A big part of developing financial intimacy involves learning to talk about money and make financial decisions together as a couple. People have different attachment patterns, meaning they view their relationships differently.
Knowing your attachment style and partners can help you understand your relationship and communicate more effectively, making you more financially intimate.
Secure vs. Insecure Attachment
Secure attachment is characterized by a sense of trust in both yourself and others, while insecure attachment is marked by relational doubt.
Securely attached people share traits such as consistency and vulnerability; they’re open to receiving love, demonstrate a sense of responsibility toward their loved ones, and respond positively to being cared for.
Insecurely attached people, on the other hand, are less likely to be consistent in their caregiving patterns. They can be overinvolved in caregiving or neglectful of providing adequate caregiving.
People with secure attachment styles have learned that those who love them will stay with them even when they make mistakes. As a result, they feel comfortable taking risks and can weather failure more quickly than those with an insecure attachment style. They often talk about having high levels of relational trust.
Anxious vs. Avoidant
Insecure attachment comes in two primary patterns anxious and avoidant.
Anxious attachment can manifest as a preoccupation with keeping up with the Joneses, a constant desire to ensure the stability of the relationship, and a feeling of abandonment at any sign of what may be perceived as relationship unavailability. People with an anxious attachment style may also see themselves as being codependent or needing a co-pilot in their relationship. They often describe having lower levels of relational trust.
On the other hand, an avoidant attachment may lead partners to make all decisions related to financial planning without allowing for communication. People with an avoidant attachment style are often described as independent, self-sufficient, aloof, or cold. They can misperceive the levels of relational trust that are available to them.
The last type of insecure attachment is disorganized attachment. People with disorganized attachment come from inconsistent caregiving and have anxious and avoidant attachment patterns. People with disorganized attachment often had parents who were inconsistently available to meet their emotional and relational needs. They will have significant trust issues in relationships.
Starting to Build Relational Trust Around Money
The first step is understanding your current level of money-related relational trust. Think about how you’d rate your current level of trust on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no trust at all and 10 I completely trust my partner.
When building relational trust, you can ask yourself how much it will take for your partner (or potential partner) to reach a given number on your scale before trusting them with a part of your financial life.
For example, if you currently have a low level of trust, then maybe your partner needs to get up to at least a four before they can do something like make online payments on your behalf or for your household. But if you have high levels of trust and they start at 6 or 7, then they might not need as much trust development before they can make online payments on behalf of you or your household.
You can use 1 to 10 scoring in each of the significant areas and sub-areas of your shared financial life together. It may not be a complete mistrust of your partner in all money areas but in some areas more than others.
Working on building nuance in understanding your trust with your partner and then finding a path towards building confidence in all the areas of your financial life together is essential to fostering financial intimacy.
The Importance of Healing Attachment Wounds
Healing attachment wounds matters. You can heal from past rejection, hurtful, and threatening relationships. These are often the precursors to insecure attachment. With insecure attachment, our financial communication will be adversely impacted.
Please remember that relational trust is developed with healthy relationship experiences. For those with an insecure attachment, it is much more than just making proclamations of being trustworthy to reassure your partner or yourself. It often involves doing interior work on your sense of self.
Exploring interior work can be done with a skilled therapist and also in The Couples Guide to Financial Intimacy where you will have many opportunities to explore and work on the questions of who am I, and what makes me feel safe and secure.
Curious About Your Attachment Style?
Take the Attachment Style Quiz now and learn how it impacts your relationships, finances, and life!