Nicole Prieur, family therapist: “You have to dare to talk about money in the couple”


Nicole Prieur is a philosopher and family therapist, specialist in the question of money in couples and families. She published Family, money, lovewith Bernard Prieur (Albin Michel, 2016).

Do women and men have the same relationship to money?

Absolutely not. The relationship to money is excessively gendered. In the traditional division of tasks, the management of money, investments and heritage remains the prerogative of men. It is not a question of financial skills or knowledge, but rather of legitimacy.

In the collective unconscious, women do not consider themselves legitimate on financial matters. They have acquired economic independence, they earn their living, but, concerning the management of finances, there is still a long way to go towards emancipation.

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Why don’t they take matters into their own hands more?

The relationship with money is rooted in family history. You can criticize your parents on many subjects, such as politics or education, but not on money, which is a personal matter. Once in a relationship, it is difficult not to reproduce this ancestral mode of operation which wants the man to take care of the finances.

There is a societal misconception on this subject: we are not changing anything, because we are not even asking the question. We must put an end to the adage “when we love, we don’t count”! This is an absolute error: on the contrary, we must dare to talk about money in the couple, because the more we talk about it, the better we will talk about love. The couple must co-construct their own relationship with money so that it does not remain taboo.

What happens in couples where the woman earns more than the man?

It’s an interesting subject. Women are in the field of giving, of “care”, that is to say, they take care of others, within the couple and the family. One of the few areas where they are in a position to receive rather than give is that of money.

When women earn more than the man, we find that they feel a little guilty and uncomfortable, as if it takes away some form of the ancestral power attributed to the man. But I’m optimistic: Young women feel more confident talking about money than older women, especially when it comes to asking for a raise. The next step is to talk more frankly about money with your spouse, it will come.

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