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By Rashad Phillips

Often, we attempt to conceal or deny the connection between money and romantic relationships. Part of the denial is based on a lack of understanding about the functions of money and uncertainty as to the purpose of romantic relationships. The lack of knowledge regarding both money and relationships create major issues that result in break-ups, separation, and divorce.

Money has an important function, which is referred to in economics as a measure of value. The measure of value component of money is used to determine one’s net worth.

As human beings, we have the challenge of determining our own self-worth.

Either consciously or unconsciously, we try to determine what we have to offer humanity. We weigh our positive attributes (personality traits) against our negative attributes (personality traits). And the result is our self worth; what we have to offer to the world. Now if we don’t want to go through the difficulty of self-examination, then we can take the easy route. We can substitute money or tangible assets (automobiles, homes, clothing, jewelry, and the like) for our self-worth. But by taking the easy route, we remain uncertain of our true self-worth.

If we break down the meaning of the word relationship, we can gain additional insight. Relate is the root word of relationship, which means to form a connection. And the suffix is ship, which means a state of being. In simplest terms, a relationship is a state of connection between two people. The basis of the connection between the two people is what they have to offer each other, which connects back to each partner’s self worth.

So when two people merge and form a relationship, both parties are engaged in trading or sharing what they have to offer. Nearly 80 percent of people in relationships are using money as a substitute for their true self-worth. So shortly after the honeymoon phase of the relationship ends, money or financial related issues will quickly become a priority in the relationship. The lack of financial resources can open up past wounds or create new wounds of financial insecurity, which introduces human emotions into the situation. The human emotions complicate matters because money doesn’t have an emotional function; it’s simply a measure of value.

The lack of knowledge about the difference between financial worth and self-worth combined with communication issues can leave both parties to the relationship emotionally and financially bankrupt.

Below are some questions for the readers to consider.

1. How do you feel that money has affected your current or previous relationships?

2. Do you think that money or the lack of money affects your self-worth?

3. Does money or the lack of money affect the romance in a relationship?

4. If your partner makes more or less money then you, how does that affect how you feel about your relationship with your partner?

5. Does receiving a gift or not receiving a gift affect your feeling of self-worth on days like Valentines Day, Christmas, or your birthday?

6. Does your mate cheating with someone else affect your self-worth? If the person your mate cheats with makes more money than you, how does that affect your self-worth?

7. Do you think your self-worth or lack of self-worth affect the type of people that are attracted to you?

8. Does the financial status of the person your ex dates after your relationship ends affect your self-worth?

Rashad Phillips, MBA, is a Charlotte-based tax accountant and certified financial coach.