Money & Relationships

Out of Debt!

Living in harmony with your partner regarding finances is a skill that can be learned.

When couples argue about money the cause is usually conflicting money scripts which are unconscious. On one level the fighting is all about the money, and on another level it isn’t about the money at all.

Forty percent of people report lying to their partner about money issues at some time in their relationship. Lying about money is a symptom of deeper relationship troubles.

Dr. Kit Yarrow comments “I just finished a new book on that subject, Decoding the New Consumer Mind, so a short summary might be hard! I suppose if I were to narrow it down to the one most important thing, I would say that buying usually involves relationships in one way or another. The motivation for almost everything we buy has something to do with connecting with other human beings. Even when it comes to practical purchases, the particular brand or product we choose relates to our connections with other human beings.” (Kit Yarrow, PhD, interviewed by Bret S. Stetka, MD for  Medscape on November 19, 2014. Why We Shop: The Neuropsychology of Consumption)

2men_computerDisparity in income creates a power difference between intimate partners that is usually balanced out in some other area.

Disparity in knowledge about a couples finances – when one partner has all the information or keeps important financial issues private – may also create a disparity in the power dynamic.

This power dynamic around money is typically unspoken and unexamined.  It remains an unconscious, like a rock just beneath the water.  When power dynamics around finances are  unbalanced it causes an unspoken  core conflict.. Usually the symptoms of the conflict appear in other areas that on the surface do not seem at all related – such as in one partner being oppositional or stubborn, or one partner feeling secretly entitled,  or one partner feeling shameful about the amount he or she contributes, or in an compensatory sexual affair.

For some, money means power, particularly dominance over someone with who they are intimate. For others, a disparity in income may be reflected in an open acknowledgment that the other partner brings more to the relationship in another area.

As roles and needs in relationships change over time, a constant disparity of income can further disrupt the relationship.

Why do some people seek a partner who is an equal earner, while others consistently seek a partner who has a much higher or lower income?

Difficult choiceFamilies are sometimes torn apart for generations.

Money can be a weapon that tears generations within a family apart. The damage can be handed down through many generations.

Inter-generational issues range from how child allowances and gifts are handled, through to how parents plan their estates.

When siblings fight over estates it is often because parents have set them up for the fight by projecting ambivalence toward their different children onto their will.