One of the most difficult situations that any couple can come across in is money issues if they look at finances in a very different light. Most people don’t realize this until after they have married, but it is certainly something that should be discussed well before that time. In doing so you can save both and your partner a lot of stress and grief. Today’s question comes from someone who is facing that situation and he’s not sure how to proceed:
I have a very difficult question that I’m hoping you can help me with. I have been going out with my girlfriend for a little over two years and we are very serious. I can’t think of another person who is so perfect for me except for one major problem: money. She already has close to $10,000 in credit card debt and this doesn’t seem to worry her in the least bit. She often goes shopping with her friends and comes back with him hundreds of dollars in clothes and shoes without giving it a second thought. I have tried to talk to her about this a number of times, but every time that I do I get brushed off. She says that she’s working and she will earn the money to pay for it eventually.
I’m wondering what is the best way to approach her to let her know that I think that this is a serious issue that we need to resolve if we are going to get married. I grew up in a family where we never had a whole lot of money and I consider every expenditure with a great deal of thought. I know that if we don’t come to some type of agreement, this will be a constant battle between us in the future.
The biggest problem I see with this is that she has no desire to change (at least that is my impression at this point) and if somebody doesn’t have the desire to change, then I don’t think that they’re likely to do so. I’m afraid that if I say that I’m not willing to get married until she changes her spending habits, she will change, but only because she wants to get married. I don’t want her to hold it against me because it wasn’t in her decision to change.
I’m really distraught about this whole situation and need advice on the best way to approach it.
If you were in the same situation, how would you broach the subject and what do you think you should expect when talking about this?