Stop Financial Foolery In The Name of Love
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Adults are messy enough when it comes to love, sex and relationships. But for real rachetness, add money to the mix. Too many people pay dearly both emotionally and financially because they insist on treating love as a form of currency, like the yen or Euro, with an exchange rate convertible to U.S. dollars. For examples of the relationship disasters that result, just look at television court shows like Judge Judy (one of our favorites for observing adult-and-messy thinking in a controlled environment). For love, people will commit all manner of financial foolery, including:
Spending lavishly on gifts, travel and food (with money that suddenly become “loans” after the break-up).
Paying the mortgage, rent, utilities and other bills of healthy, able-bodied, yet unemployed adults (often even when those paying have their own children to feed).
Co-signing on credit cards and mobile phone service for people who can’t get these on their own because of horrible credit and/or a checkered employment history. (Meaning the payer is taking a risk that a major bank or national cell phone provider wouldn’t take.)
Buying or giving unfettered access to cars, including paying for insurance, registration and even gas, for another adult (who may or may not have a license) to drive.
Posting bail and paying the outstanding balance on child-support owed to get a person out of jail.
One of our most basic human needs is to be loved and, unfortunately, some people try to buy it. However, a Grown person would never allow him or herself to be bought; the adult who would allow it deeply undervalues their own worth and, therefore, is ill-prepared to engage in a healthy relationship. A Grown person, without question, expects to do for him or herself. Even when Grown partners decide for whatever reason that one will be the main bread winner, the other is not at home couch-surfing with remote controls or out shopping at the mall (or out looking for or playing the side chick); he or she remains financially accountable to the relationship.
Also, using money to lure a person in hopes of getting them to love you, or otherwise change or control their behavior, sets up an unhealthy, sinister, premise: that you have “purchased” the right to own or control another human being. This is what’s at play when a man feels entitled (or a woman feels obligated) to have sex or otherwise commit to a relationship based on how much money he’s spent to be in her company. This possession consciousness is also what’s happening when a woman doggedly holds on to her man because she doesn’t want to lose years of “investing” in him. (And she’ll be damned if the next woman is going to reap the rewards of her hard work.) Watch cable TV channels like Investigation Discovery—people kill over this stuff!
Finally, to be Grown is to be clear on the difference between being loved for what you look like, what you can do or what you have, and being loved for who you are. When you use money or other financial incentives to drive or define a relationship, you condition others to value you for what you have, not for who you are. Once this idea takes root (even if they really don’t want you for your money), the emotional security of your relationship is compromised, usually by suspicion, jealousy and possessiveness, because of fears that any decrease in your financial capability, or chance meeting between your love interest and anyone with more money than you, can result in you losing him or her. And if he or she really is “all about the Benjamins”, you’ll be right. When your money runs low, they’re out—or you may wish they were!
To graduate from exercising your adult right to engage in financial foolery, to making Grown decisions as relates to love and money, requires you to ask and honestly answer two questions, and operate accordingly:
Is this person a stranger, a dependent or a partner? Would I make the same financial choices if this person were not a love interest?
For help with the first question, read our blog post Love and Money: Stop Giving Them To Strangers and Dependents, Part 2 at GrownZone.com. The second question is simple: If the only or primary reason you’re considering a major purchase or financial commitment is your desire to get or keep a relationship, don’t do it.
Too many adults refuse to deal with these questions until after money has changed hands, loans have been extended, authorized users have been added, purchases have been co-signed for—which usually means drama, fights, clothes-bleaching, car-keying and civil suits are in full effect. On the other hand, Grown people never give access to their money to strangers, nor do they finance the needs and desires of dependents other than their minor children. Grown people only allow financial access to qualified partners, as defined by financial capabilities, habits, values, character and track record—not romantic feelings, hopes and promises.
Two loyal, mutually supportive, loving, diligent, productive people, working together in partnership (not co-dependency), make the sexiest of all couples. That’s love and money in the Grown Zone. You can’t lease it, rent it, or buy it. But two Grown people can absolutely build it (yes, we’re speaking from experience here), if they commit to nothing less than a healthy, sustainable relationship of honor, esteem and respect for themselves and one another.
We invite you to Enter and Live In The Grown Zone.
For a FREE copy of, 9 Keys To Living In The Grown Zone, click here.
Zara Green and Alfred Edmond Jr. are co-principals of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, producer of The Grown Zone. Zara is a speaker/trainer & author. Alfred is an award-winning journalist and expert on business and personal finance. The couple, both “Do-Better Fanatics”, lead sessions on personal growth, self-love and resiliency, healthy relationships and “grown” decision-making at live events across the country.
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