How to Handle Money in Your Relationship

How you handle your finances with your partner is very revealing about the level of trust and intimacy you share. Interdependence in all matters of the heart allows you to remain close and connected.

Money, like everything else in your relationship reflects a balance or imbalance of power (as the case may be) in your relationship.

For a happy and fulfilling partnership the balance of power needs to be equal.

As men and women are different, the balance of power should be complimentary, yet equal.

In order to achieve this, both of you must become competent over time in all areas of your finances. Likely, between the two of you, all the financial tasks get taken care of, but one of you is likely overburdened with financial responsibility while the other feels somewhat inadequate.

 To balance this out, you’ll want to teach your partner what you know and you’ll want to learn what your partner knows and vice versa. It doesn’t have to be to the same degree, but both of you should understand and be able to carry out the basics in terms of paying bills, investing, saving and paying taxes. This way neither one of you will feel burdened or helpless. When either of you feels burdened or helpless it erodes your relationship and creates an emotional barrier between the two of you.

The unconscious payoff for being burdened is that you get to maintain control, and the benefit of feeling helpless and incompetent is that you don’t have to worry. It may feel good for awhile, but in the long run, both of these positions create bitterness and resentment. The emotional price you’ll pay is way too high!

It’s interesting that you may give yourself (heart, body and soul) to your partner while making love. This is the height of intimacy, but yet you may not trust one another enough to share finances or take care of the bills. Does it make sense to be able to share everything spiritually (your very essence) but not financially (material and fleeting)?

To create and sustain love, regardless of who makes the most money, you’ll want to share your finances equally. Rather than mine and yours it should all belong to both of you. Granted, we’re talking about long-term, committed partnerships here, where you are committed and living together or married.

Decisions about how your money is spent (home, children, repairs, vacation, spending, saving etc.) should be made together. Within this framework, some amount of financial freedom or autonomy is necessary. You both need to agree on an equal amount that you each have at your disposal on a regular basis.

Your individual, yet equal spending money is then separate to spend or save as you alone see fit. How you spend your disposal income is not a shared decision. Whether you choose to buy an RSP, go to the casino, save it to buy a car, go on a vacation, invest in your education, buy clothes or donate your equal, individual amount becomes your decision alone.

Neither one of you deserves a vacation, a boat, or any other item, above and beyond your equal, individual spending money, just because you earn more! Not because it’s right or wrong. Only because there’s no way to behave this way and not severely chip away at the love between you.

One or both of you might find it undesirable to share your finances across the board. If you don’t share your money, what does it say about your level of trust and security with one another? Think about this carefully. You can’t achieve lasting happiness in love if you don’t trust your partner in everything. A solid relationship requires interacting in a loving manner and retaining equality in every way.


Susan Blackburn

Susan Blackburn

About Susan Blackburn:

Susan Blackburn, M.A., C.Psych. is a Registered Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Counsellor & Therapist in Toronto at Yonge Eglinton, a Published Author and a guest Relationship Expert on radio and television.

Susan enjoys working with people to enhance the quality of their lives. Her collaborative psychotherapy and counselling approach offers clients effective tools and strategies to increase happiness, manage stress, find balance, improve confidence, embrace self care and focus on the positive so that they can relax and enjoy life.

Services are covered under most extended health benefits and workplace insurance plans requiring clients be seen by a Registered Psychologist through her registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Susan is the owner of Susan Blackburn Psychology a boutique therapy private practice located in midtown Toronto at Yonge and Eglinton.

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