We often jump into romantic relationships before we have had the financial conversations. We always believe that the relationship and its dictates will just work itself out. Why should there be a need to plan beyond merely moving in together, or getting the marriage certificate, or finalizing any other decisions related to relationship-making? To answer this question is to consider how people perceive the relationship.
Each person likes the other, and each person is aware of what it takes to maintain the relationship. At least that is what each person thinks. When all other discussions about finances fail, couples believe that they can prioritize the sexual aspects of the relationship to maintain and sustain claim to the relationship.
However, finances and sex are not the only considerations for determining if you might be ready for a relationship. Implicit in the title of this blog article is the financial question, but this article is not only about finances. Discussion of finances when entering a romantic relationship should be a given. No one should assume that just because each person has a job that the financial conversation has concluded. There is more to discussing finances than merely fulfilling the job question.
But I digress.
True relationship engagement discussions should center on emotional readiness, temperament, personality, belief system, traditional views, worldviews, politics, and spiritual choices. Can you fund the relationship is not simply about finances. It is about whether you have the emotional and psychological wherewithal to consider entering a romantic relationship, as all relationships require that you invest, or pour, into the relationship who you are, what you believe, and whether you have the heart of a finisher.
For example, if you are fresh out of a relationship due to a breakup, the immediate temptation is to seek a rebound relationship to close gaps in receiving relationship benefits. I have a whole series on rebound relationships as they relate to understanding relationship failure and readiness. Click the links that apply to your current situation.
Entering another relationship a few weeks after a breakup, and for some people sooner than that time period, is emotionally self-destructive and possibly psychologically damaging because your heart has not healed from the previous relationship, and you would be bringing in hurt and pain and distorted belief systems into the next relationship.
This means that because you are suffering and dealing with relational and emotional gaps in your heart and thinking, you do not have the capacity to fund another relationship emotionally at the moment. In other words, you do not have the appropriate emotions to give to another relationship.
This is just one of multiple examples I explore in this article. There are different ways people fund relationships, besides finances, and the concept of funding is explored universally within this article. Finances is also discussed at the end of the article.
“Funding” is simply defined as the action or practice of providing money for a specific purpose. It is an obvious definition for the word. However, funding for the purpose of this article is related to the words “resources” and “supply.” When you place funding within these concepts, it opens the door to discussions about psychology, mindset, goal orientation, life plans, mentality, and spiritual considerations. Only a few of these concepts are discussed within this article.
If you supply your romantic relationship with a distorted view about how relationships are developed, this view, along with your actions, will affect the potential of the relationship to last a long time. For example, a person who just exits a relationship is still gripped with the worldview of that relationship and that person.
Whatever issues that relationship failed to resolve, one or both partners will believe that issues do not get resolved in relationships and that the only way to resolve any issue is to step outside of it and adopt an alternative solution. This further leads to people adopting alternative views.
This is why people choose to cheat because cheating allows one partner to exit the relationship for a time, solve a problem that he or she thinks is immediate, and then step back into the relationship as if there is no longer a problem. The cheating solved the problem in their view.
That is a distorted belief system because as a solution, it suggests that cheating is the only answer to solve relationship problems instead of going to counseling or communicating to the partner hurts and pains caused within the relationship.
Mindset & Mentality
Your mindset matters. I have included within multiple articles discussions on use of Carol Dweck’s “Changing Our Mindset” chart where she explores the distinctions between fixed mindset and growth mindset. You can access iterations of that chart by conducting a Google search or by clicking the link. For now, the most important question to consider is based on the notion of whether both partners are willing to change their mindset.
If you come to a romantic relationship, especially a marriage, with the mindset that if the relationship does not work out you can leave, then you will continue to leave multiple relationships. This mindset is akin to the two-year mark individual who thinks the development of romance is only good for two years.
You may hear the person say, “I’m only staying married for two years. After that, I go my way. You go your way.” The first two years of any relationship presents its challenges and to end the relationship at this mark suggests that you do not think that challenges can be resolved.
Therefore, how are you using your mindset to fund the relationship?
If the mindset about the relationship has limits, then the relationship has limits. This means that a discussion about expectations is warranted. Whether you expect a relationship to move past the first two years or the relationship to end at the two-year mark is an important conversation that both partners should have before moving forward into long-term considerations.
Personality & Compatibility
It is difficult to get along with someone when you are not compatible. Personality is significant because you can be a person who is conscientious, but your partner is lazy. You can be a person who is curious, but you prefer routine. Different dimensions of personality are explored in a popular psychology concept: The Big Five Personality Traits. The concept is further discussed.
The following figure summarizes the Big Five Personality Traits. The traits derive from The Five Factor Model of Personality developed by McCrae and Costa (2003). If you are interested, you can view a chapter on this topic here.
Understanding one’s personality and how that person conducts their life as an individual is important for determining relationship compatibility. People often suggest that having a connection with someone should be the first determining factor of the relationship because it is the connection that will help you to sustain the relationship. I now believe this is true because connection will help couples get through and overcome various issues that plague the relationship. When there is no connection, the relationship is doomed to fail.
However, beyond connection, compatibility when it comes to determining if one’s personality is a good fit for a romantic relationship is also important. Review the following visual on the Big Five Personality Traits. Gain some insight where you feel it applies to your relationship and/or your romantic considerations.
Figure. Big Five Personality Traits
I think the two most important aspects of this visual is Neuroticism (N) and Conscientiousness (C). All other areas of the model can be renegotiated, sustained with boundaries and expectations, and resolved when issues arrive.
However, how a person handles anxiety and how conscientious a person is about their follow-through are the two most important aspects of personality that determine if you can really fund the romantic relationship.
- Essentially, what are you serving the relationship, if we examine the concept of funding and relate it to mutual serving and/or servitude?
- Are you serving the relationship with negative emotional regulation that you refuse to address?
- Are you willing to renegotiate how you will fund the relationship with a better understanding of your attitude and resolve any issues that might plague the relationship?
These three questions, along with determining if both personalities are compatible, cannot be overlooked when considering a romantic relationship.
It is hard to work with someone who has no vision when you have vision. It is hard to work with someone who jumps from job to job and you are financially stable. It is hard to work with someone who blows up when triggered when you have learned how to regulate your emotions. It is hard for someone to deal with a partner who takes too many risks while ignoring the consequences and how those consequences affect the other partner and the relationship overall.
In essence, it is hard to merge personalities and bring those personalities under one roof and call that relationship a marriage. You must be conscientious about your relationship and understand that it is not one that you can easily exit just because you feel the desire to do so.
Once you marry, you are required to walk out that process all the way to the end. To complete a marriage is based on the marital vows: to death do you part. Divorce is failure of a marriage. This does not mean that you are a failure; however, it does mean that you and your partner did not finish the job. You did not manage the task of marriage beyond the conflict.
Now it is very easy for me to make these assumptions because I have never been married. I have had two live-in situations, many years apart, but they did not convert to marriage because I did not make marriage a priority. I wanted other things for my life, which included college, and I wasn’t willing to abandon that dream for someone who was not ready to marry or who may not have been marriage material at that time. I definitely was not marriage material, and I can reflect on this and understand this as truth.
I came to understand through reflection that I was not marriage material initially because I had too many emotionally and psychologically damaging experiences that just needed repair through journaling, praying, writing, and reading. It is only now at a later age in life that I realize I would have destroyed myself and my past partner had I gotten married. I needed help! I still need work, and I’m doing my work as I write and develop content on overcoming setback. It is important for me to continue this journey of self-reflection while I also prepare for marriage.
Therefore, given the fact that I do want to marry today, it is important that I understand the ideas put forth in this article as the beginning of my own consideration process to determine if I have the capacity and capability to fund my future marriage. In other words, do I have the emotions, the psychology, the mentality, the spiritual development, and the financial management to fund a marriage? Do I understand what marriage is and what contribution I will need to make to endure and complete a successful marriage? These are two questions that demand further reflection. They suggest the importance of adopting finishing as a life goal, in general, and finishing as a romance goal, in particular.
Now that I have outlined the emotional, psychological, and mentality aspects of relationship-making, and the ways in which we can be hasty when considering how we might fund a relationship, I can address finances. This will not be a technical discussion because you can conduct an Internet search on the dynamics of financial management. This is a psychology-based discussion based on emotions and how we move our finances with emotions.
In bringing forth some of the ideas explored within this article, if you have a sound mind, you will execute sound finances. When you are moved by your emotions, you tend to lead your finances using emotions. The ways in which we are moved emotionally with our finances is demonstrated in the relationships we form and maintain.
For example, you give when you should set boundaries. You spend when your money should be resting. You volunteer too much of your finances for people who will not work or pay you back. You skip learning steps when it comes to finances. You do not learn about credit or financial management. In essence, you take your financial life day by day and hope for the best.
This kind of survivor mentality will affect the romantic relationship, especially if the partner also demonstrates this type of thinking. You would both be operating with a scarcity mindset, believing that saving ahead has no real value when you are required to live in the moment. These are the “seize the day because tomorrow is not promised” people who never save any money, who always live paycheck to paycheck never expecting to lose their job, and who end up living with someone eventually because they never adopted plans for the future. These are the relationships we have to be careful funding and fueling because too much ambivalence towards financial management will show up somewhere in our life where finances are immediate.
When you bring a nonchalant financial attitude into a romantic relationship, especially one leading to marriage, you are essentially funding the relationship with an ambivalent attitude towards the future. You both are taking each other on a ride that has no true financial destination and that will arrive at the end of the line and force you both to ride back and see where “you both” messed up.
There are a lot of stops on a train or bus schedule. This means you would have to stop at each place on the schedule to determine where you began funding the relationship with the wrong attitude towards finances. That can be exhausting, and you are more likely to get off, give up, and settle somewhere than to reflect on your misunderstanding about financial management within a romantic relationship. The goal is always to move financially forward and advance. That goal would be difficult for two people who refuse to adopt a sound financial plan.
The Respect Question
As I close this article, I almost forgot the most important aspect of relationship-making, and that is respect. It begs the question can you fund respect to and within the marriage? If you cannot answer that question in the affirmative, then you have no business entering a romantic relationship. I could say the same thing about a friendship as well, but you may enter and exit multiple friendships over your lifetime. Entering a marriage is a different context.
Marriage requires that each partner respects the other. When this does not happen, then there is a breakdown in communication, love making, potential for expansion, and relationship development overall. Know and understand the importance of respect for each person in the relationship, and this includes the respect you should have for yourself.
Life Recovery Objective
Can you fund the relationship is an important question to consider, and it is one that could possibly be a discussion opener within different contexts. A primary life recovery objective after considering all the ideas explored within this article would be to work on your emotions. Emotions tend to guide how you fund a romantic relationship. Taking time to heal from another relationship will allow you to address your belief system about relationship-making.
Lastly, adopting a better mindset about finances and financial management is key to funding the relationship long-term. A major cause of divorce deals with finances.
When you are considering a romantic relationship, ask yourself this question: Can you fund the relationship?
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors, Owner/Operator
The vision of the site is to be the preferred online curriculum you need for life recovery.
Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success: How we can learn to fulfill our potential. New York: Ballantine Books.
Lim, A. G. Y. (2020, June 15). The big five personality traits. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/big-five-personality.html. Accessed 10 June 2022.
McGrath, M. (n.d.). Chapter 19, part 2: Costa and McCrae: five-factor model of personality. The American Women’s College Psychology Department. Bay Path University. Retrieved from https://open.baypath.edu/psy321book/chapter/c19p2/#:~:text=Together%2C%20Costa%20and%20McCrae%20developed,Five-Factor%20Model%20of%20Personality. Accessed 10 June 2022.
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