Money isn’t everything. Money is no object. Money is the root of all evils. Money can’t buy you happiness. There sure are a lot of idioms and quotes about the worthlessness or evils of money. While it has an extremely important function in our society, it’s widely accepted that it has no place in a relationship. Yet it can have a way of sneaking up in a relationship and forcing its presence to be known anyways. The most common way it does this is by forcing the couple to acknowledge their differences where finances are concerned.
Will Financial Differences Tear You Apart?
A difference in economic class has a way of putting strife into an otherwise happy relationship, of even possibly splitting people apart. Simple situations like treating your partner to a fancy dinner (or worse, expecting when the check comes that they will pay half of a dinner they cannot afford) can make that person feel insecure. Maybe it’s your anniversary and your partner lavishes you with jewelry, while all you could afford for him was a card and a tie. Maybe you are planning a wedding or a vacation. You, with your enviable savings account, want a lavish wedding or two-week-long luxury cruise, while he, with only pocket lint in his account, simply cannot afford it.
These situations can inadvertently give you the upper hand in the relationship if you are the wealthier, or make you feel insignificant and unworthy if you are the poorer. It can add tension and resentment to even the most loving of pairs. One source of tension can come from you feeling like a gold-digger (someone who is with a man or woman just for the money), if your partner is always doting on you. If you are the richer of the two, you may subconsciously wonder if he or she isn’t with you simply because of your wealth.
How To Prevent Money From Destroying Your Relationship
Nevertheless, it depends on the personality of the people involved and of how they handle this situation. Maybe they have reached an understanding, in which one person doesn’t mind being doted upon. In that case, these extravagances can seem surreal and exciting, an experience he or she might not have otherwise had if not for the partner.
One unexpected benefit might be the differing viewpoints each person can provide to the other, having been raised in or living in vastly different social scenes. Maybe the more financially secure partner has insight into taxes, IRAs, or investment skills, which could be helpful to the other. Or maybe the partner who grew up poor can provide a dose of humility if the other starts throwing around their money a little too casually.
The best way to keep money from ruining your relationship is to always communicate, no matter how uncomfortable the conversation may be. Discuss each of your ideas for gift-giving, for paying bills, for treating one another to dinner. With time and understanding, you may find a middle class, I mean, middle ground is possible.