20 Apr Can Being Broke Affect Your Love Life?
You don’t have to be an expert to answer, “Yes!” to the title of this blog entry. When money is tight and you’re living paycheck to paycheck, survival is more of a focus than planning a romantic night of connection and passion. You may find yourself being irritable and focused on worry thoughts. Dave Ramsey reports 7 out of 10 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That means out of every 10 neighbors on your street 7 households are barely making it. This is why you don’t want to keep up with the Joneses because they are most likely living beyond their means.
It doesn’t work to fight about your financial situation. This won’t change anything. In fact, it will only draw you and your partner away from one another. This is a time to put your heads together and begin making changes. Yes, making those hard decisions, such as selling the car or letting go of the gym membership. It doesn’t work to leave one partner picking up the pieces. This will only increase resentment of the partner who is managing the finances all alone. Often, this partner feels over burdened and blamed if something goes wrong. It doesn’t work to ignore the situation. Throwing those bills in the draw won’t solve the problem.
Sex becomes a lower priority. You believe staying on the computer all night is a better use of time. You may feel entitled to watch your favorite television show than to cuddle up with your honey. Dates and quality time become infrequent and less important. You no longer see your partner as sexy and alluring. You might feel more comforted by masturbation to ease the stress than to share these fears and anxieties with your partner. Does any of this ring true?
I think as a couple you both need to stop participating in denial and admit there’s a problem. Living paycheck to paycheck is no longer working and it’s fatiguing the relationship. The first step to changing any behavior is admitting there’s a problem; no longer living in denial. After both individuals admit there’s a problem, you must sit down and develop a budget. You will need to find places to pull back and eliminate costs. You might have to make hard choices by selling items that are precious to you. Nothing is worth throwing away a relationship. People mean more than things.
After creating a budget and cutting costs, develop a plan to increase income (by taking on additional work). Go through drawers and untouched mail together and begin cleaning house. Call creditors to negotiate you interest rates and consolidate to a lower interest card(s). I encourage you to follow the “snowball” technique. Where you allocate a specific amount of money to pay debt each month. You will pay the most on the card with the lesser amount and minimums on the rest. You can calculate how long it will take you to get out of debt by using the debt calculator. I encourage you to take a look at the Dave Ramsey Worksheets to help you fill out a plan to get out of debt. Each week devote some time to go over the budget and keep each other accountable.
It’s important to begin creating envelopes of cash to stay within your budget. For example, create a grocery envelope by placing the amount of money you’ve identified to spend. You will have to stay within the budget. This will teach you to spend what you have and not a cent over. These are just a couple ideas to get you started. I encourage you to identify a program that works for you and stick with it. There is also a program called Debtors Anonymous. This program can help you create a budget and help you manage your money better by using the 12-steps of recovery.
You and your partner should make a commitment not to allow money to come before your love and time together. You can go on dates that don’t cost money by being creative and looking for events that are free or within your budget. You can get creative with childcare by working out a deal with other parents to take turns having play dates. Many parents will jump at this chance. Make a budget for childcare if this isn’t an option. The point is, “Make it work!” I encourage you to schedule sexual time with one another, which is different than a date. This is a time to lay in bed, cuddle, kiss and let go of worry thoughts. Put the worry and fear aside for 1 hour out of your week in order to spend precious time together.
I’m curious about your thoughts and feedback. Please write to us about what has or hasn’t worked when it comes to sex and financial stress on a relationship. Look forward to hearing from you.