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For better – and for worse

July 22nd, 2005

Dr Petra

New research by a building society has suggested that one in 20 couples are living together not because they love each other, but because debt forces them to stay in their relationship.

The problem is thought to be caused by rising house prices, increased personal debt, overuse of credit cards, and the easier availability of loans. Where couples incur a joint debt it can be very difficult to exit the relationship.

Frequently couples do not discuss issues such as finance, income or debt before they live together or marry. This can mean they discover a partner’s debt after they’ve made a commitment to live together, or together a couple incurs debt that they then have to sort out should their relationship not work.

Many people feel it’s unromantic or boring to discuss finances, yet money troubles can lead to relationship stress and breakups, so it’s worth sorting out as you get serious. Advicenow is a site that explains legal and financial issues for you to discuss with a partner, whilst your local citizens advice bureau can help with debt counselling and financial advice. Money management and financial advice (including debt and mortgage information) can be found at the BBC website

It’s a shame that relationships can be ruined by money worries, or financial problems force couples to stay together unhappily. If you’re worried about money then seek advice, talk to your bank and credit card suppliers, and share your concerns with your partner.

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