S and I have not really learned how to talk about money in a productive way in the two years we’ve been together. This is partly because I’m ashamed of the debt situation I’ve created for myself and avoid discussing my financial woes with anyone, including him. Actually, I haven’t even mentioned that I am writing this blog to anyone because of how ugly the truth about my finances looks all written out. I realize that I’d probably be better off with some support from S, friends and family and maybe the time is coming soon that I share my struggles with them but for now I’m keeping it to myself until I have some real successes under my belt.
Another big reason we struggle to discuss finances is his own situation which is, in some ways, as bad as mine. He ended up saddled with an underwater mortgage during the recession, struggled to keep up with rising utilities and insurance for two years, and eventually started falling behind. After losing his job, the house was soon to follow, and here we are today… he’s lost everything and all I have is a gigantic pile of debt. That, coupled with the fact that we are both extremely independent people who regard turning to others for help as some sort of weakness and you can see why we struggle to have productive conversations about our finances.
But life has slowly started to turn around for us, we took a leap of faith leaving Florida and coming up to Boston for my new job. He has landed a great job as well and our restrictive financial situation is slowly easing up. Since October I have been working at changing the things about me that hold me in this debt cycle and am feeling generally positive that I can make lasting changes. But even with all this positive change we still avoid the financial discussions at all costs.
I understand the “whys” to this situation but I have no idea how to address them. I want us to be able to work at this together, without arguing, so that we can do the things we’ve always wanted: travel, marriage, kids, another house someday… and a long ways away, a nice comfortable retirement. I think I’ll devote the rest of April to exploring ways in which couples address money positively. I think it’s long overdue that S and I learn to open up to each other about money.