Dear Dr. Love, I check and read your web page weekly; I really enjoy reading the advice you give other people. Well now I have recently come upon a problem in my relationship that I hope you can help me out with.My fiance and I have been dating now for a little over a year. He graduated from college this last December with a Bachelors degree, and I just graduated a month ago in May of this year with an Associates degree. Lately we have been arguing alot about money issues.Granted I only have an Associates degree but I have just as many credit hours as he does with his degree. The problem is that with my degree I will make twice as much as he does. I asked him before he graduated if my making more money is going to bother him, he said that is wasn’t going to bother him a bit.But I later found out that he really didn’t believe how much I was going to get paid for what I do. So now that I am finally getting all my licenses to practice, and getting job offers, we are fighting more and more. Just the other day he was telling me that I won’t be able to live off of two day’s a week of work, and the arguement ended in me saying ‘My two days work is going to bring in as much as your whole week.’Thank you for your time, and I really hope you can help with this issue. I know that it is not covered in any of the archives, please consider answering.Thank you in advance, Money or Love?
Dear ‘Money or Love?’ I am glad that you asked this question. First of all, you need to know that whenever a couple is fighting about money, the fight isn’t actually about money.What I mean by this is that money has a symbolic meaning to the unconscious mind, and in order to resolve a money conflict, you both need to find out what money means to both of you. When you understand what you are really fighting about then you can work to resolve that issue.For your boyfriend, it sounds like money is synonymous with manhood. And, the idea of your earning more seems to bruise his sense of self. So, he puts you down to build himself up.To verify that I am correct, ask him to talk honestly about how he feels about your earning more money than he does. Meanwhile, all this muscle flexing has to stop, or else you will both will lose this relationship.When I say muscle flexing, I am referring to this nasty game that you are playing with each other. Your game consists of the following: He feels inferior or inadequate for earning less than you, and so he puts you down in order to bolster his ego. Then, when you feel put down, you counter attack by putting him down even more.It sounds like two kids in a pissing contest. ‘My Twinkie is bigger than your Ring Ding.’ You both need to find out why you feel impelled to compete with each other and leave each other feeling diminished and demeaned. There are many possibilities here…Your parents behaved this way with each other, or perhaps you are building up weak self-esteems by putting the other down. Until you understand what purpose this mutual put-down scene is serving, you will never resolve the money fight.Once you find out your true feelings and motives, you both must make a conscious effort to talk and not act and react, which leads to a climate of mutual retaliation that will end this relationship fast. I hope that I have clarified how you must go about addressing this problem.