What It’s Like To Be A Couple That’s Struggling Financially
Being broke on your own and being broke in a relationship are two totally different animals. When you’re broke on your own, you don’t really feel like your financial status is bringing anyone down. In fact, you can do a decent job of hiding your financial status. But when you’re in a relationship, and you’re both financially struggling, you cannot hide your money problems from each other or the world for long. Two broke people are easier to spot than one and your friends and family catch onto the fact that between the two of you, nobody can buy the plane tickets home or afford the bottle service at the birthday party. And within your relationship, you get a close look at one another’s financial realities. Here is what it’s like to be a financially struggling couple.
Your parents question your choice in a partner
Perhaps your parents never thought they cared whether or not you had a wealthy partner…until they saw you with a financially struggling partner. Then they realize that, deep down, they always wanted you to be with somebody who could spoil you and with whom money would never be an issue. You hate that they judge your partner based on his financial status, but you also can’t blame them—they just want to protect you.
People think you’re antisocial
People think that you’re one of those women who just stop seeing her friends when she’s in a relationship. But that’s not it: you and your boyfriend just can’t afford to come out! You didn’t mind having your friends see that you, as a single woman, could only afford two beers at the bar. But you don’t want them to see that your boyfriend can’t afford to buy everyone a round of drinks.
You can’t really talk kids
You can’t really discuss having kids because you are nowhere near being financially stable enough to do that. It’s not that you don’t want children or don’t believe your partner would be a great parent. There is just a giant block standing in the way of you even touching the subject. That block is your puny bank account.
Or home ownership
You both can’t help but laugh when a realtor hands you her card. She’s looking at you thinking you’re great prospects for clients—young couple, looking for their first home! You both know that she’s wasting her breath talking to you.
It’s hard on your partner’s ego
It was hard enough for your partner to be financially struggling when he was single, but now he’s in a relationship. He wishes so badly that he could spoil you. He wants to take you out to dinner every weekend and take you on nice trips. He often gets into depressive cycles where he rants that you’d be better off with a wealthier man. This isn’t easy on you, either.
You judge your rich friends
People judge the two of you for being so broke but you judge your wealthy friends. Sure, their relationships are perfect when they get to vacation every two months, order expensive delivery food three times a week and each have their own bathroom. But would they still get along if they had to share a bathroom and clip coupons for the grocery store? You’d like to see them try.
You do have to pay each other back
You can’t just brush it off if your partner owes you $40 or you put gas in your shared car the last three times. You don’t have the luxury of brushing it off and saying that cute things couples say—you know, “What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine!” Only people who aren’t on the verge of being in the red in their bank accounts get to say that.
Triple date checks are the worst
Going out to dinner with several other couples is the worst. There’s always some guy who just suggests all the men split the check. Meanwhile, you and your partner are well aware that you intentionally did not order alcohol or appetizers, in order to save money.
Even sexy purchases have to be budget-friendly
You can’t just buy your favorite flavored lubricant or the name brand condoms or the chrome-plated handcuffs. You have to get your lube in bulk, to save money, and buy the generic condoms and wait for the handcuffs to go on sale.
Financial stress is bad for your sex life
Speaking of sexy time, sometimes you go a long time without it because you’re both too stressed about money. Having the mental capacity to think about an orgasm is a luxury afforded to those who aren’t calculating how exactly they’ll pay for their car insurance that month. You need to be relaxed to have sex, and financially stressed people are rarely relaxed.
Sometimes you’re left out of invitations
You often hear that several couples you’re friends with are going to this concert or on that cruise and didn’t invite you. You know it’s because they know you’re broke. They knew the invitation would just stress you out more than it would make you happy.
Sometimes you skip Valentine’s Day
You both know you can’t afford the pre-fix menu, the surge charges in Uber that night, the flowers, the champagne and the lingerie. So you agree to treat yourselves to adding guacamole at Chipotle and renting a $2.99 movie on Amazon.
Your friends judge your gifts to each other
You hate when your friends ask what your partner got you for your birthday or another holiday. You know that, based on his budget, it was a generous gift. But to your friends, it will sound like he was cheap. On the flip side, you don’t want their recommendations on what you should get your boyfriend for his birthday. You can’t afford their recommendations.
You exchange bill splitting horror stories
You and your partner love exchanging a good bill splitting horror story. If you’ve been out, separately, with your friends, you come home and vent about the fact that this one person never offered to pay for one of the taxis, this other person was the only one who didn’t buy a round of drinks and this other person asked you to pay for her cover charge, offering to get you a drink in return, and never got you that drink.
You know you can be happy, no matter what
At the very least, you know that if you can be happy when you’re financially struggling, you can always be happy. If you truly enjoy yourselves drinking tall boys, eating discounted sushi from the grocery store and watching Netflix, you can only imagine how happy you’ll be when you someday have money.