Love Letters: Are Finances the Biggest Cause of Divorce?

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Today it’s all about the benjamins in Love Letters. As usual, settle in for a dose of brow-furrowing reality. Consider this blog your digital rabies vaccine. It’s not comfortable but it will protect you and your loved ones from a mouth-foaming rampage.

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Here’s today’s question:

A study was recently released stating that finances are the No. 1 reason why marriages break up, not cheating. Do you agree?


This piggybacks nicely off of last week’s discussion, when I called y’all crazy for wanting prenups

I totally agree with the results of study (unless it’s one of those made up Steve Harvey studies…). Just judging by the questions I get for this column, 90 percent of daters are terrified of their mate creepin’ on the down low. But there’s a much greater danger in the realm of finance. It’s the silent killer of relationships.

It’s of utmost importance that you and your mate are on the same financial page before you pick out wedding bands. That does NOT mean “just make sure he/she got a good job.” The core issue is not how much money you have, it’s how you spend it.

In the realm of paying bills, the wifey and I prescribe to different schools of thought. She’s happy paying bills digitally; I’m more old school (surprise surprise) and in most cases would rather mail a check. Even in 2013 I’m finicky about how I spend money online. But after much debate, we’ve come to a healthy compromise and it’s worked for years.

If you’re preparing to marry a woman who makes six figures but blows five of ’em on expensive dinners nightly, re-evaluate the situation. Likewise, if your man is used to spending a majority of his funds on Jordans and video games, check him. That stuff is cool when you’re single but those pre-marriage spending habits can be hard to break. Don’t assume someone will suddenly become Ebeneezer Scrooge once he walks down the aisle when he’s known for Blowin’ Money Fast.

Financial stability isn’t about how much you make, it’s how you spend what you have. Once your relationship starts getting serious, sit down and make sure you’re in sync with your partner. Set goals, compromise and make sure both of you know where the money is going – which means no secret stashes. That’s why I usually advice against separate bank accounts, but that’s a topic to infuriate you another day.

As always, communication and cooperation is key. Your checkbook (and marriage counselor) will thank you.

Bonus question time, with more money matters from KJ:

Is it cool for a man to expect his girlfriend or wife to help him pay his child support if he has children?


Well, this gets kinda sticky.

If a man is married, then yes, she has to help pay his child support. And before you start yelling “that’s not fair I ain’t payin’ for his kidzzzzz…”

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When you are married, two become one. You share the same responsibilities. Therefore, your money is his money, and his kids are YOUR kids. It can be a tough pill to swallow but that’s reality. If you have a problem with that, don’t marry the guy, plain and simple.

Girlfriends, however, aren’t obligated to pay anything, especially if expenses haven’t been consolidated. But if live-in-girlfriend is splitting the bills with her boo, there might be pressure for her to chip in. I don’t think she HAS to but I understand why the obligation looms.

Here’s the moral of the story: The words “yours” and “mine” no longer exist in a marriage. For better or worse, you’re both in it together.


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