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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

Your husband drives you nuts.

He hasn't learned the lessons from his youth when he drove that cool BMW, lived in an apartment that was the envy of his friends and had to run to mommy and daddy for help when the bills came due.

You overspent, too, early in adulthood. But now you have grown up and you want to cut expenses ruthlessly and save like mad. So you take a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich to work. Over a dinner of macaroni and cheese at home, you scowl while he recounts his $60 lunch at La Brasserie Tres Cher.

No matter who you are, you and your spouse almost surely have conflicting attitudes about money. Olivia Mellan, a psychotherapist and author of "Money Harmony: Resolving Money Conflicts in Your Life and Relationships," says it is normal for couples to assume opposite money roles.

You and your sweetie probably fit into one of six categories of husband-wife combinations, Mellan says.

Husband-wife combinations:
A hoarder and a spender -- the most common combination.
A worrier and an avoider -- almost as common a union as the one above.
A money monk and a money amasser.
A planner and a dreamer.
A risk taker and a risk avoider.
A money merger and a money separatist, who quarrel about whether to have joint or separate accounts.

"If opposites don't attract right off the bat, they will assume opposite roles eventually," Mellan says. "Basically, if two spenders meet and marry, they'll fight each other for the spending role and the other will assume the hoarder role."

One will change
This process reflects human nature. When two spenders marry, one usually freaks out at the bills and turns into a hoarder. A union of two money avoiders becomes a marriage between an avoider and a worrier. After all, Mellan says, "Someone will have to start worrying about it."

 
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