Don't let love blind you from the financial realities of marriage.
DOMA repealed. Prop 8 is history. Gay Marriages recognized by the I.R.S. and all is well in gay marriage land... not!
Being giddy about your engagement and nuptials is all part of the thrill of marriage. Of course, that's provided you don't talk about sex, kids, and finances — especially finances. Now that you're on the road to saying "I do", you should take a quick moment and dish about money. If you don't, you're like a majority of couples who avoid these discussions like the plague, only to find themselves in a financial pickle later. So get over your hangups and get real — or you'll never make it to the church on time.
I've been with my partner over twelve years now. In the beginning, money was not really discussed; we simply took turns paying for things. It was pretty easy to silently sweep money conversations under the table until we decided to move in together. Then, like most hetero-normative couples, we had to talk about finances. Nope, being gay doesn't keep those conversations at bay.
At the time, our combined income was around... let's just say it was very comfortable. We traveled, we bought what we desired, we planned for the future, I paid alimony and child support, and we were raising my two daughters in the one-week-on, one-week-off world of parenting. All was well and we bought our first half-million dollar home. Yikes! Nothing says getting to know each other like signing a loan for over $400K.
From that point forward, we've put money on the table in a very real way in our discussions as a couple, and I'm glad we did. Our ability to be straightforward and honest about money is a huge asset, and something you should have in your top five of things to get comfortable about — before you kiss and make it official as husband and husband, or wife and wife.
5 Money Discussions That May Lead To Happily Never After:
I've got a bankruptcy blemish. While it's not pretty and no amount of concealer will hide it, coming clean about a bankruptcy will do more good than harm in your relationship. Nothing says distrust more than, "Oops I forget to tell you," when you're trying to jointly get a loan to buy your dream home.
Life insurance...who needs it? You may or may not see the value in life insurance. If your significant other/soon-to-be spouse doesn't carry it, or never has, your investment in this type of financial security may cause a squabble. It may seem wasteful or like a bad investment to one of you, and to the other, logical and necessary. Depending on your perspective, somebody just may get written off as the beneficiary, which could lead to a completely different discussion that can be equally ugly.
Yours, mine and ours! Personally, I was raised in a home where the money was put into one pot (even though at times we didn't have a pot to pee in). Once I got married, we did the same: all funds went into one lovely account to cover expenses and pleasure. At times, fights ensued. Then I came out of the closet, divorced, and came into a place of "yours, mine and ours". If you haven't sorted this out yet, I suggest not having this conversation on the same day you're picking out flowers or tasting cakes. Instead, discuss whether you want to combine or keep your assets separate before you start fantasizing about place cards.
Your future spouse is having an affair. Don't panic. I don't mean that your man or woman is busy with someone else; they're having an affair with money and abundance. Each of us does. Some of us have hot, sizzling, risky relationships with money and others have a subdued, "Let's make this last and be logical about our liaison" affair. Either way, both of you getting raw about your relationship with money and abundance will show your willingness to be naked and vulnerable outside of the bedroom. Having the insight to each other's money attitudes will save countless hours slept on the couch after a heated money discussion. Oh, and never talk about money while in bed. Sex is sex, and money is money. No need to turn either into a cheap, tawdry trick!
Use "flexi-cash" to keep your relationship alive. It doesn't matter how the funds are allocated or the bills are paid; always keep a little fun money around for when you both need to get off and cut loose. It doesn't have to be much, but do let urges hit you. Couple this idea with creativity, and you've got a winning formula for sparking up your love life, even when the money blues have got ya down.
Other things to consider are:
- How do you each like to invest?
- What does planning for a rainy day look like to you as a couple?
- Is borrowing from or loaning money to family and friends a hot button?
- If you're in a state where gay marriage isn't recognized, are you both wiling to invest the money to protect yourselves and each other?
- How do you feel about assuming your partner's debt or helping them dig out from it?
There's a full spectrum of financial conversations that gays and lesbians need to consider having as they take that walk down the aisle, even if you're just getting married at the courthouse. Think about sex: unless you know what your partner's thinking, it's pretty hard to give them a mind-blowing orgasm. Money is the same way: if you don't know how they approach their finances, how can you expect to meet in the middle? Who knew!? Money and sex: both lifetime journeys that are best served by being open, thoughtful, flexible, and communicative.
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