For Your Broken Heart, Consider a Breakup Budget

I was surprised, then, when Dr. Rick, who studies money in relationships, discouraged a breakup budget — at least in the way I had conceived it, which would be a fund that I would contribute to over the duration of a relationship.

“When you have a backup plan, you try less hard at the thing you’re doing,” he said.

He clarified that he was not opposed to breakups or divorces, and that he agreed that some relationships should crumble. He would support a breakup fund, he said, “if it’s something that you and your friends decide on when you’re 18 and you’re not actively in a long-term relationship, like, ‘Oh, this is something we should do in the future if we ever have breakups.’ I don’t think it’s good to do three months into a relationship.”

I agreed that it might be a sign of trouble if someone began financing their breakup haircut one fiscal quarter into a new romance. There was something perversely optimistic, however, about creating a breakup fund before I had even begun a relationship. I had gathered, from long hours spent among the sages of Reddit in recent weeks, that being open to disappointment is a key component of moving on from a relationship.

In Qapital, a personal finance app that connects to your bank account and automatically deposits money into various “goals” whenever, for instance, you shop at Sephora, I set up a recurring weekly deposit of $5 into a breakup fund. I don’t check the app often, so I hope to forget about it until a post-breakup Glossier splurge reminds me that there is a piggy bank to be smashed.

My month of excesses, particularly a bowl of ceviche I ate on a beach in Mexico next to one of my loved ones, really did make me feel better about my breakup. At least, I spent so much money preparing my mind and body to sidle back into dating that I felt committed to doing so.

But I could have done without the guilt and the months of asceticism that it will take to stabilize my finances. Next time — but hopefully there won’t be a next time — I’ll be better prepared.

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