Our Need to Sleep campaign highlighted that 7.4 million people across the UK have trouble sleeping at night because of money worries. As well as affecting your sleep, it can impact on your health, job, and relationships. In fact, almost 30% go on to say that worrying about their financial situation affects their relationship with their partner or spouse.
That’s why we’ve invited Anjula Mutanda, ambassador for the relationships service Relate to give us her top tips to talk about cash without causing conflict. Take it away, Anjula!
Financial issues are one of the main causes of arguments between couples. So it’s important to understand that it’s likely there’ll be some tension about money at some point in your relationship.
The key to dealing with this is to be completely open and honest with each other about your values, feelings and spending habits. You should make sure that you’re both clear on how you plan to share finances, pay bills and manage your spending.
And if your personal or financial circumstances change, it’s even more important to make sure that you keep talking to each other about how you’re going to manage the transition, and how you feel about what you’re going through.
But talking about money with your partner can bring out strong emotions, and can often end up feeling confrontational. So here are my tips for talking about cash without causing conflict.
- Treat the money conversation like a business meeting. Approach your finances as a purely practical matter, and try to talk to each other like adults.
- Take turns to speak. It may sound obvious, but make sure that you spend half of the time really listening to what the other person is saying.
- Be honest and open about your attitude to money. Remember that not everyone values it in the same way. If your partner sees things differently to you (for instance, are they focussed on current finances, or more interested in planning for the future?), try to see it from their perspective.
- Take a money quiz and compare your results. This will help you both to understand where your approaches to money may clash, and start to work as a team.
- Draw up a plan together and make sure you both agree. Money worries can sometimes feel like you have a mountain to climb. But if you break your approach down into manageable steps, you’ll both feel confident that you can overcome them.
- Keep talking. Set time aside each week to keep each other updated about your money situation and how you’re feeling about it. Regular ‘check-ups’ can help to prevent unnecessary arguments, and will reassure each of you that the other isn’t keeping secrets. Bottling issues up and not sharing them is much more likely to result in explosive rows further down the line.
If you’re experiencing regular problems with money and it’s affecting your relationship, you should consider talking to a relationship counsellor.
Anjula Mutanda is a psychotherapist and life and careers coach, as well as an Ambassador for Relate and the author of “How to do Relationships”.
If money worries are keeping you awake at night, read Paul’s story