Friday, January 16, 2009

Relationship Scenario Discussion

This post is further discussion of my wpersonalfinance guest post comments. If you haven't read the post, you can find it here.

Suze Orman is known for saying that you can tell a lot about people by the way they handle money. Basically, if they are cheap, then it is likely they will be cheap with you emotionally and vice versa.

Whether her observations are universally true or not, it does apply to the partners of A & B. Both men are really really tight with their money. They hold a mine vs. yours mentality and they guard what they have with what I would describe as a "desperate" type of energy.

Which brings us to relationships. How does one get along with someone who hordes money from their loved one? How will that translate to the children? Because both A & B recently had their first, so time will tell.

As far I know, neither one has put in place any savings plans yet. I know that B does not have the funds right now and A has been completely overwhelmed with running the business full time and child rearing at the same time. Neither women took much more than a month off post birth.

What has bothered me the most is the apparent lack of support both women are getting from their partners. I know that I would be livid and why would you bother being in a relationship if you are going to be doing it yourself anyways?

Because both A & B are long time girlfriends who have seen me through my crazy choices, so it makes it especially difficult to comment.

But I do anyways because we are such good friends and I would expect that should they ever feel I was in a not so nice situation, they would step up and speak up regardless of whether I wish to hear it or not.

I don't believe that my questioning and commenting is being respectful of their choices. I figure that they would not bring it up if they didn't wish to talk about it.

So here's what I've said:

  • Do you think it is important to discuss and understand what underlying money issues existed in his family growing up?
  • Why is he so afraid of losing "his" home?
  • What is his definition of partnership?
  • Actions speak louder than words and his actions are saying that he is wanting to control. Is that really the message he wants to send?
  • What do you think he will do with respect to children if your relationship doesn't make it? Will he fight for custody?
  • Do you have a will?
  • Do you think he will ever make life "hard" for you business wise since he owns the building?
  • Outside of love, what do you get from this relationship?


  • Do you feel trapped?
  • He knows you don't have money left over at the end of the month. Why doesn't he offer to help?
  • Why is he not paying for child care?
  • Has he ever come out and said what his definition of a wife is?
  • Does he respect you?
  • Have you modified your wills?
  • What are you getting from this relationship?
  • What is he scared of?
  • Would you consider selling the building so that you can debt free sooner?
  • Do you think he is punishing you for his past relationship experiences? (He almost lost his entire nest egg to his previous wife) If so, is that fair or healthy to be doing that?

A is working hard putting money away. B doesn't have any significant amount of savings. Both have supportive families.

My relationship with D is not similar at all to my friends A & B. D & I spent a lot of time and talking about our views of money, how we manage expenses, how to deal with 2 different income brackets etc. (a future blog post) before anything even became serious.

With any relationship, if you give back what you get, than it's balanced. What bothers me is I do not feel either A nor B is getting very much. Obviously they are getting enough or else they wouldn't be there but I know it isn't the type or amount for me. That's why I'm having a such a time relating to their situation.

Not everyone wants what I call a "common pot" scenario for a relationship where everything is shared. We don't all come into a relationship offering the same amounts financially or emotionally. I guess you get what you "negotiate" within a relationship?


  1. I disagree that "they are getting enough" otherwise they wouldn't be there. Unfortunately, too many women, even those that appear strong and confident, stay in unhealthy relationships.

    Now that kids are involved, these men are modelling for their daughters what role a man should play in your life and how they should treat you. They are modelling the behaviour of future husbands to their sons. This is how dysfunction takes root.

    I think the underlying issue is that your friends accept this situation as though they deserve it. If there is no financial or emotional support, why not go it alone? What are the benefits of staying? Do they believe this is the best they can do?

    All you can do is support them and make it clear that when they are ready to make a change you will be there to provide whatever support they and their children need.

    Sorry this is so long, I have seen similar situations in my own inner circle and it frustrates me to the core - especially when children are affected.

  2. Hi Money;

    Thank you for such an in depth reply. I appreciate your honesty.

    I definately think that both A & B having children has revealed some "cracks" in their respective relationship foundations.

    I think that is a good thing because children will make both of them prioritize outside of themselves.

    So if they are willing to accept their spousal relationships, they make think different about the values and modelling for their children.

    B has a daughter while A has a son.

    I ask myself all the time whether they believe this is the best they can do? I don't think so but it isn't up to me.

    My opinion? Yes for B. A is there because they've been together "forever" so it is easier to stay with the familiar than to venture too far out.