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What to Do When in Financial Hardship and How It Impacts Relationships

A couple figuring out what to do when in financial hardship.
Money plays a vital role in the relationship. Figure out together what to do when in financial hardship to avoid potential strains on your bond.

Struggling with financial matters?

That’s something most of us experience. Whether rich or poor, at some point, we get caught up with some money issues. And whether you admit it or not, financial hardship greatly affects your relationship, regardless of how strong your bond may seem. But is money really the problem? Or is it how we approach money that causes the problem?

According to a Wealth of Geeks and Credit.com study, almost a quarter of all couples break up due to financial crises. It was also found that couples are 10 times more likely to break up because of economic issues, according to another survey conducted by Policygenius, an insurance site.

So, what is it about money problems that makes it such a potential relationship killer?

We’ve been told that love or chemistry alone is not enough to make a relationship work. Another factor to the equation is how you handle money as a couple. It’s not because money can buy love; rather money management is part of growing as a couple. Money is important—it helps to provide financial security, which can reduce stress and allow couples to focus on other aspects of the relationship. It can help pay for dates, gifts, and experiences.

But when money and the issues surrounding money become the focus, that’s when the relationship starts to crumble.

Whether it’s a temporary financial hardship or a difference in beliefs about spending and saving, these can be a source of tension and disagreements. And much worse, they might mean a potential end to the relationship.

If you’re undergoing financial stress as a couple, this article is made for you. We’ll try to provide valuable insights into the impact of financial stress on a relationship, and what to do when in financial hardship.

How Financial Stress Impacts Relationships

Financial stress can significantly contribute to the many problems of couples. It can lead to arguments, resentment, and even break-ups or divorce. If not addressed right away, it can even affect friends, colleagues, and family as well.

A couple discussing their temporary financial hardship.
If you work together with an open mind, you can overcome your temporary financial hardship.

Here are some ways in which financial stress can impact relationships:

  1. More fighting

    The simple stress of being in debt or struggling to pay the bills will lead couples to argue about everything—even simple matters like who will wash the dishes or take care of the kids.

  2. You being to resent each other

    In most households, one partner earns more than the other and likely carries greater financial burden. If there is disagreement about how to spend the money, or if one individual mismanages the finances, this can lead to bitterness, anger, and resentment, particularly from the higher-earning individual.

  3. You become emotionally distant

    Couples undergoing financial crises tend to slowly drift away from each other. They may be tired of struggling financially that they don’t have time to connect with each other on an emotional level. They may also be busy worrying about money to spend time together.

  4. Decreased intimacy

    Along with becoming emotionally distant is the decreased lack of both emotional and physical intimacy. You can imagine that if a woman gets tired of waiting for a man to get financially stable, she will be less inclined to intimately open herself to him.

  5. Increased possibility of breakup and divorce

    Financial hardship is one of the leading causes of divorce. Money is an extremely sensitive topic even among seasoned couples. The inability to resolve money issues can take its toll on the relationship to the point of separation.

How to Overcome Financial Crises in a Relationship

When things get a little too hard to handle, it’s time to do something. Like most deep-set relationship issues, open communication with your partner is crucial.

If you want to overcome this problem, here are things you should consider doing:

  1. Communicate openly and honestly about your financial situation.

    How do honesty and openness when you’re in the middle of a personal financial crisis help? Understand that it’s difficult to solve any financial problem when you don’t know the full extent of it. Are you aware of how much savings and debt you both have? Do you have bank accounts that you keep secret from each other? Are you on the same page regarding your spending habits?

    It’s vital that each couple sit down and openly talk about everything when it comes to money. Understandably, money is a sensitive topic. You may have fears, concerns, emotional baggage, or a strong philosophy about money. If you value your relationship moving forward, don’t keep each other in the dark and flesh all of these out in a serious dialogue.

  2. Set financial goals together.

    Two is better than one, as they say. Working together to overcome financial challenges will lighten up the load of the burden. By pooling their resources, ideas, and efforts, couples can better face their financial struggles and find practical solutions.

    Couples who set financial goals together give themselves the chance to be satisfied with each other and can avoid resentment. Money issues don’t always stem from a lack of money, but rather from how a partner views the spending habits of the other partner. You could be making decent money but end up feeling broke because your partner doesn’t approve of you spending on the things that you want. When you set financial goals, you can discuss how much you can spend at your own discretion.

  3. A couple deliberating about their financial mismanagement issue.
    Financial mismanagement can create tension and disagreements in a relationship.
  4. Create a budget plan.

    Plan how you will spend your income and pay your existing debts. This will help you to track your income and expenses. It will also help you to see where your money is going and to make changes if necessary.

  5. Find ways to reduce your expenses.

    Forget the wants and focus on the needs. Let go of unnecessary spending, cancel subscriptions, or find cheaper alternatives. Decide on what’s urgent and what can be set aside. This way, you will learn how to spend your money wisely.

  6. Seek professional help as needed.

    If you are struggling with financial mismanagement, it’s good advice to seek help from professional financial advisors who can offer solutions to what you’re going through in terms of finances.

  7. Be patient and understanding.

    It’s not easy to overcome financial crises. It will take time and effort. It’s crucial to work together rather than treat each other as the enemy. Be patient with yourself and your partner.

Love or Money

Love or money? It may resemble a question from a beauty contest, but the answer isn’t always straightforward. Love and money both have their place in a functional relationship. Love provides us with a sense of purpose and belongingness, while money gives us security and allows us to achieve many of our goals.

But when you are faced with trials, which would you choose?

According to a survey conducted by Money and SurveyMonkey on the topics of romance and finances, over 50% of the participants chose to have $1 million annually for the remainder of their lives rather than discover true love.

Does this speak to the elevated materialism of today’s generation, or has wealth simply overtaken love and relationships in our list of priorities? Perhaps this is why a significant number of couples decide to give up the relationship when they are tired of struggling with money.

Or maybe they aren’t mutually exclusive, and becoming financially secure or overcoming financial hardship as a couple isn’t simply a function of skill or management, but rather a consequence of a couple’s unwavering love for each other.

Financial hardship can strain a relationship, but it can also reveal the true essence of love. When you stand together and support each other through tough times, you can forge a love that withstands the test of time.

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