What is the most common cause of relationship breakdowns? Infidelity? Abusive behaviour? Substance abuse? No, money problems are most often the root of all evil when it comes to ending happy couples. Matrimony and acrimony: How money woes beget relationship misery makes for thought provoking reading. Financial difficulties can lead to those other mentioned transgressions within a marriage or relationship, as the participants seek an escape from the heat inside their pressure cooker.
“Relationship breakup statistics show that money is one of the most common sources of conflict for married couples. Financial tension is a common predictor of marital distress and dissolution.”
There are several drivers that propel people into relationships and marriages. Attraction, of course, which is the outer manifestation of the biological prime directive – to procreate the species. Your hormones may have chemically chosen your future mate via pheromones wafting across your sensors but will that guarantee that he or she is a good provider? Good sperm and eggs may not always go hand in hand with prudential sense. Romantic love, which is the outer garment of this sexual attraction, has long been at odds with the contractual concerns of marriage banns arranged by concerned parents. This age old battle has been waged across civilisations and cultures from time immemorial. In the west, in these modern times, we tell our children to follow their heart, when it comes to deciding on a mate and marriage. However, we secretly hope that a healthy dose of head, also, comes into the equation. Most of us know that the honeymoon period rarely lasts and that compromise is the key to the survival of most long term relationships. Money makes the world go around long after the sounds of love songs have faded from the playlist.
Financial Fidelity A Truer Gauge of Trust & Intimacy
“Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”
– Oscar Wilde
“Love grows where trust is laid, and love dies where trust is betrayed.”
Most relationship counsellors will recommend honesty as the best policy when it comes to navigating your way through the many pitfalls of matrimony. Rose coloured glasses adorn the vision of those bitten by Cupid’s arrow. We submit willingly to the act of engagement and blithely ignore the stuff that does not comply with the script of this romantic movie. Eventually, however, one day will come when one of the members of this union will wake up out of their sensual slumber to discover stuff they do not like. Forgiving trespasses can only go on for so long.
“A survey in January by US News & Report sketched out how widespread so-called “financial infidelity” is. Some 30% of couples questioned by researchers described lies they had experienced or told in their relationship, the main one being secret purchases (31%), followed by hidden debts (28%) and dishonesty about income (23%). This is by no means a post-pandemic phenomenon, nor is it peculiar to the US. British research by Money Advice Service from 2015 also found one in five people lied to their partner about their earnings and one in four lied about their debt.”
There is greater autonomy in twenty first century marriages than there was in previous generations because women work much more often. They come into relationships with their own incomes and bank accounts. Therefore, they have a stronger power base to begin with. Couples have to decide what level of material sharing they are going to commit to. Buying a house, most often, changes things irrevocably, as this shared investment demands a totality of commitment due to the fiscally high bar to enter the Australian property market.
“Home ownership data from the 2021 Census show a home ownership rate of 67%, down from 70% in 2006. While the home ownership rate remained around 67–70% from the early 1970’s, the rate for different age groups has varied markedly over this time. The home ownership rate of 30–34 year old’s was 64% in 1971, decreasing 14 percentage points to 50% in 2021 (Unpublished, AIHW analysis of Census data). For Australians aged 25–29, the difference was similar – 50% in 1971, compared with 36% in 2021. Home ownership rates have also gradually decreased among people nearing retirement. Since 1996, home ownership rates for the 50–54 age group has fallen by 7.9 percentage points over 25 years (80% to 72%).”
The huge increase in property values over the last 30 years in Australia, has made some home owners much richer, but challenged many more to fulfil the great Australian dream of owning their own home. Relationships are put under greater levels of financial stress, as they attempt to borrow and pay off the huge amounts of credit demanded by the property markets in the capital cities around the nation.
Why Lie About Money To Your Life Partner?
I suppose that there are stereotypes still haunting the minds of men when it comes to maintaining the illusion of being in control of their marriages and intimate relationships. Some men may feel inclined to exaggerate their wealth in the eyes of their partners. However, in this era of transparency and accountability this is not a good idea. Telling lies about money is never a smart move.
“The deceit can be a form of coercive control, as one person seeks to dominate the decisions of the relationship by hiding key information.”
– Zoe Williams, 2022
Money is power in most situations and relationships are not immune to this state of affairs. Those appearing to make the lion’s share of wealth in a marriage, often, hold the whip hand whether male or female. Lies and deception poison the air in any intimate relationship, it may take a little while to come out but partners often intuitively know at some level. Matrimony and acrimony: How money woes beget relationship misery and the lying just makes things worse.
Financial Infidelity & Domestic Violence in Australia
The reported rate of domestic violence spiked alarmingly during the Covid pandemic and a lot of that was around money. Couples who had been busily working to keep up with their lives, suddenly, had the time and opportunity to examine their finances. What they found provoked disagreements and fights in too many cases.
“In July, a survey by the Australian Institute of Criminology revealed almost 10% of Australian women in a relationship had experienced domestic violence during the coronavirus crisis.”
– Else Kennedy, 2020
We are, obviously, not so evolved as we think if 1 in 10 men feel compelled to beat their wives and female partners when stressed by circumstance. It is a reminder that we are still animals despite our big brains, which is why we have police forces and lots of us incarcerated in prisons. Around 120, 000 Australians were incarcerated or serving community-based corrections in the September 2022 quarter. (ABS, 2022) If you want to drastically increase your chances of ending up in gaol go and live in the Northern Territory, where the rate is 5 times that of other states and territories in Australia. 93% of prisoners are male. Alcohol consumption plays a huge part in violent crime here in Australia.
“Around 73 per cent of all reported assaults in Australia involve the consumption of alcohol. This makes alcohol one of the single biggest risk factors for violence.”
The recent focus on what is happening in Alice Springs is not in any way limited to Aboriginal Australians – no matter the self-righteous angle of media organisations like Sky News Australia. Alcohol is a major problem for all Australians and the unacceptably high incidence of domestic violence illustrates this all too clearly. A campaign to reduce alcohol consumption for all Australians, no matter the colour of their skin, would serve this nation well.
• More than 1 in 2 (54% or 72,500) recorded assaults were related to family and domestic violence (excluding Victoria and Queensland), a 3.5% increase from 70,000 in 2020.
• More than 1 in 3 (34% or 65) recorded murders were related to family and domestic violence (ABS 2022).
Since 2011, the number of sexual assault victims recorded by police has increased each year (ABS 2022).”
“Civilised society is insane. Money and so-called love are its two great manias; money a long way first. The individual asserts himself in his disconnected insanity in these two modes: money and love.”
– D.H. Lawrence
Money has always told the real story, which is why it never used to be mentioned in polite society. Especially, as much wealth in the past was created via things like slavery and dispossessing indigenous peoples from their lands. Those who bought their way into high society often paid in blood money and their descendants may be peers of the aristocracy today.
So, be mindful of who you bow and scrape to these days.
Love & Other Bruises Since Covid
Actually, more Australians are dying of Covid than ever before but we and the media have tired of listening and reporting on this fact. Hundreds of us are dying every week. 18, 615 Aussies have now died from Covid. (ABC News, January 2023)
Since Covid, you may have noticed a large surge in the number of ads promoting gambling on things like future’s markets and other investor markets. Many Australians turned to such things having accessed large chunks of their superannuation via the Morrison government’s encouragement. Desperation can facilitate the making of very poor financial decisions.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic surge in “mum and dad” retail investors playing stock exchanges across the world. In Australia, retail investors were net buyers of A$9 billion of Australian stocks between late February and mid-May, according to corporate advisory firm Vesparum Capital. In contrast, the professional institutional investors – superannuation funds and the like – were net sellers of A$11 billion of stock.”
Gambling is a very big problem in Australia. The rapid expansion of corporate bookmakers and their influence is combining with the existing scourge of the 200, 000 pokie machines in pubs and clubs around the nation.
“Gambling is a major public policy issue in Australia, affecting the health and wellbeing of individuals and families in a range of ways. Estimates suggest that Australians lost approximately $25 billion on legal forms of gambling in 2018–19, representing the largest per capita losses in the world (Letts 2018; QGSO 2021). The social costs of gambling – including adverse financial impacts, emotional and psychological costs, relationship and family impacts, and productivity loss and work impacts – have been estimated at around $7 billion in Victoria alone (Browne et al. 2017). Gambling-related harms affect not only the people directly involved, but also their families, peers and the wider community (Goodwin et al. 2017).”
– (AIHW, 2021)
“Lack of money is the root of all evil.”
– George Bernard Shaw
All of these things place extra stress on marriages and relationships. The uncertainty of the times and feeding this insecurity with excessive alcohol consumption makes for a bitter brew with violent outcomes in too many instances.
Now, we are in the midst of sustained record high inflation on essentials like food, rent, and energy. Interest rates are being jacked up by the RBA at an unprecedent speed in a bid to strangle the high levels of inflation. Whether supply side inflation can be effectively controlled via this approach remains unproven but it is the only tool at the RBA’s disposal. Australia may be pushed into a recession by rising interest rates choking the life out of a recovering economy post-Covid. This situation is putting plenty of couples under very real pressure, as their home loan repayments rise to levels beyond their means.
Property market investors meanwhile jack up rents on their dwellings to get the largest return on investment seen in some time.
“The mismatch between supply and demand for units is driving rental increases to record levels, attracting investors despite uncertainty about sharply rising interest rates and falling prices. Rents jumped around 3.5 per cent during the June quarter, the highest national quarterly increase in four years, pushing annual rises to 10 per cent, which is the highest annual jump on record according to analysis by CoreLogic, which monitors property markets.”
– Duncan Hughes, 2022
Matrimony and acrimony: how money woes beget relationship misery to the detriment of all concerned. Yes, if there are kids involved the situation is a whole lot worse in terms of the mental health and wellbeing for the family members.
Australia has gone from a country in the midst of a global pandemic exhibiting unprecedented levels of care for its citizens to a nation in denial displaying tough love wherever it can. The economic aftershock of the pandemic is biting all and sundry and we are back to the dog eat dog mentality usually informing capitalism. Energy prices continue to climb through the roof despite the presence up there of solar panels. Gas mining companies are seeing record prices thanks to the war in Ukraine and show little willingness to aid the Australian economy. The lucky country with its big holes in the ground is being exploited by non-tax paying corporations, who have done sweet deals via our politicians. The kick backs for these pollies can be clearly seen when they retire from public office and become highly paid consultants to these very same corporations. It is enough to make you want to throw your empty beer can at the TV screen. Kick the dog, beat the wife, and behave in a vile and reprehensible manner, as the evidence shows Australian men frequently do.
Marriages Floundering On Financial Philandering
“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
– William Blake
“Lying about money is similar to having affairs only in the broadest sense that all dishonesty is alike. But even if the spending is irrational, the lies tend to be experienced as calculated, so may be harder to forgive than the weakness of the flesh. “In some ways,” Abse says, “it might be even more painful for people than sexual infidelity.”
– Zoe Williams, 2022
Calculated lies about spending on things not for sharing is a betrayal of trust within any relationship. No matter whether it is due to gambling or alcohol addictions the real crime is not fessing up in the first place. Right now, when times are tight we will be seeing a lot of lying by partners in unions, as they seek to silently have their cake and eat it too.
Technology Filtering & Impeding Human Relating
The average human being living in western democracies now spends around 10 hours a day staring at screens. Think about that fact for a moment. That is a lot of time and time they are not spending communicating with their life partner.
Algorithms employed by search engines and social media platforms send posts, videos, and pages designed to grab their attention and feed their biases. We are all becoming disassociated from other human beings, including our intimate nearest and dearest. Relationships are under attack from our obsession with technology and the digital world. We are being isolated from ordinary human concerns and interpret reality via a filter of computers and software. This is life in the twenty first century.
What Can Those in Debt With Bad Credit Ratings Do?
Your secret obsession and/or gambling habit has frittered your joint savings away – what can you do about it? First up, come clean and confess what you have done to your partner. If you can open up with real unflinching honesty, then, you have a chance of redemption down the track. Integrity is essential for both saving marriages and repairing financial reputations. Trust is what love and the financial world both depend upon to function properly. Money and love are not that different in the end. You need to ask for help from your partner and those whom you owe money to. Admit your failings and make a plan to remedy the situation.
A bad credit rating will mean that financial institutions and lenders will not want to provide you with credit. You will have to commit to paying off your existing debts and show through your sustained actions that you can. It may take time but that is the price of restoring your credit worthiness. Beware of credit repair companies offering quick fixes – there are none! The first practical step to take is to request a free copy of your consumer credit report from the 3 credit bureaus:
Experian Ph. 1300 783 684
Illion Ph. 1300 734 806
Equifax Ph. 138 332
You are entitled to a free copy from each credit agency every 3 months or immediately after being refused credit after making an application to a lender.
Next, go over every centimetre of this report with a fine tooth comb. Check and recheck that every detail and every listing in your file is exactly correct and true. Why? Because mistakes are made by human beings and errors must be rectified. Your credit file must be an accurate documentation of your credit history. Dates must be correct, amounts must be exactly correct, and protocols must have been correctly followed and transcribed into your report by those bureaus.
All information and data contained within your consumer credit file has to be precisely right. If you are unsure about what is required you may like to engage a credit reporting lawyer, an expert trained in seeing what is what in this milieu. There are No Win No Fee specialist lawyers working in this field for you to consider.
Understanding the time frames involved with your negative listings and determinations will greatly help your cause. Nothing lasts forever, even in the rigorous realm of financial credit reporting. You may find mistakes have been made and these may afford you relief in certain circumstances. There are no guarantees but the process itself will assist you in taking back control of your life in a financial sense. This is empowering but can be emotionally and psychically painful. Years of lies and mistruths make for plenty of scar tissue. Lying to others is really lying to yourself.
Cutting down on your drinking can really help rectify your relationship and your financial credibility. Alcohol is expensive, so it will save you a lot of money that can be used to pay off debts. Alcohol weakens your resolve and makes you susceptible to dumb ideas. Alcohol is not really a relaxant but a stimulant, which enflames feelings like frustration and rage – these lead to violence. You will speed up your credit repair by giving up the booze. Start exercising instead by going for brisk walks when you feel stressed. Eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. All of these measures will greatly help you to get your marriage or relationship back on track toward a place where love can happen. Trust can be rebuilt in both a heart sense and a financial one too.
ABS, Corrective Services, Australia, 24 November 2022, Viewed 28th January 2023.
Australian Institute of Heath & Welfare, Gambling in Australia, 16 September 2021, Viewed 27th January 2023.
Duncan Hughes, Record returns from investment property as supply squeezed, Financial Review, 29 July 2022, Viewed 28th January 2023.
Sylvia Smith, 20 commons reasons for relationship breakups, https://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/why-do-people-breakup/
Zoe Williams, ‘The anxiety and distrust will never go away’: how financial infidelity can hurt more than an affair, The Guardian Australia, 11 April 2022, Viewed 28th January 2023.