16 November 2021, by Patrina Tan

Difficult Conversations With Your Partner

John and I are no experts in marriage as we have only been married for close to 4 years, but we have dated for 13 years and I believe we have talked about everything under the sun. Throughout the 13 years, some topics were harder to approach but I think we have come to a stage where we don’t hide anything from each other anymore. Or that’s what I think luh. Hahaha!

But here are some conversations that we struggled to talk about in our younger days.

1. Finances

Before we got married, we both have past experiences of going into debt and we were doubtful of each other when it comes to money. For me, I tend to overspend and have zero discipline in saving. He knows that I was living paycheck to paycheck and was always nagging at me to cut down on shopping. But the “YOLO” me, had the “If I want it, I get it. Worry about money later” kinda mindset. The debt snowballed and eventually, I had to tell him because we were close to the wedding and getting our house.

For John, he doesn’t keep track of his money well and often misses his payment due date, which resulted in late fees and got a bad credit score. And when that happened, he was ashamed to bring it up because the oversight was such a silly mistake. But he eventually did and I’m glad he did. We thought everything was over when he cleared his debt but we hit a roadblock when we wanted to get a renovation loan. His credit score hit the ground and he couldn’t get a loan from the bank. Had we not talked about what happened before, I would be flipping mad when I learnt about his credit score during the loan application. But I don’t blame him at all.

 

Since both episodes, we would check on each other’s finances frequently. We serve as each other’s reminder to never go back to where we were. When you are married, your money is not just your money anymore. I mean you still can spend on whatever you want, but having funds to finance the house and all living expenses is a team effort. Like I mentioned before, we are quite equal when it comes to bills. We are in the 21st century, there is no more “Man should pay more” kinda mentality because we women, can earn as much as men. It is really a personal choice.

2. Lifestyle habits

 

We fought a lot when we first moved in together. This is after 10 years of staying over at his place every weekend. We thought that moving in together would be easy since we already know each other’s habits. But nope. It is different when it’s your own place. It was difficult to bring up things that annoy me because he would have his reasons for doing so and it always end up with a fight. It doesn’t help that I pent up all the frustrations over a few occurrences and unleash them on him when it was the last straw. You can imagine the choice of words then. I have my own shortcomings too. So when I point out his “mistakes”, he would take the chance to point mine out too. It is never-ending. The key is to compromise (tahan) and cut each other some slack.

3. Retirement Plan

Retirement planning has never crossed my mind before we were married. 65/70 seem so far away and I never thought of whether I will have enough to see myself through till I die. I honestly thought it would be easy cos I still have my CPF funds ma right. But it was only until a few years ago where I learnt that my CPF is not going to provide me with the optimal sum to retire. I will definitely need to have savings to back it up. This topic became very relevant after we moved in together. John and I have very different retirement goals. He has a more lavish plan and after hearing what he had planned out for himself, I felt left behind. And no way he can save for the both of us unless he strikes gold in the next few years. If we have a kid in the next few years, that is going to set him back a little in his retirement plan. So one day, he sat me down and unravelled the cold hard truth. He started detailing down how much we would each need to lead the same lifestyle when we retire, we need to step up in our savings and retirement. I felt that it was not an easy topic for him to talk about because I was already late in the savings game and he didn’t want to put more pressure on me. But I had my eyes on the prize since then. I consciously tell myself that if I want to retire with John, I need to save and start investing in stocks and crypto so that I can catch up on what’s lost in my early days. He painted a very realistic picture of our future to me if I don’t manage my money well now. And that got me.

I am not sure if any of you can resonate with the above but knowing that you can talk about everything and anything to your partner is a strong bond. Have a good week ahead guys! 🙂

Pat

 

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