In Financial Couples Therapy, Financial Secrets Can Threaten A Relationship
As we’ve previously noted on our NYC therapy blog, money is a common reason couples seek couples therapy. Finances are emotional, and can raise a whole host of questions and potential conflicts in a marriage or serious relationship. Each partner has their own values and experiences around money that they bring into their relationship, and money can also be used as a proxy for other underlying issues, such as fighting.
In our financial couples therapy practice, we often see how couples don’t discuss finances as much as they should. Recently, Tribeca Therapy was quoted in an article on HerMoney about how keeping financial secrets can threaten a relationship. Citing a Creditcard.com survey that 29 million Americans are hiding a secret credit or debit card account from their partners, writer Maggie Meskhi spoke with our director Matt to provide some tips for couples on how to be more open about their finances.
A Marriage Or Relationship Is A Financial Arrangement: Couples Need To Talk About It
First, Matt expresses just how important having frank conversations about money is in a marriage or serious relationship. As Matt says in the article, if you’re in a serious relationship, the time to talk about money is “yesterday.” While we don’t often think of it this way, a marriage or relationship is, in many ways, “fundamentally a financial arrangement.”
This is why it’s always better to communicate clearly about money rather than making assumptions. Making assumptions about finances can be easy. For example, if someone is spending a lot of money, it can be natural to assume they are doing well financially, but they may be drowning in student loans or credit card debt. What Matt suggests is to “make implicit explicit.”
Be Honest About Money Not Only With Your Partner, But As A Way To Self-Reflect
And if you or your partner’s financial secrets are an indication of infidelity, Matt also encourages couples to be honest–not only with your partner, but as a way of self-reflection. “Was it just bad spending habits, emotional problems with consumption, fighting with one’s partner?” Matt poses.