#BlackLove: Financial talks can be uncomfortable to have in any situation, just think about how we tiptoe around discussing our salaries at work!
But when you’re dating someone you care about, money convos can be even more awkward to have with them. This is especially true if you find yourself in a situation where you need to ask your partner for money or vice versa. Yikes.
Of course, while every situation and relationship is different and there’s no right answer for how to have these kind of talks, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone if you think they’re touchy.
Consider the opinions of these 6 women, who got real about loaning or being loaned money by their partners:
Is It Ever Okay to Ask Your Partner for Money?
1. “I think asking your partner for money can be a very slippery slope. In the past, I had a partner who needed money, and would make me feel guilty for having my family financially support me. I was too uncomfortable talking about our different financial situations, so I’d just pay for everything by default. If I mentioned him paying for something or getting a full-time job, he’d act like it was no big deal for me to pay since it wasn’t my money. It’s uncomfortable, but now I always talk with my partner about our financial situations upfront.”—Lauren, 24
2. “I think borrowing money from a partner can be a great opportunity— both for the giver to feel helpful, and for the recipient to prove that they’re trustworthy and conscientious. When I was really broke in college, I had to reluctantly borrow $50 from my boyfriend of six months so that I could eat that week — I paid him back within the month. It made him feel good to help me out, really saved me in the moment, and definitely brought us closer.” —Sophie, 24
3. “In most cases, if there’s another friend or family member that can help you out instead, it’s not a good idea. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to ‘claim’ a pretty large windfall of money, but wouldn’t have been able to cash out the funds for a while. This money also came with a huge tax bill upfront that I didn’t have the money to pay. My girlfriend of just over a year had worked in finance for many years and had quite a bit of money saved up, and agreed to lend me the money at a slightly-below-market interest rate. I’m not sure if it changed the dynamic of our relationship for her, but I know I was always worried about the fact that I was indebted to her. I wasn’t sure how we would handle the fact that I still owed her all of this money if something went wrong in our relationship. If anything, the fact that I had borrowed money from my partner made me rush to pay back the loan as quickly as possible.”—Michael, 29
4 “Giving a partner money can totally work out, but you need to view it as a gift, not a loan. My partner of seven years is in grad school, and I’ve been working full-time for three years at a big tech company. Last summer, my boyfriend got accepted to study abroad but had limited funds, so I offered to pay for us to fly there and back—about R68 157,70. I had the money, so for me it was worth it to invest in my partner’s educational experience, but it was the most I’ve ever spent, or given him. With that context, it didn’t shift our relationship dynamic much. I have always been more willing to pay for expensive things I want us to do, and after getting burned badly by a friend in college, I only ever give people money, I don’t do loans.” —Marie, 25
5.“I have lent money to past partners and would hope to not do it again. I had a girlfriend I lived with who ran into some money problems after getting injured, so I offered to cover her living costs (including rent). At the time, it seemed like there would be a definitive end to her financial need, but once she started making money again, it didn’t stop. Her eventual five-figure debt kept us tied together longer than we should have been together.”— Tosin, 23
6. “Earlier this year I lent my boyfriend around $2k to pay for some taxes he owed (I offered and didn’t hesitate to do it). He didn’t want to accept it at first, but realized it was better than paying more interest. I make slightly more than him so I knew that it wouldn’t hurt me as much if I shelled out the money. We’d been together four years so I knew he wouldn’t just bail on me without paying, which definitely influenced why I was willing to lend him money. At first I didn’t think our relationship had changed, and at least from my perspective it hasn’t, but lately, he always brings it up a lot because he hasn’t finished paying me back. I always assure him that I’m not mad at him for taking so long to pay me back, but he definitely thinks it sucks that he’s in this position.” — Afua, 24
What are your thoughts, Cousins?
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