We have been able to talk openly about our budgets and learn from each other about where small cuts could be made to allow us to save.
Ultimately, talking about money is never going to be easy. When you and your partner come from different financial positions it will be a difficult topic to navigate. Just remember to keep respectful, to listen to each other, and to always be conscious of your privilege. You will be able to generate a space where you no longer feel embarrassment or awkwardness, but a place of trust and understanding to talk about your budgets. After all, this is crucial since money is always going to form a part of our lives, and so being able to have an honest conversation about it is going to be essential for maintaining a healthy relationship.