My Sneaky Little Spending Vice Part 1: Love and Money
Ryan and I have been together for two and a half years. We started dating in October, 2014 and like all new relationships we went out on dates fairly frequently. There is a struggle with being in a new relationship and trying to manage your personal finances. The expectation is to go out to dinner and to the movies and to do all the things. I equate it to a bear coming out of hibernation. They spend half the year in a cave without spending any energy (money) and then when it gets warm and the other bears come out to play, they expend all the energy (money) they saved up over the other half of the year to mate and fall in love. If you were following that analogy, what I’m saying is that new relationships can be a huge drain on the savings account. For both men and women.
In all of my past relationships, I showed affection and love through material things. And therein lies the problem of my gift-giving spending vice. I have a need to be loved; like all of us. But I specifically used money to love and viewed money as a way to be loved. I would always give gifts of small and large values spontaneously (i.e. just because it was Tuesday). I thought that love was shown by how much money you spent on a person, and I spent a lot of money on people I didn’t love that much. Bringing this expectation into my relationship with Ryan, I would go above and beyond to bring little surprises over to his house. Most of the time it was his favorite candy or beer or a kitten (that’s for a different post). I wasn’t spending a lot of money on each purchase, but I was spending a lot of money overall. When it was time to meet the parents, I insisted (demanded) that I bring his mom a gift the first, second, and even third time I met her. Ryan would always say “you don’t have to bring a gift every time we go to my mom’s house”. This was an odd concept for me. I would think, how am I going to get your mom to like me if I don’t bring her flowers or chocolate or wine? This was, of course, a ridiculous thought since his family owns a small winery and they have wine by the case in their garage… I digress. However, I always thought this desire to give gifts was one of the more admirable qualities about me. As I have gotten older and with the help and support from Ryan, I have realized that I don’t need to give gifts to show love and to receive love in return.
Over the last two years I have gotten control of my excessive gift giving habit. I still give gifts for appropriate occasions like birthdays, Christmas and the occasional wedding, but I have cut back on my Tuesday surprise gifts. They haven’t disappeared completely because it honestly brings me joy to give, but I am smarter and more calculated about the surprises and I think that makes them more meaningful. Rethinking how I view love and being loved has helped me to curb my sneaky little spending vice.
If you have a similar story or are going through internal struggles, please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear about your experience!