In relationships, there may be some personal conversations you and your partner should have sooner or later, even if they might make you slightly uncomfortable — and money is one of them. Figuring out how to talk about money in a relationship can be tricky because it may be a touchy subject for your or your partner. Depending on what stage of the relationship you are in, how thoroughly you discuss money varies. If the relationship is still new, there's only so much you need to divulge to your partner. But as the two of you get more serious, knowing the extent of each other's financial situations may become more important.
Like you would discuss anything that is important in a relationship, the best way to talk about money in a relationship is calmly and firmly, says dating and relationship coach Frank Kermit of FrankTalks.com. "Speak to gain information and insight, leaving out any feeling of being attacked or judgement on the other person," he tells Elite Daily. If you're casually dating, or the relationship is still fresh, talking about money is on a need-to-know basis, Kermit says. "There is some information about personal income that a person does not need to know if there is no firm commitment established," he elaborates. So, if you're wondering how to talk about money, here's what Kermit had to say.
1. How do you talk about who pays for what?
Figuring out who pays for what and when can be tricky. "During casual dating, it is best that everyone just pays for themselves until some publicly proclaimed commitment is discussed first," Kermit says. As you start to transition from casual dating to the beginning stages of a relationship, you and your new partner may decide to alternate paying for every other date. "In more serious relationships, some couples base their spending habits based on individual earnings," he points out. "Other couples pool their resources together, and pay from the pool for the necessary expenses, and allow each person a small amount for personal purchases, whereas larger amounts are best discussed beforehand."
2. Should you tell your partner how much money you make?
In the early stages of a relationship, instead of telling your partner how much money you make, Kermit recommends talking about the lifestyle you live or want to live one day. It's "a good way to test the other person for compatibility," he says. "If you lead a jet-set lifestyle, you need someone that is capable to supporting that lifestyle. If you make a lot of money but live very frugal, you need to find someone that seeks out a compatible lifestyle."
3. How do you earnestly tell your partner that you can't afford something, like a fancy dinner out or a weekend getaway?
As you begin celebrating relationship milestones, your partner may want to plan extravagant and expensive dates. As sweet as that is, if it's something that involves both of you putting down money, it's OK if you can't afford it in that moment, and you shouldn't feel bad about it. "The key is to speak without shame or guilt of your situation," Kermit explains. "If you speak and express self-acceptance of your situation, it influences how your partner will react to you."
It's often easy to forget that money isn't everything. "If you are OK with your situation and are confident in what you have to offer a relationship other than money, it will be enough," he says. And that's incredibly important to remember. A good partner will love and support you no matter what, and should be willing to adjust their spending habits if they know you can't quite keep up just yet.