One of my best friends and I were having lunch recently on a rain-soaked Saturday (Yes, it does rain in normally sunny southern California!) We were talking about her habit of stopping off at Starbucks, after a draining workday, and during our discussion, she had an ah-ha moment of realizing that her daily coffee run was a way for her to give herself a pick-me-up (physically with the caffeine and mentally because it soothed her, as well as made her feel like she was getting a "treat" for enduring the mental anguishes of the day). However, spiritually, it didn't help because she needed that pick-me-up every single day. I suggested that if she were to really look at the root of her emotions, then she may not need to make that stop at the Starbucks drive-thru...well, at least not every day.
I used to do the same thing, when I was in an unhappy relationship. I called myself a "Foodie" but in reality, going out to eat every night, rather than staying in and cooking, gave my ex and I a false sense of bonding. We bonded over the shared adventure of trying out new restaurants, what our opinions were of these new restaurants and our experiences overall. We were food critics, at least in our own minds.
The relationship ended when he cheated, financially. If you look up the term "financial infidelity," a lot of stuff pops up. It's a real thing. I know because I've been through it.
This ex, I'll call Joe, was a really nice guy, so please don't start judging him. Everyone liked him. He had a LOT of friends, and I mean A LOT, and he was always the guy at the bar buying a round. A super FUN and NICE guy. He just wasn't good with money. He had stable jobs, and sometimes, he even had two or three jobs...anything to pay the bills! However, he always ended up in debt. When we got together, he had tens of thousands of dollars in debt, but I thought we can get through this together. So, after we got engaged, I offered him a deal -- I would pay for the rent (and later when I bought my own place, the mortgage) if he would put his half towards his debt. He agreed.
A year into our engagement, we decided to officially plan for the wedding. I asked if we could look at our finances and see how we were going to pay for it, since I didn't want to pay for the wedding myself. When we sat down to talk about it, he got very nervous. Then, he finally revealed the amount of debt he had, and not only had he not paid down the debt...he had TRIPLED it!
In that moment, I felt kicked in the stomach. I know that if I had discovered him cheating on me with someone else, I would've felt the same way. I felt taken advantaged of, stupid, disrespected, exposed, and unprotected.
That night, I left and stayed at my friends' apartment. I cried. How in the world did this happen? I trusted him to pay down some of the debt, not all. But I also didn't expect that he would triple the amount. What did he do with his share of the rent/mortgage? And why did he hide it from me? Why couldn't he ever tell me that he was having a hard time paying down the debt?
Emotionally, it was the end. However, we dragged it out for another six months. We tried going to counseling and that didn't work. I tried to take his credit cards away from him and giving him an allowance, and I have to tell you -- NEVER do this! Tripling the debt was the reason for the demise, but taking the credit cards and giving him an allowance really were how the relationship truly died. It changed our relationship into one where I was his parent, and a romantic relationship...well, you get where I'm going. Relationship Death.
So, what did I learn from this experience?
1. It wasn't all his fault. I enabled the behavior by paying for the roof over his head, so he had even more money to spend on other things. We all have responsibilities, and I set up the scenario where he didn't have to have that responsibility.
2. I wasn't clear with my energy. Since money is energy, the energy I brought to money, in that relationship, was...I'll take care of you. So obviously, he didn't have to do his part.
3. Marriage should start with LOVE. However, very quickly, the two people in love should look at how they see money, how they handle money, and what they want (with money and in life). If you differ on how you see it, how you want to handle it or where you want to go in life and with your money, then it may be best NOT to get married. You can still date and be in love, but since money is a form of energy, it can ignite and burn a hole in the union, if you do not take care of it, understand it, or if you just don't share the same beliefs around it.
It all started with spending money going to restaurants regularly. I was emotionally spending and eating because I wasn't truly happy. Also, I didn't want to make dinner after working all day because I probably was resentful (deep, deep, deep down) that I was paying more than my share.
Today, with my husband...we enjoy making dinner even more than going out to eat. For his birthday (which was on Valentine's Day), I made a delicious dinner of wild salmon, broccoli sauteed in garlic, roasted potatoes, and a lovely salad. Then, I Postmated two cupcakes from Lark Cake Shop, a bakery that made our wedding cake.
I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day, a day celebrating LOVE. I also hope you had a relaxing weekend! Some of you, fortunately, had today off, for President's Day. If you did, I hope you were able to recharge and restore! Please subscribe below, and in the comments section, feel free to ask me any questions you may have regarding financial infidelity, relationships and money! I'll answer any and all questions you have. Also, if you would like to work together, as a couple, let me know! Sign up on by clicking on my signature below or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.