Does Money Matter In Relationships?

couple working at table

Money and relationships.

Unfortunately, one tends to affect the other: a relationship can change your financial situation, and the money in your bank account can change your relationship.

But this shouldn’t be a surprise: money is just another factor into all of our decisions, and it pays to go into a long-term relationship with some idea of how you want to live financially.

So first, let’s look at what you should know about money in relationships going in…

The Two Big Factors: What you earn and what you spend

piggy bank and coins

Most people will say that when it comes to love, money is no object.

And that’s great. As long as it’s true for you.

If, on the other hand, you want a very specific lifestyle, or you want to save to buy a house, or you just want to live frugally, how your partner approaches money will matter (or else expect many arguments to follow later on!).

So rule no. 1 is to decide on the lifestyle you want.

If you have very specific savings plans for the next decade, is he on board with them? Or does he throw caution to the wind and spend every penny of his paycheck each month? Is he contributing to your shared goals, or making them harder? Would you rather spend money on a 6 month trip to Southeast Asia, or invest in future assets for a family?

These are important questions, and it’s something you’ll want at least get an idea of in the first few months of dating to see how the guy you’re with approaches money at this stage of his life.

So when asking, “Does money matter in a relationship?”, the simple answer is: it depends on your current life goals.

Just make sure that no matter what, you have a system in place so that you can cover your costs and reach any long-term saving/spending plans you may have in the future. Planning for this yourself now will save a lot of relationship stress later down the road.

Who Pays?

couple's hands holding credit cards

Another big factor in relationships isn’t just how much money you make and save, but how generous you are with it.

For example, there’s the age old dilemma: Who pays on a date? How much should you spend on your partner?

If a couple don’t see eye-to-eye on this, it can easily cause resentment to build. Maybe you pay for him freely, regularly purchasing small gifts and meals, but he won’t even buy you popcorn at the movies.

The problem is, this eventually becomes unsustainable. Two people don’t need to have the exact same rules with money, but not should you feel like it’s a one-sided affair, where one person is much more generous while the other squirrels away every penny like it’s hibernation season.

So decide early on: what level of generosity am I comfortable with? Or, if you’re going to choose someone who isn’t as generous as you, don’t live in hope that it will change. Make your choice now and be comfortable with it – maybe he’s not generous financially but he’s generous in other ways. That’s ok. But know who he is going in.

Ultimately, no-one can tell you what the financial split should be in your relationship, but you should hopefully share similar values in terms of desired lifestyle with your partner, and certainly not hinder each other’s future monetary goals.

Choices around money in relationships are deeply personal – but at the very least, make sure you’re both prudent, thoughtful, and willing to share when necessary, or else things can get much more difficult in tough times.

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3 Responses to Does Money Matter In Relationships?

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  1. Helen says:

    Hi Matthew! I hope that you will read this and looking forward to your reply. I am a single mother of a teenager who hasn’t been divorced for 5 years. About three years ago, a coworker of mine who is about 8 years younger pursued me to go out with me. I resisted at first but then after months of going back and forth, I succumbed and we became a couple. I found some of his ways a bit odd at first but over time grew to accept his quirkiness, he was so much in love with me and I could say that I truly felt like I found the man of my dreams. We traveled lots, he created a great realtionship with my daughter who idolized him very much. 6 months into the realtionship, I cane to find out that he was having a kid with his ex girlfriend, putting the numbers together I believed him that it was before we met and he said he has just been a donor to help her out become pregnant. This caused lots of trust and turmoil for me, I became a more anxious person not knowing what the truth was and whether he was still with his ex. We started to argue more and I started to Question him all the time, I became the person I hated that was so jealous with low self esteem. Long story short, we went through many break ups and make ups and finally
    Last summer I decided to cut ties with him. One of my good friends turned me on to you and I listened and read all your insightful blogs and videos. I tried to get into dating but I wasn’t successful in meeting anyone. My heart was still after the one I thought was the love of my life. My heart said one thing and my head said another. 5 months after the breakup, he reached out to me and I melted right back int his arms. But it gets even better, I started working st the same company that his ex works. At this point we were back together and I didn’t think anything could go wrong. Until I ran into his Ex and found her to be pregnant again! I instantly reached out to him to ask if it was his and he said yes but it was from the same donation bank and it was to give his daughter a sibling. Stupid me believed him and kept going out with him. Here I am now 3 months later and our fights continue with my anxiety at an all time high when I found that he bought her gifts for christmas when I saw an amazon pop up of a women’s pashmina, etc I decided last night that after 2.5 years, I need to cut my ties and move
    On, however, I feel like I have been dating a psychopath who has made me addicted to immense cycle of love he created without ever committing to me and possibly having his ex close by. Most everyone tells me to just look at all the red flags and lies and deception and I should run as fast away as I can, but just turning 50 and feeling like I won’t find anyone like him again to love me like he did makes me so addicted to him. Please help!

  2. C says:

    Great blog & so important too.

    Thank you!

  3. Serena says:

    Have been dating this guy the first time in more than a decade. We’ve been together for a few months now so I know how he spends and roughly how much money he makes. It’s probably a quarter of what I used to make. I have been out of a job for some time so my current lifestyle kinda of suits but I’m really concerned about the future when I find a job. I think it’s quite unusual to be the female who earns the much bigger pay check. It’s not unheard of but definitely not as common so there’s very little information out there on how to deal with this. Dates in the past have felt intimidated and have told me I’m not the one for them. However the way I see it is, if I don’t mind being the breadwinner then we can both learn to deal with this unique situation but not all men can accept this way of living. What can I do to prevent this from ruining my current relationship?

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