When Should You Talk Money In A Relationship?

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 01/26/2015 | 12:45 PM EST

Money is always a sensitive topic no matter how you slice it. But it can be especially tricky when dating.

Money is always a sensitive topic no matter how you slice it. But it can be especially tricky when dating.

While relationship experts have written novels on how to get and keep a man, very seldom do they touch on the etiquette of money talk. Believe it or not, there’s an art to discussing finances. As you progress in dating, money rears its ugly little head in more ways than one.


Case in point: let’s say you find yourself picking up the tab more often than you’d like, either because it’s not within your personal budget or you feel the person you’re dating just isn’t being reciprocal. Or maybe they pay the bill but it’s personally breaking the bank and doesn’t want to let you know out of embarrassment.

Etiquette speaking, you shouldn’t ask the person you’re dating what their salary is or how much money they have in the bank unless they volunteer that information or you’re beginning the process of blending your lives together such as moving in together, consolidating bills or planning to get married. You should wait until the relationship has legs before you have that conversation. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to address finances without being intrusive.

If, for example, it’s not in your budget to pay for a date or what have you, there’s nothing wrong in letting your mate know. Though being honest about your financial reality is often interpreted as a personal defect, it actually shows that you’re responsible and conscious about your spending habits. Dating isn’t worth blowing your savings when you know you have financial goals such as paying off debt or purchasing property.


But there are other scenarios in which talking money is necessary when dating, such as noticing your mate is wise with their money. No one wants to continue to date someone who may possibly blow household finances should the relationship get more serious. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you see the person you’re dating being reckless with their money. Unless he has it like that--which you won’t know until he communicates that--there’s no reason he should be dropping hundreds or thousands in one weekend during social outings. It could be a red flag. When you’re dating you have the opportunity to see what you’re getting into.

Rather than getting all up in his wallet, a great way to discuss finances is to try to get to a mutual understanding. Don’t criticize, simply do your best to communicate your concern without being on the offense.

There’s no one way to handle the money conversation when dating, but staying mum will only lead to frustration, or worse, a financially strained relationship or marriage. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, everyone is a happy camper when both parties remain cognizant that the other person may not have it like that. Remaining thoughtful is key.

(Photo: Tetra Images/Corbis)

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