How buying a new car with my partner triggered cold feet

March 12 | Guest post by Vegancupcake

Vegancupcake wrote a wonderfully honest post touting pre-marital counseling, and now she's unleashing more wonderful honesty about the freaky experience of joining finances.

Photo by Used under Creative Commons license.

I never would have expected that my first bout of chilly feet would be triggered by a beautiful new car. I know cold feet can mean many things, and has an alarming sound to it. So let me define my version of it.

Lately I have been looking at my fiancee and seeing him as if I just met him — less in a cute, romantic way and more like he's suddenly an alien. I have been feeling cooped up in our apartment at times that would normally be relaxing and cuddly. I have been craving time with girlfriends and feeling claustrophobic when my guy wants to join us.

I have had thoughts like "How do people do this?" I have been aware of his faults. I have felt self-conscious and overly accountable about mine. I have wondered what life would be like if we weren't getting married this year. I have wondered where I might move if I wasn't in a relationship. For the first time ever, I have hoped we can just hang out in silence and won't have to talk.

Let me back up to before this set in.

Between Christmas and New Years, my fiancee and I took a few days to deal with business. We opened a joint bank account and bought a car! I have only ever owned hand-me-down cars from family members that were almost ten years old, so I have never owned a brand new car. Let me tell you, I have never felt so sentimental about a vehicle: I have a huge, sloppy, shmoopy crush on our car. We put no money down and will be paying off our car loan for years, but we both feel great about it.

The opening of a joint bank account and the negotiating of our own financial independence has been such an unsexy part of this pre-marriage time.

And we are splitting it.

The original plan wasn't to split it. Somewhere along the way, I guess since we were simultaneously considering the fusion of our finances into one bank account, we decided to co-own the car.

When we drove the car home, we were giddy. But I was also… stunned. Completely overwhelmed. I have never put no money down on something. And I'm pretty sure I was only able to do this because of his help and willingness to take part in financing it. I now feel more accountable, not just for my personality quirks, but for the way I spend and save my money.

By the time we got home, I was no longer giddy. I wrapped up in a blanket, opened our window (it was frigid out but I just needed AIR), and cried… hard. I'm sure my fiancee was totally alarmed at my fast switch from celebratory to crushed, but I have never been one to postpone waves of unexpected tumultuous feelings.

I am no longer at the window crying, but I still feel strung out, big-eyed, and disoriented. Of course, it helps to sort out that being daunted in the face of a huge turning point is different than being ambivalent about my partner.

But, the opening of a joint bank account and the negotiating of how much to retain our own financial independence on the side has been such an unsexy part of this pre-marriage time. How do you stop tallying who bought what and who owes more? How do you deal with the self-consciousness of someone else getting such a front row seat while you grow up?

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  1. The FH and I have a hybrid financial plan. We have the joint account that we pay bills, go out to dinner together, buy cars, get groceries with, etc. Then we each retained our personal accounts were we give ourselves a monthly allowance to do with as we like. He is a gamer, I'm a shoe-aholic. We also use our personal accounts for girls/boys night out etc. This is also what we use to get each other gifts so it can still be a surprise. If we want something and we don't have the money for it in our accounts, then we will talk about it to see if we can do (our get) it with the main account. We have a plan that if this happens often then we will discuss bumping up our allowance.

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