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How Arguments About Money Hurt Your Relationship (And What You Can Do About It)

Guest Blog from PhD Amy Muise describing research on Money & Relationships

Do you and your partner argue about money? Maybe you disagree about how to spend your money – one wants to save for a down payment on a house while the other wants spend the money on a European vacation. Perhaps one partner makes more money than the other and it is difficult to fairly divide the household expenses. Or maybe one of you follows a strict budget and gets annoyed when the other doesn’t keep track of spending. Or perhaps you and your partner disagree about if and how to merge your money.

If any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Financial issues are one of the common sources of conflict in romantic relationships.1 In fact, a recent study, found that arguments about money are linked to how happy people feel in their relationships. People who reported arguing often about money with their partner were 2.5 times more likely to be dissatisfied in their relationship than people who reported sometimes or hardly ever arguing about money.2

The good news is that improving how you and your partner communicate about money may increase your relationship satisfaction. Couples who are able to come to an agreement about finances before getting married, moving in together, or buying a place together are more likely to have higher satisfaction throughout their relationship. See this previous post about how to talk to your partner about finances before sharing a mortgage (and follow the link to take a quiz with your partner about your approaches to money).

1Risch, G. S., Riley, L. A., & Lawler, M. G. (2003). Problematic issues in the early years of marriage: Content for premarital education. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 31(3), 253-269.

2Britt, S. L. & Huston, S. J. (2012). The role of money argument in marriage. Journal of Family Economic Issues, 33, 464-476.

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