Finances: How They Can Cause a Relationship Breakup

On Monday, October, 7, 2013, Farnoosh Torabi posted a video and short article in the Yahoo! Finance section entitled, “Surprising Relationship Dealbreakers”.  She discussed four financial situations that could cause couples to end their relationship.  Because finances play a vital role in how people live their daily lives, they can trigger deep underlying issues that couples may not be consciously aware of, or may not be willing to discuss with each other.

Below are the four financial situations Ms. Torabi discussed, and the possible underlying issues that could be associated with each one:

1.  Low Credit Score

Ms. Torabi referred to a new study by, which found that “about 30% of women and 20% of men surveyed won’t marry someone with a bad score.”  Credit scores these days can significantly affect people’s chances of obtaining a loan, a credit line, and even a job.  A low credit score tends to signify the limitations to a person’s potential financial resources, as well as job and career opportunities.

2.  Lack of Fiscal Responsibility

People become attracted to each other for many reasons, such as physical attributes, similar interests, and compatible family and friends.  However, the financial irresponsibility of one or both partners can lead to constant arguments and to the ultimate demise of a relationship.  A lack of fiscal responsibility can be a red flag for a person’s irresponsibility in other important aspects of life.

3.  High Debt

There is such a thing as “good debt”, particularly when that debt is easily manageable and leads to a significant return on investment.  However, when a person’s debt becomes so high as to become a heavy financial burden, it can cause an irreparable rift between a couple.  Having high debt can prevent people from having “emergency funds”, or from being able to afford even basic necessities, such as food, utilities, and rent or mortgage.  The mere stress of trying to make ends meet on a daily basis could become unbearable — and lead to health problems that could add to the already-heavy financial burden.

4.  Women earning more than their male partner

Ms. Torabi mentioned a 25-year study published in the Journal of Family Issues.  This study found that there was a greater chance of divorce when women earned 60% or more of their family’s income.  Other studies and surveys have shown that women these days still tend to handle more of the child-rearing and housework than their male partners.  Women who are juggling both a career and family may over-extend themselves, in their desire to do well in both areas.  However, the dual responsibilities of being the main breadwinner as well as the main child-rearing parent could be too much for some women to handle.  If they are too busy taking care of others, both at work and at home, then they will probably have little or no time left to take care of themselves too.

Finances are just one of several factors to consider when determining the long-term viability of a relationship.  However, because it has such a significant impact on our daily lives, this topic tends to trigger other deep underlying issues between a couple over here.  Such underlying issues can tend to magnify and exacerbate whatever financial issues the couple is facing.  Therefore, it would be ideal for a couple to start discussing their financial situations with each other, once they mutually decide to start moving toward a long-term committed relationship.

There may be times in your life when you find it difficult or almost impossible to discuss your financial situation with your partner.  During those times, it could be helpful to speak with a licensed family counselor, who can help you figure out the best way to open up the lines of communication with your partner.

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