A quarter of families arguing more because of the recession

A quarter of families admit to arguing more because of the recession, according to new figures from Relate, the UK’s relationship counselling charity.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by Relate, also showed that men are twice as likely as women (nearly one in 10 compared with one in 20) to be concerned that money worries will cause them to break up with their partner. A further one in five (22%) of couples felt they were arguing more because of money worries.

Across the country 66% of Relate Centres have seen an increase in demand for their services as families feel the impact on the recession.

These figures come within the same month as Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families announced that Relate would receive £1 million over the next two years to fund extra counselling and relationship support for couples and families who may have been affected by the recession.

Claire Tyler, Chief Executive, said, “We have been seeing in our centres that financial worries can have a big impact on family life. Families need to know that talking can help, in fact talking sooner rather than when things get to a crisis point can save families a lot of heartache. Relate is helping many couples and families who are finding that money worries are the final straw.”

One counsellor from Relate described:

  • Already seeing a couple, when the highly qualified woman in the relationship was made redundant. After having a high-powered job the lady now finds she can’t even get interviews. She never expected she would be unemployed and unable to find work, she simply thought it would never happen to her. She used to feel like an equal partner in her relationship and she now feels very uncertain about everything and is becoming very needy. This has dramatically changed the dynamics of the couples relationship and has even affected their sex life.
  • A family already in counselling have seen the main breadwinner lose his job. Lack of money is causing more family rows. The parents feel guilty they can’t provide things that the children have always seen as normal, including – ‘top-up for mobile phones, being able to go on school trips, etc’. The children haven’t seen these things as luxuries before – and find it unnerving that things they considered normal part of life are being taken away.

Relate Relationship Counsellor Denise Knowles, shares these tips:

  • Remember there are things you can do straight away if you are experiencing money problems – talk about the reality of the situation. Acknowledge that your relationship is being squeezed by outside pressures and discuss how you can manage this as a couple. For example, you may need to make some life style choices and if your children are old enough explain the situation to them so they can understand. Also seek independent financial advice.
  • Recognise that as a family and a couple you can have fun together without spending money doing things such as going for walks, or having special nights in – where you get dressed up as if you are going out but just stay-in and have simple meal together.
  • Now is a really good time to build-up your ‘emotional bank balance’ by spending more time together. Perhaps instead of putting on the telly, play a board game together, or put some music on and chat. Think about thoughtful gestures – such as running a bath for your partner. These little things can help you feel closer.
  • Also be really open with each other, this isn’t the time to have financial secrets. Be honest so you can share the problems and talk them through.

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