Many couples fight about money—it is the number-one source of arguing in the best of times. But now, in some of the worst financial times, money has become an even greater stress on couples.
Couples who already had methods of communicating and compromising—gaining strength from each other and helping each other cope—are in better shape now than those who already had a rocky relationship. They are likely bringing those same skills to bear even as the stakes are higher. In fact, these couples may even find themselves feeling closer to each other and better about each other than before. They realize that together they can beat the battle better than alone, and they bring out each others’ strengths.
Couples who have always struggled with talking, being secretive or even dishonest with each other are going to feel even worse with this new economic stress. They may find themselves unbearably stressed by the money secrets and totally alone about who to confide in. This loneliness can lead to depression and anxiety.
Now is the time to come clean about all money matters. Tell each other about debt, priorities, wishes, fears. Once the cards are on the table, you can start fresh on how to rebuild. Going forward, be honest with your partner and make money decisions as a team. Have conferences and make contingency plans on how you will act or spend for various scenarios. Having bailout plans of your own will make you feel less fearful of all the “what if?” situations and free you up to be more relaxed together. Plan for non-expensive playtime, like walks, exercising together, acting silly and having sex!
Having fun together is very important in these stressful times.