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How to Reinvest in Your Love Fund

Recognize that the deficit often comes from an inability to receive.

illustration of two men and a pet

A Family by Elizabeth Tomasetti

Money really can’t buy us love, as the Beatles once sang, but it is a helpful metaphor for understanding how it works. Imagine this: When two people are attracted to each other, they automatically open a mutual fund that starts accumulating the moment they meet. In the early stages of relating, both partners are usually busy filling the fund with lots of affection, tenderness, generosity, and respect. This is why the “honeymoon” phase is so critical—each person is making a big investment toward future happiness. Like the way an animal stores body fat for winter, the brain records these loving exchanges for the lean times ahead.Because no matter how in love you are, life takes its toll: Stressors around work, child-rearing, family, money, health, or death dislodge us from our bliss. Stories of scarcity begin to surface. There’s “not enough” time, energy, money, support, touch, affection. Withdrawals outnumber deposits, and the amount of credit a couple has accrued with each other determines how long their relationship can keep running at a deficit—and a day comes when couples face their bottom line. For …

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Relationship AdviceCouplesGratitude

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