Sex and money—what’s there to talk about?
by Karina J. Solomon
We’ve all heard the term “love is blind.” And, at the beginning of a relationship—when hot chemistry can override all reason—believing this person could be “The One” without knowing much about them at all, love can be blind! And while they might end up being The One, it’s probably best to prevent the possibility of potential big surprises! How? By communicating about even the most touchy subjects: Sex and Money.
Consider these current divorce statistics:
- Approximately 43% of first marriages end in divorce
- More than 60% of second marriages
- Over 70% of third marriages have the same fate
- And….93% of fourth marriages end in divorce within five years!
If you are surprised about those stats, I invite you to stop and consider that many people choose to dive into a new relationship shortly after theirs ended, rather than taking the time to dive into their messy past in order to assess what did and didn’t work; and then to learn new communication skillsets that can lead to a healthier next relationship. So the patterns persist, and the statistics prove themselves over and over.
So, with those statistics in mind and an intention to create a healthier, sustainable new relationship, it is best to learn some new tips and tricks for moving forward!
From the start, you need to be open with your partner about your values and desires, particularly in the realms of the Biggies: Sex and Money. It doesn’t matter whether you and your partner choose to sleep together and share finances or have separate bedrooms and separate bank accounts as long as you get comfortable talking about sex and money issues.
When I refer to “Sex,” I mean all matters intimate, from how you like to be kissed and touched to what time of day you feel most sexy to the actual motions and emotions of making love. There are no right or wrong desires. But keep in mind that vagueness about what you desire combined with a lack of communication will make for tough going in becoming more intimate.
“Money” refers to everything regarding how you use your resources: your values and lifestyle, including the food you eat, the car you drive, the home you live in, the vacations you take, and where you choose to invest your money. While you might not immediately ask if s/he wants to put the kids in private school, there are some basic money issues that need attention up front.
Who picks up the tab can be an issue at all ages and stages of the dating game. I’ve heard from many clients that the most uncomfortable part of the first date is when the dinner bill comes! That is if they have not made it clear beforehand. And then there’s paying for other shared activities.
Jason and Rebecca, both divorcees, had been dating for several months, and things were going well. Rebecca, eager to take the relationship to the next level, was thrilled when Jason invited her to go with him to a four-day Tantra Intimacy Retreat.
When they arrived, Jason pulled out his checkbook and started to write a check for the $595 that would cover his tuition. Rebecca, however, made no move to pay. With a sinking feeling, Jason realized Rebecca expected him to pay for her as well. Rather than talking about it, he changed the amount of his check to $1190.00, and neither of them said a word.
It won’t surprise you to know the Tantra workshop wasn’t fun for either of them.
According to Wikipedia, the expression ‘The elephant in the room’ is a metaphorical idiom in English for an important or enormous topic, question, or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about—but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable and is personally, socially, or politically embarrassing, controversial, inflammatory, or dangerous.
It is based on the idea/thought that something as conspicuous as an elephant can appear to be overlooked in codified social interactions and that the sociology/psychology of repression also operates on the macro scale.
This lack of communication about money, in the case of Rebecca and Jason, ultimately doomed the possibility of a long-term relationship. Rather than communicate clearly, they each operated on top of “unexamined assumptions” that ultimately led to a breakup.
My client Nicole was a recent college grad who had been dating Charlie for a few months. She earned a meager salary working for a not-for-profit organization, while Charlie, who worked in sales, brought in a hefty income. He took her to up-scale restaurants and always picked up the bill. They’d have hot make-out sessions in his car in front of her apartment building, but she was hesitant to invite him in as she wanted to take things slowly.
After several first-class dinners, Nicole began to feel uneasy, thinking that she “owed” Charlie. She certainly was not in a financial position to offer to split the tabs, but she wanted to feel in a position of choice rather than feeling pressured into having sex.
During my coaching with Nicole, we came up with a way to even the playing field without her feeling pressured into a level of intimacy beyond her comfort zone. It turns out that Nicole was an excellent cook. A bachelor, Charlie was delighted to enjoy her home-cooked meals; he even brought the wine! After they had enjoyed several of her wonderful meals, Nicole felt more balanced in the relationship—and when they did sleep together, it was at her invitation.
Whether on your first date, or your tenth anniversary, communication is the key to sustainable relationships. But when is the best time to bring up sensitive subjects, and how do you go about it? The answer is: as soon as possible and as sensitively as possible. If you wait until the relationship is in full gear to talk about sex and money issues, in particular, you risk de-railing the relationship—or having you or your partner get hurt.
Samantha, at forty, was a high-powered attorney who made a great living. On her first date with Mark, he told her how much money he earned and asked about her income. Samantha was stunned that he broke the taboo about talking about money—especially on a first date. Mark explained that it was different values about money that had recently caused his former marriage to break up. Thus, he was intent on transparency in subsequent relationships.
After her initial surprise, Samantha found the topic refreshing. Mark’s openness about money made it possible for her to be open about her desire to have a baby as soon as possible, given her age. They immediately got closer by telling one other their truth. The last I heard, they were still seeing one another and making plans for their future.
When talking about sex and money, you may need to hone your communication skills. It’s important to recognize that both topics have many associated taboos, and it’s unusual for couples to engage with them upfront as Samantha and Mark did. It’s all in the setup—meaning rather than diving into a sensitive topic and potentially catching your partner off guard, ask them if it works for them to talk about whatever sensitive topic is on your mind before you just jump into things. Be gentle and careful, but tell your truth.
The most important is to know what you want! Women, in particular, tend not to connect with their desires, setting them up not to clearly ask for what they want. They are afraid they can’t have it—and often, they don’t even know how to receive it when it’s offered.
Desires are based on what you value. And you can’t communicate your desires unless you first know what your true desires are. Once you take the time to get clear about your negotiables vs. your deal breakers and can distinguish your preferences from that list, you can find out if a potential partner shares those values. Then, as you spend time together and communicate, you’ll determine if, indeed, you might have found The One who is interested in having a relationship based on shared values along with open and honest communication.
Since we go to school to learn everything we need to know to set us up for success in our professions, wouldn’t you agree that it makes sense that we invest time and resources into learning the communication skill sets that will serve us in having our needs met in our most intimate relationships?
That’s where I come in. Jump on over to my site, where I share some helpful relationship tips. And if you’d like to talk about your specific situation, I’d be happy to jump on a call with you if you’d like to schedule a time on my calendar: https://successappeal.com/schedule
Karína J. Solomon, the author of Sexy, Sassy & Starting Over, is a seasoned relationship, intimacy, and style makeover guide. She inspires her clients to recreate their lives after divorce, breakup, or widowhood, congruent with their deepest needs and desires. Her teaching style is bold and edgy, infused with light-hearted humor as she empowers both men and women to express their authentic, unadulterated selves.
Her insatiable appetite for learning led Karína to study with various personal development teachers and training programs beginning in her late twenties. Some of these include Landmark Worldwide and Energy for Success.
It was in her mid 30’s when Karína attended her first tantra intimacy introduction. During this experience, she had an epiphany that opened the door to working with several experts, including Charles and Caroline Muir, Margot Anand, The Institute for Human Abilities (formerly Morehouse), and David Deida, among others.
What sets Karína apart from other relationship and intimacy guides is her ability to fuse lifestyle and image makeover strategies into her consulting practices. She knows that a new look can be the perfect prescription for starting over after divorce or any significant life transition. Yet, her work as an image consultant has never been only about the clothes but rather about showing her clients how to present themselves congruent with how they wish to be perceived as they recreate themselves, particularly after a divorce.
Having gone through her divorce, albeit amicable, Karina can empathize with how challenging it is to leave the life one once knew and loved to find oneself in uncharted and lonely territory.
Her passion, insight, and genuine desire to serve, combined with being direct, compassionate, and relatable, leave her clients and online community laughing and loving themselves.
Karina is excited and honored to collaborate with a community of esteemed professionals at Vesta dedicated to serving their clients with compassion and empathy.
Click here to learn more about Karina.
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