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Ways to avoid financial conflict with your partner

By Faeza
24 February 2017

Finances can be a very serious source of

conflict between couples, so you really need

to get that discussion out on the table as

quickly as possible. Financial compatibility

doesn’t necessarily mean having the same

spending habits. It could also mean the ability to work

out your differences amicably and make the best of

the situation.

It also means that one of you needs to learn to be

teachable and to compromise. These are some of the

major causes of financial conflict in a relationship;

? HIDING DEBT OR POOR SPENDING HABITS

If you truly want to trust someone, and have

them trust you, then you need to be open and

transparent with them about most things.

If you are starting a new relationship, you don’t

need to go into great detail about your debt or

spending habits (and you might scare away your

potential partner if you do). However, once you are

in a committed relationship that you see lasting

for a long time, it’s important to discuss where you

are financially, particularly if you plan to move in

together or eventually get married.

Not only can lying about your debt or spending

habits – or simply failing to tell your partner about

them – potentially cause a lack of trust, but if you

wait too long, you may later find that you and

your partner are on completely different paths

as far as finances go. This can be devastating to a

relationship. Money issues can cause feelings of

shame, fear and isolation.

? HARMING YOUR PARTNER’S CREDIT OR

SAVINGS

While most people who truly care about another

person would never intentionally destroy the

creditworthiness of their partner, this can happen if

you fail to pay bills or

keep up your part of a

financial agreement.

Often couples

purchase a home,

a car, or they make

other purchases

together under the

assumption that both

people will pay for

the item.

If you or your

partner fails to pay

your share and an

account becomes

listed as a slow

payer, this can

ruin your partner’s

creditworthiness in addition to your relationship.

Another way to quickly kill a relationship is to eat

away at your partner’s savings account or to take

money without asking them first.

? NOT DISCUSSING PURCHASES BEFOREHAND

Once you begin to share or pool your money

together in a joint account, it is important that you

lay out ground rules. You need to determine at

what price you are going to talk to each other about

a purchase, and when it’s acceptable to just spend

money as you see fit.

It’s best to come up with these rules as early

as possible, because otherwise you risk having

a big argument if one person

purchases something with joint

money without asking.

The line becomes a little less

clear if you are in a committed

relationship, but you are not

pooling your money together.

Still, if you have agreed to save

for a holiday or a home together,

but then you go out and buy a

car, it’s likely that your partner

will be upset. So even if you

are still keeping your money

separate, you should have a plan

for just how separate

that money really is.

Otherwise, you risk

someone feeling

resentful or angry.

? NOT FIGURING OUT THE DETAILS

Whether you are

dating, married, or just

starting to know each

other, it’s important

to figure out who will

pay for things and

when. Men are not

necessarily in charge

of every restaurant

bill anymore.

If possible, figure out who is paying ahead of

time when you go on a date, or split the bill. If you

are living with him or married, sit down and figure

out who is going to pay for which bills (if your

money is still separate), or when bills will get paid

and who is going to keep track of them (if you are

married or have joint finances).

? BEING TOO CONTROLLING

No one wants to be in a controlling

relationship, and if you or your partner regularly

shows financially controlling behaviours, this

can be a red flag for the other person. Money

decisions should be made together, and if you or

your partner gets angry or upset when

the other person tries to have a say

in a discussion, this can come across

as controlling. It can also damage a

relationship if one person demands

to keep track of all of the money and

won’t let the other person make any

decisions.

Another financially controlling

behaviour is to criticise your partner’s

decisions, or to accuse them of being

too frugal or too loose with money in a

demeaning way and with no intention

of trying to make the situation better.