I have been doing relationship counselling for the couples for the last many years now. There can be so many reasons which may damage the relationship. However, as a relationship counselor, if you keep going deeper into the reasons of their relationship issues, you may find that two most important reasons are – money problems and the second one is cheating on the partner. While it is easy to understand the second reason, it may be difficult to accept the factor – money problems as the biggest relationship road block. Hence I am going to elaborate upon the subject – how money problems can affect relationships.
Also I would briefly discuss the possible solutions to avoid such a damage or control the damage.
To the readers, I must make it clear that it is based on my experience and not on any survey or study.
Why Money Problems can damage the relationships?
Or in other words, why we have to ponder upon Money Problems have been found to be damaging the relationships?
The answer is not very difficult to understand. When it comes to money management, individuals have different styles and if one partner’s style is totally different from the other, God save the marriage or the relationship.
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Here’s the deeper explanation: right from the childhood, many of us are hardwired to believe that money is essential to survival, money does not grow on trees, money is scarce commodity, it is not easy to earn money etc.
So if the other partner is having opposing views. It can be very threatening to the relationship. As a result, there is often an impulse to pronounce: “I’m going to show I am right, and you’ll have to do it my way.”
Obviously, the other partner may give sufficient justification to jump into the clash to prove the first one wrong. And then there are many arguments and counter arguments between the couple, more often than not terribly damaging the relationship where harmony, love and peace are the victims.
How Money Problems Can Affect Relationships
These days, couples talk and discuss all types of topics openly. Even discussions about intimate subjects seem to be much easier for most couples than what it used to be only a few years back.
But when it comes to the topics of Money, Financial Management, Sharing of Expenses, Monthly Budget etc. the couples clam up. In fact, they become quite uneasy and almost fall silent.
Are you wondering why?
While it may not be possible to list down all the reasons, also they may change with times, society and prevailing economic conditions, here are a few universally applicable reasons.
#1 Superiority Complex
When the partners reach out to me for relationship counselling, the partner who is earning or is earning substantially more sends me a signal to tell the other the partner that his (or her) decision would be final.
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#2 Not understanding partner’s emotional attachment to money
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#3 Not sharing the financial position with the partner
People often avoid discussing that which they are embarrassed about or ashamed of. I think about a 38 year old man who did not tell his wife about the large number of student loans that he carried. She, in turn, was in significant credit card debt.
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Over time, they each learned of the debt that the other was saddled with. Unfortunately, their marriage did not survive. They were angry at each other for what they saw as secrecy. This style had poisoned the deep well of their marriage.
#4 Being secretive because of fear or embarrassment
Fear often prevents couples from being transparent about money issues. They may be afraid that their partner will think less of them if they learn how much money they earn.
Hence, they keep salaries to themselves and their partners at bay. This fear often leads to misunderstandings and faulty assumptions.
Consider the woman who thought that her husband was being stingy with his low priced gifts to her. The fact was that he was not stingy. He was actually an emotionally generous man who was trying to stay within his budget and also save money.
In relationship therapy, the woman complained that her husband didn’t value her. During the course of relationship therapy, she learned that he did indeed value her and that he was trying very hard to save money for their future.
It took lots of couple therapy and encouragement for this man to open up. He was afraid that his partner would be disappointed in him if she learned about his actual salary.
Instead, she was appreciative that he came clean and she understood him better. This couple was lucky. They discussed financial issues early enough so that the marriage was able to be repaired.
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