Love and Money

September 30, 2013

in Relationships

love moneyEarly in dating, I told Sean a lot of things that would never happen in our relationship. We wouldn’t date seriously, exclusively, or marry. Ever, on the last one. He took it all in stride, never wavering in his confidence in himself or the possibility of something really great developing between us.

So when I told Sean after we were engaged we would never, ever put our money together, I think he took that in stride as well. Sean is professionally and financially successful so who had more money wasn’t the issue, but rather what I entered into the relationship with, would be mine on the way out; I didn’t want to live through financial uncertainty that comes with divorce again.

It was such a concern of mine that Sean received a long lecture on how I went from charging groceries, mounting debt, and tremendous financial worries post-separation to now being in a place where I had a savings balance I was happy with, my only debt was my mortgage, and financially I was worry-free. If we were putting ourselves in a situation where we would have to pay someone to break up (divorce attorneys), at least we would not have complications with division of assets and material possessions.

{Writing this, I feel I need to pause to mention Sean is a very patient man. You already knew that, didn’t you?}

Sean was shocked when one morning I woke up and informed him if he was interested, I wanted to merge our money. I was surprised I had come to this realization as well. I never wanted this level of financial complication with another again, but I also saw keeping our money separate more of a hinderance–who bought groceries last, how will we split vacation expenses, how to pay for the wedding, and how to pay joint housing bills–became more frequent discussions between us. It became obvious to me that merging our money was a way to simplify our life together.

While it may seem naive, I really can’t imagine a life without Sean so divorce is not something I believe will ever happen to us. And, if something unforeseen were to happen, I know us both well enough to know we won’t be one of those couples spending thousands of dollars to fight over the autographed Kat Edmondson CD we bought together at her Philly concert (it’s mine, Sean) or anything else we purchased together. Additionally, walking around our homes, mentally tagging items with an “S” or “K” just seems wrong. We have a life we are building together, and it should be from our money–not his or mine.

It has been a few months, and I continue to tell him what a great idea this was for us. Life seems so much simpler for us both.

Tell me:

How have you handled your own union–money and love joined together or just love?

How is it working for you?


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance September 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Well, you two talked this out big time before getting married so you’re ahead of the game.

My wife and I put our money together a few months after we got married and just started out lives together all the way. But that was what we talked about.

Money was a huge problem in my first marriage, and I had more of it, then. I swear, the more you have, the more issues. Like Biggie, Puffy and Mase.
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Naked Girl in a Dress October 2, 2013 at 8:08 am

It just feels right, Lance, and not in a we-haven’t-discussed-and-we-are-being-stupid kind of way. The level of trust I have with Sean is something I have never experienced, and it simply made sense to me to simplify our life in this way. We feel closer as a result. Now we have common financial goals and we are working together to reach them.

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lisa thomson October 2, 2013 at 12:53 am

You bring up a great topic, Kelly. I’m happy for you everything is going smoothly! We keep our money separate. It will probably always be that way. Even if we merged I would always keep my own bank account for my independence and ‘what if’s’. Plus, I think a kind of contingency fund for my own life maintenance (whether that’s my kid’s education or my car maintenance etc.) is important.

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Naked Girl in a Dress October 2, 2013 at 8:05 am

You have a great plan for yourself, Lisa. I am glad you liked the topic this week.

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Divorced Kat October 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

I’ve only been divorced since February 2013, but I also say that I’d be hesitant to marry again and VERY hesitant to combine finances. It’s not like my ex and I had a messy divorce and our finances stayed pretty stable through the whole process, even with losing money on our condo sale. I just find the idea of Me Myself And I much more secure than trusting someone again.
That said… this post gives me hope that I might chill out a bit if the right partner comes along. :)

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Naked Girl in a Dress October 2, 2013 at 10:25 am

Kat, I felt the same way as you, but when I got to this point with Sean, it just made sense. Maybe the secret is finding the person you trust on that level. Or maybe we just need to find our own peace with this topic–whether it is peace of mind by keeping it separate or finding comfort in merging. I think the most important thing is feeling comfortable in the decision you make. Thanks so much for visiting!

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RageMichelle October 2, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hubs and I have always shared our money..it’s never been his or mine. It just seems to be easier that way..
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Charlotte October 4, 2013 at 11:06 am

I’ve had this post up in my browser for days because I was interested in the topic as soon as I saw it; I’m just sorry it took me a few days to head over :)

Ahhh yes, the ol’ awkward money issue. Bryan and I don’t combine finances. I feel like we’ve never really had any throughout our relationship (HA!) but are both finally now in a place of some sort of financial stability. We used to fight about $ a lot and I’m glad we’re not in that place of struggle any longer. I’m kind of glad that I can finally save for my own things now, as selfish as that sounds. Like some people above me posted, there is a sense of security that comes with having money tucked under the mattress and held for a rainy day. In the event that things DON’T work out, I want to have my own plan. That’s what works for us now, but I think it’s awesome that you are both able to do so.

As far as tagging things as “yours” and “his”… I agree entirely. A house of love can’t stand on this foundation. You have to let go and embrace the “us.” That is something I can proudly say we have created together.

Glad to see you are both in such a wonderful place in your relationship. OH! And I’ve missed you. Happy to be here today. XOXO
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Charlotte November 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

MISSING YOU! Just wanted to check in and see how you are doing. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods, momma! I’m assuming you are in the thick of wedding craziness?? XOXO
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Naked Girl in a Dress December 5, 2013 at 8:52 am

I miss you too Charlotte! And I miss writing. Ugh. It’s been 2 months. I hope to reconnect with writing and my writing friends soon. Clearly I am not in balance.

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 5, 2013 at 9:00 am

Charlotte’s recent comment brought me back to this post, which I re-read because I am a narcissistic writer, loving to read my writing again (aren’t we all when it comes to our writing?).

I laughed while I read this post because of the funny man I am marrying. He makes me laugh every single day. After reading this post he sent me a one-sentence text:

“Bitch that CD is mine.”

Whether his humor is inappropriate or G-rated for the kids–it always has me rolling.

Thought I would share.

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Joe December 8, 2013 at 1:52 am

Ah, money. The root of all non-religious conflict. In this part of our relationship, as with so many others, the important thing is not the approach we choose, but the fact that we’re on the same page. Some couples cannot, simply CAN NOT function with separate money. Some would fall apart where they stood, were they to try to merge.

[Maris] occasionally reads an advise column in the Washington Post, and its author swears to hell and back that any couple with separate checking accounts is guaranteed to fail. Bullshit. You just have to be in agreement, joint or separate or hybrid.

For us, it’s separate, but with an understanding as to who pays for what, and roughly how much we have on hand. It works – *FOR US*. Maybe we’re weird. I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. It works. WE work.
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