Alright go easy on me! I know what you’re thinking. You read the title and suddenly I’m a bad person because I sound shallow or portrayed myself like some gold digger. Well no, that’s not the case…
According to a study I recently read, 50% of marriages end in divorce, and most of them cite financial stress as a primary cause of separation. While I wholeheartedly agree that money does not define happiness nor does it overrule everything in life, the simple truth is: we work to earn money, and we need money to live. In this post I’ll be giving a very brief account on two of my past relationships where both guys were financially unstable and how it caused a lot of friction between us. There was…
Relationship #1 – gambler
Relationship #2 – no drive/ambition in life (dreamer)
I’ll then move on to discuss why I think money is not the most important factor in relationships but it’s certainly not irrelevant! Discussing money in relationships can be a touchy subject for many. I’ve had guy friends who jump on the defence when the topic comes up in conversation. Clearly I’ve bruised an ego or two with my opinions, however I won’t be stepping on eggshells because of sensitivity.
There’s a reason why “gambling” is a deal breaker for me. By gambling, I don’t mean popping into a casino once in a while and chucking 50 quid in a slot machine. It’s when you continue to gamble despite negative consequences. I once dated someone who claimed they’d “occasionally gamble” but through time I caught on to the fact that “occasionally” was quite a downplay on reality. I was 19 at the time but I remember he would randomly buy me gifts out of nowhere, treat me to fancy lunches and dinners, bought himself a new car, the latest smarthphone, a massive flat screen TV and more… sure, it was all very lovely, but I wondered how on earth was he able to afford all this?
Then one day, he asked if he could borrow money off me (not exactly a small sum), and that he’d give it back on pay day. Considering I was still in university and had a part-time job, it was a bit of an ask! But I didn’t think much of it at the time and gave it to him. You can probably guess where this is all going but to summarise: no he didn’t pay me back on pay day, yes I did end up lending him more money, yes I ended up footing some bills for him (overdrafts included), yes he booked a couple holidays for us but I ended up covering the costs, yes we argued crazy amounts, yes I stopped being an ATM machine, and yes I did get some of the money back at the very end of the relationship. Not that it even mattered at that point!
The Dreamer and his pity party
Moving on to Relationship #2. Well… at first it was his personality that stood out for me. I admired his charm, humour and creative flair. More than anything, I enjoyed hearing him talk about his life goals, hopes and ambitions. I admired his “drive”, especially knowing that his family were far from affluent. The problem was that most of what he said ended up being all talk and no action. A “dreamer” is probably the best word to describe him. He was so out of touch with reality, he wanted to achieve all this, that and the other…. but didn’t want to put in the work — for anything! When he lost his job, I found myself repeating history yet again! Feeling sorry for him, thinking I can help get his life back on track, eventually paying for his lifestyle. The worst part was that I was (stupidly) funding his weed addiction! The least he could do to help himself was amend his CV and start job hunting… he wouldn’t even do that?! It was only a matter of time where I got real sick and tired his attitude. He had no enthusiasm for anything, no motivation, no thought for the future let alone the next 24 hours. Just a bunch of self-pity and blame. I had an inkling he may have suffered from depression… but either way, the negative energy was not something I wanted to be around or dragged into. I dated him for quite a while but it was very obvious we were not on the same page at all!
Zero F’s to give
Dating a person with any form of addiction is emotionally draining, costly and everyday can feel like a repetitive cycle. The worst thing is when you attempt to help them, and in doing so, you end up losing your sense of self. It’s important to realise that love does not “conquer” all, and it definitely cannot conquer addiction.
With both not having a penny to their names, spending more than they could earn and having absolutely no consideration for the long term. Their mindsets certainly helped me realised what I wouldn’t be able to tolerate in a relationship. I promised myself that I would never pay for someone’s lifestyle ever again. In other words, I really couldn’t see myself dating someone who was financially unstable. Getting people’s shit together and managing their finances is not and will never be my responsibility. Sometimes life can be unpredictable, and I get that a sudden loss of a job is not in our control but what happens next is something that does fall in our hands.
Money is definitely not everything, but it is an important aspect in life. Most of us have hobbies, some form of social life and hopefully life goals that we want to achieve. Whether it’s going out to bars, restaurants, going on holiday, buying nice clothes, going for beauty treatments, reading books, buying/owning a property, investing, starting a business, getting married, having children… they all ultimately require a stable flow or income to obtain and maintain the lifestyle. And if you’re looking to build a future with someone while retaining some of these lifestyle choices then you’re gonna need to find someone who shares the same mentality.