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Is your relationship healthy?

Is your relationship healthy?

As young children, we depend on our parents and carers for everything. Over time we become more independent. We start to take control. The choices we make influence where we live and what work we do. We build our friendship groups and form loving relationships.

In healthy relationships, we depend on each other for care and support. Relying on someone occasionally for emotional or financial support is different to being codependent.

What is codependency?

Codependency is rarely healthy. It’s a relationship characterised by an excessive dependency on another person. A codependent person may feel unable to end the relationship, although they realise it’s causing hurt or harm.

If one partner loses self-reliance and autonomy, the other may become responsible for all the financial decisions. Loss of financial independence can be a precarious situation. It creates a power imbalance. When one partner has control, life can feel very unfair.

Are you in a codependent relationship?

Assess your personal situation. Ask yourself:

  • Do you rely on your partner financially?
  • Do you steer away from discussions about money to avoid conflict?
  • Do you justify poor financial decisions your partner has made?
  • Do you begrudge your partner’s extravagance?
  • Do you put pressure on your partner to make purchases for you?
  • Have you or your partner ever used threats or coercion to force the other to do something?

If you worry that your financial relationship with your partner is not as healthy as it could be, being open and honest is essential. If you struggle to talk frankly about money, a financial planner or coach can help.

Withholding access to finances, giving you an allowance, or using money as a threat are signs of financial abuse. You must seek help if someone is using money to control you.

A healthier relationship with money

Romantic relationships that are interdependent are far more likely to be healthy.

A solid, loving relationship where lives are entwined and each partner retains some autonomy can be described as interdependent. You enjoy being together and sharing a future. Your lives are linked, but your finances can be separate. It’s possible to retain a healthy level of independence within a relationship.

If you are interdependent, you will:

  • Take responsibility for your actions
  • Make financial decisions that reinforce your self-worth
  • Have mutual respect for each other’s financial goals
  • Prioritise self-care without feeling selfish

These behaviours benefit all loving relationships. If your relationship is interdependent, you’ll find it easy to discuss and resolve complex financial decisions together.

How does interdependence feel?

An interdependent couple shares responsibility for making decisions. Each partner acknowledges and respects the feelings, actions, and contribution of the other.

You may have different roles within the relationship, and your role will undoubtedly change and evolve over time. If you both have great self-esteem and set healthy boundaries, you’ll manage your thoughts and feelings independently. You won’t feel you have to control anyone else to feel good. You will respect each other’s differences and separateness. You can be honest and listen to your partner’s feelings without feeling guilty or defensive. Your independence doesn’t threaten your relationship.

With mutual respect and support for one another’s personal goals, you are committed to each other’s success and happiness.

Helpful questions to assess your independence

  1. Could you support yourself if your relationship ended?
  2. Would you be able to live comfortably if your partner died?
  3. Do your retirement plans rely on your partner’s earnings or pension?
  4. How would you manage if you put your career on hold to be a carer or parent?

Even the most robust relationships can hit rocky patches. If you’re dependent on your partner, you may want to take steps towards establishing your financial independence.

Steps to regaining financial independence

To be a financially independent person, avoid giving away your power.

Traditionally, women have expected their husband to oversee money matters. This is no longer the norm; relying on someone else for everyday needs can have disastrous consequences.

You or your partner may want to take time away from your career to study, retrain or be a stay-at-home parent. A passive income from investments or a side hustle could make this achievable without giving up your independence. Your lives are interconnected, but your finances don’t have to be.

Having at least one separate account will allow you to retain some financial independence. Think about how you can share living costs, chores, and caring responsibilities. Discuss which expenses you will share with your partner. Every relationship is different. You may both need to compromise.

A key reason to be financially independent is to live the life you want.

Financial independence means you will have protection if something unexpected happens. No one wants to think about relationship failure, bereavement, or severe illness. Planning for these possibilities is sensible. Things can change regardless of the strength of your relationship or how healthy you feel.

If you suspect your relationship with money isn’t as healthy as it could be, get in touch. My mission is to put people in charge of their wealth. From your immediate concerns to your future and longer-term planning, I’d love to guide you through each life stage.

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