Relationships are hard. The hardness of relationships is about as constant a property of the universe as gravity pulling things toward the ground and crows always cawing the loudest when they’re right outside your window and you’re trying to sleep. The pitfalls are endless – infidelity, jealousy, stubbornness, uncleanliness, inconsiderate remarks, forgotten birthdays, backhanded compliments, family squabbles, uneven childcare burdens, and on, and on, and on. There are so many rocks for a relationship to founder upon that it’s kind of miraculous that they work out at all. But there’s one giant boulder that destroys more Love Ships than any other hazard in the sea: money.
A new, huge survey undertaken by U.K. couples counseling centers has revealed that money problems are the single largest relationship stressor. The centers (Relate, Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care) surveyed 5,000 people about the problems in their relationships. And while their answers were many, money stood head and shoulders above the rest as the most common, and most serious, obstacle to happiness.
26% of people surveyed claimed that finances were the biggest problem in their relationship. Not understanding each other, differences in sex drive, and uneven work-life balance followed behind.
According to the survey, the longer a couple has been a couple, the more likely they are to fight about money.
Jenny Porter, a counselor at Marriage Care, said of the survey results in a press release,
“Usually, when couples argue over money, it is because both individuals have very different spending habits. For example, one person may be more risk-averse and want to put more money away for retirement, while the other person may be more focused on spending for today. Although many couples find it awkward to talk about finances, it is essential to talk things through together to ensure both partners are on the same wavelength and to prevent problems from escalating.”
Hashing out a budget is not exactly shrimp scampi over wine and candles. But it might be even more necessary. If you haven’t had a conversation with your significant other about money, it might not be a bad idea. Unless you’re on a first date. In which case, maybe wait until the second.
Money has the power to destroy relationships, friendships and even families. Having enough money is quite literally a life-and-death proposition, so it’s understandable that people would get touchy over it. Don’t let money overpower your emotional bonds with other people.