Money And Relationships: Where Is The Trust?


UNITED STATES—I had a very interesting conversation with a friend this week about relationships and how money plays a big factor in why some relationships falter.  Our conversation revolved around the issue of rather its okay for one person to have a separate bank account in addition, to a joint account.  My argument was yes.  My friend didn’t think it was a wise idea, as she brought up the factor that there is a lack of trust in the relationship.

She did indeed bring up a valid point.  Why would you need a separate account if you have trust in your spouse or significant other?  My argument was just in case things don’t work out or more so this is emergency money that we always have on hand just in case things get tight.  It’s not necessarily an issue of hiding the account for the other person; it’s just to let them know that you have these additional funds on reserve for whatever situation comes to light.

Trust is a crucial factor in any relationship because once the trust is lost, that’s it.  Not only is it very difficult to get it back, its difficult to prove to someone that they can trust you after you have betrayed them.  This coincides with the two detrimental factors that destroy most marriages: money and cheating.  While I think cheating is high on the scale, money seems to be a very high factor in why most marriages dissolve.

The woman who tends to be the financial bearer in a marriage is constantly seeking more of it, without taking accountability for what is being spent; this is my personal experience by the way.  It may even open up another debate, whether men or women are better when it comes to finances, but we’ll save that discussion for another column.

How exactly does money equate trust?  Well it actually doesn’t, but for most couples money provides financial stability.  Having that financial stability to some degree is a level of trust because both parties are at a place where they know basic living needs are taken care of.  The issue becomes when money fails to be accounted for.  If someone brings in $600 a week, that’s $2,400 at the end of the month.  Let’s say that person is the primary head of household and takes care of all the bills.  Factor in all the expenses and the bills total a little over $400, that’s money that can be put away for savings.

Let’s say for example that the couple pools their money together, and at the end of the month their gross is about $3000.  Someone plays the role of accountant in most relationships, and let’s say with that $3000 the bills total over $2000.  One party may assume the other party has taken care of all the expenses as nothing has been shut off or garnished at the point.  The problem arises when the other party discovers their spouse or significant other hasn’t paid all the bills and they are in the rear.  Questions may arise with where the money went and BOOM, the trust has been broken.

“If I continue to give you the money, how am I to know that you will do what you say you do?”  All it takes is the slightest hint of doubt to create problems in a relationship.  So one white lie, can transform to five or six lies which explode at some point. I’m sure I’m not the only person thinking having a separate bank account is not a bad idea in a relationship because unexpected things happen.  That extra income could be a safe cushion when needed. Money=trust.  Trust=money.  The two are synonymous with each other. If you abuse one you have an effect on the other, especially in relationships. We like to live in a world where we say what counts on the inside matters more than what’s on the outside, but we’re fooling ourselves.  Looks, status and prestige are all factors when we are courting someone.

A relationship should never be determined by how much is in the bank account, but we would be fooling ourselves if we thought otherwise because deep down somewhere, how much money you make and what you make plays a role to some degree.

By Trevor Roberts