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Money disputes blamed for marital conflict

24 March 2017

iSTOCK

MONEY is the main cause of arguments between couples in the UK, and trust is the most important factor that people look for in a rela­tionship, a new survey on marriage and relationships has suggested.

The data, published in It Takes Two: The quality of the UK’s adult couple relationships, on Wednesday, was taken from the fourth annual report, The Way We Are Now, conducted by YouGov between June and July last year in partnership with the charities Relate, Relation­ships Scotland, and Marriage Care.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of the more than 5000 people sur­veyed online for the report listed financial worries as the main tension in their relationship, followed by misunderstanding (20 per cent), differing sex-drives (19 per cent), lack of work-life balance (17 per cent), and different interests (16 per cent). Also on the list were mental-health issues, extra-marital affairs, childcare, time spent online, pol­it­ical opinions, drug and alcohol use, and pornography.

A marriage counsellor at Relate, Arabella Russell, said that “despite the promise of economic recovery, money worries are still placing a significant strain on our relation­ships. We see in the counselling room every day how much conflict [that] money can cause in rela­tion­ships; so knowing how to manage your finances together is important for heading off arguments.”

The director of client services at Marriage Care, Jenny Porter, said that the data was “unsurprising”, given that money affects so many aspects of everyday life. Couples usually argued over finances because of “very different spending habits” and priorities, she said; but trust, compromise, flexibility, and good communication were “key” to resolving these conflicts.

More women identified trust (70 per cent) and communication (57 per cent) as the most important factor in a relationship than men (62 per cent and 48 per cent, respect­ively) in the report. But trust and communication were still top of the list, on average, above commitment, shared values, and personality.

A quarter of those surveyed said that they were in a “distressed” relationship because of children, poor health, or low incomes, and one in ten occasionally regretted entering into their marriage or civil partnership.

For more information visit www.relate.org.uk/policy-campaigns/our-campaigns/way-we-are-now-2017.

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