We understand that talking about money can be stressful. Money is one of the top reasons that couples fight, and we don't want that to be you. For the most part, finances are a moot point when you first start dating someone, but if you are beginning to get serious with your significant other, look for these 3 warning signs that your partner may be financially un-date-able:
1. The Eternal Mooch.
Maybe your partner mooches food off his friends’ plates and then fails to contribute to the bill since he didn’t (technically) order anything. Or he never pitches in for household supplies – he'll use napkins from the deli until his roommate finally gives up and buys toilet paper. He may think he's just being frugal, but you may be dealing with a real problem if his friends notice and are bothered by it, as well.
2. The Not-Just-By-Omission Liar.
Look, it's hard to talk about money. If you're only casually dating, don't expect your partner to tell you about the hordes of credit card debt behind the scenes. But, it's a bad sign when someone lies to you outright. We’re not saying that you deserve to know the rate on your partner's student loans, but if he tells you that he got a full ride, and then you find out that he owes $80,000 to Sallie Mae, that’s a serious red flag. Be gentle when you talk about it with him. Remember that people often lie because they don't feel comfortable telling the truth. Instead of harping on the lie itself, find out why he felt like he couldn't fess up. If he refuses to level with you, you might be looking at a real problem.
3. The Spendthrift.
Your partner buys an expensive guitar (which he doesn’t even know how to play) instead of paying rent. Spends money on cigarettes but not on health insurance. Gambles too much, borrows indiscriminately, or gives money away even though he doesn't have enough of it himself. Some people are consistently self-destructive with their finances, which can initially be attractive – Look how generous he is! Look how he doesn't worry about bills! – but once you scratch the surface, you may find someone who lacks a healthy approach to money.
The Solution: Set Boundaries.
Try to keep above the financial fray by setting really clear boundaries:
- Split costs and keep things equal.
- Don’t loan money.
- Don’t ever give him use of or control over credit that's in your name.
It's often difficult to become serious with a person who makes truly bad financial decisions. You risk being drawn into a “rescuer” role, or ultimately running for the hills (not with your own credit in shambles, we hope). It’s okay for there to be differences between how you and your sweetie approach money. But, if those differences make it hard for you to communicate honestly – or if you feel taken advantage of or unsafe – then kiss that financial frog good-bye.
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