We’re watching the Olympics in my house (big surprise, right?) so the arguments these days are generally either with the television (“That was SO not a penalty!”) or among ourselves about which of the zillion channels we should be watching. These are easily ignored, quickly forgotten non-arguments.
Which is very different than arguing about money. Those demand attention, are difficult to move past, and are most certainly real events. As Girlfriend Guru MIATA EDOGA reminds us, real fighting about finances can have serious consequences–but there are some ways to navigate through.
A friend called me this morning crying.
“My boyfriend is such an idiot with money. He wants to borrow $500 to pay his bills.”
“Did you loan it to him?”
“Of course not. That started a huge fight. He said I’m the cheapest person he knows.”
Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. According to a study by Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University, couples who fight at least one time a week about money are 30% more likely to divorce. Even between people who aren’t married, these arguments cause incredible tension and break up relationships.
So how do you stop the money fight? Every conflict is different, but here are three tips:
- Don’t make judgment calls about someone else’s behavior. Even if you’re sure your boyfriend is being a total idiot—because he is—let it go. You won’t win an argument fighting how someone else is acting. Ever. Instead, make sure you aren’t focusing on his behavior instead of your own spending. In this case, my friend was right to avoid the loan, but should have walked away from his fight about selfishness. That fight wouldn’t end well for either party.
- Write it down. If someone’s behavior is upsetting, it’s easy to make emotional statements you’ll regret later. Instead, put your words on paper and sleep on them. In the morning, you’ll often find your anger has subsided. You’ll be able to read your letter with a clear head and remove any “torch words.” A “torch word” is one that will just light an emotional fire under the conversation, burning the relationship for all involved.
- Avoid trigger words. “You always” or “you never” are phrases that start fights, not end them. Therapists often recommend using the words, “When you do X, it makes me feel Y.” In this way, you’re sharing how you feel instead of pointing the finger at their behavior. Remember, you can’t change how people act, but you can change the way you feel.
MIATA EDOGA is the President and Founder of Abundance Bound, a 10-year old company committed to utilizing humor, inspiration, and lots of love to give individuals around the world the necessary tools to thrive financially, while keeping focus on the things they treasure most. Visit the Abundance Bound Facebook Page for your free copy of Financial Success for the Creative Soul!
Thanks Miata and thanks for being one of our Girlfriend Gurus! Check out her girlfriend advice on:
- Low Interest Loans Financial Advice
- Understanding Your Credit Score
- Why are you a Spender?
- Consolidation Loans – A Good Financial Strategy?
- How much to save for Retirement
- How to Buy a Car without feeling like dirt
- Pay Yourself First
- Financial success
- Saving money on your next getaway/trip
- Credit card advice on paying the minimum payment
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