Oracle of Ybor: When Money Impacts Relationships

LEO is dedicated to bringing you engaging, fun, and unique content that crosses many spectrums. From our sister paper in Tampa, Creative Loafing, we’re happy to share the Oracle of Ybor, written by Caroline DeBruhl. Here you may submit your questions about life, and the tarot will help to guide your answers. 

Got a question for the Oracle? Write to either or DM the Oracle on Instagram @theyboracle.

Dear Oracle, 

In my early 20s, I had an eating disorder. Through therapy/growing up, I was able to stop the most active parts of it, and while some of the thoughts never entirely went away, they were subdued. However, now I’m in my mid-30s, and my body is changing in ways I don’t like. I’m finding those ED thoughts returning and thinking about my old patterns of how I used to lose weight. Any advice on how to navigate these thoughts? 


Cards: Death, Two of Pentacles (rev.), Five of Cups (rev.) 

Dear E,

You have to kill your eating disorder. Brutally, violently, and ideally with the help of an eating disorder therapist. That’s the flat truth of it with the Death card: this has to end, and you need guidance from a professional grim reaper.

We do not live in a society that supports people, especially women, trying to white-knuckle their eating disorder recovery. We just don’t. “Diet culture” has saturated our conversations about health and body size, “diet advice” is rife with tips for disordered eating, and the vast majority of people (from strangers on the internet to concerned friends to non-ED trained therapists/doctors) don’t really know how to talk about eating disorders without saying something fucked up.

It’s a unique disease that requires delicate care, and again, I strongly encourage you to find a therapist or counselor trained to do this kind of work. A recovery support group might also be helpful for you, especially since it can be such an isolating disease.

I do think you’ve been trying to balance this for a long time by yourself. That reversed Two of Pentacles points to you trying to keep your balls in the air. And while I think you’ve done a stand-up job keeping those thoughts subdued. But, as you say, they never quite went away, and I think that’s what this Five of Cups represents.

The Five of Cups is a card that can feel like emotional devastation. In it, there are five chalices of wine, three of which are knocked over. Often, there’s a figure weeping over the spilled wine. In these instances, it can feel like everything is ruined. The wine is spilled; it’s never going back into those cups. Similarly, I wonder if you’ve treated those lingering ED thoughts as something that will always be at the back of your mind.

But the Five of Cups is deceitful. There are still two cups full of wine at the ready. All hope is not lost. I hope that with help, you can eradicate those lingering thoughts and turn away from the spilled wine to the two cups that are still brimming. I don’t know what full recovery would look like to you, but I so hope you’re able to find it. I know it won’t be easy. I know you are going to battle with a powerful adversary but I hope, with help and guidance, that you can strike that fucker dead.  

Godspeed you, darling. 

Dear Oracle, 

I’m concerned right now about money. There are a lot of expenses coming up, and my partner hasn’t been able to bring in as much money as they once did due to job changes. I want to talk to them about it, but I know it’s a very sensitive subject, and I don’t want to hurt their feelings. How should I proceed? 

—Feelin’ Funny About Money 

Cards: King of Wands, Two of Cups, Six of Swords (all reversed.) 

Dear Feelin’,

According to daytime TV, money is the number #1 cause of divorce in America and arguments among couples. I don’t know if that’s backed up by data, but I do know that having wealth is a source of great pride for many people, and lacking it can be a source of shame and stress, so I believe the talk shows.

I want to start with the middle card in the spread, the Two of Cups. You and your partner are equal in the relationship, emotionally speaking. You are both all in and there for each other. This balance is not going to change. However, as many people in long-term relationships can attest to, things like money/labor are rarely equal at all times. You might make more money now, but they might get a better job and out-earn you next year. Someone might get sick and need to take time off, someone might go back to school, etc., etc. It might feel unfair right now, but it won’t last forever.

The Six of Swords is a time of transition —often uncomfortable—that usually involves shedding old ideas and expectations to reach a new future. If this is about your partner’s career, then they are in the process of making some moves. It’ll pay off as long as they stick with it and don’t cave into inertia.

This is all well and good, but how do you speak to them about these issues now when you’re stressed out? You do so as the King of Wands: warmly, encouragingly, and with some light-handed direction. Remember, you two are partners. It’s ok to talk about things that stress you out, and you can acknowledge that your current financial state is less than ideal without blaming your partner for your stress. (Use “I” statements!) It is a sensitive subject, but that doesn’t mean you must keep your thoughts to yourself. Share with your partner—but, you know, tactfully.

If you want them to pursue another avenue of income (part-time job, an additional gig), do so lightly. A couple of suggestions can be helpful. A lot of suggestions that start with “you should” is patronizing. Remember: this is coming from a place of love and equality.

I’m sorry for the stressful time. Hopefully, this is just temporary. It’s a bumpy boat ride for now, but with (tactful) honesty and mutual respect, I think you two can weather this storm.

Best of luck, my dear.

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