Money in Dating, Marriage and Affairs

You already know that money is the number one reason couples get divorced. That’s because money matters in life. People use money for a sense of security, success, rebellion (with a fuck you money pile), or generosity to others. When a couple’s money vales are out of alignment with each other, either not accepting the other’s way of doing things, or forcing them to change, creates resentment. Let’s talk about various relationships and money management.

I’ve only ever shared my finances with my partner twice in my life. The first time it went very wrong, and this second time around it seems to be going quite well.

Married or Common Law Partners

You don’t have to be married or common law to have a desire to share your finances. You’ll know when you are ready. Like all things in a long term partnership, early negotiations are very important and set the tone for the relationship. When you put your finances together, each side has to give and take a little until you come to a strategy you both agree with. One partner dictating to the other how the money thing should go, just doesn’t work. It will create a lack of freedom and could cause the other to act out against their partner.



The first time I shared my finances with another, it was with my ex husband (we were married at the time). We decided to merge all our accounts and finances and have a joint budget. Now in hindsight, it’s quite idiotic that I ever agreed to this as my ex was notoriously bad at managing his money. He still had student loans 7 years out of college, and often had to borrow money from his dad (who kept a meticulous spreadsheet) to be able to pay the rent some months.

We threw all of our accounts together and I did not account for his true money habits. He listened to me talking excitedly about savings and paying off debt and our mortgage and appeared to agree. While on paper our joint accounts looked good, I later found out that he was using his Line of Credit as backup checking account, to buy fast food meals several times a day. If you are with someone who is financially irresponsible, never join accounts (actually I think you should never join all accounts even if they ARE responsible)! What is a better strategy is to listen to how much money they actually need to feel comfortable day to day, and work with that. Yes, it’s called a weekly allowance.

In a marriage or common law partnership, both individuals should have their own goals. The couple should also have a joint goal. For this joint goal, the couple should open up a joint savings account. This allows you to work towards your shared goal while protecting the rest of your finances in case your partner ever gets sticky fingers. Do keep in mind that in a marriage, all savings or debt accumulated during the marriage are split 50/50 in case of a breakup in Canada. For a common law partnership, this is harder to enforce, unless one partner is clearly supporting the other.

My fiance and I have a saving account where we save for our two joint goals: a new couch (what ambition!) and our wedding next year. We both have responsibility in paying for utilities, food, pet supplies, etc, and save the receipts and split the costs down the middle at the end of the month. We both write a cheque for 50% of our rent. It gives me peace of mind because I know we are working together, but I’m still able to save for my own goal of financial independence on my own.

Dating

We’re in 2017, and both individuals should share costs while you are dating. That may either look like taking turns on each date, or the one who does the asking does the paying. Dating is fun so don’t get too severe about money. But on your dates, notice what does your partner pick from the menu. The most expensive dish or a lower cost item? Ask them if they are saving for any long term goals. The relationship is easier when you have the same money philosophies, but not being on the same page isn’t a deal breaker. You just have to be aware so you can make an informed decision on the relationship.

Affairs

Come on, if you want to have an affair, I don’t judge! But I don’t want you to be taken financially advantage of. Affairs tend to happen with older, more established people who are in a long term relationship (if it didn’t, we’d just call it dating). Because there are rarely any long term expectations in an affair, it is appropriate for the one who is being pursued to keep their purse strings or wallet closed, especially at the start of an affair.



You may want to use cash to spend on your other man or woman, lest your long term partner question your transaction history. If the relationship progresses, there will often be a level of imbalance where a woman in a relationship becomes more emotionally vested than a man (in opposite sex relationships). Spoiler alert, this is generally not a good thing for affairs. What was once light and fun can become possessiveness and manic, if you have no idea what your beloved is doing or who they are with.

For this reason, and especially in long-distance affairs, it is my recommendation that a man pays for a woman, PARTICULARLY when a flight is involved. Why? Ladies, I get it, you’re all hot and bothered and romantically inclined to rush onto a partner to see your man. But when he pays for the flight, he now has some skin in the game, and doesn’t pull the pokaroo move when you arrive. Cause we all know someone this has happened to.

 

However your romantic life looks, you should still set your financial goals for the next 1 and 5 years and work to achieve them. Be smart with your money. Enjoy spending it on your loved one, but don’t let them financially ruin you.

What works for you in dating, marriage and affairs?