Episode 18. He’s the man & he should pay. We can’t go on like this any more
Monique expects Pablo to pay for her “as the man” in the relationship. Pablo wants “fairness” in a partner.
Last week, I dug into their money psychology. Right at the end of last week’s conversation — when both were feeling good — they started discussing an upcoming trip to Mexico City. Suddenly, everything fell apart.
All their positive feelings and new skills got thrown to the side, and they went right back to their old habits.
That’s why I had to add a part two to our conversation. That’s today’s episode.
When they’re discussing the trip, Monique already has her argument ready before Pablo finishes a sentence. Pablo’s fists are clenched. He wants to be the laid-back, confident guy Monique fell in love with, but his views on money have changed. You’ll hear him describe “Antonio,” his scarcity-minded alter ego.
This conversation surprised me in so many ways. Listen in.
Tools mentioned in this episode
Download PDF of the transcript here.
Monique: [00:00:05] I’m just a bit blindsided that like you bought $1,000 ticket for me. It’s just like a weird feeling to have you buy something for me, but then turn around, and be like, okay, since I bought this, I’m going to make you pay for all the food and all the housing. So, it’s like, you’re not inviting me, you’re making me pay you back in a different way, and that seems transactional and cold.
Ramit Sethi: [00:00:30] Welcome back to I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I’m Ramit Sethi and this is part two of my conversation with Pablo and Monique. Now, last week, we met them both, and just as we were starting to come to a resolution, we opened up a whole new can of worms. That’s why I had to turn this episode into two parts. I want to reintroduce you to this couple just to refresh your memory on who they are. Monique is 23 years old. She makes $33,000 a year, and she describes her financial beliefs as traditional.
Monique: [00:01:06] I always just thought of having like that fairy tale love of like going out and having everything paid for, like the guy pays for everything, the guy opens the door, the guy pulls the chair out, the guy waits to kiss you at the end of the date. I did expect him to pick up the bill and we sat there for like half-an-hour.
Ramit Sethi: [00:01:22] Pablo doesn’t see money the same way at all. He’s 33 years old. He makes $103,000, or about three times as much as Monique. And when he talks about money in their relationship, he uses words like taken off and fair.
Pablo: [00:01:37] I was like, I’m not going to pay for her, I didn’t have a drop of her soup, she should pay for it. There have been many instances where we’ve wanted to break up, when we have broken up for days because of the incompatibilities and tensions, but our attraction and willingness to try to fight for each other and be with each other has always brought us back.
Monique: [00:01:57] I thought I was in my right to think he could do more since he is older, more money, more experience.
Ramit Sethi: [00:02:06] In the last episode, we went deep on Pablo and Monique’s money beliefs, how they were raised, how they think about money, their money psychology. And towards the end, they both started to develop a newfound respect for each other. They started to really empathize with how the other person was feeling and why they were behaving the way they were around money. But then, something happened, and that was a specific trip that they’re both planning to take to Mexico City.
Ramit Sethi: [00:02:37] And what you’ll discover is that it’s all fun and game, it’s nice, and everybody sings Kumbaya about how they feel about money until a specific situation comes up. And then, often, people revert right back to how they used to behave around money. So, here we are, Pablo wants to surprise Monique with a Formula One experience in Mexico City, and because he paid for the tickets, he’s going to ask her to pay for the accommodations and food. She thinks this is unfair. Let’s listen.
Monique: [00:03:11] I don’t think it should be 50-50. I would be more comfortable at being proportional to our incomes.
Ramit Sethi: [00:03:17] And if in the future, one day, you make more than him, do you pay more proportionally?
Monique: [00:03:28] I would be more comfortable paying like 50-50.
Pablo: [00:03:31] I feel like once again, the commitment to partnership is not there.
Monique: [00:03:37] I just don’t think that’s fair.
Pablo: [00:03:40] That actually does raise a question of like, is this ever going to work out, where we both feel happy and content with our finances and our relationship? If it’s not, then I think I must find a better suited partner for me. Our parents are friends from back in the day. My dad is an architect, and he helped renovate Monique’s restaurants, and her mom was like, I have a daughter, we should introduce our kids to each other. And so then, I had just come back from living abroad that day.
Monique: [00:04:15] My mom is very social, so she always has me meeting her friends’ kids, because we’re all like minded. So, when she heard about Pablo, she’s like, oh, he loves to travel, he did this, my daughter loves to travel as well, and she does music as well, like they should meet. So, it was more of like a friendly thing, not like a setup. But I knew nothing about him. I knew he was older. And I like stalked his Facebook, and I was like, ew, like I saw like horrible pictures of him. So, I was just like, ew, like I don’t know who this guy is, like gross, whatever.
Ramit Sethi: [00:04:45] And then, you saw him, and what happened when you saw him, did you still say ew?
Monique: [00:04:49] No. I was like, oh, yeah, like fell almost, like right away.
Ramit Sethi: [00:04:53] How did your parents feel once you told them that you were interested in him and he was 10 years older?
Monique: [00:05:00] To be honest, they weren’t worried, they weren’t sketched out or anything, because they knew he came from a good family. He has like a good background, solid family, and he was very respectful, way more respectful than the guys my age anyway. So, they were really comfortable.
Ramit Sethi: [00:05:16] I’m surprised, walking into this call, I had seen both of their ages, and I suspected that there might be some sort of power imbalance here. He’s 10 years older, she’s not, yet it turns out that their parents introduced them. And so, you can see me trying to pull on this thread here, and realizing, ah, it’s actually not the issue, whatsoever. Now, just as a reminder, Pablo earns just over $100,000. He also has a quarter of a million dollars invested, by the way. Monique only earns about $33,000, but she expects her income to go up over time. I’m sharing these numbers with you, it’s important, because it informs how they view this 50-50 split that Pablo proposes.
Monique: [00:06:07] I just don’t think it is 50-50. I don’t think it should be 50-50. I would be more comfortable at being proportional to our incomes.
Ramit Sethi: [00:06:16] And if in the future, one day, you make more than him, do you pay more proportionally?
Monique: [00:06:26] I would be more comfortable paying like 50-50.
Pablo: [00:06:29] I thought it was very interesting. Monique’s reaction once heard she makes three times as much as I do. And so then, that’s-
Ramit Sethi: [00:06:36] What was the reaction?
Pablo: [00:06:38] Her reaction was, no, the guy should still pay, or she was stumped by that scenario, which is-
Ramit Sethi: [00:06:47] Ask her about that.
Pablo: [00:06:48] Yeah, which is concerning, because like, say, for example, well, there has been times where I’ve been out of a job just like be in the US to be with you, but I’m still expected to carry on as if nothing’s the matter. And like I’ve seen it in my parents’ relationship, where my father has lost his job. there’s a power shift, where my mom sees my dad not as romantically as she usually does, kind of like a burden. And I experienced that in the past as I explained my first relationship, where I wasn’t making anything and the girlfriend had to take care of me. And she said, and to quote, “I no longer see you as my partner, I see you as a child that I have to take care of.” And so, that worries me with Monique.
Monique: [00:07:39] I mean, yeah, like obviously, wouldn’t love that situation, but of course, I would do it. Obviously, if I’m making more than you, or like you lose your job or something, I’m not going to like, okay, well, I’m divorcing you or anything.
Ramit Sethi: [00:07:51] This is something I notice in couples a lot. You will hear people starting to spin out about what might happen in the future. The most common example is a woman asking her partner, hey, what happens if we get pregnant, and I decide that I want to stop working temporarily or perhaps even permanently? What are you going to do then? Are you going to leave me? And it just starts to spin. Here, we can hear Pablo starting to do exactly the same thing, saying, hey, what if one day, I lose my job?
Ramit Sethi: [00:08:23] That’s happened. And then, what are you going to do? Are you going to support me? Are you going to look down on me? In my experience, most people try to combat this by telling their partner, stop spinning. What are you worried about? Don’t worry. That is never effective. So, please just stop doing that. A much better approach is to say, tell me what that would mean to you if I were to not be able to work.
Ramit Sethi: [00:08:46] How would you react? And then, be honest about what that would make you feel. I’m concerned that you might stop respecting me. I’m concerned that we might not have enough money to live the type of lifestyle we want. That kind of honesty opens up a much more authentic conversation. It can also serve to change some of the ways that you behave around money.
Ramit Sethi: [00:09:10] For example, if you’re concerned that you might not have enough money if one of you loses their job or one of you stays home with a new child, well, suddenly, that gives both of you a reason to save more aggressively, to invest more aggressively. And so, these kinds of conversations can easily be changed from spinning and negativity to vulnerability and authenticity. That’s what I would encourage. I’m trying to see if there’s compatibility here between the two, and I can’t be the one to decide, only the two of you can.
Monique: [00:09:43] I mean, I think it would be compatible, because obviously, if he takes me out, I would obviously be very appreciative of that. I just feel like it would just push forward like some positive, loving energy rather than like 50-50 each time.
Pablo: [00:10:00] I definitely agree. My only worry is from the real-life examples that we’ve had, where like you do want to take me out or you do want to invite me to something, and it’s not equal in terms of like, I’ll pay for the 180-dollar dinner, but you can get like a 13-dollar ice cream, thinking that yeah, you pulled up your end of the bargain of that you pay for one thing and I pay for another thing. It’s not equivalent in the economic impact of both.
Pablo: [00:10:30] In your heart, the sentiment is the same, but logically and objectively, it’s not. However, again, I am very willing to accept your efforts, even if small, but I do see them changing, and I do appreciate it, and understand that you do want to be taken out. Obviously, we’re both pretty big romantics. And so, I do like taking her out. I do love the fact that when she dresses up, she feels like queen of the world and stuff like that. So, I do want to make her feel confident.
Ramit Sethi: [00:11:02] I appreciate that. I appreciate you talking about how Monique wants to feel. What if nothing changes? What happens in five years?
Pablo: [00:11:14] I fear that I would be continuing how I am right now, which is like passively accepting something that I am not pleased with just for the sake of keeping the relationship afloat.
Ramit Sethi: [00:11:29] What would happen?
Pablo: [00:11:32] Increased bitterness and increased resentment where anything could trigger a bigger fight of like if another ten-dollar soup comes around, then a bigger fight of like, well, I’ve sacrificed my whole life for this, and like you can’t even buy your own soup, just bigger snowballed fights.
Ramit Sethi: [00:11:55] You think you’d still be together?
Pablo: [00:11:58] Logically, no. Emotionally, yes, which has been a lot of pulls and tensions in our relationship. There have been many instances where we’ve wanted to break up and we have broken up for days or whatever because of the incompatibilities and tensions, but our attraction and willingness to try to fight for each other and be with each other has always brought us back.
Monique: [00:12:23] I would just love for him to keep vocalizing his thoughts and feelings. Before, in the relationship, he was never really vocal, and he just like held it in and I would just be like, okay, why isn’t he reaching for the bill, like that’s really weird? But he would never say anything. So, I just thought like he was cheap or something.
Pablo: [00:12:43] I am 33. Five years, I’m 38. Monique will be 27, 28, so let’s just say that she has time, where I was like I feel like I’m getting older if I want to start a family. There does come that pressure of trying to find a more ideal partner with my philosophies. And so, if nothing changes in five years, then that actually does raise a question of like, is this ever going to work out, where we both feel happy and content with our finances and our relationship? If it’s not, then I think I must find a better suited partner for me given my age and my life goals.
Ramit Sethi: [00:13:24] It’s the first time I think I’ve heard either of you mention that the stakes here are actually pretty high. You could live with awkward soup situations for the rest of your life, but Pablo, if you do want a family and you have a vision of a certain age where you’re having a family, well, then you have your own timetable.
Monique: [00:13:48] Yeah. I mean, I completely agree, but I think the problem that you’re talking about was because you were never vocal about how unhappy you were or your finances. So, I could never—so when you’re saying like I put my foot down and you never said anything, well, it’s because I didn’t know, you never said anything. So, it’s like, I’d like to think I’m a pretty considerate, empathetic person, so like obviously, if you would tell me your struggles, or issues, or thoughts, I would obviously take them consideration and like work on them with you. But since you never were vocal about them, how could I accommodate you? And so, like obviously, now, I think financially, we’re kind of on the same track and we’re kind of more comfortable, and that’s only because of four years of fighting, because you could never really say what you wanted to say.
Pablo: [00:14:47] Yeah, I agree.
Ramit Sethi: [00:14:51] Do you want him to put his foot down?
Monique: [00:14:54] I mean, yeah, like I want him to tell me what he thinks, how he feels, because like it’s not all about me and I felt like he thought that it was all about me, because I am very vocal. Like the second I’m upset or the second I’m whatever, I tell him. And so, the second I was upset about something or whatever, like he would just be like, okay, like whatever makes you happy, great.
Ramit Sethi: [00:15:14] Are you a people pleaser, Pablo?
Pablo: [00:15:17] Yes. I do sacrifice a lot of my wants and needs just to keep the peace and to keep things going.
Ramit Sethi: [00:15:27] And what happens when you do that?
Pablo: [00:15:29] There’s a lot of repression on my end, and a lot of bitterness and resentment towards the switch in my life.
Ramit Sethi: [00:15:39] Suddenly, things are starting to make a lot more sense. It’s not simply that Monique has a view of money that is incompatible with Pablo. It’s also that Pablo is a people pleaser, and he hasn’t been honest about what he’s feeling. This resentment he’s feeling, the one that we can all hear dripping off of his voice is something that he hasn’t effectively communicated to Monique. Does it ever get resolved with them or does it just simmer forever?
Pablo: [00:16:12] It simmers forever.
Ramit Sethi: [00:16:15] So, is this the first situation in which you’ve spoken up for what you want?
Pablo: [00:16:20] As Monica said, she’s very empathetic and understanding. If I had told her like, look, the reason why I can’t pay for your soup is because I haven’t worked in a year, and she’ll be like, you’re right, let me pay for you right now, and actually, let me take care of you, and we can eat at my house every single day of the week, and you don’t have to worry about anything. That’s what she would have done. But instead, I was-
Ramit Sethi: [00:16:43] Is that true, Monique?
Monique: [00:16:44] Yes, of course.
Pablo: [00:16:45] Absolutely. But instead, I was like, who does she thinks she is? Like I’m not going to pay for her, I didn’t have a drop of her soup, she should pay for it.
Ramit Sethi: [00:16:56] How would you describe that view, Pablo?
Pablo: [00:17:02] Very selfish and partial to my own—very myopic, to be honest.
Ramit Sethi: [00:17:08] Mm-hmm. If you had to describe what that feels like on your body, how would you describe it?
Pablo: [00:17:15] Boiling blood, like very tight-fisted, just like clenching jaw, like the bill comes, I’m like, okay, well, here I go, let me pay for it.
Ramit Sethi: [00:17:28] If you had to name that, what would you name it? Your name is Pablo. Who’s this person?
Pablo: [00:17:36] Antonio.
Ramit Sethi: [00:17:38] There we go. And how do you feel about Antonio?
Pablo: [00:17:44] I don’t like him. He’s around a lot. He really is around, around 90% of the time. And he really takes over a lot of the situations and my true self, which I guess is Pablo, like it was repressing itself.
Ramit Sethi: [00:18:00] Tell us more about Antonio. How does he think?
Pablo: [00:18:05] I don’t want to say that the world is out to get him, but he has extreme resentment towards everyone in the world. Like he doesn’t feel a victim, but he just feels like angry towards anyone, and very insecure, and lacks confidence.
Ramit Sethi: [00:18:20] Why does Antonio lack confidence?
Pablo: [00:18:24] Because he doesn’t—especially now that I feel I’m more in the US, I feel the lack of monetary power has definitely decreased my confidence. And I think part of the reason why Monique fell in love with me is I had just come from living all over the world, that was super not cocky or confident, but just like sure of myself. Like, oh, yeah, let me tell you about all of the places that I lived, all the things that I’ve done, blah, blah, blah, which I know is what Monique wants and fell in love with, versus like the insecure guy who looks at her weirdly, because she doesn’t pull out her credit card.
Ramit Sethi: [00:18:58] And more importantly, who do you want more of, Pablo or Antonio?
Pablo: [00:19:04] Pablo, absolutely.
Ramit Sethi: [00:19:07] So, I love that you’ve given him a name, Antonio. It’s a great name. What happens in your body when you switch from Pablo to Antonio? Can you spot it?
Pablo: [00:19:21] The best way I can describe is like this uneasy feeling in the stomach. I wouldn’t say it’s like heartburn, but just like, I would say like the stomach acid just gurgling and like boiling, like something’s not sitting right.
Ramit Sethi: [00:19:39] And then, where does the feeling go?
Pablo: [00:19:42] Probably to my mouth, and I probably do clench, and I do feel like that I can’t really speak because I’m so angry, probably to my throat as well.
Ramit Sethi: [00:19:59] So, now that you know all about Antonio, what do you want to do with that information? Who is the person who got the jobs all around the world, had the high income, was that Pablo or Antonio?
Pablo: [00:20:15] I don’t think Antonio existed back then.
Ramit Sethi: [00:20:17] That’s right. Pablo ruled back then, didn’t he?
Pablo: [00:20:22] Yeah.
Ramit Sethi: [00:20:22] And who rules today?
Pablo: [00:20:24] Antonio, 90% of time.
Ramit Sethi: [00:20:28] What do you want to do with that?
Pablo: [00:20:31] How do I focus all the energy to suppressing, or not only suppressing but eliminating Antonio?
Ramit Sethi: [00:20:40] Can’t eliminate Antonio.
Pablo: [00:20:43] Okay, then suppressing then
Ramit Sethi: [00:20:45] Suppressing doesn’t work, you’ve been doing it your whole life. Does it work?
Pablo: [00:20:49] No, it does not.
Ramit Sethi: [00:20:50] Oh, sometimes, we have to accept the bad parts of us. I have bad parts of me, I tried to stop them. Now, I say, okay, what I want to do instead is just to increase the better parts of me. Okay. Yeah, of course, I want to keep an eye on being judgmental. Yeah, I’ll try to minimize it, but I can spend my whole life minimizing my bad, and where do I end up? Just angry at myself. I hate it. Instead, what if I try to spend more time focusing on improving the good? What would that look like for you?
Pablo: [00:21:32] That would look like enjoying the company of a beautiful girl, and like making her feel special, enjoying talking to friends, and meeting new people, and going to travel places, and stuff like that.
Ramit Sethi: [00:21:44] It’s funny you didn’t mention anything about spreadsheets, $10, $50, equal, 50-50 in any of that.
Pablo: [00:21:52] You’re right.
Ramit Sethi: [00:21:55] Okay. Monique, who do you like better?
Monique: [00:21:59] Pablo.
Ramit Sethi: [00:22:02] Why?
Monique: [00:22:06] It’s just more fun, more likeable, more romantic.
Ramit Sethi: [00:22:17] Tell him.
Monique: [00:22:17] Like I just don’t like when I-
Ramit Sethi: [00:22:22] Uh-uh. Start again. Tell him what you do like, tell him why you like Pablo.
Monique: [00:22:28] Okay. I love when you’re just like super confident, and you know what you want, and you know where you want to take me, and you’re just like super sure of yourself. And I just like see your personality shine, and you’re like funny, and you have like all these stories to share, and you’re just like a really good time to be with. And I really like admire that.
Ramit Sethi: [00:22:49] I believe that. You’ve already been a powerful Pablo before. You already know exactly what that feels like. It feels great. It’s just a matter of just finding your way back there and making Pablo even bigger. So many amazing things just happened in that last bit. First off, Pablo, realizing that he has almost this Jekyll and Hyde perspective to his views on money. And then I loved getting him to name it.
Ramit Sethi: [00:23:21] It’s a very, very powerful concept, naming, naming those voices, those little gremlins on your shoulder who are whispering, and oftentimes, we have a little negative gremlin, negative Nancy, or in this case, Antonio, and that person might tell you, you can’t do it, you’re not worthy, save all your money, don’t get too big for your britches. And then, you have somebody positive on your other shoulder saying, you know what, you’re worth it, you can afford it, you know your numbers.
Ramit Sethi: [00:23:49] Money isn’t just about ROI. We can do things because we enjoy them, et cetera. I love getting people out of their head, and I love hearing how Pablo truly internalized it. He knows exactly the difference between Pablo and Antonio. Then, you heard Monique starting to compliment Pablo. By the way, did you notice how I redirected her back? She was very intellectual about it. Pablo is better. It’s better when—I said, tell him, tell him, because when you are discussing money with your partner, you can never say enough nice things.
Ramit Sethi: [00:24:30] A lot of times, we feel we need to be efficient. Efficiency is overrated. When you are complimenting someone, you can take one minute, two minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, and it never gets old. Finally, there’s something very conceptually powerful about the idea of going back. We all know the idea of going back home. In this case, I evoked that same concept for Pablo. He’s already been powerful Pablo. So, it’s not like he has to invent a new identity. No. All he has to do is go back home. Pablo’s already inside of him, just waiting to be welcomed, waiting to be unveiled to the world again.
Pablo: [00:25:17] There is an upcoming trip. We’re going to Mexico City, and actually, it’s timed perfectly, because we’re going, I bought tickets to go see the Formula One. Obviously, I’m a big fan and Monique is getting into it. She’s not really a big fan. And then, she has her award show in Mexico City. So, the tickets, to be frank, they were $2,000 or like $1,000 each. I would say it would be completely fair that I covered the tickets, and then she would pay for housing and food in Mexico, which would make it equivalent, or probably even less. It would probably be like I spent two grand, she spends one grand.
Monique: [00:25:56] First of all, I had no idea those tickets were, so it’s two grand per person or?
Pablo: [00:26:03] No, $1,000 per person.
Monique: [00:26:05] Ok. You went ahead and bought the tickets without me knowing about it and without knowing the price, and you’re already expecting me to pay for all of the housing and all the food, which I had no idea about.
Ramit Sethi: [00:26:16] How are you both feeling right now?
Pablo: [00:26:18] I am feeling a bit frustrated, where I feel like once again, the commitment to partnership is not there.
Monique: [00:26:28] Well, I just feel confused that he bought something without even talking to me about it and is expecting me to pay all this stuff without even telling me about it.
Pablo: [00:26:42] It frustrates me that I don’t see the spirit of like, oh, definitely, thank you for getting that experience. I want to like have the best time ever. Like there’s not that initiative of, oh, you did this, alright, well, let me do this. It’s like either this, well, let me just pay for a little bit, because a gentleman should pay for everything.
Monique: [00:27:02] That’s fine, but I did not expect for Formula One to be $1,000, that like I had no idea that I was going to have to pay for that.
Pablo: [00:27:11] But you’re not paying for it.
Monique: [00:27:13] Okay. You’re paying for it, but now, you’re expecting me to pay for all of the housing and all the food. I thought Formula One tickets were like 300 bucks.
Pablo: [00:27:23] Those are sold out, so we had to get those expensive ones.
Ramit Sethi: [00:27:26] Pause right here. Who’s speaking? Is it Antonio or Pablo?
Pablo: [00:27:32] Antonio. Actually, no, to be honest, I think Pablo is speaking, because he wants a fair relationship and is standing up for himself. I’m not concerned about the monetary value. I’m concerned about the fact that we are not sharing an experience together equally.
Ramit Sethi: [00:27:56] What if the tickets had cost $10,000?
Pablo: [00:28:00] Then, I would say that’s excessive, and I would not expect her to pay $10,000 or equivalent of $10,000.
Ramit Sethi: [00:28:07] I think she’s saying that $2000 is excessive for her. Do you hear that?
Pablo: [00:28:14] I do hear that.
Monique: [00:28:17] I’m just a bit blindsided, because I did not know how much the tickets were. And so, again, I just wasn’t expecting to spend that much. For this trip, I wanted to be fair in your terms, in Pablo’s terms, and be 50-50. Yeah, I’m just a bit blindsided that like you bought 1,000-dollar ticket for me, so now, you’re putting on the weight of all the housing and all the food, which I don’t know if that’s excessive or not, I’m just shocked.
Monique: [00:28:46] I’m very thankful for you being thoughtful, and like buying the ticket, and wanting to share that experience with me, like I’m very excited. And once I learn more about it, I’m sure I’ll be even more excited, but like it’s just like a weird feeling to have you buy something for me, but then turn around, and be like, okay, since I bought this, I’m going to make you pay for all of the food and all the housing. So, it’s like, you’re not inviting me, you’re making me pay you back in a different way, and that seems transactional and cold.
Pablo: [00:29:20] Okay. I definitely understand the way you see that. The way that you put it, I definitely understand how you could think that I’m like giving you a small loan that you have to pay back.
Monique: [00:29:33] Yeah, because then, it’s like, I’m not, then you’re not treating me, then you’re not inviting me, then it’s like, I’d rather just pay the 500 for the ticket—or no, that’s a lot of money, I don’t want to pay that, but like I would rather just pay the thousand dollars for the ticket, and then just go proportionally.
Ramit Sethi: [00:29:52] Monique, how does it feel to hear what Pablo just said to you?
Monique: [00:30:00] I already forgot what he said. What did he say?
Ramit Sethi: [00:30:03] Why did you forget what he said, by the way?
Monique: [00:30:06] Because I think I was like ready to respond.
Ramit Sethi: [00:30:08] Yeah, you’re saving up your response to jump right in, but he said something really important. Pablo, what did you say?
Pablo: [00:30:19] I said, first of all, thank you for explaining how you feel. I definitely do understand now that you explain it how you may feel that way. And given that situation, I definitely do understand how you may think that me buying you a ticket and making you pay for the whole trip is the equivalent of giving you like a small loan that you have to repay back.
Monique: [00:30:39] Okay. Yes, I remember. Yeah. No. That makes perfect sense. Thank you. I just don’t think that’s fair.
Ramit Sethi: [00:30:47] How does it feel to hear him say that?
Monique: [00:30:50] It feels good to being recognized.
Ramit Sethi: [00:30:54] When was the last time that he said something like that?
Monique: [00:30:59] He’ll say it when we fight, and a couple of days later, we’ll like come to our senses and be respectful, and we’ll be empathetic towards each other. So, it’s often that he-
Pablo: [00:31:14] I’ve gotten much better at it, I must admit. She has coached me to get much better at it.
Ramit Sethi: [00:31:19] Great. And what do you think he would like to hear after he says something like that?
Monique: [00:31:26] He would want me to express how I feel of like, to thank him for being thoughtful and for wanting to be equal.
Ramit Sethi: [00:31:35] I think he wants to know you’re acknowledging him for being candid.
Monique: [00:31:41] Absolutely.
Ramit Sethi: [00:31:42] And do you think your response acknowledged him?
Monique: [00:31:44] No.
Ramit Sethi: [00:31:45] No, you steamrolled right into the thing you wanted to say. In fact, you had it probably written out, you’re ready to go. So, he’s doing exactly what you said you wanted to see, which is what? Communicate, open up. But when he does it, what happens?
Monique: [00:32:02] I did not respond gracefully. I just did not recognize his efforts.
Ramit Sethi: [00:32:12] So, the two of you both, you, today, have articulated what a good 10 out of 10 relationship would look like, what these conversations would look like, but you notice that when you actually have them, you revert right back to your old habits. So, this is why you have a very challenging road ahead. You have to change from the inside out and the outside in. And even when one of you does it, the other one may not notice it.
Ramit Sethi: [00:32:46] But in truth, the only way that you get where you both want to go is if you both are putting a ton of work into it. And the truth is, it’s not going to happen every time, right? You two are not going to be dancing in unison. One is going to be a little bit better than the other at certain things, and you’re going to have to help the other one along. But what I just heard right now was some interesting stuff. I heard some good communication. I heard some level of acknowledgement, maybe not from both sides. Those are things that you’ll be facing as you go forward.
Pablo: [00:33:17] But this is where we run into the issue of who puts their foot down and who relents. And the majority of the time, it’s me, because as we’ve seen, she would like to have her way. And so, the way that I see it is that like I do what she wants me to do, which is be empathetic, acknowledge her, understand her, and try to wrap my brain around, even though I don’t agree with it philosophically. I see it, I’m like, alright, fine, let’s do this. So then, that’s where it goes to the original point of like I concede, I concede, I concede, I concede. So, even if I make my point across, then it becomes a little bit hopeless, because like, well, I’m just going to say my part, but I know at the end of the day, I’m going to end up conceding.
Ramit Sethi: [00:34:02] So, you two both have gone back to your corners of the ring. You’re certainly explaining your way, and you’re talking, and then you’re looking up, and saying, does he agree with me yet? And then, no, keep explaining. And then, you’re doing your thing, is she seeing it my way? Oh, nope, going to keep doing what I’m doing. Does this work?
Pablo: [00:34:24] No. And it’s not only this issue. It happens with a lot, if not all issues.
Ramit Sethi: [00:34:32] Oh, you don’t say, I’m so shocked. Of course. It happens when you’re talking about a big trip that hasn’t even happened yet, and it happens when you’ve got a dinner in front of you and the server just put the bill down. It happens at every level. What do you think the problem is?
Pablo: [00:34:55] Two people wanting to get their way and not finding a good conflict resolution. No real compromise.
Ramit Sethi: [00:35:05] There’s no joy, actually. When you look back on your discussion about Mexico City, what was the emotion you would use to describe it?
Pablo: [00:35:18] Good old resentment and bitterness.
Ramit Sethi: [00:35:20] Mm-hmm. And yet, you insisted it was Pablo talking, not Antonio. Chew on that for a minute. Yeah. This is Mexico City. It’s a great city. It’s got the best food. You’re going to Formula One. You know all the places to go, the bars, all that stuff. And yet, it feels, as an observer, that you’ve taken a towel, and just wrung it dry, and there’s nothing left. And the greatest irony is you haven’t even gotten on the plane yet.
Pablo: [00:35:53] Yeah.
Ramit Sethi: [00:35:55] Before I go into this next section, I really want to pause and I want you to really internalize what I’m about to do. When you think about money, what are the words that come to mind for you? I’ve asked this question many times, the answers are very, very common. Not enough, save, save, save. It’s very, very often scarcity-based. Deep down, a lot of you hate money. You hate it. When you think of money, it reminds you of not having enough.
Ramit Sethi: [00:36:30] When you think about money with your partner, you fight. When you think about money for yourself, you think about not having enough. And yet, paradoxically, many of us are addicted to the idea of money. You hate it. If you hate money. It will be very hard to be successful with it. And if you hate money, there will be no joy in your conversations with your partner. That is what typifies all of the conversation that we’ve heard between Pablo and Monique, this episode and last.
Ramit Sethi: [00:37:06] No joy, very little love, just aggressively butting heads, going to each other’s respective corners, saying, I’m right, you’re wrong, why don’t you see it like me? I think money can be a big source of joy. I think it can be a source of jokes. I think it would be a source of adventure. I think it would be a source of opportunity. This is why you hear me on every episode showing people how to joke about money, and how to say, what’s your rich life? Get into the vivid details for me.
Ramit Sethi: [00:37:42] If you hate money, if you constantly have negative conversations about it, it’s going to be very difficult for you to work towards your rich life. So, watch what I do here to flip this entire dynamic and bring some joy to the conversation about money. Watch this. What if, for just three minutes, we lived in a totally different world? And this conversation is going to be joyful. I want you to just roleplay with me. Okay. The facts are the same. You’ve got the tickets. You make the same amount of money. But this time, what are you going to choose to do?
Pablo: [00:38:31] Okay. So, I actually already got us dinner reservations already, like two months ago at Pujol, which is one of the world-renowned restaurants. And I already have the schedule laid out of all the meals that we should have all the fancy restaurants, as well as all the street tacos and everything. So, I am actually super excited for you to try every single restaurant that I’ve savored over the years and I have every meal plan, and not only that, since I lived in so many different colonies or areas of that city, like I know where museums, I know where to go for a walk along the park. So, like in terms of entertainment and stuff to do, you really don’t have to worry, because literally, the schedule is going to be so jam-packed with fun activities, like you will literally have the best time of your life.
Monique: [00:39:15] Well, that is so thoughtful. Like I obviously can’t wait to go, and experience that with you, and have you show me around like a place that is so near and dear to your heart, and like have you show me the best of the best, and like just being so excited to show me and share that with me.
Pablo: [00:39:34] And at the same time, we’ll be able to get a little bit of exercise in walking in, and culture, so you can take amazing pictures for your Instagram and for everything, and you’ll be able to meet my family as well. And the best part about it is that we’ll finally be able to take a trip alone, no pressure from the parents, nothing to worry about.
Ramit Sethi: [00:39:56] Okay. You’ve done a great job selling, I get it, I’m about to go to Mexico City myself. Are we going to talk about anything else here or are we done? Is there any financial component to this conversation?
Pablo: [00:40:08] So, I would like to have a discussion about how we’re going to fund the trip. I would like it to be fair, and I want to discuss with you what fair means to you. In your ideal world, what does fair means? So, we’re going to go to some fancy restaurants, we’re going to go see museums. We’re going to spend a little bit of money, but I promise you, it’s going to be worth it. So, how would you like to cover this trip?
Monique: [00:40:33] Yeah. So, since you make 103, I’m not really good at math, and I make about 33-ish. That number could go up, me picking up shifts. I haven’t been working, because I was traveling, so I’m definitely happy to bring that number up, and have more money for the trip, and contribute more to the trip. I’m definitely happy to do that, because I want us to have a really good time and not it be restricted or negative. So, if you could just give me like a rough estimate about what it costs.
Pablo: [00:41:03] We are looking at a trip that’s going to be around $4,000. So, why don’t we do this? Why don’t I pay for two-thirds of the trip and you can pay for one-third of the trip. And if it ever comes out that we go to an extra restaurant, which is fancier, we get reservations to a better restaurant, I’ll take you, because it’s your first time in Mexico City, so you don’t have to worry about that. All you have to worry about is your proportional share of it.
Monique: [00:41:28] I love it. I think that’s perfectly fair and I really appreciate that.
Ramit Sethi: [00:41:38] You did a great job on that, Pablo. Spending a lot of time talking about why, you know why I want to pick up the Formula One tickets, because you’ve never seen something like this, and I would love to experience it with you together. So, I want to get those tickets, because it’s really meaningful for me that we get to do this together for the first time. I want to spend more time on that, than I want to spend on the numbers. Okay. I want to get that feeling right.
Ramit Sethi: [00:42:08] And then, of course, when we get into the numbers, I don’t want to avoid them, these are real concerns, real numbers, there are opportunities for us to work together, I want to simplify it, right? I’ve done the work behind the scenes. Monique, you should also have done the work behind the scenes for yourself. You should know how much you can afford, right? You put yourself in the passive seat of waiting for him to come for the numbers, but really, he’s not the one who can’t afford this, is he? The financial concern is more of a burden for you. So, how can you ask that question, but in a way that makes you feel confident, and powerful, and not weak?
Monique: [00:42:50] Like how much can I contribute to this?
Pablo: [00:42:53] That’s amazing, because that puts a little bit of skin in the game, and it shows your willingness that you want to not take advantage of me, but be part of the trip.
Monique: [00:43:06] And I’ve always wanted to be part of it. I just wanted it to feel fair and feel exciting.
Ramit Sethi: [00:43:13] How do you feel, Pablo?
Pablo: [00:43:15] It’s good, because at the end of the day, I just want to have fun and I want her to have fun and enjoy our first trip together. The end is not important, because like $3,000 out of $100,000 is not that much versus the experience that we might have.
Ramit Sethi: [00:43:30] Wow, what a journey. Let me just recap what I learned in this two-part conversation with Pablo and Monique. Monique believed that the man should pay. She said, he should pay, because he’s a gentleman. She also said, he should pay because he’s older, because he makes more money, because he’s pursuing me, he should be investing in me. Pablo saw money totally differently. He felt taken advantage of.
Ramit Sethi: [00:43:57] He said we should pay 50-50, even though he made three times as much as Monique. Both of their attitudes stemmed from past experiences, the ways that they were raised, how much money they’d made in the past, and also, assumptions that they were making about each other. You rarely hear people being this honest about their money beliefs. Rarely. That’s why this podcast is called the I Will Teach You To Be Rich podcast, real stories about love and money from behind closed doors.
Ramit Sethi: [00:44:34] But these are real beliefs. And it’s not just Monique who believes it, it’s not just Pablo. I know many people who believe this. I know lots of people who have the same beliefs. You might, too. I believe that part of a rich life is being honest with yourself. What do you really believe about money? And then, being honest with the people around you. What are your expectations of money in your relationship? Have you ever articulated them? Hopefully, this set of episodes has allowed you to really question what you believe and why you believe it.
Ramit Sethi: [00:45:11] As for Pablo and Monique, I wish them the best. They have some challenging times ahead, because they have a lot of identities to rewrite, but I want to thank them for being so candid with me and with each other. Thanks for listening to I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Thanks for listening to I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I’m Ramit Sethi. Please follow the show on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Head over to iwt.com/podcast to find our entire back catalog of episodes and links to all the places you can listen. Here’s what you’ll find next week on the I Will Teach You To Be Rich podcast.
Serena: [00:45:59] With each year, my frustration keeps mounting, because I feel like I’m not being heard, this is not a joint decision to continue the stock up indefinitely. He made some jokes about me being his retirement plan, and I have a bad feeling that it’s happening.
Brian: [00:46:16] I think that her attitude in general is negative at times.
Ramit Sethi: [00:46:24] Does she have a right to be negative about money?
Brian: [00:46:27] Yeah, she does.