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The top strain on relationships in the UK revealed

Not understanding each other, differing sex drives and lack of work-life balance were also ranked highly as a source of discontent among couples

Olivia Blair
Wednesday 22 March 2017 10:59 GMT
(Getty istock)

Finding a partner who has similar attitudes to you, when it comes to money, could be more likely to guarantee you a successful, harmonious relationship.

The main strain on UK relationships is money worries, according to new research, and the key to avoiding money ruining a relationship is to align how you deal with your finances.

Concerns about finances make up 26 per cent of relationship difficulties, according to new research from relationship charities Relate, Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care who surveyed over 5,000 people in the UK.

Closely following money worries was not understanding each other, low libido and differing sex drives, lack of work-life balance and different interests.

So, what can you do to ensure financial woes do not ruin your relationship?

“Arguments tend to occur when couples aren’t talking honestly and openly about money, and when there are different attitudes to managing finances,” Relate counsellor Barbara Bloomfield told The Independent. “For example, it can lead to real frustration if one person in the couple is a spender and the other is a saver. Even though money can be difficult to talk about, there are ways of approaching it that should avoid a full blown argument.”

She advises open communication with your partner about where their attitudes towards money stem from. For example, were their parents always getting into debt so now they are extra careful?

“You’re less likely to get angry with your partner about their spending habits if you understand where they come from,” she says.

To overcome conflict over financial struggles, Bloomfield recommends both putting together a plan outlining how you will manage money together, including working out a monthly budget, as well as regularly checking in with each other about finances.

Not understanding each other was ranked by a fifth of participants, Bloomfield suggests this can range from not understanding each other’s emotional needs to attitude towards bringing up children to political views.

“Whatever it is that makes you feel misunderstood, don’t fall into the trap of expecting your partner to be a mind-reader,” she says. “No matter how well we know somebody, we are still two separate people with our own thoughts and opinions. That’s why it is so important to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and about any areas of your relationship you’re worried about.

“It is really important to listen to your partner. Without listening actively, we can never truly understand. Listen and develop the skill of curiosity, rather than that of judgement. Ask questions of your partner and check out that you have understood what they mean by paraphrasing your understanding back to them.”

Differing sex drive affect most couples to some degree, says Bloomfield because it is “extremely rare” for two people to have exactly the same sex drive. However, for some, this causes more problems than others as is evident by it being the third most complained about issue between couples.

“The first thing to do if you have different sex drives is to find out if it is a deal breaker or whether you are both ok with it. It’s only a problem if it’s bothering one or both of you,” she says. “Next, if you have decided this is something that needs addressing, you need to work out what the underlying cause is. Issues such as stress, mental or physical health problems, adjusting to becoming parents or issues around body image are just some possible reasons why you may not feel like having sex.”

Other issues outside of the top five which couples said cause rifts between them included household chores (15 per cent), mental health problems (12 per cent), alcohol (12 per cent), jealousy (12 per cent) and worrying about the future (11 per cent).

“Living with a mental health condition can be a long road, and relationships are a really vital part of making the journey better. Yet when we need our relationships most, the effects of having a health condition can pile on the pressure. It’s so important to talk to your partner about how you’re feeling and for you both to get the right support. That’s why we’d always recommend speaking to your GP if you are experiencing mental health issues,” Bloomfield says.

The report also looked at what people look for in a partner finding that trust was valued most by 67 per cent of participants. Next was communication, commitment, shared values and personality.

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