Tell me; is anyone fighting about money?
By Nina Smith on November 14, 2007
“Love is a feeling, marriage is a contract, and relationships are work.” – Lori Gordon
My partner and I typically pick only one show per week to watch on television. A few months ago it was Big Love. This fall it’s been HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me. I guess you can peg us as the “relationship” drama types. Why we pay 100 plus dollars a month to watch one show a week is another story.
Tell Me You Love Me, noted for its realistic depiction of sex, revolves around three couples with intimacy issues. Each has their own reasons for seeking the help of a therapist, played by the lovely Jane Alexander, who happens to have issues with her husband. Go figure. There’s no such thing as the perfect partnership.
What’s unusual about the show is that money is never mentioned. Once, the fortysomething character with young kids and a mortgage complained about their therapy expense but that’s my only recollection of money being part of the story line. Isn't money still a primary cause of divorce?
BlogHer’s Maria Niles, who watches more than one show a week, posed this question:
Is it really true that income and finances are no longer a source of tension in relationships?
That being said, there are those of us who are still trying to maneuver through the delicate balance of love and money. Jory Des Jardins, one of BlogHer’s founders wrote this post long ago on The ROI of Love:
When my sister got married, her school loans became her husband’s, and--good soul--he helped her pay them off. B-friend takes the occasional gander at my credit card bill and hints that, before increasing his commitment to a legal level I might want to consider the benefits of doubling my monthly payments. He ogles expensive cars that he intends to buy once he has a well-paying job and I joke rather seriously, “Hope YOU can afford it,” meaning, “your toy, your money.” While marriage may erase the line between mine and yours, I’d prefer to consider it the point where the line stops. The debt you took on before it is still yours to pay off, and the high-expense items you want that your partner doesn’t are yours to finance as well. If you opt to shell out for something nice for your partner you do so not out of obligation but out of generous choice.
Her B-friend is now H-band. I’m sure her marriage still includes plenty of money talk. My partnership certainly does. Occasionally, it includes a fight. Sometimes it’s more about just being open and honest about our feelings and fears with money.
The blogger at It’s Just Money offered sound advice to one reader by concluding:
Despite what you hear about “statistics”, I don’t think ANY marriages end due to fights over money. I think the fights are about miscommunication, lack of responsibility, lack of discipline.
The money experts tend to agree on this issue. Liz Pulliam Weston writes that a balanced checkbook is what makes for a sexy relationship:
When it comes to finding lasting love, financial responsibility beats out hot sex, at least according to a survey commissioned by credit scoring company Fair Isaac.
Money magazine concurs with their reader survey:
Couples argue more about money than about sex, but not as much as they fight about the kids or taking out the garbage. 84% of our respondents note that money causes tension in their marriages, and 13% say they fight about money several times a month. The leading cause of dissension is disagreement about financial priorities.
Writers at HBO take note. Money is just as big of a deal as all that sex. Plus, consider this… if the writers strike drags on, I’m certain their own relationships will have newfound tensions in the plot lines. After all, the compatibility factor is more than just what happens in bed.
So BlogHer members, what about your relationships? Sex or money? Your comments are welcomed below.
Nina blogs about money at Queercents.
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