A controversial post about couples splitting travel costs has folks debating love and money

It all started with an AITA ("Am I the Asshole?" for the uninitiated) on Reddit, in which a man explained how he and his rich family went on a ritzy vacation and invited his girlfriend along, expecting her to pay her share of it. He comes from a moneyed family and makes $150,000 a year. She's a teacher, making $45,000. She took a second job to be able to afford to go on the trip, but still had to duck out of some outings and meals because they were too pricey for her budget.

The man wanted to know if he was the a-hole because he was disappointed that she didn't just tell him she was struggling with the cost. As if it weren't obvious, and he couldn't have offered to cover what she couldn't. The whole story was wild, and his responses to people's comments were even wilder (as he came to the realization that he "deserved more" than her) so yeah, he was most definitely the a-hole in the situation.

But the post did prompt a lot of interesting conversation about what is actually reasonable to expect financially in a relationship between two people who make drastically different incomes.


It's a big question, considering that how often couples fight over finances. A study of more than 4,500 couples in the journal Family Relationships found that arguing about money early on was the strongest predictor of divorce, so you definitely want to get that piece ironed out early on.

Some people take the "equitable, not equal" approach. If one partner makes significantly more money than the other, then they should pay a larger share of the couple's expenses.

But does that go for all expenses or just the non-negotiable bills? What if one partner is a big spender while the other is more frugal? What if the person who makes less money is the one who wants to spend more?

What if the person who contributes more then feels like they have more say in or control over financial decisions? What if the person making less money turns out to be a freeloader? See? Talking about money can help you figure out elements of your partner's personality that might end up being a dealbreaker down the road.

Some suggest having yours/mine/ours accounts, where you share one account for shared expenses, but maintain separate accounts so you have some independent money that you don't have to consult your partner about. Of course, you still have to determine how much each person contributes to the shared account. A percentage of income might be fair, or a percentage of expected bill amounts.

According to advice from Quicken, keeping an account of your own isn't a bad idea. They recommend that each partner maintain a separate bank account in their own name, even if they have a shared account for most things, so that they can have some amount of money that they have complete control over.

Then there's the "pool it all together and share everything" approach. This is what I and my husband of 23 years and I have done, and it's worked out just fine. We've each made varying amounts of money during our marriage, with him out-earning me by a lot during most of it since I worked part-time from home while the kids were young, but we see the money we earn as the family's money for the most part, so it's not been an issue. If we want to buy something outside of the norm, we talk about it.

That approach works for us because we share the same values around money and are both conscientious about spending. For some people, especially those who have been in relationships where money was used to control or abuse, total sharing might not work. Each couple has to choose what works for them.

The key, as with almost any other aspect of a relationship, is communication. Make clear what you feel is important when it comes to money, and acknowledge that what your partner feels is important carries the same weight. Sometimes you'll have to compromise and sometimes each person will have to concede something.

But whatever you do, don't wait to talk openly and honestly about money matters in a relationship. The girlfriend in the AITA post likely skirted disaster with that boyfriend, as it sounds like he would have been a nightmare to be married to. She's lucky to have found out now what he truly values.

Money isn't everything, but it's a pretty big something in a relationship. Get it figured out early, and you'll save yourself a lot of stress and frustration in the long run.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

True

The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

Keep Reading Show less
via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

Keep Reading Show less
Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

Family

Mom and stepmom become best friends and hope to inspire more togetherness

The "Moms of Tampa" are officially besties and loving it.

Meet the Moms of Tampa, winning hearts online while advocating for healthy co-parenting.

Tiffany Paskas and Megan Stortz, aka the Moms of Tampa, weren’t always the best friends that they are now. The unique story of how they became that way is catching a lot of positive attention and shining a light on how we might rethink co-parenting dynamics after divorce.

Stortz and her ex-husband Mike (married now to Paskas) share custody of their 11-year old son, Michael. At first, like many moms and stepmoms, Stortz and Paskas never spoke to one another.

Paskas explained to local NBC affiliate WFLA, “We just didn’t know it was okay to talk. We were under the impression, being children of divorce, that the ex and the new never intermingle, so it was like, best to stay away. So that’s kind of how we dealt with the first four years.”
Keep Reading Show less

Prior to baby formula, breastfeeding was the norm, but that doesn't mean it always worked.

As if the past handful of years weren't challenging enough, the U.S. is currently dealing with a baby formula crisis.

Due to a perfect storm of supply chain issues, product recalls, labor shortages and inflation, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with formula demand and retailers are rationing supplies. As a result, families that rely on formula are scrambling to ensure that their babies get the food they need.

Naturally, people are weighing in on the crisis, with some throwing out simplistic advice like, "Why don't you just do what people did before baby formula was invented and just breastfeed?"

That might seem logical, unless you understand how breastfeeding works and know a bit about infant mortality throughout human history.

Keep Reading Show less