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8 Ways Money Can Destroy Your Relationship

8 Ways Money Can Destroy Your Relationship

It can be very sensitive to open up to your significant other about your finances. It’s no secret that money is closely related to personal vulnerabilities and self-esteem. Money plays an important part in many aspects of day-to-day life, but it may be getting in the way of the things that really matter to you; love and relationships.

Ask yourself the following questions and be honest.  If your answer is yes, it’s time to reassess your relationship goals and talk with your partner.

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1. Does money come before your partner?

If you make money the top priority, then your relationship is going to take the backseat, no matter how you want to justify or make up for it.  What you focus on is what you are going to get. If you spend more time and energy on accumulating wealth and neglect your partner’s wants and needs, your relationship will suffer. Money is there for convenience to enjoy the benefits money ultimately brings… hopefully with your partner.  If your life revolves around money, you give money the power to control you and your relationship. Don’t be surprise to see how quickly it will tear you apart.

2. Did you choose your partner for money?

Money can be icing on the cake in a healthy relationships. It can help you pay for a nice vacation together or buy a house to start a family. However, if you decide to be with someone because he or she is financially well-off and able to provide you and your family, forget the true love or having a fulfilling relationship. Little by little, you will end up feeling empty inside and money won’t fill that void for you. No matter how corny it sounds, money can’t buy love. Millions of dollars just can’t make you feel butterflies in your stomach and a desire to commit to someone for life. You want someone to fall in love with you for who you are, not your wallet.

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3. Are you in competition with your partner over income?

Your partner is not your competitor. There is no need to claim who earns more money. If you are making more than your partner, but don’t recognize your partner’s hard work, he or she won’t feel appreciated and will become resentful. It doesn’t matter how small his or her contribution is, be supportive and work on the goal to improve each other’s well-being.

4. Are you upset that your partner keeps spending your money?

It’s best to come up with some spending or saving rules as early as possible in the relationship. Otherwise, you risk having a big argument and feeling resentful or angry, which can start a fight, and eventually harm your relationship. When you have different family histories or approaches to using money there can be problems. You tend to expect your partner to handle money by the way money was handled in your home growing up. Try to get an understanding of your partner’s financial upbringing to bridge the gap and come to the solution that serves both of you.

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5. Do you fight over money too often?

Have you argued with your partner about something minor or tedious and found it actually has something to do with money problems? If you find yourself lashing out at your partner over things that you truly aren’t angry about because you are harboring secret venom over money issues, deep down you have a money trouble in your relationship and it’s time to talk it out with your partner. Remember while you are having a heated discussion over money to see the bigger picture and what’s more important to you and your partner.

6. Do you keep secrets about your finances?

If you truly want to trust someone, and have them trust you, then you need to be open and transparent with them about most things, especially your finances.  It’s important to discuss where you are financially, particularly if you plan to move in together or eventually get married.  Not only will simply failing to tell your partner about your financial position potentially cause a lack of trust, but if you wait too long, you may later find out that you and your partner are on completely different paths as far as finances go. This can be devastating to the relationship because money issues can cause feelings of shame, fear and resentment which are sometimes hard to get past.

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7. Are you a selfish, money-grubbing, or materialist?

Money can cause greed within us. It is easy to get caught up in the money trap. You can’t do much or get anywhere without money today, and this causes us to be greedy. If you always want to have the best of the best, it starts to change the way you handle relationships and time with your significant other. You are willing to do anything to make more money and keep it to yourself even if it is something you have to sacrifice your relationship. Ironically if you sacrifice your relationship for merely building your wealth, you have a reasonable chance of losing both.

8. Are you the CEO, COO and CFO in your household?

Money decisions should be made together. When only one person takes control of the finances, this can enhance money stress in your relationship. And if you or your partner gets angry or upset when the other person tries to have a say in a discussion, this can come off as controlling.  This will surely backfire and damage a relationship at the speed of light.  So the best course is to develop a plan where you both stay on the same page in regards to what’s going on with the money and where you are headed financially, together.

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Kris Lee

Emotional health and communication writer

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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