AKA The Adage of Never Mix Business with Pleasure: Relationship Edition
I doubt there is a person out there who has never heard the warnings against mixing business with pleasure. Announcing plans on going into a financial partnership with your best friend will elicit gasps, dire warnings, and a whole barrage of “never do that” anecdotes. It’s a very simple concept to grasp, when finances are involved the relationship will suffer at one point or another, and very often erupt into irreconcilable differences that sever the friendship. Ok, so we all agree that this adage is well known, and is ripe with a million and one examples?
Then how the hell are relationships supposed to survive this very thing. Mixing sex, love, a partnership with the obvious financial merging of two people is supposed to be taboo (never sleep with a coworker as an example). Something that we are supposed to avoid in friends but have zero choice about in long term relationships. Does anyone else find this mind-numbingly insane? Instead of teaching partners on any level about how to do this legally or otherwise we completely and almost universally clam up about this. It’s almost as if society seems grateful that two people can share financial difficulties as a unit and solidly behind closed doors. It takes the public pressure off of this glaring deficit in our societal norms. There is no medium for dealing with these things. Instead we completely remove finances from the public discourse, very similarly to the way we avoid talking about sex in public. And the bottom line for me is that the subject of money is my weakest link.
I, feel great shame talking about debt. I feel even worse feeling like a financial burden on my partner and would love to continue just avoiding the whole conversation. And yet, there is simply no way to separate the money from the relationship for any length of time. It’s impossible.
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And it freaking sucks! Money should not be the cause of such a high divorce rate in our culture. And there should not be a gender gap when it comes to income earning and I could honestly just go on and on about all the crappy reasons and excuses that I can to explain why I feel so lost and helpless at this very moment. I’m struggling to understand how two people, who are supposed to be partners can survive if there is financial disparity. Is it up to one to be burdened by the guilt of the other? Are the two just supposed to accept the past mistakes and help each other move forward? Or as in my case, is my extreme stubbornness to fix my own mistakes and problems going to be the detriment of the most amazing relationship that I have ever had?
These aren’t easy questions to ask, and even harder to answer. But ultimately that’s where you end up when things in your culture, society or even household are taboo. You end up in what feels like a no-win scenario. Wishing you could fix things with the snap of a finger or press the magic reset button that will allow you to move forward without having to face the music head on. I’m talking about money and relationships because it is hard and scary, especially for me. I am clawing my way up from debt one day at a time. That is my mission and mandate. And most importantly, my promise to myself. And someday, I hope that this small step forward will lead me to be able to more openly discuss my finances, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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