Relationship Guilt: 4 Ways To Stop Feeling Guilty When Something Goes Wrong6 min read
Managing finances is more about psychology than about mathematics. This is especially true when two people manage their finances together. Disagreements in relationships are inevitable, and when money is the topic of discussion, things can get heated pretty quickly.
We asked our community what their advice would be to de-escalate relationship problems and remove the blame from a fault in communication. Here are some highlights from these words of wisdom from our #TableTalkThursday participants on Instagram.
Take a Step Back
“Another way is to just let us feel however we feel. My mom calls it the “60 Second Rule.” We have 60 seconds to feel however we are feeling. Cry, laugh, scream, be angry, etc., but after it is up, we have to “get our shit together.” Because if we keep worrying about it, it makes the situation ten times worse.”@funfrugalfree
“There are so many good suggestions in the comments! My husband and I are still trying to figure this out. Usually, we give each other a while to calm down and then we talk about it. I feel the need to resolve every issue right away so I’ve needed to learn to take a breather and come back to the problem/issue later in the day when we’ve both had a chance to think through it.”@dailymoneydiary
Money is an emotionally charged topic for many people and for a variety of reasons. It brings our fears, insecurities, deep desires, and even past traumas to the surface. We have all the feels when it comes to money and how it’s spent.
When we experience this onslaught of feelings (not all of which are reasonable or justified), it helps to hit the ‘pause’ button on the discussion.
Take a minute to examine your feelings and where they really come from. Breathe deeply.
If you (or your partner) are very upset, table the conversation until you’re more in control of your emotions. This will prevent both of you from yelling or saying things you don’t mean in the heat of the moment.
“Talking about it when you’re in a good headspace to do so. Nip it in the bud. Minimize bringing it up once it’s been talked about. And time. ❤️”@budgetloverrr
@budgetloverrr Thanks for joining! That is so true! Often, we want to talk it out while we are in the moment and feeling it—and that isn’t always good to do. Are there certain things that you need to bring up immediately instead of later, do you think?@finlitdating
@finlitdating Hmm, that’s a good question. I feel like it depends on the person. But if it is a big issue I would definitely try and think some things through before you say something you regret it. But then again, lol when feelings are involved, that’s hard to do.”@budgetloverrr
“As others have stated, communication is really important. We started our relationship on the foundation that communication was key. if we made mistakes or had a big decision, we would have to talk about it. Nobody is perfect and mistakes will happen, so you must be able to forgive (depending on the mistake).”@millennialnestegg
After you’re feeling more levelheaded, clearly communicate what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. Talk about what happened (or what you want to happen). Discuss your short-term and long-term goals and priorities. If you can agree with your partner on the big things, it will be easy to see how monetary transactions promote or detract from your goals.
Avoid blaming or judgment—just stick to the facts. Don’t sugarcoat negative things, but don’t make mountains out of molehills either. Be honest. Say what you mean and follow through with any commitments you make to your partner. (Hold your partner accountable too!)
”For us, we apologize to each other once we are cooled off. Usually, I (the husband) have a harder time admitting that I am wrong but I think oftentimes it is good to put your pride aside and apologize to your spouse and talk about your true feelings about what happened.”@moneywisemarriage
“It’s so important to leave the pride aside and acknowledge when you are in the wrong. I used to really have a hard time with that, which is why my partner and I broke up. When we got back together, I made a conscious effort to know what I did wrong and to apologize for it. It is also important to know and to explain why you react a certain way so your partner can take accountability too!”@asianonabudget
Sometimes the problem in the relationship is you. This can be a tough pill to swallow, but you need to eat some humble pie once in a while if you want to make it to financial freedom.
Your partner knows you better than most, so he or she will probably have some good insight on areas you can improve. If you can avoid the temptation to get defensive and actually consider what your other half has to say, you’ll have highly tailored advice on how to shore up your weaknesses.
And if you need to apologize, do it sincerely. Only small people refuse to admit their mistakes.
Keep Things in Perspective
“When things go wrong, I like to play a game called “Worse Case Scenario”. My husband and I alternate between each of us saying the absolute worst-case scenarios for situations we are currently in. The more extravagant, the better. As we continue coming up with things, we feel better, because whatever we are going through cannot possibly be as bad as our imaginations.”@funfrugalfree
“I think it helps to talk about a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Apologize or forgive if it is appropriate. Most of all, remember this too shall pass and work hard together to move past it.”@financialcoachveronica
Thinking of the worst-case scenario can actually be a very therapeutic exercise. How bad can it get, really? Many times, even a doomsday scenario is worse in your head than in real life.
Few are the people who have not made costly financial mistakes in their lives. Keeping a long-term perspective can keep you from getting too hung up on your past errors or your partner’s.
In the heat of an argument, we often forget one important fact about money—you can usually make more of it. You and your partner can recover from losses, setbacks, and dumb mistakes and come out stronger than ever.
Join Our Discussions on Instagram
If you would like to share your ideas, input, and experience, joins in every #TableTalkThursday from 9 AM to 10 AM PST on our Instagram page. We raise important and relevant topics every week so that our community can grow together.