These days, monetary stress is more prevalent than ever. Stressing over your finances doesn't only put a strain on your shopping habits, it can also take a huge toll on your relationship. You might be in the "unicorn and butterflies" beginning stage of a relationship and can't imagine ever fighting over financials, but monetary stress tends to sneak up on you. Will Money Ruin Your Relationship?
Most couples who are in it for the long haul, and plan on living together or building a future together will find themselves fighting over dolla dolla bills at some point. Here are five steps to avoid the financial strain on your relationship:
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1. Put it all out on the table. Sit down with your partner, pour a glass of wine and talk about the state of your finances and your respective attitudes toward money. Do you have a lot of debt from student loans? A shoe-shopping habit? Or are you a super saver who obsesses over her Mint account and doesn't even have a credit card?
Coming clean about your money history and habits can be scary, so make a pact up front that this will be a judgement free zone, and don't hold back. Talk, talk and then talk some more.
2. Determine your goals as a couple. Are you moving in together for the first time and trying to figure out who should pay for what? Are you saving to buy a home? Whatever your goals may be, keeping them front and center will keep things in perspective when money tension starts brewing.
3. Make a plan and stick to it. Having a two hour conversation about how you're going to divide rent and utilities isn't the sexiest way to spend a Saturday night. But, if it prevents you from having a huge blowout about the electric bill, it's oh so worth it. The plan should include both of you working together as a team and supporting each other, with the goal being that nobody ever feels taken for granted.
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4. It's okay if you need help. Being in a serious relationship means allowing yourself to be vulnerable in all ways, including financially. Life happens; you might lose your job or need emergency funds that you don't have available. No matter how independent you are, it's ok to ask your partner for help and to lean on him when things get rough.
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