I’ve been with my partner for nearly 10 years, we’ve lived together for the last 9 years, and until recently we had separate bank accounts. When we switched our mortgage to another bank we opened up a new account which was to pay the household bills, and we decided pretty much when we opened it that we’d pay our salaries into it and use it as a joint account. Roll forward 5 months and I am a nervous wreck. I earn a little more, not a huge amount but a little more than him, but he seems to have gone on a complete spending spree. I have always been a sensible spender, saving nearly half of my salary, or whatever is left at the end of the month. However, for the last five months there has been nothing left. We haven’t had any big purchases or costs, he just seems to see the money in the account and spends it!
It’s now causing huge problems.
Last month I had my salary transferred back into my old bank account and just paid in my half of the household costs into the joint account. My partner hit the roof saying I was being tight, and he has been in a mood with me since. I feel less stressed now that I have control over the money, but having my partner being grumpy and argumentative is driving me nuts!
How can I rectify this situation?
You don’t say if you discussed diverting your salary into an alternative account before doing it. As you have been together for so long, discussing it before acting on it would have been advisable. I can completely see your point of view; however, I can also see your partner’s view point or being cross if you made a decision without discussing it.
Okay. The deed has been done. The key thing is to talk openly about how to move forward. Arrange a finance meeting with your partner, sit down as you did at the bank to switch your mortgage to go through your options. Have no distractions around you, television off, mobile phone off, and allow plenty of time to talk it through, so no dinner reservations to go to afterwards, etc.
Firstly, without sounding like you are accusing him, discuss your worries over the way money was draining out of the account. You state you saved nearly half your income, discuss this with him, explaining that over the last ten years it’s something you feel is important to you, and since you haven’t been unable to do so, it’s causing you to worry.
Secondly, if you switched your finances around unilaterally (behind his back), apologize for not discussing it. Don’t apportion blame, don’t try to justify yourself, stating that since he refused to cut back his spending, your action was the only option. This will only fuel the flames of an argument.
Thirdly, come to a resolution to move forward. Perhaps transfer half your salary into your savings at the start of the month rather than at the end. That way the same behavior pattern of saving is maintained, and it’s a justifiable transaction based on a successful history of numerous years.
Finally, come up with a compromise that is mutually beneficial. Agree to have a finance meeting — a money talk — once a month towards the end of the month, and if there are extra funds left in the bank account, mutually decide what fun activity you can do together. This will help assure him that you are not hoarding your money for yourself, and that you view it as joint resources.
Finances can be a huge issue that causes arguments and fractures in a relationship. If something bothers you, arrange to talk it through to find a mutually agreeable resolution. Communication is often the most effective solution to money handling problems.
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JONATHAN WELFORD heads up GayDatingExpert.com, a relationship and dating coaching practice. He was awarded the accolade of being one of the top 10 Gay Relationship Bloggers for 2013. He writes gay agony uncle columns for numerous publications in both the UK and USA, and is also a regular columnist for DatingAdvice.com. He lives with his Scottish husband in Manchester, UK.