A couple discussing finances in a modern living room

The Effects of Financial Troubles on a Relationship

The role of money in relationships is often stigmatized. For example, many women who allegedly marry a rich person are pejoratively labeled ‘gold diggers.’ This obscures the importance of money in a relationship. While money doesn’t necessarily create a happy relationship, it is crucial to one. Food, shelter, utilities, entertainment, and much more depend on money.

Continue reading to see how financial troubles may affect your relationship.

Mental Health

Mental health has an inversely correlated relationship with economic hardship. As people face more hardships, their mental health declines. Researchers studying the Great Recession (2008 housing crisis), for example, found that married individuals facing adversity also had more disagreements with their partners.

The effects of economic hardship on an individual aren’t hard to imagine. If you’re uncertain about whether you’ll have a place to stay or a meal to eat the next day, you’ll be very stressed. These effects are also generalizable to relationships. Both partners will be stressed, and this stress will likely cause conflicts. If mismanaged, these could cause your relationship to deteriorate.

Debt and Stress

The kind and date of debt will affect who’s responsible for the debt. For example, if you’ve taken student loans before getting married, your spouse doesn’t have to bear your debt. This can reduce conflicts and may even provide a support network to help you through the process.

Debts taken after marriage are borne by both spouses, although the arrangements may differ. In California, all debts and property acquired after marriage are borne by both spouses, regardless of arrangement. If you don’t have a plan to deal with this debt, the stress of repayment will likely worsen your relationship.

Financial Arrangements and Conflicts

A worried woman being comforted by another person

Financial troubles don’t only mean a lack of money. These troubles can include how your money is spent or where it comes from. Your relationship’s financial arrangements can also lead to conflicts.

If you’ve taken on a lot of debt with your partner, accusations of ‘spending too much’ or ‘not earning enough’ may follow. These conflicts can eventually devolve into abuse.

Your financial arrangements can lead to abuse in other ways too. If you’re a married female breadwinner, for example, you’re also more prone to facing abuse from your husband.

Saving your relationship from financial troubles requires effort on two fronts. Firstly, you should devise a plan to alleviate your financial troubles. Secondly, you should seek relationship counseling to either help you through these trying times or work on disagreements regarding your finances. Relationship counseling seeks to remedy this through improved communication.

If you’re in Palo Alto, California, contact me at Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling. My name is Azizeh Rezaiyan. I’m a couples therapist, and I can help you cross the hurdles in your relationship.

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