There is no denying that debt is a major cause of trouble in relationships when it comes to money. Many couples struggle with money issues because of the breakdown in trust with one or both partners. Luckily, that doesn’t have to happen to your relationship. Here are a few tips for how long-term relationships handle getting past arguments about money.
Make getting out of debt a priority
Whether you accrued debt during the relationship or before, it’s time to become debt-free for the sake of your partnership. Debt limits your ability to move further in shared goals such as buying a home or starting a family, so take steps to get out of debt as quickly as you can. There are several ways you can create a plan to pay off debt. Compare the popular methods of debt snowball vs avalanche to see which appeals to your inherent motivations.
Getting out from under debt will also require a mindset shift to become more disciplined with spending money. Consider what you want for yourself and your partner and weigh that against the immediate satisfaction of buying something that adds to your credit card balances. Keeping how debt affects your relationship in the back of your mind can help you focus on what’s most important.
Work out a budget together even if your finances are separate
If you and your partner decide to maintain separate finances, it’s still a good idea to sit down regularly and create a household budget. Discuss how you will pay for shared expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, and taxes and how much each of you will contribute. Once you establish a budget, set a recurring time for when you’ll re-evaluate it to account for changes in income or lifestyle. Many experts recommend doing this at least once a year or when something has changed your job situation or health. If there are significant changes, sit down and rework how you will pay the household bills.
Make sure your goals are aligned
Couples who fight about money are typically those who have different ideas of how they want to spend money. When you decide to become serious about the relationship, you’ll need to talk about where you both see the union going. Do you want to get married and have a big wedding? Will you want kids? What about your living situation? Would you be happier renting, or are you ready to settle down and become a homeowner? Knowing that you’re both on the same page early on will save you a lot of grief and frustration later.
Keep the lines of communication open
Money often feels like a taboo topic that carries feelings of shame or guilt. Instead of shying away from the subject, create a habit of regularly discussing finances with your partner. You can bring up small topics like paying for your next date or bigger things like how much you need to save for your next vacation. Don’t assume you’re both thinking the same thing; communicate often to stay aligned and avoid misunderstandings.
Love your partner, flaws and all
Money can be a complex conversation topic, especially for partners who have made mistakes in the past with their finances. When it comes to talking about the hard stuff like debt and budgets, remember that you’re in this relationship for reasons besides how good the other person is with their money. Enter money talks without judgment or blame to prevent turning a simple conversation into a huge fight.
The bottom line
Above all, don’t let resentment about money overrule the good parts of your relationship. By communicating regularly with your partner from a place of shared values and lack of judgment, you’ll ensure finances never come between the two of you.