Here’s a question: What are two of the most delicate topics you have to traverse when you’re getting to know a man and wondering if he could be The One?
Sex and money, right?
Face it, these are important things you want to know about a man, yet they’re topics you’re taught to tip-toe around. Well I think that’s nuts, because when it comes to the forever kind of love and commitment, you need to be on the same page in the sex and money categories, right?
I help clients with these ‘talks’ all the time, and find that money can be even trickier to talk about than sex. This is especially true when you’re at this stage of life. You have assets, debts and obligations…far more complications than when you were in your 20s and had an apartment and $200 in the bank.
One of the articles I was quoted in this week was the Wall Street Journal’s Money Watch. In it, I tell you how and when to bring up the money topic…like a grownup. The beauty of dating now is that there’s no room for being coy about things that impact your ability to form a lasting partnership.
You can and should talk about money, sex, health issues…anything! But, as with so many things, it’s the ‘HOW’ you do it that really counts.
It’s not about arriving at your first date with a ‘you show me your balance sheet and I’ll show you mine’ approach. (I know you know that, btw.) Like any delicate subject, timing is everything. As I say in the article, I think the time to have a conversation about money is once you feel the relationship has real potential. That’s when you can start talking about the bigger issues – even if it’s uncomfortable.
What didn’t get into the article is what you should do first, even before you start dating and having tis problem! If you want to set yourself up to be a successful dater – which means you make good choices and attract the right men –then the first step is being crystal-clear about what you want and need.
Here’s how to get some critical clarity related to money and dating:
#1. Outline your desired lifestyle going forward.
What do you imagine your life will be in 5, 10 or 20 years? Is your goal to retire at a certain age and then travel around the world? Do you expect to live in a certain city, eat a certain way or enjoy certain activities on a regular basis? Will you be taking care of family members? Do you plan to leave money to your kids or a charity? What does your happy future look like? (I’m assuming, btw, that you’ve set yourself up to enjoy this.)
#2. Set your priories.
Now…is that dream your first priority or is finding that man to share your life? If you meet someone you could fall in love with, are you willing to do without? Are you 100% committed to this lifestyle dream and not open to adjustment? If you meet a wonderful man who can’t afford the same dream, will you consider him? Are you willing to give up 10 days a year in Paris for 365 days of love and partnership?
This is a serious exercise for you to do in an honest and thoughtful way. And I am not telling you that you should be willing to forgo your dream…I’m not! I’m just saying that YOU should know the answer to this. What is your priority?
I talk to so many women who, when we start coaching, declare their rule about finances: They won’t be open to meeting a man who doesn’t have the same means or more. After completing the first three steps of my 6-Step System, most open their mind to meeting men who may not meet their exact financial requirements, but meet their romantic requirements.
You definitely can’t afford to take silly chances merging your life and security with someone who may have different values around money. And you do have dreams and have worked very hard to achieve those dreams. After all, you have more to lose than you did when you were 20, and less time to make up for bad choices.
But you also don’t want to miss out on love.
Check out my article in MarketWatch. It may not be the most romantic thing you’ve ever read, but it has great financial advice by people smarter than me on this topic. It is chock full of sage information for anyone who wants to write their own love story…in a real grownup way.
Also, do the exercise I gave you above and I want to hear from you! Write me a note and tell me what came up for you and if you got any new information that will help you as you date and nurture your relationships.