How do you ensure that you and your partner have emotional well-being?
Financial intimacy goes hand-in-hand with emotional well-being, so knowing how to foster emotional well-being can be the missing link between you and your partner’s finances. It means being emotionally prepared to understand what you’re going through regarding money and feeling like you have the power to do something about it.
Being intimate requires honesty.
Honesty is an integral part of financial intimacy. Being honest with yourself, your partner, and your feelings is a big step when starting any new journey. If we can start on that journey of emotional honesty, it allows us to discover some fundamental aspects about ourselves.
Ultimately, emotional honesty leads to healing, trauma recovery, and relationship health for us all. That’s why financial intimacy requires emotional well-being.
Healing from anything—emotionally or physically—requires dealing with our emotions. When we move through our fears and anxiety or other intense negative emotions, they become much less powerful in our lives. To heal, however, we must access them first.
Self-acceptance is a great starting place.
Attachment theory helps us understand self-acceptance as first being loved and seen by our caretakers, mainly from being seen for who we are and having our full range of emotions acknowledged and appropriately worked with.
When our caregivers see us for who we are and the full range of emotions we experience, rather than trying to change us into someone else (like how a child would try to mold her play-dough), we feel safe and accepted just as we are.
Reconnecting with our original acceptability makes it possible to accept ourselves today with less drama and more equanimity. If you haven’t had that experience of feeling seen and loved by your caregiver(s) growing up, then it will take some extra work to get there, but through the journey of developing earned secure attachment, you can get there.
Dealing with feeling stuck
Trauma recovery is key to any long term intimate relationship. Studies have shown that if a partner is in therapy for PTSD or other trauma-related issues, financial discord is at least reduced by 50%. But if both partners are in treatment, communication improves dramatically.
For example, many people who were abused as children learned to suppress their emotions and feelings instead of dealing with them. Which then leads to insecure attachments (anxious, avoidant, disorganized).
To get unstuck with emotions and feelings, it is essential to heal these wounds by processing our painful experiences with someone empathetic towards us.
Ultimately working on your attachment patterns can help you reconnect with your emotions, rewire parts of your brain and leave both of you feeling better and living with increased emotional well-being.
It’s not fun to face our fears, especially rejection. The fear of rejection is often interwoven in couples' money differences. Experiencing acceptance and not rejection is a significant part of healing from our concerns about talking money with our partners.
On this journey of working through our fears, including being rejected, we deepen financial intimacy, leading us as couple’s to more naturally talk about money with each other in a way that fosters relational and financial growth.
Doing whatever it takes to move forward.
Marriage, divorce, bankruptcy, crushing debt, kids, and death can bring us face to face with unwanted emotions about money and relationships. The question becomes, how do we move forward?
Reading countless science journal articles and working with many more couples, I know that financial health is linked to emotional well-being. I also know that financial therapy can help you tackle your problems and move beyond them. This type of therapy will support you in developing a sustainable plan for restoring your financial and personal life.
Financial stress can lead you or your partner into severe depression and anxiety; it will be difficult, if not nearly impossible, to think clearly enough to make good decisions.
If you or the person you love is experiencing these symptoms directly related to financial issues, I would consider referring them for financial therapy. Financial therapy helps people work through the intersection of mental, relational, and financial health.
Learning from mistakes
It is okay to make mistakes with emotions and financial intimacy. You can learn. Your partner can learn. Let’s admit it; we are humans, after all, not robots.
Experiencing emotional flow is part of emotional well-being. We tend to cling to our emotions, but if we can let them flow through and recognize them as messengers to pay attention to then, we have new opportunities for change. Developing emotional well-being means your financial and relationship future can flourish.
Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself, forgive your partner and move on. Yes, I know it is not that easy. At the same time, healing and forgiveness are always worth keeping on our radar to deepen and learn about.
The bottom line is that financial planning requires emotional well-being for you to relate well with yourself and your significant other when making financial decisions together.
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