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What your attitude to money says about your relationship

AOL Money UK AOL Money UK 29/01/2016 Sarah Coles
Couple mad at each other in their living room © Provided by AOL Inc. Couple mad at each other in their living room

Forget declarations of undying love this Valentine's Day: if you want to know the true state of your relationship, a new report claims you should consider how you and your other half talk about money - and how you deal with the joint finances.

TD Waterhouse delved into how couples handle their finances, how they talk about it, how they spend their money - and how they feel about how the other partner spends money. The result was a very clear picture about how happy couples and unhappy couples differ when it comes to money.

Talk about it

The vast majority of people in the survey said it was important to talk about money - 94% said it was key. However, those in difficult relationships struggled to bring it up.

The research found that happy couples talk about money at least once a week, while one in ten of those who think their relationship is probably on shaky ground talk about it less than once a week.

Happy couples are also more likely to make major financial decisions together. Some 78% of those who consider their relationship to be happy say they would always consult one another about big financial issues. By contrast, only 64% of unhappy couples do.

If you struggle to bring up money issues, it's worth pointing out that rowing about money is not a disaster for a relationship. Even 14% of those who are happy in their relationship end up rowing about money at least once a week, so you shouldn't be afraid of starting difficult conversations.

Of course, on the flip side, the unhappier people are with their other half, the more frequent these cash rows are. Almost two in three of all people who are unhappy in their relationship row about money at least once a week.


Some of the tension in these unhappy couples seems to come from the idea that their other half is wasting money. While a third are happy that their other half doesn't overspend, a quarter says they spend too much on their hobbies, a third say they overspend on clothes, and another third say they squander money on eating out. Happy couples, meanwhile, are far less likely to be worried about their other half's spending. Some 43% say they don't waste money on anything.

Then there's the question of the kids. Some 36% of people who are in a happy relationship say they spoil their kids by spending too much on them. Those who are unhappy are far less likely to do so, but far more likely to think their other half does.

There is also tension around who pays the most for every-day expenses. Some 39% of those who are unhappy in their relationship think they pay the lion's share of the bills - compared to just 23% of those who are happy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study also found that happy couples were also more likely to spend more on each other on Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas.

What comes first?

What the research doesn't show is what came first. We might be seeing couples rowing about money and resenting one another's spending because they are unhappy in the relationship generally. Alternatively, we may see couples becoming unhappy because of all the rows and resentment.

Either way, it would seem to indicate that anyone receiving a lavish gift from their other half on Valentine's Day (and not resenting it), is probably reasonably happy in their relationship.

But what do you think? Do you agree with the findings? Let us know in the comments.

How to Stop Fighting About Money in a Relationship © Provided by AOL Inc. How to Stop Fighting About Money in a Relationship

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