Handling stress and finances in a relationship

Header image for the article Handling stress and finances in a relationship Credit: FIZKES
Relationships that deal well with stress and can withstand financial pressure, sleepless nights, job losses, and a variety of other difficulties that can affect a relationship are more likely to survive.

While the pandemic has caused great amounts of stress on people, the influence has also impacted the support of relationships financially and mentally in these high times of uncertainty.

Rebecca Coyne is a family lawyer at Coyne Law with a focus on custody and access disputes in the London and surrounding area.

“I think that any circumstance that puts tremendous pressure on aspects of life causes stress on any kind of relationship,” she said. “It causes stress on parent relationships, causes stress on sibling relationships, and it certainly causes stress on romantic relationships and marital relationships.”

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A pattern of shared-living-space relationships during the pandemic has led to greater rates of fighting and disagreements.

“If there are already cracks in those relationships, you’re likely to see some breakage. You’re likely to see those kinds of issues sort of become louder, the fighting becomes more dramatic, more frequent, and then people who were in relationships that were already breaking down have been ushered more quickly to the breaking point, and to the ending point as a result of the stress that we’re all living under.”

Coyne said relationships that deal well with stress and can withstand financial pressure, sleepless nights, job losses, and a variety of other difficulties are more likely to survive. Whereas relationships that are not “well scaffolded” tend to fall apart quicker and more emphatically in situations of immense stress.

Over 2.7 million couples in Canada filed for divorce in 2020 according to Statista.

“As a parent and a person who has been married for 21 years, I think life is full of unpredictable challenges,” said Coyne. “If new couples can use the pandemic experience as a learning way to sort of sift away those kinds of things that bring couples together in the beginning, which are very often superfluous things, very superficial things, and see that they really have this tight bond and they can face the world together, then I do think that it would set them up quite well to deal with future challenges.”

For those currently living and maintaining finances together during the pandemic, Coyne warned that living in a relationship that is highly conflictual is damaging to your heart, soul, and psyche.

Being in an honest and open relationship involves uncomfortable discussions surrounding finances. Bettering a future with each other involves planning to save, discussions of debt, and other conversations detailing expenses.

For couples that are straining under the weight of the pandemic, Coyne provided optimism that couples are not doomed if they are feeling pressured with job losses and financial difficulties.

“I think that there are problems, and that problems can be fixed, and that people should seek out help early and often,” she said. “They should look for solutions rather than point fingers, particularly if they have children. Parents have an obligation to find solutions for their family. Those solutions also exist but problems are not 100 per cent your fault or 100 per cent your partner’s fault. Together the two of you can find solutions that will get your family through this, and you could wind up stronger for it, absolutely.”

Couples can utilize the pandemic by taking measures to prioritize their relationship and becoming closer with each other. While working on their problems, couples should feel comfortable knowing that reaching out for professional help from financial advisors is healthy and normal.