I’m back, it’s Millie with Millie in the City with the number one dating and relationship forum in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. Now that we have gotten that out the way, I want to discuss Dating and Money. So in honor of that, this article is appropriately titled: Three-Sums (My Money, Your Money & Our Money)
The internet is overflowing with money tips and articles for newlyweds i.e. open a joint account, talk about your money values, and budget for date night. These tips and advice are all fine and dandy however, these articles and tips forget to mention the main simple fact: your money relationship doesn’t begin when you walk down the aisle–it actually starts on your very first date.
Rather than discussing finances in romantic relationships, I truly believe we tend to hastily and silently adapt to our beliefs about how the other person wants to deal with the issue. Let’s say for instance that Mr. Fantastic pays for dates one, two, and three, his dating partner may assume he is happy to pay for dates four through fifty. Sometimes this line of assumption leads to sheer frustration from at least one party. Just maybe, like most millennials, Mr. Fantastic cannot actually afford to treat every time or perhaps his date feels guilty for not contributing financially.
In your mind, you are probably thinking, ‘just say something already’—the chances are that you wouldn’t say anything. I truly believe that we are all somewhat funny about money- no matter how much or how little money we have. And, in case you don’t know the statistics, about 70% of divorces are due to money woes. You see, we often or generally marry ourselves, we usually go out and find someone who mirrors the things we like about ourselves. Unfortunately, when we do that, these commonalities are initially the attraction but eventually become less fun when you need to make decisions of economic consequences.
Last year a trend of young adults are asking for their love interest’s credit score to determine if he or she is worth pursuing. A good friend of mine who is a Real Estate Agent was quickly disenchanted when a suitor asked about her credit score on their very first date. Much like our dating lives, a person’s relationship to money cannot be boiled down to a single statistic. With that, it might be best to wait a few dates in to bring up nitty gritty details like credit scores and 401k balances. Instead, you should see if the relationship “has legs” and keep an eye out for red flags like: Does one partner always pay? or Are you are being overly generous, while your partner is being cheap and How does that make you feel?
If you are unhappy with your money conversations, instead of possibly sounding like you are criticizing, try to come to a mutual understanding of why you each behave the way you do about money. By observing your love-interest’s spending habits you can get to know him or her better. If you, for example, notice that the girl you have gone out with a few times is careful with her coins you can give her a compliment about her discipline. Now, if you notice she throws spending caution to the wind you can ask about her non-financial escapades. When you are dating you really have to take this opportunity to see what you are about to get into. Knowing the contents of someone’s bank account doesn’t necessarily mean you understand his or her relationship to it.
Some warning signs to look for are: you might want to rethink the relationship if someone is unwilling to discuss money, lies about their finances or does not pay you back the money you loaned them. Please don’t let red flags go because once you develop feelings for someone or you are in love, we can come vulnerable to taking care of someone in ways that are not healthy.
In conclusion, having different approaches to money can strengthen your finances and relationship but only if differences are acknowledged. There is still a very strong taboo against talking about money but that does not mean you should not try.
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