Tips And Advice

Can’t have a conversation with your partner about money? Here’s how you can (sans any awkwardness)

Money can be a difficult topic of conversation in a relationship, especially if every attempt to do so causes an argument or distance between spouses.

However being in a relationship means being able to openly communicate about finances, especially if you share a home, children, and a life together.

Here are a few ways to improve this aspect of your relationship if this is a problem for you.

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Here are 4 ways to start a conversation around money

Listen

If you can’t talk about money, it may be due to a lack of connection between you both. Being in a relationship is a partnership and if you aren’t connecting as a couple, you will find it hard to be on the same page when discussing money.

Listen with understanding and empathy to your partner when they talk, try to connect on a deeper level without the kids around. When you understand why you can’t approach your partner about money, you can change the way you both discuss it.

This approach will help your partner will be more comfortable and open to discussing prickly topics with you.

Don’t push it

Forcing your partner to open up about why they can’t discuss the finances with you, unfortunately, won’t help. Try to gradually encourage conversation by approaching topics about money that have nothing to do with you both, in a non-threatening way.

Perhaps you can share with your partner interesting money-saving hacks you read about or how a friend of yours saved for a family holiday. This could pave the way for a healthy discussion about money down the track.

Common goals

No matter how big or small, try creating a common goal you both want and how you both can work towards it together. Perhaps it’s a new TV or a holiday or maybe you guys have a bucket list!?

Going at it together can encourage your partner to get on board with saving, therefore creating a comfortable and positive discussion about money. Create a plan to achieve the goal but be open to the fact that your partner may want to change it.

Check in with each other to see how you’re going with achieving your goals.

Warning sign

Many of us carry baggage that is the result of previous experiences. We place our value and self-worth on how much we earn and what we can contribute, which may be why you can’t discuss money matters with your partner.

However, it can also be a warning sign to something more serious. It could be that your partner is an emotional spender, has a gambling problem or has made a bad investment without your consultation or permission.

If you suspect this may be the case, calmly but firmly insist on financial transparency. Chances are your partner is feeling overwhelmed, fearful or ashamed of their actions so make sure you reassure them of your support and love.

It can be shocking and upsetting when secrets such as these come to light and your trust is broken. The first step will be professional financial help, then fixing the broken trust and hurt you maybe be feeling with relationship counselling.

Find support: Visit Relationships Australia or call 1300 364 277.

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Shara Smith

Shara is a psychotherapist and a counsellor, who has over 12 years experience in the mental health, life coaching and self-care sector. While she loves her husband and three kids, she also loves watching re-runs of Sex in the City and baking decadent cookies that only she gets to eat.

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