It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship. Your romantic partner also serves as is also your financial partner and the ever-mounting stress, fear, panic, fighting, and “financial infidelity” end many relationships. However, with commitment, teamwork, and honesty, your relationship can not only survive bankruptcy, but it can also become stronger. Seriously!
“We are thrilled to be filing bankruptcy,” said no one ever!
Bankruptcy filing is never a decision that is entered into easily or painlessly, but it is a way forward for some couples to get out of serious, crippling debt. Anyone can find themselves in circumstances that warrant filing bankruptcy, even the most financially responsible. Still, the highly negative emotions such as stress, embarrassment, anger, betrayal, and fear that go along with this process can challenge the most steadfast relationships.
How does a couple move forward together?
Working with expert bankruptcy lawyers and professional couples therapists can undoubtedly be of high assistance, but there are strategies to independently assist you on your path toward financial and relationship improvement. Here are three qualities that successful couples exhibit during this tumultuous time:
Couples who file bankruptcy have already taken an enormous step forward to fix a broken part of their lives. It takes commitment and courage to embark on a path to a new life and leave behind the negativity. Committing to do better is best accomplished jointly – it gives the opportunity to also recommit to your relationship. By focusing on bettering your financial situation together, you are already on your way to strengthening the bonds of your relationship. One way to strengthen that commitment is to open a new joint bank account together. Pay your bills from this account and decide how much to put aside for the future and fun. Commit to a certain amount of time each week to review the account online. Commit to each other to celebrate your successes and problem-solve your challenges.
Filing bankruptcy is not for the weak of heart. Couples who have reached this decision together also have the skills to strengthen their bond by enhancing their teamwork. Rarely is the bankruptcy filing because of only one person; instead, it is usually a team endeavor. You got into this together, and teamwork will get you out. Think of this as an endurance course, not a sprint, as you need each other to complete it together successfully. One supports the other and visa versa. How you work together is the key to your success.
The bankruptcy process and rebuilding afterward provide your relationship with numerous opportunities to be strengthened by teamwork. For example, each of you having an active role in setting and monitoring your budget is an excellent way to promote communication and rebuild trust in yourselves and your abilities to be financially stable. Setting up specific goals and duties to track your progress is an objective way to work together and solve problems as needed. Each successful step is a victory for your personal and financial relationship.
While sparing your loved one’s feelings is admirable, it can also mask the truth. Sometimes it is spot on that “the truth hurts,” but never forget that it’s “the truth that sets you free.” Being honest about your finances and feelings is really the best policy. While admitting to overspending can be embarrassing and produce other negative emotions, talking about why and how it occurred as well as making a plan together to fix the issue or create steps to prevent its recurrence are relationship victories.
Having honest conversations about what you are feeling during the bankruptcy process can produce some highly intuitive conversations within your relationship. Intuitive conversations have been described as a “discussion between two people that you are in the right place in your life and at the right time followed by perhaps a slight vision as to what is yet to come. It’s almost like this perfect mutual understanding between the two in conversation, and it ends with a sudden realization that goes beyond thought.” Honesty and forgiveness to each other and to yourselves strengthen your bond and your relationship.
A new day will dawn
While it may seem that the bankruptcy process and rebuilding afterward takes forever, remember that this “this too shall pass.” Take the time to build bucket lists for all the things you and your loved one want. There is no cost to dream, and you can grow together while you plan adventures, acquisitions, and retirement. Enjoy the camaraderie in your relationship and build upon it by sharing and creating your future together.
A new life with financial stability may feel like a dream, but it’s one that you and your loved one can successfully achieve together.
Financial troubles severely impacting your relationship?
You’re not alone! Financial challenges are incredibly common in relationships and if it’s becoming too challenging to manage on your own, it may be time to speak with a professional couples therapist. If you are ready to schedule an appointment and live in Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Texas, we can help. Contact us to get started. We offer virtual and in-person sessions.
About the Author
Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She frequently works with a number of legal clients, including the Law Offices of David Offen, a respected group of bankruptcy attorneys in Philadelphia.