Arguing More Than Normal? Our Relationships Are Being Wrecked By Financial Stress

Does your partner know how much you earn?
Seem familiar? You're not alone.
bymuratdeniz via Getty Images
Seem familiar? You're not alone.

I don’t know anyone who isn’t feeling the brunt of the cost of living crisis right now. Rising energy and food bills have caused people to completely re-evaluate their relationship with money - and with their partners.

As Brits continue to deal with the cost of living crisis, relationships are being challenged.

From the cost of the weekly food shop to spending on extras such as nights out, money problems are one of the most common causes of strain in a relationship.

A new study by credit card brand Aqua surveyed UK couples to uncover the financial topics causing the most friction in relationships, and how the cost of living crisis is impacting them.

And it turns out many of us are struggling to chat about our struggles. Around two-fifths believe talking to their partner about changing spending habits due to the cost of living crisis is a tricky topic.

35% of Brits have admitted that the cost of living crisis has put a strain on their romantic relationship while a further 28% stated that it has led them to argue about finances more frequently.

Interestingly, women are most likely to hide how much they spend on clothes and accessories, whilst men are most likely to hide how much they spend on socialising.

Speaking about money in any capacity can be awkward but it could help alleviate issues in your relationship.

Mairead Molloy, a relationship consultant, and strategist shares her top tips on how best how to communicate about finances in a relationship:

Consider whether you want to fully combine your finances

“There are some good reasons not to combine, or at least not fully combine finances. If one of you has significant savings or significant debts, it could very well be worth it to not share bank accounts.”

“If you divorce and your savings are in a joint account, your spouse could get half of that. What you could do is keep your own account - but open a joint account for household bills and special projects, such as holidays, house renovations, etc.”

Always have your own account

“It’s absolutely critical, especially for women, that you keep money in an account that’s yours that you control.”

“Nearly 50% of marriages end and often the woman sees the biggest impact financially in divorce. So it’s good to have your own investment account, your own emergency account, and your own credit score.”

Create a budget depending on earning capacity

“You can keep a joint account, or a “we account”, in which you can together save money for shared expenses like rent, bills, insurance, taxes, and food, as well as large purchases that you’re saving for as a team.”

“Whether you’re in a brand new relationship or you’ve been committed for a while, take some time to sit down with your partner and talk through your feelings about money,” Molloy says.

Molloy continues: “you and your partner should have equal say (and equal power) in financial decisions. Couples often seek therapy when there is an imbalance in the relationship — sometimes a partner who makes more money believes they should have more say in decisions. Other times the person who is more anxious or frugal about money gets more say.”