If you’re in love, it’s supposed to improve your life. It’s supposed to make you happier, more secure, more confident and generally healthier and more wonderful all around. Except for a lot of women, their love lives are actually a big cause of their problems, not just emotionally, but also financially. Is your love life ruining your financial future? It could be if you sound like any of the following real life cases.
1. You think money can buy love. Dude, I get it. I love gifting. But if you’re constantly giving gifts to people you love, that’s money you’re not using on yourself or saving for emergencies or your future. This isn’t to say you need to be a cheapskate around the holidays or birthdays, but it does mean you shouldn’t spend more than you can afford just because you’re smitten.
2. You’re so blinded by love that you ignore red flags. True story: A very close friend’s now-wife was fired from her job and questioned by police only days before their wedding. She was suspected to be embezzling from her employer and cooking the books. I advised my buddy to get a prenup. He told me I was stupid. Shortly after tying the knot, she became a raging bitch to him … and got pregnant. Way to trap yourself, bro.
3. You’re too willing to help. The same buddy whose wife was a thief was bullied into co-signing a student loan for her … after only dating for three months. Now, because of her criminal record, she can’t even get a job with the education he helped her pay for.
4. You believe your partner’s excuses. A friend of mine has a toddler from a previous marriage and is currently engaged to a new man. The new man’s credit is so poor that he can’t get credit cards, even from the most predatory lenders. On her birthday, said new man didn’t get her a gift nor a card. Instead, he ran out of gas and she had to travel 90 minutes at night with her toddler in the car to pick him up because he didn’t have cash to buy more fuel and has no credit cards to use on it, either. He says his financial problems are because he has ADD, which makes him impulsive. Whether or not that’s an accurate diagnosis, she still believes this man is the best she can do. Which brings me to …
5. You’re wedding-obsessed. A pal of mine married her first husband, later telling the rest of us, “I knew this would just be my first wedding.” (Wish we’d known when we went shopping for gifts and envelopes to stuff, right?) She knew deep down the relationship wouldn’t work but was so far gone in planning and invitations that she went against her gut for the sake of her vanity and a big party and a huge ring that could have been better spent on a down payment for a house or clearing off some student loan debt. Don’t make that mistake. Especially if …
6. You refuse to get a prenuptial agreement. Kanye West knew what he was talking about. It may not seem romantic, but with a 50 percent divorce rate, you should do everything you can to protect your assets. If all goes well, it won’t matter. But if all goes to Hell, it will.
7. You play house without getting married. If you don’t believe in marriage, that’s your business. But know that the court system isn’t interested in protecting cohabiting couples who split up. Unless you have very detailed written agreements about who owns what and who pays which bills, no judge is going to want to hear your small claims case.
8. Your self-esteem is way too low to be in a relationship at all. When you’re insecure, you’re more likely to force and rush a commitment, and you’re also more likely to blow your money on the first douchebag who pays attention to you. If your friends are side-eyeing you for this relationship, they’re probably not jealous (especially if they’re in their own happy unions). They’re worried about you. Listen to them, because they’re not wearing the same blinders that you are and can see a guy or girl’s bull for what it is.