3 Warning Signs Financial Fights Are in Your Relationship's Future

by Christy Bieber | Oct. 15, 2019

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Are you and your partner destined to fight about money? Here are some warning signs that suggest money fights are likely to be a problem. 

When you're deciding if you want to share your life with someone, it's important to make sure you're compatible on the things that matter. And one of the most essential issues you need to get on the same page about is how you'll handle your shared finances.

If you're getting into a serious relationship with another person, the money decisions you each make will inevitably impact both of you -- even if you decide to maintain separate accounts. Unfortunately, it can be hard to handle finances together, which is one big reason why so many couples fight about money. 

Two women having a disagreement on a couch with their arms crossed.

Image source: Getty Images

1. You can't talk about money

According to a survey on financial infidelity conducted by The Ascent, 70% of couples find having financial discussions easy. This is great news, because being part of a couple means you absolutely need to talk about your shared financial lives. 

There is an almost endless number of money decisions that you're going to need to make together, like whether to maintain joint or separate accounts, how much to spend on rent, how much to save, when to buy a house, and even how old you should be when you retire. And, of course, there are tons of little decisions to make together about purchases, all of which can cause problems as well. 

Unfortunately, if you're not able to communicate because you don't trust your partner not to be judgmental or because you can't find ways to compromise, every single one of these money decisions could lead to conflict. In fact, these money decisions do lead to fights frequently, with 82% of couples telling The Ascent that they've argued about purchases. 

To make sure you don't end up fighting about every dollar, start having talks about money early. Cultivate good habits from the start and watch how your partner speaks to you. If your beloved is closed off about finances or quick to judge, this suggests you have a lot of work to do to avoid problems.

2. You don't trust your partner to spend responsibly

According to The Ascent's survey, 30% of men and 39% of women in relationships didn't trust their partners to spend money responsibly. 

If you find yourself in this situation, it's clear that there's going to be conflict about money in your relationship. After all, a lack of trust can lead to you trying to control your partner -- which is bound to lead to resentment. 

And if you have good reason not to feel confident in your partner's spending habits, such as a history of irresponsible spending on credit cards, this is also a red flag you can't ignore. If your partner continues to make bad money decisions, it will undermine your ability to accomplish goals as a couple, and this can create serious relationship problems too. 

If you're in this situation, explore why you don't trust your partner so you can get a handle on whether the underlying problem is with your desire for control or your partner's financial responsibility. Then, see if you can work through the issue together to develop the trust you need for your relationship to succeed in the long term. 

3. Your partner has lied to you about important financial matters

Deception regarding debt was considered to be between a moderate and serious relationship problem, according to The Ascent's survey. Deception about earnings or assets and lies about purchases were also classified as moderate relationship problems. All three were seen as more serious than either issues with a partner's family or differences on politics or religion. 

If your partner has lied about money in the past, it will rightfully be much harder to maintain trust in the future. And this lack of trust is bound to cause fights. You might get mad because you are suspicious of your partner, or your beloved might get mad because of your lack of confidence in him or her. 

To overcome this problem, you need to talk about why your partner felt the need to be dishonest. From there you can identify concrete steps to ensure the necessary levels of truthfulness and transparency that will allow your relationship to succeed going forward. 

Watch out for these warning signs

If you spot these warning signs in your relationship, that doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't stay together. But it does mean that you're a lot more likely to have repeated conflicts over handling finances that could undermine the strength of your bond.

It's important to be proactive in addressing these issues if you hope that your relationship will last. Depending on your situation, this could mean that you practice communicating more with your partner about your finances. If you are facing bigger such as a lack of trust in your partner's spending smarts, it might be worth getting counseling to deal with them.

If you tackle the issues head on, hopefully you can avoid the kinds of money-related relationship problems that can cause issues throughout the duration of your romance.

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