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Laura Hunt

Romance & Money

Communicating About The Budget

Negotiate spending boundaries

Moira in Boston, Mass.:
"My husband of one year makes me feel guilty every time I buy something that's not on his approved list. We have lists for groceries, household items, clothes, dry cleaning, you name it. I can't even buy a new blouse without guilt. I appreciate that he's conscientious about our money, but the way he makes me feel is hurting our relationship. What can I do?"


You are absolutely right that these feelings lead to resentment and can do irreparable damage to a relationship. Many divorces happen as a result of arguments about money management. You are wise to get a handle on this early.

Guilt can be a complicated emotion. It is a feeling that may be inspired by someone else, or it may come from within. Examine your own feelings; do you feel guilty before he says something? If so, list the reasons why on paper. Are they real? For example, did you buy a new blouse with money that was budgeted for groceries or to pay another bill? Or are you feeling guilty because you think you don't deserve to spend your earned income on a blouse? That's a different issue.

"Guilt is anger directed at ourselves--at what we did or did not do"
Peter McWilliams

If you feel fine until he says something, then examine what it is that he says that makes you feel guilty. Is he mean? Is he a penny pinching control freak? Is he working hard and saving every dime to buy you both a home?

If you will sit down and negotiate some spending boundaries acceptable to both of you and also in line with your budget goals, the guilt should fall away. Negotiating boundaries should alleviate your guilt and do wonders for those feelings that are damaging your relationship as well as your budget.
Good luck.

Additional information on this topic:

Romance in June: Together design your summer date nights. What do you enjoy? For example, my husband and I love the city we live in, so here's a fun afternoon and evening for us:

We are taking a tourist ride called the "Ducks" around Seattle, our home city. The "duck" is an amphibious WWII vehicle. This strange aqua bus goes from the streets right into the water for a ride around the lake.

Sometimes it's so much fun to travel around your own city and see it through the eyes of a tourist. We will then walk around downtown and window shop the high end art galleries. Then we'll finish off by having dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. For us that's a fun day out; we walk, hold hands, and casually enjoy the world around us.

You don't have to go somewhere else; design a dream date in your own city. Pretend you're a tourist.

Read Earlier Articles
Editorial Calendar & Monthly Budget Worksheet
Important Financial Help Websites and Phone Numbers


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