How Your Attachment Style Impacts Your Finances

attachment style financial well-being Jan 26, 2021
Therapist talking with a couple

Attachment styles can impact your finances in many ways. They can impact how much you earn, how much you save, and how safe your relationship with money feels. Your attachment style can also strongly impact money fights in your intimate relationships.

Attachment Theory And Relationships

In psychology, one way they study relationships is called Attachment Theory.

Defined within the theory, there are four Attachment Styles:

These styles show patterned ways you interact in relationships.

They begin to develop at birth and run throughout your life-impacting all areas of your relationships.

Your primary caregiver impacts different attachment styles. With a healthy relationship, a secure attachment is formed. When parents struggle with low self-esteem, an insecure attachment style is more likely to develop. 

Today, we will examine how your attachment style impacts your financial decisions in close relationships. 

Evaluating Your Financial Wellness

As with love, money is a concept seen in many ways by different people.

Financial success means different things to you than your intimate partner or anyone else.

As an example, you may be happy with living paycheck to paycheck; as long as your bills are paid and money is in your bank accounts, you are fine. Yet your partner may need to put as much money in savings each paycheck as possible to build a nest egg for the future to feel financial security.

In my practice, I use a financial wellness scale to evaluate how you are doing in your financial life. 

Now, take a minute and consider where you find yourself at this point.

Rate your feelings about your finances on a scale from 1 to 10, with one being terrible and ten being unbelievably good.

If you are below a 6, it’s ok, but other factors are likely at play that impact how you feel about money.

In romantic relationships, how you feel and how your partner feels about your financial life can impact your financial well-being. 

You could have other unresolved traumas, such as early childhood abuse or addictions, that may need to be addressed for you to feel secure in your financial situation.

Many clients discuss with me how they feel shame and embarrassment about what others would think if they knew how they handle money and their financial situation. They feel burdened by what looks like irresponsible financial behaviors. The good news is that when an insecure attachment style is addressed and moved towards a more secure relationship, irresponsible financial behaviors will be reduced. Working with financial therapists can be very helpful in making this connection and bringing relief. 


Attachment Styles and How You Communicate

Both your attachment style and your partner's attachment style will come into play as you engage in money conversations. 

(If you'd like to discover your attachment style, take the Attachment Stye Quiz)

Your attachment style dictates how you think and react in your relationships. This includes your shared money relationships. As romantic partners, you create emotional support for the way the two of you make your financial plans. 

Exploring your adult attachment styles will help you understand how you both think and feel in your intimate relationship. This will clear the way for more open discussions about your finances.

For example, if your style is secure, you are comfortable in close relationships, and you're more likely to face relationship stressors in a healthy way. You’re less likely to ruminate about the security of the relationship. If there are unresolved issues, you will work to resolve them. 

However, if your partner has a fearful-avoidant attachment style, they may prefer not to talk about things. They may believe that if they avoid it, then it’s not an issue. 

On the other hand, if you or your partner has attachment anxiety, then there can be a spoken or unspoken fear of abandonment even when addressing seemingly simple money differences. 

Can you see how conversations would be difficult for a couple with these two attachment styles?

By understanding how your partner feels, you can more effectively communicate with them and vice versa. 

I've created a quiz to help you identify your attachment style. I recommend taking it. Understanding these styles and emotions can build intimacy and understanding with your partner.

Better Communication

Once you understand your attachment styles, when difficult money situations arise, you and your partner will better understand how the other feels. This is called financial intimacy. 

This will make for easier discussions when deciding how to move forward.

The communication between you will make it easier to have tough conversations.

Then, together, you can expand your financial well-being.

You'll feel less pressure, increased security, and ease about your financial lives and goals.

Does this mean you will not have difficult times or experience fear or shame around your finances? No.

However, you will be better equipped to handle them when you come from a place of mutual understanding.

Would you like more 1 on 1 professional help? Then, Therapy Informed Financial Planning is for the two of you. I invite you to schedule your free 30-minute discovery call today.

Wishing You Healthy Love and Money,

Ed Coambs


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Curious About Your Attachment Style? 

Take the Attachment Style Quiz now and learn how it impacts your relationships, finances, and life!