Is Your Trading Creating Conflict Between You and Your Partner?

Allen looked quizzically at the charts on his monitors. For the fourth time today, he had been stopped out and he had only taken five trades. But he smiled to himself despite the four losses because he knew that he had traded this entire session “as” a winner (meaning that he had planned every trade, had traded every plan and he had followed all of his rules – explicitly). He knew that he had achieved a private victory today as he also realized that it was critically important to approach his trading one day and one trade at a time. He had learned that trading requires 100% of his attention in order to focus intently on what matters most in the trade, and that to do that, he had to remain in the moment, for the moment, fully available, fully present and in the “now” of the trade while resonating with objective reality. He felt good about his effort and knew that as long as he created consistency in mastering the trading process (continually building his skill levels, documenting his mechanical data and internal data, and following through with his commitments), that he would build greater capacity for strength and endurance in the trade.

But there was a fly in the ointment. Carol, his wife and as well her family, chided Allen for doing what they thought was gambling and took every opportunity to tell him so; especially when he had small losses like today. Additionally, Carol felt that he was not only wasting his time, but she felt angry as she considered that the money Allen used to trade with could be better applied to other family needs and investments. Allen felt dismayed by Carol’s lack of support and frequent hostility and dreaded the arguments that ensued, which disrupted their otherwise happy relationship. He wanted to keep the peace, but he also really loved trading and believed in his ability to succeed.

If you are experiencing similar discord in your relationship due to a misalignment of attitudes about your trading, or if your issue is related more to the negative comments of family and/or friends due to their disapproval, then that is a different concern, but it requires the same response. It is time to have an open and honest dialogue about the issue and you must be willing to listen. Here are some ways to approach this conversation. These points, in part, come from my friend Stanley Wachs, Ph.D., a communications consultant. Let’s review Allen’s options:

1. Allen should make an appointment to meet with Carol and anyone else in the family who disparages his trading. In this face-to-face meeting, he should look her in the eye and say, “I need to talk with you about a difficult issue.” Then he should pause briefly. Wachs points out that these initial words are important. “He is not saying he wants to ‘chat’ with her; he is not saying that Carol or anyone else is a difficult person, or suggesting that she is only interested in herself; he is not saying he is angry. He is simply saying he needs to talk with her about a difficult issue.”

2. After this initial statement, Allen should “say what he sees.” This step includes stating in a factual way what he has observed. For example, “You have not asked me to show you what my trading entails and you have called my trading ‘gambling.’ Additionally, you have looked away and walked away when I have attempted to bring this up in the past. This affects my ability to communicate positively with you.” Allen should again pause briefly after this statement. Wachs notes that it’s important to be forthright in describing both the behavior and the impact of the behavior. “Don’t be judgmental or offer an opinion about why she looked away or walked away.” State your observations, but don’t assign motivations to the behavior you have observed.

3. The next step is for Allen to acknowledge his role in the situation or his reservations about the topic. For example, “I didn’t bring this up before because I thought the situation would change,” or “I held back from speaking to you sooner because I was new to trading.”

4. An optional step at this point is for Allen to state the good intentions of Carol. For example, he might say, “I know you want the best for us financially,” or “You are really good at coming up with ideas for us to do better financially.” If, however, Allen’s honest view is that Carol really doesn’t care, or he can’t make a positive statement in good faith, he should skip this step.

5. Next, Allen should ask Carol for her thoughts. “How do you see it?” or “Do you see the situation differently?” Wachs stresses that at this point, it’s essential to be genuinely prepared to listen and understand the other’s point of view. “He must not debate or argue, but hear her side fully, without interrupting her. He must listen deeply and curiously, abandoning control about how he sees it. She may be angry with him for bringing it up. She may say she hasn’t been well. She may say she’s has looked away or walked away because she thought he was selfish. Allen doesn’t know what Carol will say and must not try to control it. His job is to hear her emotions and her passions — as well as the content.”

6. After Carol has stated her perspective, Allen should summarize what he has heard and compare their two views of her behavior about his trading.

7. Finally, Allen should ask Carol what it would take for her to support his trading more fully. He should explore with her what needs to change or what she needs in order to partner with him in his trading, or to be okay with his trading, which is very important to him. Allen should work with her to create solutions that will address her needs and his concerns.

Even in a relationship, individuals have the right to express themselves through endeavors that they love, especially if, of course, they are positive, growth-oriented and have the potential of enriching the unit. And, it’s important to approach the conflict in a proactive, positive and respectful way… Just the way you would want your partner to approach you. This is still an aspect of your mental game. Remember, it’s all in your head.

Happy Trading,

Dr Woody Johnson can be contacted by email at Dr Woody Johnson

Dr. M. Woodruff Johnson (known as "Woody") is the author of "From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader". He has actively and successfully traded stock options, forex and futures for around 10 years. He was a former Executive Director of the Kaiser Permanente, Watts Counseling and Learning Center and holds certificates in Accelerated Learning, Neurosensory Development and hypnotherapy as well as others. He is dedicated to helping others achieve their goals and get the results in trading and life that they desire.

Dr. M. Woodruff Johnson (known as "Woody") is the author of "From Pain to Profit: Secrets of the Peak Performance Trader". He has actively and success...


Legendary member
This Psych-101 Stuff Gets Everywhere

The reason for that is that it's a lot easier to write about the soft sciences than hard ones. Which is why the majority of articles presented for our review are all the same flavour of over generalised apply-to-all aspects of your life and it will work out just fine drivel like this.

My guess is ‘Carol’ wouldn’t give a sh|t if it was gambling, trading, gun running or any other of a million other ways to generate income as long as the money is coming in. There’s the rub.

If ‘Allen’ was consistently profitable, they’d be playing with each others navels – not gazing into them.

Still, if the trading doesn’t work out, he can always become a trading psychology writer.

Mr. Charts

Legendary member
It's a peculiarly American thing to assign names to fictitious characters when writing articles about the peripheral aspects of trading. They also seem to constantly allude to sporting metaphors.
Why is it so annoying to English readers? Perhaps because it's so childish, like reading primers for the under threes.

For me, the harder and more analytical and informative the article the better, rather than this soft underbelly or navel gazing stuff.

Mr. Charts

Legendary member
Anyway, who the hell needs someone else to tell them what to say to their spouse/partner ?
Are we really so emotionally immature to have to be told?


Senior member
The article's Yukspeak trading advice is of no help unless you have an understanding, intelligent and reasonable partner in which case you wouldn't need the advice anyway! In the situation described, you can't trade properly so the solution is to get rid of either your partner or your trading.

Mrs 0007 doesn't need or want to understand or interfere with my trading but appreciates the benefits; likewise me with her kitchen.

Mr. Charts

Legendary member
"I need to talk with you about a difficult issue." Tried that :cry: - the bruise hasn't quite faded yet.

You should never have told your wife about her ;)


Junior member
Many, many men have ended up getting divorced for working too hard. the wife sees it not as being a good provider but as a personal challenge to herself and its ego based.


Legendary member
supposing he is wrong and is a Gambler ?

the Family have a point - if 95% of traders lose money then they are correct to challenge him and show concern !!

and I also believe that a Demo trader moving to real dollars will fail if they are lying in anyway to themselves and their family....this is not a 9-5 steady job with a bonus and pension plan....its trading

I believe that relationships can only survive where the Trader was sucessfully trading before the relationship began least there is a track record to build the trust on....



Junior member
Must make a choice....

Trader needs to determine what he really want to do. Sometimes your personal goals may conflict with the goals of the rest of your family. So the trader needs to decide what is more important.



I make a living trading full time, I quit working 3 years ago after my life to date trading profits exceeded my life to date income from working by a good margin, In the past three years I have made a very healthy income, it allows my wife to be a stay at home mum with a full time helper and pays for our child to attend a good private school, my wife wants for nothing. However she sees what I do as messing about on the internet in my office and is very derogatory of what I do to all our friends, it causes a real strain and she wants me to go back out to work, her attitude annoys the hell out of me as I see that I am fully providing for my family but get nothing but insults in return ....