Financial Compromise: How to Deal with Your Financially Irresponsible Partner

Allow me to use the famous line in the movie, Jerry Maguire, “…show me the money!!” It has been concluded by many relationship experts that money is one of the top breakup causes in relationships today. Perhaps, you are struggling to deal with money issues. There are many money related issues that most couples at some point in their relationship face. Some typical issues are listed below.

  • Overspending
  • Debt accumulation
  • Lack of financial goals
  • Lack of financial trust

The money issues above are a process of issues that accumulate at some point. Maybe you are currently dealing with a partner that does overspend and accumulates a lot of debt. That partner that overspends typically does not have any financial goals, which can lead to lack of financial trust in the relationship. Unfortunately, in most relationships, there is typically one partner that is good with managing money and the other partner is terrible when it comes to managing money. So you may ask the question, “How do I deal with my partner that overspends, accumulates debt, and lacks financial goals?”

Understand Their Spending Motivation

For the money conscious individual in the relationship, the first thing you have to do is understand why your partner overspends. Basically, I am suggesting that you understand what drives your partner’s fiscal behavior. Perhaps, your partner is overspending because he or she was raised in a family that spends liberally. In this case, it will be very hard to attempt to break a family trait. On the other hand, maybe your partner overspends because he or she never had much as a child or teenager. In this particular case, you will not convince your partner to be responsible about money because he or she will just say, “You don’t understand…I didn’t have anything when I was young and now that I am making money, I am going to enjoy life”. Both motivations for overspending are understandable; however, are not healthy for the relationship. The second thing that the financially responsible person in the relationship must remember and do is always avoid arguments about money. Arguments never help to resolve a conflict, especially a conflict that involves money. Instead of arguing, suggest to your partner to talk about the issue another time. Sometimes both individuals in a relationship need a “timeout” before continuing to engage in discussions about money.

How to Approach your Partner

When approaching your partner about a money-related topic, never single him or her out, but rather use phrases like, “we can improve our budget” or “we need to reassess our spending habits”. Ultimately, your relationship is like a team and no one likes to be singled out for mistakes; it is all about how you approach the conflict that determines if the conflict will be resolved or will escalate into something else. The third and most important thing that the financially responsible person must do in the relationship is to make compromises as opposed to demands. Never make demands to your partner; it will usually come across as domineering and overbearing. Before approaching your partner about a money issue, first develop a well thought out financial compromise. For example, your husband just has to have a 2010 Boston Whaler Super Sport Boat priced out $27,400. The thought of having this boat is ridiculous to you so, pondering on a good compromise, you ask your husband,

…it is a really nice boat that you want to buy; however, I was thinking that since you don’t go fishing but 6 or 7 times a year, why don’t you consider getting the 2010 Trophy 183 CC which is also a nice boat that costs about $12,000 less than the Boston Whaler.

This is the sort of financial compromise that you have to come up with if you are in a relationship with someone that does not know how to manage money. Let me give you another example of a good financial compromise. Your wife just came back from the mall and has stated her desire for a new Stopping Ranch Fur Mink Coat priced out $7995.00. In your mind, you can’t see paying that much for just a piece of material, but you keep your thoughts to yourself. After a little pondering on this issue, you develop a very savvy, financial compromise, your financial compromise to your wife is,

…sweetheart, you would like nice in mink coat; however, I would never feel safe about you going anywhere with such an expensive coat; how about I buy you a golden-dyed mink vest that costs about $5,000.00 less and would not be such a big target for thieves.

This is a good financial compromise that would probably work and save a ton of money.


If you love your financially irresponsible partner, then it is imperative to know how deal with him or her. In summary, first understand what drives your partner’s financial actions. Next, avoid arguments about money, but rather suggest discussions about money when times are calm. Finally, propose financial compromises as opposed to financial demands. These simple actions can resolve money issues within your relationship, and ultimately avoid unnecessary breakups.

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