piggy bankWe all come from different family backgrounds and when we enter into a relationship, we bring elements of our family of origin into the new relationship.

How we make decisions, handle conflict or communicate often stem from how we experienced these processes in our own families.

One of the ways in which differences can occur is in the handling of finances in the relationship. These differences, if not resolved, have the power to cause rifts and tension in any long-term relationship. In every couple, there are two people bringing their own pre-existing thoughts and beliefs on how to handle finances; mutual agreement on how to manage their money is crucial to developing a harmonious long-term relationship.

Bad experiences

Unfortunately, many people have had negative experiences when trusting others with their finances. This could have been with family, friends or in business dealings. These negative experiences may hinder our present ability to fully trust our partner with money. This inability to be open and transparent with our partner can in turn cause tension in the relationship. Having the ability to be fully open with our partners can be liberating and it takes the relationship to another level.

Finding the Best Solution for Your Relationship

While having joint accounts and sharing all assets within the relationship may be the goal for some couples, this might be totally unacceptable for others. The goal is to always help couples come to a common understanding as to how to deal with their finances.

By seeing a relationship counsellor, a couple can begin to address the general decisions pertaining to financial control. In the process, issues such as trust, transparency and emotional intimacy in the relationship also benefit.

ATMWhile the issue of finance does not immediately appear as critical to a couple’s intimacy and closeness, it is remarkable how a couple, once being fully open and transparent in the area of finances, report how much closer and comfortable they are in the relationship.

If you and your partner are having difficulties with intimacy and closeness, perhaps this could be indicative of trust issues which may stem from how you handle finances in your relationship.

A relationship therapist is able to help work through these issues with you in a sensitive and confidential manner. If you and your partner would like help in handling finances as a couple, seeing a therapist often yields positive outcomes – such as better decisions, greater trust and a closer relationship.

Joey Tai (2)Author: Joey Tai, BA (Psych), Master of Clinical Psychology.

Joey Tai is a Clinical Psychologist who is experienced in working with couples, and has conducted research on couple attraction and couples’ therapy while obtaining his Master of Clinical Psychology in Brisbane.

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