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Special section Love and money -- oil and water?

Both people in a relationship can't spend money with reckless abandon, which explains why savers and spenders frequently get together and then drive each other crazy.

Opposites attract -- even when it comes to money

Before you have that heart-to-heart discussion regarding dollar signs, acknowledge your secret envies, Mellan advises. Appreciate your partner's style. A hoarder usually envies a spender's freedom and a spender often envies a hoarder's restraint.

To get a really good idea of where your partner is coming from, step into your partner's shoes -- "to be the other personality" for a while, Hayhoe says. "Let's say you're married to a spender and you're adopting that role for a while," she says. "You don't actually have to spend the money, but if there's a hoarder and a spender, the hoarder should take the spender role. It gives you an appreciation of where the other person is coming from. You can essentially come to a meeting of the minds. The idea is that you'll be better people in the long run."

Looking at spending personalities is one way for couples to approach the subject of spending. "Another way to handle it is to discuss how their families handled money," Hayhoe says. "What you liked about how your parents handled money and what you didn't like about it -- talk about those things." If you prefer not to battle to the death over financial matters, it might help to figure out what kind of spending personalities you and your spouse have. Just about every expert in the field has his or her own list of spending personalities; Olivia Mellan defines them in terms of pairings.

Zimmerman agrees that you and your partner should discuss how you learned about money in during childhood.

"How were allowances handled? What did your parents fight about? If they fought a lot about money, you might have grown up believing that money was a subject to avoid talking about," she says.

In Zimmerman's self-published book "The Money Rascals: Changing Troublesome Habits From the Inside Out," she says you should discuss:

Things to discuss:
How your family physically handled money: when cash, checks and credit cards were used
The emotional component: "The feelings and sensations that people get based on what's going on in their financial world. They might be fearful or confident or feel some other emotion about money."
Beliefs about money, such as how much of an income is enough and what makes a person a financial winner or a financial loser
How you spend money when people are around. Do you or your partner try to impress people with your spending? Does one of you always wait for someone else to pick up the check?
 
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