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When Is It OK for One Partner to Spend More Money in the Relationship?

The Real Housewives of Orange County's Kelly Dodd is all over Steve Lodge and his finances.

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Vicki Gunvalson Defends Her Love for Steve
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Steve Lodge was under the money spotlight on The Real Housewives of Orange County after Kelly Dodd made a claim that Vicki Gunvalson's boyfriend has his sights set on her money and not her heart. Ouch. 

Vicki not only addressed the accusations against her man on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen (in the clip above) but also in her cast blog, writing:

"Steve and I are very happy and have been together two and a half years. We love each other very much, and we don't have to prove it to any of these women. The fact that Kelly and Tamra are now spreading rumors he’s only with me for my money is laughable. Steve has his own money, and I have my own money. It’s such a hypocritical statement coming out of Kelly’s mouth, because she is the one who said she will only date a man if he has money," she wrote. "That’s not me. I could care less about what the size of anyone’s pocketbook is, and furthermore how does she know how much money we have? She doesn’t, so she is completely out of line (again!)."

Things get even worse between the RHOC ladies after Kelly reminds Tamra Judge (while at the foot doctor), that Steve is only using Vicki for her money, reveals he doesn’t own his house (much to Tamra’s surprise) and had to move in with his “mommy” when he and Vicki broke up, temporarily.

Well, Tamra then reports back to Vicki that Kelly is spreading more in-depth details about Steve's financial sitch, and now everyone is fighting about Steve and his money (or lack thereof.)

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In Kelly Dodd's Book, Vicki Gunvalson's Boyfriend Is a Bad Guy
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It's a very fine line when a friend butts in over money in a relationship. Personal Space turned to a financial advisor and an etiquette coach for advice on who should spend what. Here is what they had to say:

Diane Gottsman, National Etiquette Expert and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, says the old rule of the male being the primary person who always pays is antiquated.

"Relationships have evolved with the times and so have the rules," she says. In any relationship, comfort, communication and respect are all key factors."

As for etiquette, the rule is, "the person who invites also pays and tips," says Gottsman, "however, when you are in a relationship with another person there is nothing wrong with offering to pay, taking turns paying, or figuring out a situation that works for that particular relationship."

"Certainly, if one person makes a great deal more money and their tastes are more extravagant, it would be fitting for them to offer to cover the cost of the pricey outing," she adds. 

But the amount of money one makes is not always the factor, Gottsman explains. 

"Pride, and even tradition, in some people's minds plays a part as well. The bottom line is open communication. Feel free to offer if you would like to pay and allow the other person to except or decline. It’s in good taste and certainly good manners to offer to contribute when you are in a long-term relationship. In a marriage or when funds are combined, there is usually an unwritten agreement or that has been established."

When things become unfair financially is when the money relationship is lopsided. "When one person is expected to pay over and over again without even an attempt of reciprocity, it would be understandable that the other person may feel taken advantage of. Don’t ever let it get to that," Gottsman says. 

Douglas A. Boneparth, CFP, founder of Bone Fide Wealth in New York City, says you and your partner have to talk it out when it comes to spending habits. 

"There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to paying more for something," he says. "It comes down to a number of factors, but really it’s about communication. For example, what’s the couple’s understanding when it comes to money? It’s only unfair when expectations aren’t met because a discussion never took place. One person making more money than the other generally dictates the balance, but not always. I urge all people to have healthy conversations about money with their partner. This can lead to healthier financial relationships."

Think you're being used for your cash supply? There are some red flags to look for, reports Bustle

Being secretive about money, hiding debt, a credit card addiction, out of control spending, late bill paying, bad credit, controlling their partner's money, not wanting to ever talk about money, and bad money values are all red flags. 

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