Couples argue and break up for many reasons. But money is one of the most common sources of friction.
More than one-third of adults who have relationship stress said finances are the primary cause, according to a survey by SunTrust Bank.
That’s right: Your approach to finances could be ruining your relationship. So if you think he (or she) is just not that into you anymore, maybe he’s just not that into your spending habits.
You spend too much
A recent GOBankingRates survey found that the top financial deal breaker in a relationship is overspending. The conflict often arises when one partner thinks the other is spending money on something that isn’t of value and feels that spending is taking away from a joint goal, said Renee Hanson, a wealth adviser with Ameriprise Financial.
The key to preventing overspending from ruining your relationship is communication, Hanson said. Create a spending plan that covers your needs as a couple. Then make decisions jointly about things you want that aren’t part of the spending plan, she said.
You hide your spending
You might think you’re avoiding conflict by hiding your spending, but you could be creating bigger problems. For many people, being secretive about finances is almost as big of a financial deal breaker in relationships as overspending, the survey found.
You should talk openly about your finances with your significant other so he or she can trust you. But it’s OK if you still want to maintain some financial independence.
“Everyone should have their own money they don’t have to account for — a ‘fun’ account they don’t have to explain,” said Emma Johnson, a veteran finance journalist who blogs at WealthySingleMommy.com. Just make sure it’s an agreed-upon amount if you and your partner have combined finances.
You have a lot of debt
About 33 percent of those surveyed said that having too much debt is at least one of their financial deal breakers in a relationship. However, experts say it’s usually not the dollar amount of debt that’s the deal breaker. “It’s the behavior that created the debt,” said Hanson.
Your significant other might be worried that if you can’t control the spending that led you into debt, you won’t ever get out of debt. So you have to be willing to change that behavior and make a plan to pay off your debt.
You’re too cheap
Sometimes not spending enough on your significant other — whether it be gifts, travel and other “fun” things to do as a couple — can be the deal breaker. Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed said that being too cheap is one of their biggest financial deal breakers.
If your tightwad ways are creating a problem in your relationship, you should talk with your partner about why you’re reluctant to spend, Hanson said. Then agree on an amount to spend on “fun” each month.
You have poor credit
A low credit score can hurt a relationship. Of those surveyed, about 18 percent said that poor credit is one of their biggest financial deal breakers in a relationship. And a Federal Reserve Board study found that the greater the difference in credit scores between two partners, the greater the likelihood that they’ll separate.
“Plenty of people have gotten dumped by a girl- or boyfriend who doesn’t want to get tangled in this mess,” Johnson said. So if you have a lousy credit history, explain why and take steps to boost your score.