Plenty of potential relationships have been nixed due to a miscommunication or expectation revolving around money. Practically all of the clients I have coached in all stages of a relationship deal with conflicts regarding finances. Avoiding distress from financial issues involves paying attention to and preparing for potential issues before they arise, from who pays for the first date to creating joint bank accounts.
“Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce,” said Dr. Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies and human services and program director of personal financial planning at Kansas State University. “It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money — for both men and women.” (PsychCentral, 2013)
The First Date: Traditionally, the person who initiated the date should pay for the first one, but also can select where to go. Avoid expensive dates (even if you can afford it) until you are confident in your interest and attraction. Would you invest $100 in a stranger?
Emotion: Reflect on any financial situation you find yourself feeling negative or resentful. Understand your feelings before bringing up the issue to reduce conflict.
Communication: Discuss money issues before they arise. Bring up your opinions on splitting checks or taking turns paying for later on in the relationship. Share with each other your personal feelings about expenses.
Compromise: Respect and understand your partner’s financial habits. Be patient and agree to a compromise just as you would in any other area of conflict.
You are in control of the expectations you set financially, starting with the first date. Paying attention to your partner’s habits and preparation are the keys to avoiding financial distress later on in the relationship. In my next article, I’ll explain specific financial strategies geared towards creating greater satisfaction in the long term of your relationship.
Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, Author of The Essentials and co-founder of Suave Lover International and the Suave Lover podcast (subscribe on iTunes), is a freelance writer and a private relationship-and-social-dynamics coach in the areas of public health, fitness, and social dynamics, a writer and editor for Ask Men.com, and the interpersonal relationships columnist for examiner.com. His passion lies in guiding and providing tools to men for overall self-improvement.
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*Edited by Rachel Ritter