Finances can be a major source of conflict – from the beginning of a relationship well into the later stages. Decisions about money can be especially difficult for those who have different spending habits at the onset of a relationship. One study found that people were attracted to those who were opposite to themselves in their financial attitudes and behaviours (Rick, Small, & Finkel, 2011). For example, individuals with tendencies to be spendthrifts (i.e., those easily spent money recklessly) paired up with more frugal tightwads (i.e., those who tended to save every penny).
Researchers explained that when we dislike qualities in ourselves, we are attracted to people who are unlike ourselves in those specific qualities. For example, if I hate that I’m too cheap then I feel better when I am with someone more generous with his/her money. Although the attraction may be appealing at first, the problem is that greater differences in spending attitudes are associated with less satisfaction in a marriage (Rick et al, 2011). In other words, your relationship has a better chance at being happy, if you are with someone whose financial beliefs are similar to yours.
So what can couples to do? Click here to continue reading and learn 6 research-inspired things you can do in your relationship to maintain financial harmony.