How to Overcome Financial Conflicts with Your Partner

Hello Edward Antrobus readers! My name is Erika, and I run the blog From Shopping to Saving where I talk about personal finance from the perspective of a 24-year-old former shopaholic. We get deep over there and talk about saving, shopping (or lack thereof), self-improvement, and more. Click at your own risk!

I’m not gonna lie. I just recently learned how to manage my finances when I started blogging, which is about two years ago. I was swimming in consumer debt and as soon as I started working at my first full-time job, the floodgates opened and the spending spree began.

Cookie in shape of heart with word "love"

It suddenly hit me that I had no savings to show for all the years I’ve worked part-time and during my first year of working full-time. I finally decided it was time to take control of my spending habits.

I started reading personal finance books and blogs, and turned to tracking my spending each day, and soon after set up a budget. I paid myself first after each pay period. I realized that my boyfriend had been telling me this all along, but I never listened.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

In our relationship, a lot of disagreements stem from one person thinking one way and the other thinking another way. We’ll get into it because we usually want the other person to agree with what we’re thinking at the time.

For example, when my BF shakes his head while I’m talking about something that I’m passionate about, it bugs me so much because I feel as though he’s writing me off and not listening. Once I get angry, he starts thinking that he did something wrong and he starts to feel angry at me because I was getting upset at him “over nothing” and he didn’t do anything. It’s a cycle that happens all the time, but we both have to take a step back and make sure we are thinking the same. It’s always a miscommunication issue that leads to arguments.

From experience, we truly think that men and women just have different ways of speaking to each other and communicating their feelings. For myself, I tend to think BF can read my mind sometimes, but hey – that’s how a lot of women are. We are great at reading body language and often analyze words in different ways. Men react to whatever we say and they only know what we tell them. They can’t read our minds!

Communication Is Key

You’re probably sick of hearing the phrase “Communication is key,” but it is so important to really understand this statement and implement it in your relationship. Communication barriers were the hardest to break down. Even after 6 years of living together, you would think we would have our communication skills down, but we don’t.

A productive discussion can go astray and lead to an argument if you aren’t seeing eye to eye or aren’t on the same page. The best thing to do when you are first starting off is being comfortable with talking about your finances. If your significant other is hesitant to share their debt, ease them into it slowly. Don’t try to take full control of their finances but be sure to let them know you want discussions to be productive so it can help the BOTH of you. You also want to make sure you know each others’ goals and plan out goals for the both of you, as a couple.

Managing Finances Together

We do not combine finances yet; although we are planning to once we get married in the future. We have been together for almost 7 years now, so finances come up all the time, especially because everything is dependent on money – a wedding, having a family, careers, vacations, buying a home, paying for school loans – and we want to do all of these things together, so it’s important to discuss them so you two can plan ahead.

Every couple is different, so there is no right way to manage finances together. You should do whatever works for you. Play around with the different options of joining finances together, having separate checking accounts, having different credit cards, having monthly financial meetings, etc. Make sure each person is comfortable with the arrangement, and see which option gives you both less of a headache.

How do you resolve financial conflicts with your partner? If you are single, how would you approach this problem?

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38 thoughts on “How to Overcome Financial Conflicts with Your Partner

  1. lol this is totally how me and my ex would fight. So many times I would get mad over her getting mad about nothing. Such a cycle. I don’t have much advice to give about handling financial conflicts with my partner since it’s a big part of why I became single again. Now I just have to fight with myself over finances.
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  2. It sounds like you and your fiance are like me and my husband. We had a lot of time together knowing each other’s financial habits pretty intimately before we got married and actually combined. I think the time was very useful to get us both thinking the same way (both savers, similar priorities) before we actually jumped into managing things together. Best of luck!

  3. We don’t have financial conflicts so much as joint financial worries. That’s not to say we never fight! Once a fight starts, we just walk away from each other until we can cool down and dish things out rationally. Anger is a pretty strong emotion and can cloud everything else out.
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  6. Thank you, this is a very timely message for me. We are not fighting over finances and we do keep our separate. However, as you mentioned, all arguments are due to miscommunication.

    I’m sure that is the case with us. And it is complicated even further because we both have different mother tongues. Even though we know each others languages – there are nuances that a native speaker has that a non-native speaker does not grasp.

    However, that is an excuse. I think the problem is just basically not communicating very well. I hope it gets better for us.

    I’m happy that we keep our finances separate for now. I can’t imagine how much more difficult that would make things for us.

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