This time we will discuss a serious subject, fighting over debt.
In all the years I’ve been helping people with money troubles, I think I’ve seen many ways people fight about money. Here is a real example.
Guy: Damnit, woman, I told you to stop spending. Stop Spending!
Woman: I can’t. I have to spend because you don’t love me.
I doubt your disagreement about money will be like that, but whatever it’s about, they always suck and are never fun.
Most fights about money are not about money, they are about other issues, but some money trouble sparks them. Debt is always the symptom of an underlying situation. Debt is the byproduct and not the root cause.
Take, for example, the surprise debt created by hidden shopping. The debt is unfortunate and needs to be addressed, but in many cases, I deal with the shopping resulting from needing to reduce stress or improve self-esteem.
Fighting about money problems is a good news / bad news situation. On the one hand, it’s never fun to fight. But, on the other hand, the good news is that most times, there is a solution that can resolve the issue.
A healthy confrontation over money problems can result in positive steps forward if you come together as a team.
Frequent battles and arguments over money are not healthy for a relationship. Financial incompatibility is one of the leading causes of divorce. So if we fight about money, let’s fix the problem and turn it into a good news story.
If you feel like you are in conflict over debt, you can take some straightforward steps.
The first and most crucial point is, to be honest with each other about your personal and joint debt. So many people are afraid to talk to their spouse about their debt because they’ve been keeping it a secret, and they are afraid of how the other person will react.
In reality, the spouse or partner in the dark typically reacts with hurt and anger. Let’s be honest. When you confess hidden financial infidelity that results in sexually transmitted debt, the other person will be pissed off, but you’d be, too, if you had been kept in the dark.
But after a frosty chill hanging in the air for a few days, things always begin to thaw and improve. And they will improve even faster if you drop a debt bombshell if you come prepared to the party with a real plan for dealing with the debt.
Presenting a plan of action helps to soften the blow of a nasty financial surprise. It certainly works better than
Guy: We’ve got this big financial problem I’ve been keeping a secret, and I don’t know what to do so you fix it.
Woman: What! Thanks.
The fear many people come to me with is that if they come clean about the debt, their spouse will leave them if they know how bad the situation was.
But that has only primarily been the case in partner denial situations. In those cases, one partner refuses to accept the reality of the family finances. Despite the obvious and known dilemma, they continue to spend, driven by underlying issues.
So because the relationship partners refuse to pull together to resolve the problem, the other partner gets stressed and freaked out. Those are the situations that tend to wind up in divorce.
Regardless of the exact reasons that brought you to this point, what we need to do next is squeeze your lives back into your income.
And we will do that by making some tough choices to get your expenses to be less than your income. Once you do that, you can begin digging your way out of your hole.
Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.
Debt in relationships is a situation prime with conflict, and it’s possible both people may not agree on what to do. That’s normal. Sometimes it is best to seek the advice of an outside debt coach or someone with experience in these issues and ask for some advice.
So, if you are fighting or think you are about to fight with your significant other about money, repeat after me, “I need honesty, a plan, and advice I can trust and that’s what it going to get me through this mess.”
Remember when I said I’d seen some relationships fall apart once the debt was resolved? Well, I’ve seen many more become closer and better as they fought through this difficulty and made it to the other side.
That’s exactly what happened when my wife and I lived through our money troubles. So you see, it can also become a positive for you.
Remember, no matter how bad the situation feels right now, at least you’re not on fire. It could always be worse.
Until next time, this is Steve Rhode saying, be sure to practice safe debt.
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