Partner’s Spending Habits Driving You Crazy? Here’s What to Do
Huh? What? Why’d you do that?!
Such questions cross our mind even in the best relationships, and perhaps even more so when money is at play! There are many reasons why your partner’s financial habits might drive you up a wall, but what can you do about it? I’ll tell you below.
First, here are the most-common ways this comes up for my clients. Note which ones resonate:
Do we really need that [item, service, etc.] right now?
How could you pay so much for that?
You want to [go to dinner, on vacation, etc.], but I think that’s [irresponsible, unnecessary, etc.]
That’s not within the budget, and you know it!
Again?! (You keep doing that! What’s wrong with you?!)
Do you want to overcome the tension that arises in these situations? Then deploy these Top 6 Tips:
Questions: I can’t stress this one enough. Open-ended questions require a response that’s more than simply yes or no. They often begin with “Why” or “How,” and they generate thoughtful, open, vulnerable responses -- don’t you want those?
Curiosity: be willing to set aside your preconceived notions about the world and your partner. You may discover something new, and that something may just liberate you from your frustrations.
Humility: remind yourself -- in a loving way -- of some your financial trespasses. No one, and no budget, is perfect. Recall a time you splurged, and think about how you’d have wanted to be treated in that moment.
Goals: discover why the spending at issue matters and how you feel about it. Perhaps, e.g., you’re worried it will create debt, which is a concern because you both are committed to buying your dream home. Then, frame your conversation in terms of what you do want for the relationship -- your partner will be less hurt and more inspired.
Empathy: see what the world looks like from their eyes. From there, you can really get connected to your partner.
Responsibility: if you realize that you’ve previously been judgmental and/or a jerk toward your partner about their spending, don’t be afraid to acknowledge this and apologize. This creates a clean slate for a powerful, new conversation.
Utilizing these tips and tools will take you to a freer, kinder, and more intimate place with your partner. Only good can come from that, so get to it!