“I have a headache”
“I’m too tired”
“I’m too busy”
“I don’t want to right now”
No, I’m not talking about sex, at least not directly.
Do you say those words to your partner when they ask to talk to you about money or when they ask you to sit with them while they pay some bills?
If you do, your partner might be feeling rejected, unloved, unappreciated, unheard or lonely, just like if you had said those words when your partner initiated sex.
As a Financial Counsellor, I see the connection between sex and money in my practice, almost every day.
Just like how sex is not only about the physical, so too, money is not only about the numbers. Both are seeped with emotions and vulnerability.
If you are part of a couple and you are not talking about money because you are afraid of starting an argument, please know, you are not alone. In fact, this is quite common.
What I have found works, is to start small. Set aside 15 minutes a month to either pay a bill or two or to open up some bills and see what needs to be paid.
After doing this for about a month or two, and if you feel ready, you can then move to setting aside 30 minutes once a month. Bring out the wine if you want to, as this may help to take the edge off. Make it intimate.
Use this 30 minutes to:
- Look at your combined expenses and make sure all the bills are paid and up to date.
- Look at your combined debt. Did it go up? Did it go down? What’s the interest rate? How do you both feel about having debt? Are you on the same page.? Talk openly about this – how does this debt make you feel?
- Revisit your savings- Are you both contributing to your combined savings? Are you happy with your savings amount?
Once you have touched on these 3 areas, call it a night. Remember, do not spend more than an average of about 30 minutes doing this, you can continue next month and go deeper if you feel comfortable.
Most importantly, remember to be patient and to be aware of how frightening and intimidating this might be for your partner. Also, this is not the time for your judgement, and neither is this the time for you to cast blame. This is an intimate time and a safe space, set aside for you both to open up and freely talk about money. A client once shared with me, that doing this felt like she and her husband were standing naked in front of each other. So I will repeat what I said earlier: this needs to be a safe space.
If you feel you need help to navigate this, please reach out for help.