THE MONEY PLANT
Though we all need it, it can also be a cause for all the major problems in our lives. Here’s how money can make or break relationships
Arguably, money is something that is the most important aspect of our lives. Almost all of us try our best to earn as much money as we can. After all, a lot of factors that lead to our happiness, depends on it. Loads of money can provide you with the best lifestyle. But, money can also be the bane of our lives in many ways, thereby affecting our relationships and friendships. Here’s how...
BORROWING FROM FRIEND OR FAMILY
Often, when in need of money, people look up to their friends or family for help. But, sometimes, money that is borrowed is not returned on time. This is when rifts start surfacing in the bond between two or more people. Psychiatrist Gittanjali Saxena says that in such a scenario, bonds can get shattered. She says, “The act of lending money is a gesture of kindness and good faith. Yet, this very act can be taken for granted. Many a time, since emotions are involved, neither party sets up deadlines or a repayment setup. Sometimes, the person who has loaned the money feels too embarrassed to ask for it, thereby resulting in a communication problem. One of the worst things you can do when you owe someone money is to avoid that person, especially when you’d call them or see them often.” She adds, “Borrowing money from a friend or a family member changes the dynamics and power balance in the bond between two people. If you have not repaid it on time, you should make it clear that you’re committed to repaying what you owe and that you are trying to work out a new repayment schedule. If you care about the relationship, you should be more dedicated to paying back to your loved one sooner than you would do to a bank. Do remember, people have the right to be upset; you can’t expect lenient behaviour or forgiveness of your debt. Give them room to feel their emotions, even if you think you’d act differently in that position.”
WHEN A PARTNER DOESN’T EARN
Money plays an important role in personal relationships as well. But at times, one person in a relationship may not earn, and this can have a major impact on the relationship. Neeta V Shetty, psychotherapist, Blissful Mind Therapy, agrees on the same. She says, “The partner who is not earning may start feeling insecure, fearful and anxious. It may affect his/her selfesteem and self-confidence as well as instil feelings of guilt and helplessness.” But the partner who is not earning can always balance the situation, especially, if he/she is married. Shetty says, “As the non-working partner, you can try and support your partner in ways such as parenting, doing household chores, running errands and being emotionally supportive.”
For instance, Shreya Grover and Pawan Grover (names changed) were banking professionals. But Shreya was laid off a few years back. Initially, the couple went through a difficult phase. Relationship expert Vishnu Modi, who knows the couple says, “Shreya lost her job a year after their baby was born. Post this, she took up other home responsibilities and parenting. This helped sooth tempers in their relationship. In fact, even after so many years now, she has not taken up a job and is continuing with her parenting duties.”
AN EARNING PARTNER CAN HELP
In the case of Shreya, her husband Pawan ironed out things in the relationship. According to Shetty, an earning partner in such a relationship should treat the non-earning partner with respect, dignity and equality. She says, “He/she should try and appreciate the nonearning partner for other roles they play in their lives. Try to not be dominant and argumentative in financial decisions. Never bring the earnings and financial status of the non-working partner in arguments and fights.”
WHEN THE HUSBAND DOESN’T EARN
In the Indian context, when a man doesn’t earn, it can always be a tricky situation. Especially, when you are married because he is supposed to be the breadwinner. Aman Bhonsle, psychosocial analyst and relationship counsellor, says that this situation can affect a relationship if the man subscribes to ‘slightly’ oldschool Indian values or if the woman feels that her man should be earning. He says, “Such a marriage can lead to awkwardness in social groups where people share similar values. The wife may say that my husband doesn’t do anything and husband says, ‘I just sit at home.’ The dynamics are affected by how the egos of the two people are in general. Some people may have a lot of arguments, behave aggressively, stop having friends, as there is always a big scene in front of friends. It also starts affecting families. The offsprings may tell the mother that their father is useless, the husband starts complaining to his family about his wife; it has a cascading effect.” But the wife, or rather the earning partner can always help. Bhonsle says, “The wife should seriously consider revaluating how she wants to negotiate this relationship. She can also find a neutral third party, who can find out if the values they follow are helping or harming them.”
Borrowing money from a friend or a family member changes the dynamics and power balance in the bond between two people. If you have not repaid it on time, you should make it clear that you’re committed to repaying what you owe and that you are trying to work out a new repayment schedule.
GITTANJALI SAXENA, PSYCHIATRIST