My partner and I fight about money all the time and it is creating resentment in our relationship. We’ve both contributed financially to the relationship, but not equally, but I do more of the childcare and domestic work which I think should be worth something as well. How can we stop fighting about who earns what, and who owes what? We have financial problems, and it’s becoming a real strain. There’s no way to have a romantic relationship with this much stress. Please help us, I don’t want money issues to split us up!
You’re right that it’s difficult to be romantic and intimate together when you feel pulled apart by money and especially conflict over money, as well as financial stress. Stress of any kind decreases libido and the sense of disconnect that you experience by fighting, and by holding onto resentments creates a gulf that if not bridged, will get wider over time, and the challenge to reconnect and feel bonded and loving towards one another becomes greater. Money and division of domestic labour and childcare are among the most frequent things couples fight over. So it’s not just you. In fact, many women complain of doing a full time load of work, whether that in or out of the home, and are expected on top of that to do all the housework, shopping, cooking, bill paying, errand running, and general maintenance to keep the home and family operating smoothly. Some men believe if they bring home the bigger paycheck, take out the garbage, mow the lawn and occasionally play with the kids that they have done their 50% of what it takes to run a family. If a woman is indeed married to or living with a man who knows what a genuine 50% share looks like (which isn’t the above), and pitches in, then there is a relationship with little resentment and likely a lot of harmony, teamwork, and well, sex.But rather than let your resentment build, and sit back and just cross your fingers that this issue doesn’t split you two up, you need to take a more proactive approach to the situation. It’s not helpful to fight over the problem. Arguing can let steam off, but doesn’t lead to productive solutions and doesn’t bring you closer together. Ask to sit down at a time when you can both relax and focus without distractions, to engage in a calm, reasonable discussion in which you both take turns talking and listening. Just because you ask for the "state of the union" summit, doesn’t mean you get to do all the talking! Prepare for the discussion beforehand. The clearer you are in your own thoughts, opinions and preferences for what you’d like to see change, the better you will be able to communicate those, and then find compromises and solutions together. Likewise, listen to your partner’s thoughts and opinions, even though they may be in conflict with yours. You need to hear his point of view if you hope to tackle your money issues as a couple and work on your financial goals together. Ask him very clearly for what you want is it for him to do more chores, or would his appreciation for what you do be enough? How do you want him to value the work that you do which doesn’t directly bring home a paycheck, but is, regardless, still a big contribution to the family? Perhaps in your discussion you should agree to work out a budget and make some decisions together about how you can save and spend, particularly if you have debts. Simply making a plan and working together in this way can relieve a great deal of the stress and encourage you to feel like a team again. Bonding like this may not translate to a higher libido (paying bills isn’t exactly roses, chocolate and foreplay), but it will help shift you away from the path of splitting up. Don’t underestimate the stress of financial burdens and the negative impact it can have on your relationship, so prioritise the issue and work together to take care of it. You’ll be much happier, and more connected ... and that’s a good bottom line whether your budget is in the black or red.



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