Uncensored Money Season Four: Misaligned Goals in Relationships

Melissa Browne: Ex-Accountant, Ex-Financial Advisor, Ex-Working Till I Drop, Now Serial Entrepreneur & Author, Financial Wellness Advocate, Living a Life by Design | 13/6/2023


Show Notes

In this episode, Mel and Lawsie discuss relationships and what happens if your goals, risk profile or stage of life are different or misaligned.

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Mel: Today I wanna talk about goals and misalignment in relationships, and that's because too often all we see on social media are the relationship we want others to see. We don't see the conflict and what happens behind closed doors. And on Insta, I shared last week how my husband is overseas for three months of the year, so two different stints of six weeks, and this has been going on for a few years and there's no end in sight.

I shared how this is not where I saw us at this stage in life, but how it's something he really wants to do. I really wanna support him. And I absofreakinglutely hate it. If I could wave a magic wand, there is no way I would choose this for us. Yet I also want him to do what he loves and it's something that I am wrestling with at the moment.

But what I know is that those two things can will kind of, or some days anyway, live in alignment. So today I wanna talk about relationships and what happens if your goals or risk profiles or stages in life are misaligned. I'm answering your questions and sharing some tips and maybe hopefully getting a few tips of my own Lawsie.

Now we've grouped the questions into six sections. Lawsie's gonna read each section and the questions out, and then we'll tackle them. So Lawsie, let's start with the first group of questions.

Lawsie: All righty.

Mel: And they are all about where one loves goals and one doesn't.

Lawsie: Yep. So that is for this first section, and the very first question in that is, what if you have goals, but your partner doesn't set their own?

Mel: Yep. So keep going. I reckon we share them all and then we attack them all at once.

Lawsie: And then the next one was, my husband is content with where we are, rather than work towards better. And how to manage no goals from my partner. Just floating along aimlessly. It always sounds nice, isn't floating along aimlessly.

Mel: I think this is probably an easy one for you and I to chat about because we would relate to this one in some way. Tony is absolutely not goals driven. And if I left him to it, he wouldn't have goals. I think Adam's probably very similar

Lawsie: Yeah, definitely. Oh, probably a little. He will lean into goals, slightly more than Tony, but would do it in a very different way to how I would do it, which is where I would struggle with it. Cause as you know, I like me a system and a process and my husband is not, being the free spirit that he is.

Mel: You and I both are with partners that aren't, that don't lean heavily into goal setting. And we are. So this is something that we are aware of. And I think how you manage that is, for me, it was through trial and error, if I'm completely honest, because I would say the first, definitely the first few years of us being together, we definitely didn't have alignment. Like we both knew we wanted to own our own home, so there was goal alignment there. But other than that, they were really different. And I think what we did is we kind of stumbled along, not necessarily well, until we found a process that really worked for us, and I'm a real great believer with a lot of this in finding systems and processes that work for you.

And you know what? It's not romantic and it's not sexy, but if it means that you can remove the conflict and that you both feel like you're at least seen and heard in it, then perfect. And I think this is as well where both of you, it's being able to communicate to your partner that, I get that goals aren't important to you, but they're really important to me. It's how I'm motivated. It's how you know to explain where you're at and then to ask them the question. I get that goals aren't motivating at all to you. Can we talk about why that is? So it comes from curiosity rather than judgment. And then to ask the question, well, how could we do goals in such a way that you don't feel punished because you hate them?

Or maybe the reason your partner doesn't love goals is cause they don't wanna be set up for failure. Maybe there are things going on underneath it that you just aren't aware of. Or maybe they're just like peace, love, and hippie and they just wanna go with the flow and you are that anal type A personality. And they're like, no. hell no. So it's you understanding each other and figuring out, okay, how could we do goals in a way there's compromise. It may not ever be quite like you want them, but also it may never be the free love that you want. But we both at least feel like we've been heard in it.

And I've talked about the goals process Tony and I used that works really well for us, which is the Best Year Yet. We sit down on the 1st of January every year to say what would it look like if this was our best year yet? And we look at everything from holidays to how we're gonna work, to dates, to finances, like all of it. And then we work out where would we wanna be in 12 months time. And then what do we both have to do over the next quarter so that we are moving this along? Tony tends to go really hard early for that best year yet, I tend to kind of eek it out as we go, but at least it's better than I think resentment builds where one person sits there going, but I wanna do this. And the other person goes, well, I didn't know that.

Lawsie: Yeah.

Mel: So for me, by sitting down and having that best year yet, you both agreeing that these are things we wanna work towards. And it gives you also the opportunity that if you wanna do more than that, then great. It just might be that you do that personally, but at least you've got that bar that you've set that this is what we've both said we are gonna do.

Lawsie: Definitely. We don't do best here yet cause I can feel Adam's eyes rolling at the thought of it. And I know that he loves to laugh about that whole system, but it is, for us, it is still having those bigger conversations around. And often it's me that's because I'm the one that's going, I wanna do this, I wanna do this, and I wanna do this. It's me coming to those conversations with, well this is the different things that I'm thinking of and what do you think of this? And what excites you and whatever. And a lot of it, he just literally floated along.

And then if we can find those key things that you're like, yes, actually wanna have this achieved, this is super important to us or this is where we align and whatever, then it is easier to be able for me then I'm like, great, it almost gives me permission in a sense to then go to my happy place and map everything out how I wanna see it.

Mel: Yep.

Lawsie: He never has to see that. He doesn't need to know what I'm tracking every month for our finances and everything else. Cause one, you don't care and I actually don't need your input. As long as I know that it's still going towards....

Mel: What we both we're said we wanted.

Lawsie: yeah, then I am, super happy. I'm like, Ooh, numbers and spreadsheets. How exciting. Like I can be getting in and I can be doing those things and I can be keeping on top of stuff. And again, I can just keep him informed with casual conversations. Whereas if I was gonna get him to sit down and to look at stuff, World War, I don't know, not even three, like 1,000,776 would break out. It just wouldn't work for us at all.

So I think it is just around that. It's like you said, it's trial and error a little bit, and I think you can at least be having those conversations. And one of you invariably is gonna prefer to be doing this more than the other and just let that person be happy and don't try and drag the other in more than they need to if you're still ultimately being able to achieve the things that you want.

Mel: Yeah, I love that

Lawsie: Even with different approaches.

Mel: And I hope that you've heard that Lawsie and I have both very different things that work for us in our relationships. Neither is right, neither is wrong. It's just figuring out what's worked for us. But we're all having that conversation.

Lawsie: Yeah.

Mel: And maybe to tackle it to start, you have that where you go for coffee and you say, look, I understand that goal setting isn't high on your agenda. I just wanna take a moment to explain why it's important to me, cause maybe if you understand why it's important to me, then it might be something you're more willing to engage in. And then once you've explained why it's important to you and that means you need to think about why. Is it safety? Is it security? Is it because that's where that's how you can get motivated to work towards things to say, so what could it look like for you? Because I need something. And I think any partner that said, no, I screw you. I know you said it's important, but tough $hit. That's not cool. So then the conversation then comes around I've just explained it's important and you still won't do it. And I'm curious as to why that is. Because there's a measure of control by one partner saying, I won't enter into that after you've said, this is really important to me. And I don't know that that behaviour's healthy. So I would like to think that your partner might never do it in the way that you would do it. And they may never come skipping to the process going, oh, goals, I can't wait. Mine doesn't. For him, it's that reluctant first of January. All right, come on, let's get this over with. And you know what, I'll take it.

Lawsie: Yeah. Yes. Oh, definitely. And I think it's been conscious too, around not putting your own ideas and ideals of how it should be done onto people as well. Like if I was to take it away even from finance and look at how I would train if I was training for a big run or a big ride, it is very structured and I don't like to miss a session. Whereas when Adam was training for his bike ride, he's like, oh yeah, this is the bike ride I'm going for. And I'd be like, oh, you haven't been on the bike for two weeks. I'm feeling stressed for him. He doesn't care. Somewhere it'll be right, but then I can feel it cause I'm there going, but you're not doing it because you're not doing it the way that I think you should do it. Because I'm love structure and process and a system. And whereas for him it's fine. So it is learning that too. Set him free. Let him float along and do however he wants. And I'm the one that has to keep myself in check, to be honest around okay. That's okay. If he hasn't been on the bike for two weeks or three weeks. Well that's great. Let him be him. So I think it has just been mindful too that particularly when you've got someone that loves the goal setting verse someone that doesn't as well then just being mindful of what you are doing and how you are projecting that onto your partner as well.

Mel: Yeah, no, I love that. I reckon that's really good. Yeah.

Lawsie: So our next section.

Mel: Yes.

Lawsie: Different goals. So some questions and stuff that came up under this was someone that wanted to move to Paris for a year. I'm like, Ooh, sounds lovely. When one partner lives life in the present only and the other likes to plan ahead. I have no idea who wrote that question. When you are a homebody, but your partner wants a digital nomad lifestyle and advice if your goals are out of alignment.

Mel: So I think these are where they are genuinely different goals. One is moving to Paris, and one is like, hell no. One present, only planning ahead, homebody, digital, like these are really different goals. And I have to say, I get this, so I'm probably living in this at the moment. So I think I'll be the one I'll chat to this first.

So I think that it's really important to talk and understand, what's behind it? So if it's, I wanna move for Paris for a year, can you talk to me about why that is? If it's something I've always wanted to do. Okay. If it's you and that's not in your interest at all, then I think the question is, a, could you do it separately? Or could you do it for a shorter period of time? Could you test it first? Could you go for a month and see how it is? And that way you're giving something in to say, all right, I'm happy to trial this. Or maybe there's something to compromise around. Okay I'll consider that if you'll then consider this I'll consider doing Paris for you if you'll consider this, but also sometimes it's just not it just doesn't work because you can't compromise some things.

And I think for me, I think it's really important to ask. Think about are these questions negotiable or non-negotiable? Because for example, Tony and I decided we didn't want kids. And we've both said if the other person really wanted it, we would've looked at, okay, what does this mean for us? Because if this relationship's important, how could we have done that? But for something else, it might be no. Hell no. I can't do that. And I think it's really important to understand where you sit with that. Because if you are genuinely a homebody and your partner wants to go and live travelling around the world for three years, you might go that's just a non-negotiable for me. I couldn't do it. If Tony said to me tomorrow I wanna travel around Australia for a year and live in tent. It's a non-negotiable. I'm not doing it. I don't care how badly they wanna do it, it's just not gonna work. And I think that's where it's figuring out how can we both get what we want in a way that neither of us entirely wins, that neither of us entirely loses.

And maybe something like, I wanna move for Paris for a year is, do you know what? We can't make that work. But how about we swap and we do it for three months? Cause that's the most I could ever imagine doing. Or maybe that homebody and digital nomad lifestyle could be a year of that. The compromise might be, I know it's important to you, but I'll do that for 12 months.

But I think there is that sitting down and you have to have those tough conversations because if you don't, then I think it becomes these unresolved tensions and they're the things that will blow up. Because if you feel like you are consistently compromising and your partner's not, then they're the sort of things that will, I think, blow up in your face later on. So I think it's figuring out, and I firmly believe in life, in relationships, one person will lose and one person will win. So I would argue at the moment my husband is winning and I'm losing. He's absolutely getting to go and leave the life that he wants. And I'm losing cause I hate it and I don't want him to do it, but I also want him to do what makes him happy. So I'm losing, but my expectation is that's not gonna happen forever. And we're now in negotiation to say, when you are back, how can I win? And you actually might feel like you are losing during that time.

So I think that both partners really need to look at what are we both giving up. Because if one person is consistently the one that's having to compromise, ultimately I think it will lead to resentment. And I think maybe it's doing some values work around, this is what I value. If you understand your strengths, or even if you do some of those tests around, what are your core values?

One of my core values is creativity and learning. If you remove those things from me, I'm gonna really struggle. Your core value might be travel, in which case I think it's really important to chat to your partner if they're not at all to say, okay, well how can this look? How can this look for us? Maybe it's travel in Australia, maybe it's they go and do it. But I definitely think you gotta be prepared to have those hard conversations and figure out what's negotiable and what's not negotiable? How can we both win? How can we both compromise? If one partner wants to live life in the present only and the other likes to plan ahead, the question for me would be, how can we still enjoy now and look after our future selves so that we have choice?

So it might be that you look at it and go, you know what? That means going out for a bougie ad night out every single month, so that I really feel like I'm still enjoying today. Or maybe it's a weekend away every quarter, whatever that looks like for you. And then putting a dollar figure around it and really being clear around it because I think it was Ramit who is a finance person that said, it's about sometimes being relentlessly frugal with some things and being lavish with other things. But if you don't, if you've got misalignment around what you think those two things should be, that's where it's gonna fall apart.

So I think when you've got different goals, you've gotta not be scared to communicate and say, this is what I need. You've gotta acknowledge that there can be winners and losers in this. So how can you make sure that one person's not consistently losing? How can you both feel safe and seen and heard? And how can you make sure that you understand what is negotiable and non-negotiable? And then what? Having that big values questions and I think as well, if they are so different, I think it's also going and talking to someone, because I think sometimes you need a mediator in a relationship and just someone that can say, look, they're saying this. How about this? And for someone else to find a solution for you that perhaps you didn't see before. And that might be a counsellor, could be a relationship therapist, or it could be a financial advisor. Someone who can say, this is how you could both win. Like I can help you map out a path for that. But ignoring this or pressing pause because it's too big and you don't wanna acknowledge it, I think really hurts relationship.

Lawsie: Yeah.

Mel: And I know with you and Adam, Adam doesn't value travel but you really do. That's a rule. Something that's important for you. And recently it's meant you travelling without him. And I think that's important to mention is I've got another couple friend where one of them said, because the other one suggested that they do that and they said, oh, but no, that would mean that we are broken cause we should want to do that together. But the question is why, who said? Who made the rule that you have to do that? Relationships are about navigating what actually works for you and for you both. And if you are very different, then it's how can we see, how can we make sure both our needs are met and both of what we prioritise is met?

Lawsie: Yeah, it's a really interesting one. I think with a lot of this, it comes down to that communication piece. Travel has been, obviously for everyone during Covid was on hold, but even prior to that it was that our goals were more around building up financial security. So travel had to take a back burner because, news flash, you can't have everything contrary to what some people believe. So because of a result of the goals that we were working towards at the time, of course travel took the backseat and now with things that have changed, we are like, actually, this is something that is super important to me. And if someone doesn't necessarily love it, let's be practical. Why have all the expense of doing all that if they don't wanna do it or if it doesn't fit between what you're doing, but it means that you can still get away and do that thing that lights you up, you are gonna come back a better person. Or lifestyle-wise, it wasn't the right situation for you both to go. Whatever it is, it's still gonna feel more comfortable because that was a decision that was made jointly. And then I think it is being that really mindful thing when you do get back, it's not like, oh, you know, I've just had the best time. And you then making time for that person when you're back, in the same way that you are saying with Tony being away for these big stints, it's like, he's winning. You feel like you're losing. And then the reverse of that for when he is back, it's like, well game on buddy. You are the one that needs to be doing this now. And he might feel like he's losing and you are gonna feel more like you're winning. But it is that balancing out of that. But I think, yeah, I'm sure my parents are horrified or my mum's horrified that I go off by myself. Cause I think there is that notion of, oh, once you are married that you...

Mel: Yeah, you do everything

Lawsie: ...are joined at the hip. And for us, I'm like, no. We have not done that our entire marriage anyway. But it doesn't make sense. But also, let's say I wanna go to Peru and my husband's like, oh no, there is no way I wanna go there. Then I'm also gonna feel like I'm losing if he comes with me because you'd be dragging someone around that doesn't wanna be there. Like I want that energy and that excitement of someone that's like, yes, oh my God, this is an adventure. We're gonna absolutely encounter crazy things and it will be an adventure in the true sense of the word, but if you don't have someone that's supporting that and they're only gonna be seeing the negative, that's not the kind of joint energy you want on your holiday anyway. So I think that's where it is super important to be able to know that you can still be married or together and do different things at different times, and that's okay, but it still comes down to that communication around what do you value most? What does your partner value most? And how can you find the balance between there? Or at least some more some form of balance. Balance might be too perfect, but...

Mel: yeah. But how can you make sure you both win? You may both lose during times, but how could you also both win? Like where's the compromise in it? I think that's really important and that's certainly something that we're really working on at the moment, is how can we both win, and knowing that we'll also, potentially I will lose more?

Lawsie: Yeah.

Mel: which I don't love. But also how can I also win? Which won't happen when he's away. But when you're back, how can that be reversed?

Lawsie: Yeah.

Mel: The next one is different stages. So this is a slightly different version of the different goals, but I think it's also really important cause this happens a lot.

Lawsie: Yeah, so the things that came up for this category were financial goal planning when your partner is much older than you. And then another was that, their partner's business is five to 10 years further along than theirs, and tough timing with small kids.

Mel: And again, I think this is the common theme that we are gonna see in this is communication because if your partner is much older than you, their expectation might be, I wanna slow down, I wanna start to travel, I'm in this different season of life. Whereas you might be going, I'm still wanting all these things and I wanna experience these things and maybe my career's just taking off. So it's communication to say, you may not want me to be as busy as I am but maybe instead of four weeks annual leave, I could do eight weeks. Or maybe it's how can we compromise in this? And the same with your partner's business, five to 10 years further along than mind.  That might just be a season where it is you both are just unavailable and time poor. And I think with that it's acknowledging it and going, you know what, we've got young kids. We're both running businesses. This is a lot. But every month, let's make it super unsexy the second Friday night in every single month we're gonna hire a babysitter. Maybe we're even gonna book a hotel somewhere, and we're gonna reconnect and we're just gonna make sure that we are still dating in amongst all of this craziness. Or maybe it's every Monday morning, you send the kids to school or you send them to childcare and then you both go and have coffee before the week and you just reconnect. And it's just that small things. I think it's really important when you're at different stages, I think the communication, the reconnection, but also just the expectations. Because again, and I'm gonna insert my experience in here. I thought this cause I sold my business a few years ago and the stage I thought we were entering, cause my husband's a little bit older. I thought we were entering a stage where we were slowing down and one of the things we'd said pre Covid is we were gonna live overseas for a few months every year. So just really that different stage of let's trial different things and let's slow it. And obviously that's not happening now. And I think potentially what you also have to do is even have a little bit of grief with that to go, okay, so that's not that thing that I really wanted is not gonna happen yet.

But what could happen now, and for me personally, it's been all right. I don't wanna be twiddling my thumbs when he's away. That is so not me. So you and I sat down and went, okay even though I thought I'd be slowing down, I actually am gonna ramp it up. And I'm going to do this legacy play and I wanna give more shitload of money back. And it's really about what's possible for this business? So it's been quite a reversal that I probably wouldn't have chosen if Tony had made other decisions. But also I think just say he turned around in a year's time and said, so I've decided to stop doing it now. I'm not gonna stop that train that I would've said in motion just because he's gone, oh, okay. I'm good now. And I think that's where we love our partners, but they can't be the be-all and end-all. So if you are looking at these different stages, even if you're on different paths, it's how can you both do stuff that's super fulfilling, even if it's not where you're both at.

And I think, again, it's that values piece. It's what's negotiable and what's not negotiable. It's compromise. It's maybe one winning and one losing. It's not it's the same as the different goals. It might not be what you had initially chosen but maybe this is seasonal and kind of being okay with that.

Lawsie: I agree. I think it's very much the same kind of thing. What you're needing to negotiate and communicate and stuff just like we've got in the other ones. Cause whether your partner's older than you or you are gonna be in different ages and stages at different times and going through different stuff, like you could be exactly the same age. And what about if one of you has aging parents that you're looking after and then that's not the case for your partner. You're always gonna be encountering those different stages.

Mel: Different seasons or different life stages.

Lawsie: Yeah. And I think there has to be that flexibility and compassion and understanding in all of that. And the flexibility to be like, yep, this is what we had said we wanted, but now this curve ball's been thrown in, or this opportunity's been given to us or to one of us, or this thing's happened, or complete life change. And suddenly you go, actually no, this is the thing I really wanna be doing. It's not gonna be this static thing. So I think there always needs to be that movement and flexibility with it all, regardless of what the scenarios are.

Mel: No, I love that. So the different next one's a bit of a different one, but it is still one where we are different, and that's different risk profiles. So this is a big one.

Lawsie: Yeah. So the things that were raised under here were tips to balance say my larger appetite for investment risk compared to my partner's non-existent appetite for risk, and then also how to cope when a partner is so rigid with spending that life stops and becomes suffocating. Which is, yeah, interesting one.

Mel: And these are really important because if I'm a super conservative risk profile and my partner is super high risk risk profile, then the one that's super conservative, your high risk profiles, they're gonna make you feel unsafe.

Lawsie: Just, and this is for investing.

Mel: This is for investing. Yep.

And then for the high risk one, the conservative one is gonna feel like they are just an weight on your ankles holding you down. So for me, with those two, it's how can you both be safe? And I think it would be sitting down and I think you would really need to understand each other's risk profiles. We've got them inside the course, the My Financial Adulting Plan. So we actually look at timeframes and risk profiles at all, that sort of stuff. And it's where you can have these conversations. So make sure you join the wait list for that.

But to actually complete that and sit there with each other and go, right, this is what it means. Cause it's not an arbitrary thing. Risk profiles are a real thing. So sit down and go, well this is how I would naturally invest and this is how I naturally invest. So then it's how can we both feel safe and seen? And I think that's where we start with goals. It's, okay, what goals are important to us? And once we say what they are, then it's working back from that. And what it might be is for the conservative partner to say, let's just say for them it's all bricks and mortar. They might say, I need to have that with my home and maybe another investment because that's how I feel safe. I can touch it and feel that it's tangible. The other one might go, kill me now, but all right. I'll give you the home. But can you see that we couldn't do a home and investment property? So if you do the home, could we do shares? And it might be that instead of them going into their specky shares that they would prefer to do, the compromise is 90% of the shares are in quite conservative ETFs, for example. And then the other 10%, the high risk partner gets to play and go crazy. Or maybe it's with the wealth creation investments, they're all quite conservative, but in your business you go nuts. Be as risky as you want without betting the house.  So the house will never be used as security. So it's sitting down and figuring out one, what does your risk profiles mean? So don't actually guess. Do the exercise, complete the thing profiles, sit down together and look at what it means, and then start to map out where do we wanna head and how can we both feel safe and seen?

Lawsie: I think the other thing with that too is you don't have to be all in together as well. There's always that piece around, do you want the security to be able to have some own investments in your own name as well as whatever you're doing with your partner?

But also if you are at opposite ends of the spectrum, it might be like doing exactly what you said where you find that common ground for a fair chunk of your investing. But then ultimately you might also have your own investments where your partner, if they're super conservative, can go and put it into bonds and whatever else they like, and you can go and put it in the most obscure, potentially high risky investment that you can find. And then that way you both have still got this combined pot where you're going, it's not as risky as what you'd like, but it's a bit risky than what your partner would like. But it balances out. And then ultimately you're really balancing each other out by you lifting up the risk investment cause you're going, this is what I'm prepared to play with and have a crack at. And then your partner's still feeling comfortable going it doesn't matter what happens with everything else. I've still got my super conservative little nest egg that is for me to do, X, Y, z with.

Mel: Yeah, I completely agree. And how you cope with rigidity versus non rigidity, I think again, it's communication, so it's having that chat with your partner around. So they might just say, I work really hard, so  I don't wanna waste it. Okay. Explain to me what wasteful means. So again, I think this is having conversations about your money story and all that sort of thing so that you actually understand what the reason is behind the spending or lack thereof. Maybe it's your partner grew up in a household where that was what was modelled to them. Or maybe they just don't think it's right. Or maybe they're unintentionally doing the FIRE movement. The financial independence, retire early, but they haven't explained that. And maybe the compromise in this could be where you sit down. And once they've explained or it might be that I really wanna get to the goals earlier than that, then the question needs to be, so explain to me how much you need to have in order to feel safe or explain to me what goals we are trying to get to super fast in order for the spending to basically be non-existent.

Once you figure that out, it could be that you agree and the compromise part of it becomes I can do that for 12 months. What if we went so hard, we did nothing for 12 months, including house, sit, let's do everything. Let's rip everything out. But after that, then it has to reverse. And then this is what I would like for the following year. And maybe even it's a year on, year off. Who knows? Or maybe it's you might agree that you are relentlessly frugal on food and housing and something else, but you overspend on X, Y, Z. There's compromise still there. Or there's an agreement around an amount every single month that you will spend and you don't have to that you don't have to explain, which I think is super important regardless.

Lawsie: Yeah.

Mel: But there's, again, it's communication, it's compromise. It's figuring out what's the reasons behind it. But what I will say, if one partner imposes that restriction onto the other and says no, that's how it is, I won't hear it. That's power, that's control. And that's not okay. And that's where there has to be some compromise. There has to be some flexibility because one partner cannot and should not be dictating terms in the relationship. Either partner. So  it is about compromise. It is about being able to have the conversations and being able to say, all right, so could we do that for a while? And then maybe this, or how can we have a little bit of flexibility in it?

Lawsie: I think it's super important. When Adam and I were saving for our first house deposit. It was just, there was no spending and it is what it is. But, and even with that, you can do it for a season, you can do it for a period of time, but it then does become absolutely, like I relate that word of feeling suffocating. Like it starts to build into that negativity, which is where I think it's exactly what you said around having those conversations and understanding what it is that's driving it, the goals and stuff that are underlying that behaviour, if there are any. And then if it's not working for you, like even if you've agreed to it, even if you were like, yeah, we're going hardcore for 12 months, and if six months in you're going, I just need to be able to breathe and I just need a little bit more space and coming back and going, I know we said this, but this is how I'm feeling. This is what it's bringing up for me. Can we loosen something somewhere just so there's that little bit more flexibility, even if it means this has gotta go on for 15 months? Like again, you can hear that compromise around or can we loosen this and then lengthen that? There's gonna be that dance if that's what it's doing.

But yeah,  you gotta understand what's driving it and if it's for that common cause and that goal that you're both working towards, then amazing. And if not, and you're going, what the hell? I don't understand. Then you so need to understand because it's just gonna continue being that friction point otherwise.

Mel: Absolutely, and some of these are gonna be really tough conversations and it's being willing to have them. Because fights about money are the number one predictor of divorce. It's the number one thing we fight about it and we fight about it about twice a month.

And we don't want that resentment and that tension to be the thing that just undoes you as a couple. So it is having the conversations and being willing that if you need to go and do it in front of a professional, whether that's a therapist or a financial advisor, that's okay. Because they're experts in having those conversations. And it might be that you only ever need one of those and then you're good to go. But it's just figuring out this new language and what's okay and what's not okay.

The final question. It's a big one.

Lawsie: It is a big one.

Mel: We're gonna finish on a small note.

Lawsie: Yeah. Yeah. Let's really dive into things here. How do you compromise without feeling resentment?

Mel: And this is a big one. And I have to say, that's really where I'm sitting at the moment. And I think it's really hard not to want to just bathe in it and to have that

Lawsie: Bathe in it?

Mel: But yeah, but to also just to sit there and go, but you don't understand how hard it is. Like you don't understand.

So I get it. I get the resentment and what I would say to that is, I think the only way you can compromise without feeling the resentment is a few ways. One, your partner needs to acknowledge that their partner has given in or has lost or has compromised, and then they need to compromise and lose as well, because I think that if one person is consistently compromising and are the only one compromising, and if that's not acknowledged, then the natural consequence of that is resentment.

Having said that personally for me, I know sometimes a resentment actually has only got a bit to do with what's going on in the moment, but also could be to do with family stuff that's got nothing to do with this or it's just bringing other stuff up for me that actually has got little to do with this.

So for me personally I'm talking to someone at the moment to help with that cause I think that's really important. I think sometimes it's okay during different seasons to have those chats with therapists and with counsellors, etc to really help you with that cause that's healthy.

But I also think it's about making sure that you are not the only one compromising. So I've talked a bit today about how we have different goals and different stages and Tony, when he's back, has absolutely agreed to compromise and quite big compromises, which makes me feel really good about it. It feels really good and I feel seen because I go great, you've heard me and you are going to be in a little bit of pain as well, as awful as that sounds, I think if you are the one that has felt pain, you kind of want your partner to be at least dipping their toe in that well as well.

So I think you compromise without feeling the resentment by choosing not to bathe in it. If you know that it's come from sources other than just the fight or the misalignment, it's going and getting help for that. Because if the relationship's worth it, then you wanna go and figure out what's actually going on for you.

I think it's also making sure that you are not the one perpetually compromising. And then figuring out, okay, well how can we both move forward in this in a way that we are both comfortable with?

Lawsie: Yeah, I think that's super important. There has to be, that magic B word again, the balance word, but it's that dance between the winning and the losing. If you're the person that feels like you're always giving in and you're not seeing anything in return, like ultimately that's gonna build up into resentment and into whatever shape and form that it takes. So again, it's gotta come back down to that communication, and say, if you're doing this, then what's the balance and how can we almos, counterbalance that? So then you're both still feeling that you're both being able to do things and it's not someone that's just the bottom of the food chain all the time.

Mel: Definitely. And I think the final thing is just to be really aware that there is no normal in a relationship. There is this myth about what it should look like. Cause it shouldn't. Relationships should look like however you both want it to look like. But the tension with that is if you are trying to create something where one is older and one's not, or you do have different goals, then it's what will that actually look like for me? And you might not see anyone else around you that is doing that. I would love to have conversations with people that are where we are. And we are just not doing that. So it's realising that normal is a cycle on a washing machine. That whatever compromise you and your partner agree to if that's right for you both? If you both feel seen and seen and heard. If you both are compromising and if you both are communicating and it's working for you, then that's actually the right solution for you. But continuing to work and talk and realign because I don't think that alignment happens once. It's something that you have to perpetually get right.

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