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Signs Your Relationship May Be Under Financial Stress

We hear it all the time…one of the main causes of divorce is money. It’s not necessarily the money itself that causes it but the behaviors around money that create tension in relationships. This tension can cause too much strain over time and result in divorce. Therefore, it’s best to be able to recognize signs ahead of time that you or your spouse may be under financial stress. 

Signs of Financial Stress in Relationships

  1. You never talk about it. If you find yourself or your partner avoiding conversations about money and that you’re not wanting to open up at all when it comes to money, you are likely under financial stress. 
  2. Financial abuse. Do you or your spouse control all of the finances and have the other person under your thumb? This is a telltale sign that there’s some financial stress in your relationship.
  3. Secrets are being kept. You are absolutely stressed about finances if you or your spouse have secrets about money. It doesn’t matter if you’re hiding that you spent $10 for lunch or made a purchase for a few hundred dollars, a secret is a secret and it’s not good for any relationship.
  4. Hiding bills. Speaking of keeping secrets, if you’re hiding bills because you don’t want your spouse to get upset about them, you’re in a dangerous spot. Many people hide bills, like credit card bills, because it shows purchases made. If it’s likely that a spouse will get upset about those purchases, they become a secret and the bills that divulge those secrets get hidden. 
  5. You think your partner is a jerk about money. Is your partner constantly asking things like “How can you spend money on that?” or “How can you not be saving money?”? If so, you may think your partner is a jerk and not want to approach them about money.
  6. Not looking at your finances together. If you find it hard to understand where one another is coming from as it relates to spending and saving or financial goals in general, you may just opt to not sit down and talk about money at all. This is problematic because there needs to be communication about money in every relationship.  
  7. Not opening mail. Do you find that both of you avoid the mail because you don’t want to face the bills that may be coming in? Avoidance is common when under financial stress.
  8. Not sleeping at night. Things like not being able to talk to your spouse or letting bills pile up can easily cause you stress. You may not realize that they are until you’re unable to sleep at night. In a relationship, one person or both partners not sleeping can be a sign that there is financial stress in the relationship.
  9. Avoiding change. Are you comfortable being uncomfortable? Often times, when we are under stress, we don’t want to take any kind of an action because it becomes too much for us. Therefore, we avoid change and moving forward. 
  10. Overspending. Many people overspend because it’s easier to spend the money than to sit down and create a plan for the money. If this is you or your spouse, it may be that there is too much stress around money to face it. 

Ways to Overcome Financial Stress in Relationships

If you feel like one or many of these signs are prevalent in your relationship, we have a few suggestions that may help you out.

  1. Determine each person’s approach to money. Chances are that the two of you do not approach money the same. The saying is true, opposites do attract so one of you may be a spender and the other a saver. One may have an abundant mindset around money and the other a scarcity mindset. Regardless of what it is, it’s important that you determine what your approaches are so you can better understand one another. A financial coach can help you determine this as well as your money behaviors. 
  2. Learn to use non-confrontational language. When you can communicate about money without seeming like you’re putting blame on your partner, conversations will go much smoother and you will find that you each open up more to one another. Then, needed conversations can be had and you can work together as a team to accomplish your financial goals. 
  3. Determine what the real fear is. Money has no emotion. It doesn’t care if it’s a 1 or a 4, it just is. As humans, we bring the emotions around money. So, start to look inside and determine why you have certain emotions around money. 
  4. Sit down one time per week with one another for 15 minutes. Use this time to discuss how the week went with money and where you can improve. This is not a time to blame or question the other person but to evaluate what you did and how you can make a positive change.