Love, Self

Money Woes & Relationship Lows: Creating Change

Money Woes

The U.S. economy has been in a state of extreme flux for the past several years, which gives rise to anxiety, fear, and hopelessness. It's highly likely that you know someone who has lost their job or their home, or both. Or maybe you are the one who has been downsized, gotten slammed by unexpected medical expenses, or faced a foreclosure. You may have found yourself with fewer clients, involuntary furloughs, decreased benefits, working longer hours for less money, or facing the threat of lay-offs. And these financial stressors almost always have a ripple effect in your love life. Long hours may lead to decreased energy and time for your relationship.

You may find yourself fighting more, hiding frivolous purchases, putting off much-needed vacations, and worst of all— having less sex. When one or both partners are worried about money, it can create sexual conflicts. Women may still want or seek sex as a way of finding comfort or reassurance, whereas the primitive part of the male brain goes into survival mode— finding a new job or remedying the financial problem some other way takes precedence over everything else. Remarkably, even over sex! One of the truisms I've discovered in working with many couples is that no job equals no sex. You would think all that spare time would lead to plenty of nooky, but it's just not the case. More likely, that time will be spent snacking on the couch, while planted in front of the television.

Although things have definitely improved, the economy is simply not as strong as it once was, which can make it challenging to maintain optimism, derive joy from spending, or even make plans for the future.  How are you relating to money nowadays? How are you relating to your spouse or partner when it comes to financial issues? Is it different than the way in which you used to relate to it? Better, or worse? Have you given up on the idea of buying a house, having a baby, or going back to school? Is the idea of taking a vacation a mere fantasy instead of something you plan for regularly?

If you're chronically worried about money, it's easy to feel hopeless and stop making plans for the future. But without plans to look forward to together, your relationship loses an essential part of its structure. You need both individual and couples goals to keep you motivated.

If this resonates for you, and you want to improve things with your spouse or partner:

Here's a brief plan to start creating change

  1. Sit down tonight and have a conversation with each other about money. Set a timer on it, like 60 minutes, so that you are secure in knowing that it's not going to be endless torture.
  2. Go over your budget together. If you don't have a budget, pull out the pile of bills and make a list.
  3. Talk about the feelings that come up and see what you can do together to alleviate fear and anxiety. Talk about your successes and goals.
  4. Make a pact to do something fun with whatever available money you've got, after the basics are covered.
  5. Celebrate getting over your fears TOGETHER.

For more help figuring out a health way to relate to money in your relationship, contact me at (310) 625-6083 for a free initial consultation.