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Coping with Financial Pressure in a Relationship

Financial Pressure. Money is a contentious issue at the best of times. Whether it’s austerity measures hitting the headlines, funding cuts or the growing population of people becoming street homeless, money has a lot to answer for. Statistics published in September 2019 showed a 14.3% increase in debt enquiries handled by Citizens Advice compared to last year. They also revealed how1:

• On average, households suffer from £59,441 worth of debt (including mortgages). Per adult it was calculated as £31,284 – around 110.7% of average earnings
• It takes an average of 26 years and 7 months to pay off most credit card debt when making the minimum payment per month
• 340 people a day were declared insolvent or bankrupt between April and June 2019. That’s one person every 4 minutes and 14 seconds
• 68 mortgage possession claims and 44 mortgage possession orders were made every day in England and Wales from April to June 2019
• People in the UK owed £1,650 billion at the end of August 2019

With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that 46% of people in problem debt are also experiencing mental health problems.2 Money affects all aspects of our lives. It’s transactional by nature, and the impact it has when we no longer have enough to support ourselves without borrowing from family, friends or banks can be devastating. Debt has lasting consequences and impacts your ability to live well and free from stress. There is also a direct link to money worries and relationship issues. A 2017 study by relationship charity, Relate, revealed that money worries caused the biggest strain on relationships, with over a quarter of adults (26%) putting it at the top of their list.3

Help is available

For debt

Although it can be isolating and humiliating, there are several resources that can help you manage your finances. Organisations such as Turn2Us, Charis, The Money Advice Service, National Debtline and StepChange all offer various support tools for managing money and debt, with judgement-free advice and help to alleviate the weight of financial pressure. They can also help you in terms of budgeting better, and even work out payment plans with your creditors so you can pay off the debt over time.

For you

If you’re struggling with your mental health, there are plenty of services you can reach out to, such as Mind.org. Although it can feel embarrassing discussing your concerns, remember that you’re not alone. Talking through your feelings with family or friends can also be cathartic and helpful. It’s okay to admit you’re struggling. Most people have been in the same position and will be able to understand your worries. Sharing your concerns will help alleviate the emotional weight and stop you feeling alone. Afterall, a problem shared is a problem halved.

However, if that isn’t an option for you, the NHS offer several resources and advice to support you through this difficult period in your life. Make an appointment with your GP if you’re still feeling particularly low after a few weeks. Therapy and sometimes medication can get you back on your feet and ready to take the best steps towards a financial resolution, whether that’s a new job, a budget plan, or debt relief options.

For both of you

If money worries are affecting your relationship, charities such as Relate can offer counselling to help you both understand each other’s perspective. As one of the top reasons for issues in relationships, it’s important to recognise that the rift money causes doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is doomed. With healthy communication and understanding, things can get better and put you both on the same page. Remember that you are a team; relationships are about give and take, a willingness to be open and communicative – and if you have shared responsibilities – a key factor for determining a healthy dynamic. Independence and financial autonomy is healthy for you and your relationship, but we all struggle at times and need extra support. Work out a plan together and stick to it so there’s no resentment further down the line.

Coping with financial pressure in a relationship can be difficult and painful, but utilising the resources available allows you to move forward in a proactive, healthy and financially viable way.

For further information on how to cope with money worries, visit our help page here.

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 References
  1. The Money Charity. The Money Statistics October 2019. Source link: https://themoneycharity.org.uk/money-statistics/
  2. Money and Mental Health. The Facts. Source link: https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/money-and-mental-health-facts/
  3. Relate.org. Leading relationships charities lift the lid on couple relationships int he UK. Source link: https://www.relate.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/2017/3/13/money-top-strain-relationships

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