Money Talks

It’s always about so much more than money, isn’t it?

It’s amazing how much emotion and self-image can become tied up in the amount of money coming in and in how the money goes out.

And how something that at its essence is pretty basic can become the basis for such elaborate reactions and over-reactions.

We lose sleep about money. Lose friends over money. Lose our minds over money.

And if you’ve faced financial betrayal?

Yeah.

Let’s say it’s easy to just plain lose it.

I hate the way the financial betrayal has impacted my relationship with money. It has taken what used to be a healthy respect and responsible frugality and twisted it into something shame-tinged and focused on avoiding scarcity. It has made money a focus for me in a way I despise. I feel like a starving person at a buffet. I want to pile it all on my plate, but I’m afraid to take a bite in case it makes me sick.

And I hate it.

After being robbed behind my stupidly naive and trusting back, I now obsessively controlling my own funds. I breathe a little easier when my credit score rises a point (happy dance time!), my student loan balance decreases or when I sock away another few hundred towards the car I’ll need soon (not too soon, please!!!).

I am always careful to make sure that I can survive on my own if I should have to (smart) and yet I don’t relax into the financial reality I have with my husband (not too smart). I don’t spend money I don’t have (smart), but I also don’t spend money that I have and should (not so smart says my feet in too-old running shoes).

And the dumbest thing? The part I really beat my head against the wall about? After my ex’s financial secrecy, you would think I would want it all laid out (that would be smart). But I have trouble talking about it (dumb, dumb, dumb). My now-husband has none of the tuck-it-under-the-covers approach that my ex perfected (thank goodness!) and so there’s nothing hidden to uncover. Yet, when he innocuously brings up something about money, my stomach still does a little somersault. Just a baby one. But a tumble nonetheless.

And when I have to bring it up? I think I get a cartwheel.

And the really crazy thing?

I’m talking about zero-stress (at least on his part), no conflict discussions.

For example…

We usually split most home renovation/repair costs on a percentage split based upon relative income. Sometimes he picks up a little more if I happen to be strapped at that point. And he does this without comment or complaint.

This season, adding some landscaping is in the plans. As I started stalking nurseries (NOT the kind that house children!) and making lists, he said more than once, “Just tell me how much you need.”

A side note here, I promise not to turn this blog into a gardening forum. But you will probably be subjected to some (okay, maybe more than some) plant pictures and, knowing me, some far-out gardening analogies that I somehow manage to relate to relationships.

And I figured out last weekend about how much I would need. And I felt like it was too much. So I worried it around in my head until tonight, when I finally asked him.

His response? “Sure. When do you need it?”

He has a much more balanced relationship with money than I do. Obviously.

And I’m working on it. My little monthly Birchbox is a baby step. The first of many.

Our good friend just left here with our tax info (it’s awesome to have a friend who is also an accountant). We talked for a while about money and its entanglement with our psyche.

And he reminded me about the importance of a mindset of abundance.

I have that image in my mind for my garden. Maybe it’s time to allow that image to spread.

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