I’ve always believed that money shouldn’t affect a relationship and that when two people truly love each other, cash flow issues really shouldn’t matter. It wasn’t until my boyfriend and I went broke that I realized money can actually make or break a relationship.
Money problems trigger arguments. Money worries are so damn draining. They suck up your soul, your energy, and even your happiness. When my partner and I suddenly found ourselves struggling to make ends meet, stress consumed me day and night. I was always irritated and hostile, especially with him. The worst part? Since he was struggling too, he’d snap at me every time I threw a fit because he was in the same boat. Our simple misunderstandings would turn into heated arguments all because we were both worried about bills.
It’s the leading cause of divorce. A recent study showed that money issues are one of the biggest reasons marriages end. Couples who experience financial stress have lower levels of satisfaction in their relationships. In the UK alone, around 107,000 couples divorced in 2016, and most of them admitted that financial pressures were the biggest challenge in their relationships.
The blame game is strong when you’re both broke. We blamed each other for our financial problems. When our electric bill skyrocketed, I got angry at him for using the AC and the television a lot; he blamed me when our internet bill blew up. I realized that when two people are frustrated, exhausted, and anxious because of money, they tend to get caught up in the blame game. We definitely did.
Cheap activities for couples don’t always work. You know those date night activities for broke couples like Netflix and snacks or cooking your dinner together? Yes, they’re cute AF, but doing them over and over can get boring. Let’s be real here—it’s nice to splurge on date nights sometimes. Who doesn’t like to eat at a fancy restaurant or spend a weekend at the beach with their partner? Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness is lying.
Social media adds to the problem. In the age of Snapchat, IG story, and Facebook Live, it became easy for me to drown myself in self-pity. I saw my friends on social media posting about their travels with their partners or the new car they just got. Jealousy crept up on me, and while I was happy for them, I wished I could do those things with my boyfriend too. My partner and I started to link our self-worth to our net worth. We felt worthless because we couldn’t spoil each other or exchange gifts during special occasions, which was really demoralizing.
We got mad at each other for how we spent money. I once got upset when he gave his relatives some money without telling me first. If we were doing well, it wouldn’t be a problem, but we were struggling and we had to handle our money with extra care. The aftermath? We had a big fight and we almost called it quits.
Money problems can change you as a person. Our financial crisis affected my mental health. I was already suffering from high-functioning depression at the time and our cash problems only made my condition worse. I always felt sad and empty. My boyfriend said I turned to a completely different person and I had to agree with him. The challenges took a toll on my mental health and they changed how I treat myself and my partner. Suddenly, I wasn’t the same person he fell in love with.
We barely saw each other because we had to work more. Since we were both broke as hell, we had to step up and work harder. He spent more time in the office while I accepted more writing gigs. We were always exhausted and we had no time for each other anymore. We were too tired to watch a movie or to simply catch up and it really affected our intimacy levels.
I doubted myself and our relationship. Because of our financial problems, the future became unclear to us. I couldn’t visualize my future with him since I didn’t like our situation. I didn’t even know if I could still stay in the relationship or not.
Somehow, we managed to make it through. Money matters affected our relationship but they made it stronger too. When we decided to work as a team, we were able to overcome the storm. The struggles shaped us into better people as well. We became more mature and we learned to value the little things in life. We might not be anyone’s version of “couple goals” because we don’t fly in private jets or sip premium wines in Paris, but we thrived through the financial crisis together. That alone is “goals” for us.
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