If you want a happy relationship, it’s obvious that you’ve got to talk about sex, which can be pretty tough. But new data shows talking about money in a relationship might be even harder. The LearnVest Money Habits & Confessions survey, released in December 2016, shines a light on exactly how much taboo can surround money matters for some couples. Luckily, even though money can be a fraught topic, it doesn’t have to wreck your relationship. Better yet, it can actually make your bond stronger.
Some of the most fascinating revelations from the survey, which polled 1,000 people, include that 68 percent of Americans say money leads to more tension in their relationships than sex does. That actually makes a lot of sense, according to Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest. “A talk about money is rarely just a talk about dollars and cents, it’s a more intimate reveal of beliefs and values, expressed through how you spend,”. The survey includes other surprising tidbits, like that 32 percent of poll respondents don’t know their partner’s salary, and 58 percent would rather roll solo than stay with someone who couldn’t be responsible with their finances.
As important as money is in a relationship, it’s often easy to avoid the topic. But that can do so much more harm than good. “Money is tied to our most basic sense of security, and any breach of financial trust can permanently damage the relationship. Better to be honest and deal with a conflict than to maintain secrets,” von Tobel says. Neglecting these discussions might leave your relationship vulnerable to cracks. “Couples who can discuss the basics of financial goals, including planning for the future, retirement, and creating shared investments, usually feel tighter bonds and are less likely to split up over minor disagreements,” says Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., certified sex and relationship therapist, board-certified sexologist, and author of The New Monogamy.
That’s not to say you need to know every last detail of your partner’s finances. Here’s what you should find out, if you don’t know it already. When it comes to must-have intel, your partner’s current state of debt is way up there. “Some people are comfortable carrying debt like a credit card balance while others aren’t, so it’s important to make sure you are on the same page,” von Tobel says. You should also know whether they’re a spender or a saver, how they feel about their current income, and what their income-related goals are for the future. If you learn something that makes you nervous, don’t freak out. Sure, some financial habits are red flags, but you can work on them together if you’re in it for the long haul. “The goal isn’t to decide who’s ultimately right, just to get on the same page so you’re not fighting every time you write a check,” von Tobel says.
If your partner has committed any “financial infidelity” in your relationship, knowing about it is much better than the alternative. It’s one thing if your partner tells you a white lie about an expensive purchase then eventually fesses up, von Tobel says. But if you notice they have a habit of routinely hiding money-related information from you and they aren’t committed to changing, it’s time for a serious discussion about your future together.
So, here’s how to actually have the Money Talk in a relationship. Set the scene. That means choosing a time when you’re both well-rested, in good moods, not dealing with distractions, and both of you know the conversation is about to happen. “It seems that no one really feels good about money, but be sure to check any negativity at the door so you can both stay focused on making progress,” von Tobel says. She also recommends having a game plan in mind, “Whatever your goals, come ready with the information you’ll need to make decisions together.” Before you dive into the nitty-gritty, it can help to start with some positive reinforcement. Nelson suggests bringing up something you appreciate about your partner’s way of handling finances. “People respond positively to appreciation, and they will withdraw if they feel criticized,” she says. And if there’s an area they excel in where you could use some help, ask them for it. Maybe you can set up a system where you’re each using your financial strengths to compensate for each other’s weaknesses, which can only help fortify your bond.
If you’re having a money conversation because you’re upset with how your partner is handling their cash, work on new budget parameters both of you can follow, and offer ideas for how you can improve your own spending and saving. When discussing specific spending behaviors you’re not a fan of, try to use “I” statements, such as, “I feel anxious about how little of a dent we’ve made on our mortgage, and I think there are ways we can contribute more each month.” That kind of language is less likely to make people feel defensive, so your partner is more likely to listen to your actual concerns than put their guard up.
Throughout it all, be honest with your partner. If talking about money is hard for you, say so. If you think you need weekly or monthly meetings to stay the course, bring that up. If you think your problems are worth looping in a couple’s therapist, that’s fine, too, but express it. Even though it might feel awkward sometimes, remember that having these discussions will make you two so much stronger in the long run.
Best Charities To Donate to To Help Animals
A lot of people want to donate to charities that help take animals away from situations that hurt them. If you’re not sure which charity to donate to, Animal Charity Evaluators has your back.
ACE is a California-based nonprofit company that releases annual lists of top recommended animal charity foundations, and they offered assistance by funding some of Future Perfect’s work for 2020.
Most of the charities featured in the list are focused on strategies that can get around factory farming by enforcing the transition to plant-based diets, or at the very least, by improving the conditions in factory farms.
Focusing on factory farms makes the most sense because this is usually the site of suffering on a large scale. Unfortunately, death is not the only unpleasant process that happens on these farms, but a lot of the animals suffer a lot before they are killed.
In these farms you’ll notice that pigs, calves, and hens are put into extremely small spaces where they have little to no wiggle room, and that the things they undergo are so horrific that there are ag-gag laws which are used to hide the details of the cruelty from the masses.
ACE looks and promotes the most effective way to help animals, and have three main criteria when it comes to choosing and recommending certain organizations:
- Charities must be able to produce greatest gains for animals
- Charities should evaluate and improve their programs actively
- Charities must present a demonstrated need for funding
With these three evaluating criteria in mind, ACE chose these organizations that you can donate to.
Wild Animal Initiative
This is a new entry compared to the other charities listed, and the goal of this charity is to research and advocate ways to assist free-range animals.
The Humane League
This charity runs campaigns that urge corporations to adhere to higher animal welfare rules, and also promotes grassroots legislative advocates.
The Good Food Institute
This charity focuses on the development of plant-based substitutes to meat, eggs, and dairy. They believe that developing plant-based options is an effective way to weaken animal agriculture.
Albert Schweitzer Foundation
This charity group has outreached corporations to promote the use of humanely raised products and they also offer legal services. They are also one of the first animal charity groups that prioritized corporate outreach for farmed fish.
If you are looking for the best animal charity group to donate to, you should check out ACE’s list so that you can look into the different charities and their advocacies and determine whether your values align with theirs.
Being able to donate to charities that help prevent animal suffering, and while it may not be you going to these farms to stop the horrors, supporting charities is an easy way to help.
4 Things That People with Multiple Partners Want You to Know
Polyamorous relationships are not everyone’s cup of tea. However, there are some couples who find it better to have a so-called third wheel. Others discover that having multiple partners work best for them.
Polyamory is not a popular lifestyle choice. Most people opt to enter monogamous relationships, preferring to have one partner at a time. In fact, individuals who opt to have multiple partners are usually frowned upon. To better understand why some people adopt—and perpetuate—polyamory, we collated several reasons:
They’re not the jealous type.
Dr Elisabeth Sheff, author of the book entitled “Polyamorists Next Door” asserts that people with multiple partners do not easily get jealous. Additionally, polyamorists assert that opting to be in a polyamorous relationship even helps overcome that natural predilection. They mention that being in a relationship with multiple partners allows you to ease too much focus on a single partner and distribute your affection to accommodate all the other partners you have.
The relationship isn’t purely about sex.
Sheff claims that people with multiple partners do not merely opt for the said lifestyle due to their need for physical intimacy. However, it is still one of the major reasons. Sheff shares that polyamory also works for her and her wife, especially since she travels a lot and they rarely have time for their relationship.
“We have a lot of flexibility, but we don’t tend to act on it very much. Me because I don’t have a very high sex drive, and her because she’s been working like a fiend. She’s very serious about her career, and spends zero time trying to date. It’s only happened the once, where she met someone she really connected with,” she explains.
For some, having multiple partners helps provide the intimacy that may sometimes be lacking in a purely monogamous arrangement, as well.
People fall into this lifestyle.
Sometimes, couples choose to try the lifestyle and find out that it makes their relationship better. “We learned a lot about how poly worked…and soon it was quite a normal thing in our social circle,” mentions Alex who also practices polyamory together with his wife. He narrates that, at first, he and his wife were reluctant to adopt the lifestyle. “It did make us more relaxed about other things, we became more comfortable telling each other when we found someone else attractive or had fun flirting with someone or whatever,” he explains.
It requires constant and open communication.
To maintain the beneficial effects of having multiple partners, Alex and his wife adopted the necessity of having constant and open communication. He says that they make it a point to prioritize their relationship even as they practice polyamory. He shares that it isn’t always easy. “…we found we were able to work things out for ourselves through lots of honesty and conversation and being loving and considerate in a way that has also made our relationship much deeper and stronger,” Alex explains.
Study Says Lockdown Helped Make More People Happy
According to the Bennet Institute for Public Policy in Cambridge University, about half of the people who previously reported feelings of happiness decreased in the 3 weeks right after the lockdown. Data from various platforms mention that only about 51% of Britons declared feelings of joy before the report of the first COVID-19 death in the UK and only 25% were feeling happy after the declaration of lockdown on 23 March.
When the lockdown eased a bit, however, numbers started improving as around 47% started saying that they were happy by the end of May.
The same research also mentions that there is a relative difference between the rich and the poor in terms of happiness levels in relation to the lockdown. Those who were well-off in life mention the dwindling levels of joy while the poorest sector asserts a rise in hopefulness and satisfaction.
Dr Robert Foa of YouGov-Cambridge Centre for Public Opinion Research and Cambridge’s Department of Politics and International Studies mentions, “It was the pandemic, not the lockdown, that depressed people’s wellbeing. Mental health concerns are often cited as a reason to avoid lockdown.”
“In fact, when combined with employment and income support, lockdown may be the single most effective action a government can take during a pandemic to maintain psychological welfare,” Foa adds.
In many parts of the world, there is a huge outcry for aid especially because the widespread declaration of lockdowns caused many people to lose their jobs. Many people were also cut off from their loved ones due to the social distancing requirement that is still in effect today. People who were used to freely mingling and going out daily were suddenly left with nothing to do and no one to be with. The sudden need to stay indoors greatly affected the different aspects of living, causing huge impacts on both physical and mental well-being.
With the news of various attempts to discover an effective vaccine for the coronavirus and the increasing improvement in contract tracing and testing, many people are feeling hopeful once again. The need to go back to various jobs and reconnect with loved ones allow more people to regain the positivity that was lost during the height of the pandemic.
The sudden onset of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis heavily affected the whole world. Various countries around the world were forced to enact hard lockdowns and require social distancing protocols to stop the rapid spread of the deadly virus. The general feelings of happiness decreased during the onset of the pandemic as the report of the first UK death made people realize the seriousness of the issue at hand. With the attempts to discover a vaccine for the disease, however, and the gradual easing of lockdown in the country, more and more Britons are now claiming feelings of hopefulness and joy. Around the world, the clamor for a definite covid-19 cure is heard.
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