How Can Money Problems Affect Your Relationship?
Money is the leading cause of strife in relationships, according to a survey conducted by SunTrust Bank. Financial issues affect various aspects of our lives – education for our kids, holidays, our home, health, and more. As noted by the American Psychological Association, around 75% of Americans face financial stress at least some times, and that means that the foundations of our relationship can be shaken more than we realize. If you hope to be with your soulmate for the rest of your life, it is important to be realistic about the effect money struggles can have on your wellbeing, and to take a proactive approach to money management.
Signs That You May Argue about Money
From the time you commence a relationship, it is important to be on the lookout for signs that you view and manage money differently. Research carried out at Kansas State University found that arguments about money at the dating are ‘the greatest predictor’ of a breakup in the future. Interestingly, outcomes have little to do with how an individual’s net worth. What matters more is your conflict resolution skills and the way in which you express yourself when you disagree about money. The researchers noted that couples took longer to reconcile after arguing about money. They also tended to use harsher language, and argue for longer periods.
Finding the Right Headspace for Making Decisions
When a couple faces financial difficulties (for instance, when one loses a job and new financial decisions have to be made regarding homes, cars, schools, etc), the use of optimal conflict resolution skills are key. Couples can benefit from learning the right language to use during a discussion. For instance, language such as “You always” or “You never” can put the listener on the defensive. Insults and loud volumes, meanwhile, have a very negative effect on the outcome of a discussion, because it automatically shuts your listener to anything you have to say. A series of studies by Harvard Professor, Dr. Jennifer Lerner, notes that decisions made ‘in the heat of the moment’ or in an angry state, can steer us in the wrong direction. On the other hand, when we are in a calm state when we discuss issues like how to raise finance and reduce debt with our partner (perhaps through refinancing a mortgage or selling assets), we tend to take more reasoned (and less risky) decisions.
Seeking Professional Help
If you find that you are deeply in debt, the best way to gain confidence and feel empowered as a couple, is to obtain advice from a financial advisor. They will help pinpoint possible pitfalls you may not realize, and help you follow a sound financial strategy that offers a good balance between saving and enjoyment of life. Psychological advise is also important, however, because the truly hurtful thing about money arguments is loss of respect and other faulty conflict resolution skills.
It can be very hard indeed for couples to come to an agreement regarding how they fish to spend or save their money. Each of us has our personal values and goals, so it is important to align these with those of our partner, coming to a healthy compromise and always committing to being kind when we discuss money. It is also vital to understand when money worries are beyond our ability to appease. Both financial advise and family therapy can be the most useful investments we can make both in our financial and emotional wellbeing.
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