Let’s talk about love. At the start, it’s flipping fabulous – full of future promise, thrilling possibilities and warm-fuzzy feels – much like the crisp, un-swiped potential of a spiffy new credit card. An odd comparison, thinks you? Not if you consider that both love and credit cards have the power to be forces of good or bad in your life. With the right management they’ll reward you with support, security and those things that your heart most desires. Left neglected, they’ll land you in broken-hearted (or debt-riddled) turmoil. The good news – if studies around love (science says it can last!) and many a well-worn Visa, Amex and Mastercard are anything to go by – is that both can endure, and contribute to lifetimes of happiness. How best to invest in a contented future? Treat your relationship as you do your credit card, like so:
In matters of love and money, it pays to do your research – and don’t let that heady happiness cloud the fine print. Know your partner through and through before you decide to spend a lot (say, a lifetime) of time and energy on them, check that they’re suited to your lifestyle and consider what this union will actually cost you, emotionally speaking. Can you afford it without overdrawing on your own reserves?
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Keep track of expenditures
Long-term love, according to the experts, is as simple as ensuring you have more gains than losses. John Gottman – of the Gottman Institute – has 40 years of relationship research behind him, and reckons he can say, with 90 per cent accuracy, which couples will go the distance. He says a stable union works to a ratio of 5:1 positive to negative experiences. So, if you’re having at least five good times to one not-so-good with your partner, it’s likely your relationship rating is strong.
Make frequent repayments
There’s an easy way to make sure your credit card stays in check, and that’s by setting up monthly direct debits, so why not do the same with your love life? According to a study by the UK’s Marriage Foundation, married couples who get out once a month are 14 per cent less likely to split, while several studies have shown that by being creative and trying new date locales, couples can get those early-day butterflies fluttering again.
Set a sensible limit
Having a credit card doesn’t give you endless money and, as far as relationship coach Jordan Gray is concerned, expecting the world from your bae is also just as unreasonable. “No one human will ever be able to fulfill all of your needs for you. Ever,” he stresses. “Whatever value your partner brings to your life, if they’re able to meet 50 per cent of your needs on a semi-consistent basis, you’ve already hit the jackpot.” So set limits on how much you ask of your significant other – emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and otherwise.
Similarly, a relationship doesn’t work unless you’ve got a strong supply of self-love from both parties keeping it afloat.
Don’t entirely depend on it
What good is a credit card if there’s not a steady stream of cash coming in to keep it topped up? Similarly, a relationship doesn’t work unless you’ve got a strong supply of self-love from both parties keeping it afloat. At a push, you should be able to survive without a credit card, and the same should be said for a partnership. Yes, it’s lovely to have it there – and when it’s healthy, it undeniably adds value to your life – but without the goods to back it up, it’s about as worthless as a piece of plastic.
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