Tell Your Money You "Just Want to be Friends"

by Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil

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You need to break up with your money. I don't mean stop spending or attempt to live an extreme life where money isn't necessary. But during a recession, re-evaluating your relationship with money is crucial.

The first step is to realize the areas in your relationship where money has "intruded" to create what I call a triangle. Here are some possible triangles, which I talk about in my book Financial Infidelity and how you can break up these patterns!

  1. Family/Money/Relationship: Family legacies of money behaviors are not always contained in our subconscious minds. They can be very real! Demands of extended family members for financial support can be one way in which money can encroach and put a strain on a couple's finances and on their relationship.

  2. Children/Money/Relationship: Nearly 70% of couples experience relationship stress after having kids. When a couple becomes contentious over spending on their children, the couple's relationship can suffer, as can the family's relationship.

  3. Spending (or saving)/Money/Relationship: This can be a case of "opposites attract" in the extreme. The relationship then becomes at risk for damaging power struggles, sneaky "pay back," and other deceit.

Like I said above, I'm not suggesting to attempt to put money in an unrealistic place in your life, but denying the role money plays, in both your personal life and in your relationships, can have a toxic affect on those relationships. The type of behaviors mentioned negatively influences your relationship with your partner. You may not think of it as cheating, but if you continue in this type of lop-sided relationship, it will take a toll. Attachment to your money can often ruin chances for you and your partner to build an intimate relationship.

Learning to prioritize the role of money in your relationship is an important step toward a healthy dynamic between your, your partner, and your money. In my book, Financial Infidelity, I discuss several exercises that are a good way to do this. Here is one such exercise:

Withdrawals and Deposits:

Day 1: Pretend you have suddenly been forced into bankruptcy. You are poor and have nothing, no money, no investments. Take your negative fantasies into the extreme and imagine yourself selling everything you have, being free of all your material goods.

Day 2: Visualize yourself with plenty of money and all that entails. You are comfortable and able to do the things that are truly important to you.

Day 3: Forever after, be consciously grateful. Each day, count the things you are grateful for.

True or False

Debt is preventing me from taking a vacation this year or the vacation I'd like to take this year! Tell us: Yes, debt is affecting my vacation plans! or No, we're going exactly where we want to go but we'd love to learn make our trip as inexpensive as possible!

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil has been an internationally acclaimed relationship therapist for thirty years. New York magazine named her one of the city's top therapists. Her most recent book, Financial Infidelity (now available in paper back) is available on Amazon, as is Make up, Don't Breakup, where she gives couples important tools for making their relationship work through various circumstances. You can also find Dr. Weil and her books on Facebook.

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