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    Money Conflicts in Relationships

    Money conflicts cause a great deal of stress for many people and are among the most common disagreements that couples come to therapy to resolve. Some frequent sources of friction include:

     

    • Credit card debt
    • Discretionary spending
    • Retirement saving goals
    • Spending on children
    • Major purchases like a house or car
    • Budgeting and bills
    • Income loss

     

    The thing about money is that it almost always represents something else, whether it’s power, control or feelings of self-worth. This helps explain why sometimes money conflicts can occur over relatively minor expenses — because the underlying problem is really about something larger.

     

    Whatever the case, the work in therapy is often to uncover these deeper feelings and the meaning that’s assigned to the earning, spending and saving of money within the family. Once each partner more fully understands the deeper concerns and feelings of the other, greater empathy and compromise is often much easier to achieve.

     

    It’s not uncommon in a relationship for one partner to be deemed the “spender” and the other the “saver.” Oftentimes, the saver feels it’s perfectly reasonable to expect their partner to write down every purchase they’ve made, review finances weekly or do other things to help control spending.

     

    And while these practices may indeed make good fiscal sense, it’s very important to understand what they could bring up emotionally for their partner. It’s easy for budgeting to feel a lot like controlling for some people. Determining the degree of financial autonomy within a relationship is very important, and something that’s wise to tackle before merging finances.

     

    A couples therapist should never act as a financial advisor. It is simply not his or her role. Instead, he or she should work to help partners achieve a greater degree of mutual understanding and come to workable solutions for money conflicts within their relationship. The therapist can also provide tools to help the couple avoid problems and resolve conflicts when they do arise.

     

    Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy helps partners rediscover and repair the bonds that money conflicts and other relationship difficulties can damage. EFT focuses on strengthening a couple’s bond by examining and improving interactions and emotional responses. It’s typically a shorter-term course of treatment that has a proven track record for lasting change. Call me today at 407-579-2070 to discuss whether couples therapy might be right for you.