Do money problems cause break-ups?

18 Jun

Do money problems cause break-ups?

Money is a very powerful thing in life. When there is plenty of it to go around, there are also plenty of smiles. What about those times when there just isn’t enough money at the end of the month?

As a paralegal I sat across the desk from countless numbers of people who were in denial about the sorry state of their finances. More often than not, when I worked with a couple I found that the burden of paying the bills fell on the shoulders of one person or the other. Couples in financial distress rarely work together to handle the family finances. One person writes the checks, and the other dishes out the blame. With the blame comes a natural tendency to pretend things are ok, or hide the reality from the other person. Anyone would want to avoid or run away from painful arguments. It is human nature.

Sometimes the person entrusted with the task of writing the checks appears to be the one most qualified. Usually, the other person actually wanted no part of the dirty job of paying the bills or creating a budget, but was so very quick to criticize how their partner handled things. Too often, I saw that handling the finances even allowed a person to manipulate the numbers for their own benefit, thinking no one would ever find out.

When it finally comes down to facing the truth, very often it is discovered that someone was hiding the ugly financial mess from the other. Always hoping that a windfall could change the situation, the lies begin and the trust erodes. The ways that we interact with each other, good and bad, tend to be amplified in a setting that involves money. Maybe it is the control it breeds over another person or situation, or just the feeling of power it brings. No matter what the initial motivation was, pretending or lying about finances in a relationship—married or otherwise—leads to distrust and breakups.

The underlying character issues that cause someone to lie or hide from the truth are extensive. We’ll leave those questions to the psychologists. What couples need to do is face the current financial situation, initially treat the symptoms (overdrawn checking accounts, harassing phone calls, constant fighting about money) and then choose to work together to find the cure. The blame game is a dead end. You won’t find any solutions there.

Once the fires are put out, you can learn better ways to handle tough financial matters. Don’t choose to sacrifice your relationship over money until you investigate ways to improve the process of dealing with your budget and sharing the responsibilities. If you work together, as a team, there is no one to blame.  

Join me at to learn how to face your financial situation in a positive way. You and your partner deserve a fresh start. It is time to put money back into its place in your relationship—and focus on the healing and restoration of trust and respect.

All my best!

Betty Anne


***Where knowledge and compassion join forces to empower and encourage others***   

2 Responses to “Do money problems cause break-ups?”

  1. lifecoachmarie June 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

    Great article. This is a very important issue, which causes a lot of heartache with couples–and it’s also an opportunity to get closer. Thanks for posting this. You are always welcome to come visit me in my little corner of the blog sphere ( to share your thoughts and insights. Or just to say hello!

    • sunsetdreambooks June 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

      Great to hear from you Marie!
      So many people have shared with me that the devastation of their financial problems, and often times bankruptcy, forced them to finally face their personal issues concerning trust, blame, power, manipulation, etc. Out of the worst that could happen often comes the best that can be–for those who truly come to terms with the “giants” in their lives. I’ll check out your blog and truly appreciate your kind words. Have a meaningful day!
      Betty Anne

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