Love and Money: Stop Giving Them To Strangers and Dependents, Part 2

Stranger Dependent PartnerToo many people pay dearly, both emotionally and financially because they insist on treating love as a form of currency, like the yen or Euro, with an exchange rate convertible to U.S. dollars. We share examples of this in Love and Money: Stop Giving Them To Strangers, Part 1. To graduate from exercising your adult right to engage in financial and romantic foolery, to making Grown decisions as relates to love and money, requires you to ask and honestly answer two questions, and operate accordingly: Is this person a stranger, a dependent or a partner? And would I make the same financial choices if this person were not a love interest?  If the only or primary reason you’re considering making a financial decision or commitment is your desire to get or keep a relationship, don’t do it. And if your love interest is a stranger or a dependent, you absolutely shouldn’t do it. And if he or she is not ready, willing and able to accept full, joint responsibility for a financial purchase or commitment, again, the answer is no. Let’s explore these concepts further.

Strangers. The reason you shouldn’t be giving, spending, investing or otherwise allowing access to your money to strangers is the same reason they shouldn’t have access to your body, home or heart: no matter how cute, sexy, funny, smart, fine, “Godly”, well-dressed (yada-yada-yada) he or she is, you do not know them. Paying the bills, taking on joint financial obligations or buying overly expensive gifts for people you do not know is not Grown.

Dependents. If an adult is unwilling, disinterested or not yet capable of supporting him or herself, he or she is not Grown—period. Only Grown people—complete, self-supporting, whole, healthy and happy all by themselves—are capable of sustaining healthy relationships. Grown people do not need to be saved, rescued or believed in to achieve their potential, make progress toward their goals and to be generally productive. (They’re not working toward any goals? They’re definitely not Grown.) Adult dependents are not qualified to engage in healthy, sustainable relationships. Furthermore, Grown people do not financially support dependents other than their minor children.

Look at their track record. If they’re happiest when someone (mom, dad, their ex, the government, whoever) is financing their wants and needs, and they view actually having to earn money to support and advance themselves as a grave injustice, do not get involved with them, especially financially. Ladies, if he is not committed to taking care of his children by other women, don’t allow your ego (or your belief in your own sexual wiles) to convince you that he will turn into a different person and take care of you and yours. Dependent men can’t support other dependents when they can’t depend on themselves. Gentlemen, if she is accustomed to love interests who pay her car note, rent, and other expenses as proof of love, back away—unless you really want to support an adult dependent over which you have no parental authority. (And if you’re the one with the dependent mindset, you need to get serious about your personal growth, before you do real damage to your life as well as to the lives of others.)

Partners. If a person is not a dependent and no longer a stranger, then this person must show that he or she is partner material. (A dependent, by definition, cannot be a partner.) Not as in marriage, but as in: Can I trust this person with my money? Can we do business fairly with one another? Does this person honor their agreements? Do they pay their debts? Do they pay their bills on time, or whenever it is convenient for them? Are they responsible with their finances, or do they live beyond their means? What did they learn about handling money from their parents, family and culture? You should be looking for the same qualities that a bank or credit card seeks when determining someone as a financially responsible, fair and trustworthy person. Again, the fact the person is attractive, religious, smart and nice is immaterial. Understand: If he or she is a poor credit risk, can’t or won’t pay their bills, see paying back loans as an optional exercise, and is generally unreliable when it comes to money, they are not suddenly going to become conscientious, income-earning, money-savvy and credit-worthy because of your loving ways. If they can’t afford to buy what they want or need, they won’t be able to afford to pay back money you loan to them to get it. If they’ll stiff, cheat or avoid financial obligations to others, they will not make an exception for you, no matter how special you believe your relationship is.

Here’s a real litmus test for financial decision making for any relationship outside of marriage (which is legally a joint financial partnership in most states): One or both of you is unwilling to create and sign a written agreement detailing terms and a schedule for repayment of a loan or other financial favor. If this is the case, such loans or financial favors should not be granted. Grown people do not loan each other money without a written agreement spelling out repayment terms, with signatures from both partners. They accept that any monies shared outside such an agreement to be gifts or part of the shared expenses of the relationship, with no expectation of repayment. If you can’t afford to make such gifts, do not do so in the name of love.

Too many people refuse to deal with these questions until after money has changed hands, loans have been extended, authorized users have been added, purchases have been co-signed for—which usually means drama, conflict, break-ups and broken commitments are in full effect. On the other hand, Grown people never give access to their money to strangers, nor do they finance the needs and desires of dependents other than their minor children. Grown people only allow financial access to partners—as defined by capabilities, habits, values, character and track record, not romantic feelings, hopes and promises.

Women: You do men (and yourself) a tremendous disservice when you move them from their Momma’s (or Daddy’s, or another woman’s) house into your home. A man who hasn’t proven he can provide for himself/make his own living is incapable of doing the same for you. If you move a man into your house from his Momma’s house, who’ll provide for you when your back is against the wall?

Men: You’d do well to take the same advice, because a big butt and a smile may stroke your ego and fulfill your fantasies, but can’t do anything for your soul or be a help to you in periods of challenge and adversity. The P-word you need to value her for is Partnership, not that other word that causes penis-led men to turn off their brains. When you’re financially challenged, you will want to know she won’t bail on you, but can and will support and challenge you to find ways to continue to contribute to your partnership.

Ladies and gents: Two smart, mutually supportive, loving, productive people, working together in partnership (not co-dependency) make the sexiest of all couples! That’s love and money in the Grown Zone. You can’t lease it, rent it, or buy it. But you must accept nothing less if you seek healthy, sustainable relationships.

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Love and Money: Stop Them Giving to Strangers and Dependents, Part 1

Buying LoveAdults are messy enough when it comes to love, sex and relationships. But for real rachetness and foolery, add money to the mix. Too many people pay dearly both emotionally and financially because they insist on treating love as a form of currency, like the yen or Euro, with an exchange rate convertible to U.S. dollars. For examples of the relationship disasters that result, just look at television court shows like Judge Judy (one of our favorites for observing adult-and-messy thinking in a controlled environment). For love, people will make totally not Grown money decisions, including:

  • Spending lavishly on gifts, travel and food (with money that suddenly become “loans” after the break-up)
  • Paying the mortgage, rent, utilities and other bills of healthy, able-bodied, yet unemployed adults (even when those paying have their own children to feed)
  • Co-signing on credit cards and mobile phone service for people who can’t get  them because of horrible credit and/or a checkered employment history. (Meaning the payer is taking a financial risk that a major bank or national cell phone provider wouldn’t take)
  • Buying or giving unfettered access to cars, including paying for insurance and even gas, for another adult (who may or may not have a license) to drive
  • Posting bail and paying the outstanding balance on child-support owed (for the children of another woman) to get a person out of jail

One of our most basic human needs is to be loved and, unfortunately, some people try to buy it. There are many negative relationship consequences as a result. Besides episodes of clothes bleaching and car keying, here are just a couple:

First, using money to lure a person in hopes of getting them to love you, or otherwise change or control their behavior, sets up an unhealthy, sinister, premise: that you have “purchased” the right to own or control another human being. This is what’s at play when a man feels entitled (or a woman feels obligated) to have sex or otherwise commit to a relationship based on how much money he’s spent to be in her company. This possession consciousness is also what’s happening when a woman doggedly holds on to her man because she doesn’t want to lose years of “investing” in him. (And she’ll be damned if the next woman is going to reap rewards of her hard work.) Watch cable TV channels like Investigation Discovery—people kill over this stuff!

Second, to be Grown is to be clear on the difference between being loved for what you look like, what you can do or what you have, and being loved for who you are. When you use money or other financial incentives to drive or define a relationship, you condition others to value you for what you have, not for who you are. Once this idea takes root (even if they really don’t want you for your money), the emotional security of your relationship is compromised, usually by suspicion, jealousy and possessiveness, because of fears that any decrease in your financial capability, or chance meeting between your love interest and anyone with more money than you, can result in you losing him or her. And if he or she really is “all about the Benjamins”, you’ll be right. When your money runs low, they’re out—or you may wish they were!

A Grown person would never allow him or herself to be bought; the adult who would allow it deeply undervalues their own worth and, therefore, is ill-prepared to engage in a healthy relationship. A Grown person, without question, expects to do for him or herself. Even when Grown partners decide for whatever reason that one will be the main bread winner, the other is not at home couch-surfing with remote controls or out shopping at the mall (or out entertaining outside relationships); he or she remains financially accountable to the relationship.

To graduate from exercising your adult right to engage in financial and romantic foolery, to making Grown decisions as relates to love and money, requires you to ask and honestly answer two questions, and operate accordingly: Is this person a stranger, a dependent or a partner? And would I make the same financial choices if this person were not a love interest?  We explore these concepts further in Love and Money: Stop Giving Them to Strangers and Dependents, Part 2.

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