My best friend and I were preparing dinner for her mother this weekend for Mother’s Day and we got on the topic of relationships, finances and trust. Do people still share bank accounts? Are people still going all in, in their relationships or do they protect themselves?
Anyone that reads my blog knows my favorite word is autonomy. I love the notion of being able to take care of myself in every way and not having to rely on anyone for my needs. So, I would never buy anything on credit for someone. I would never have a joint bank account and I’m most comfortable with the concept that this is mine and this is yours.
My best friend had a slightly different take. She said, “Aren’t you kind of dooming it right out of the gate? Aren’t you starting off with a tone of mistrust?
She explained that when you insist on separate bank accounts and you have a yours and mine mentality, it perpetuates an arms-length type of relationship, that there’s no real intimacy and that you’re not really a couple at all, just two individuals sharing a house and a bed.
I’ve been accused of being quite militant in my stance on autonomy, so I try to have an open mind, but I could not get passed the thought that most marriages fail and that if you bet on your relationship working out, you could lose all that you’ve worked for, just based on the statistics. If you’re talking about a second or third marriage, the statistics are even worse. Is that something you’d want to risk half of your pension on? I would rather err on the side of caution, than come home and find the bank accounts have been emptied.
My friend used the word jaded, but I thought my stance on dealing with the emotional manipulators in my life, when it comes to finances, was more an educated opinion. I found out the hard way that a Narcissist would have no qualms about destroying you financially. Some think they’re entitled to use and abuse you in whatever way suites them best and some even find great pleasure in it.
I’ve had clients tell me stories of how their narcissist convinced them to finance a new vehicle for them because they had bad credit. A codependent, who feels like they need to buy love, is a ripe for this type of enticement. In their mind they think it’s another way to enmesh their lives together and provide the narcissist with something no one else can. The problem is the narcissist doesn’t see it that way. The Narcissist is always thinking about him or herself. I’m entitled to it, I deserve it. I want it, it’s all about me….. the consequences are yours not mine. They aren’t thinking about fairness or reciprocity. They’re not feeling the bond. They’re thinking about what can I get away with and what can I get out of you.
Financial Behaviors to Be Mindful Of
Finances are an important part of autonomy, so I’ve compiled a few to be wary of in your relationship:
Your partner is just out of a bad relationship or they lost their job and need a place to stay: Pump the breaks on that one fast. You’re no one’s life line or savior. Let them save themselves and stand on their own two feet. When they’ve got their shit together then they can give you a call. Moving in together is a huge and I mean HUGE step and shouldn’t be made out of someone else’s necessity. Think about what you are gaining when you invest in a partner that can’t take care of themselves. The answer is another dependent.
You’re paying for everything: Genitals do not a relationship make. If all your partner is contributing is their private parts, it needs to end and fast. If they’re getting a free ride out of you, you’re not in a relationship, you’re a parent and I don’t know about you but that’s not the least bit attractive or healthy. It doesn’t matter if they’re 26 and you’re 42. Whatever ego strokes you think that age difference does for you – it’s in your head, because anyone looking at it from the outside sees the truth of your insecurity and believe me you will find out really quickly that it’s not worth it.
Let’s put everything in your name because I have bad credit: Never put yourself on the line for someone you’re involved with. Not your job, your reputation, your children, your credit, or your home. If they have bad credit because they’ve ripped other people or companies off, what makes you think you’ll fair any better? What that shows you, is this person isn’t reliable. They can’t pay their debts and they’re not to be trusted. Your worth is not dependent upon what you can give to someone. People that respect themselves practice self-care and that means not allowing yourself to be taken advantage of or putting yourself in harms way. My ex Narcissist always used to say, “You never really know what’s going on in someone else’s mind.” I know now that that was a warning. People can be sweet and appear to be earnest and trustworthy when they want something, but the moment they get it, you’ll find out who they really are.
If you have doubts, have reasons to feel mistrustful or feel something is off about your relationship don’t try to buy them or trust them with your stuff: We all know or have heard of women who get pregnant to try and save their relationship. They make the mistake of thinking that a baby will change things and keep their partner around. In the same manner, you’re not going to change the dynamic of your relationship by what you can give. If you have to buy love it isn’t worth having. The same can be said about trust. If you feel someone isn’t trustworthy, by God, don’t trust them.
Don’t let your partner use your debit card or know your pin# or your online bank passwords: Again if you’re partner can’t afford things, then they should be going without, You are not responsible for granting their every wish – you’re not a genie. Anyone that would ask you to pay for their things is suspect and if they can’t afford to pay for little things I certainly wouldn’t trust them with my money. Trying to establish trust is done slowly, little by little, not with giving someone the keys to your vault. Imagine if you give Kenny your debit card to buy a case of beer and he disappears with your debit card and everything in your account, while you were just trying to build a little trust.
Don’t let someone be in charge of your finances: I know many people who have no idea what’s in their bank accounts or even how to pay their bills, because their partners take care of everything. What happens if something happens to that person or your relationship? If you’re in front of a divorce lawyer and they ask you what your assets are – what are you going to say? How easy would it be for them to hide assets or horde money as they plan to leave you? Your finances are important and you both need to be involved in the decision making process. Never leave this to your partner. You should both know what you have and how to manage it.
“We share a bank account,” my best friend’s mom said as we sat down to dinner, but we’ve been together since we were 17 and times were different then. “If I was single now and involved with someone, there’s no way I’d share a bank account with them.”
She continued, “I think it depends on your age. When you’re in your 20’s you don’t have anything, so you’ve got nothing to lose. When you’re over 40, you’ve got to think about your mortgage, your kids and your retirement. At that age you have to be more careful and you have to think about your health and how long you’ll be able to work for. Age catches up to you, you know. If you plan and make smart decisions when you’re young, the sooner you can retire and the more comfortable your lifestyle will be.
“Your finances are your security. No, I wouldn’t trust anyone with what I’ve worked hard for. No man (or woman) is worth that,” she said matter-of-factly, taking a sip of wine.
Wise words from a wise woman. Happy Mother’s Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!