With food shops reaching new highs, household bills set to increase again in October and interest rates booming, the grim reality of the cost of living crisis is being felt in all areas.
For those in a relationship, money can be a tricky topic to navigate, especially if you’re planning big life events together such as buying a house, a wedding or having a baby – all of which are big financial strains.
Dr Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, has shared a few things for couples to remember, if they are dealing with financial uncertainty right now.
These are some of the top things to keep in mind.
Practice good communication
As with anything that might be an issue within a relationship, communication is key.
‘Make sure you’re openly discussing anything you’re concerned about,’ explains Dr Elena.
You should feel comfortable expressing any money worries you have – but also listening to your partner, too.
Careful with language
But when you’re having these conversations, be wary of the language and tone used.
Criticism and blame are two things that can have a very damaging effect in a relationship, explains Dr Elena.
‘Avoid any blaming language like, “you spend too much” or words like “always” and “never” which tend to be triggering and unhelpful,’ she says.
‘Focus on using “I” statements where you can e.g. “I feel worried about how much money we’re spending and I’d like us to talk about it.”’
A budget is a great way of helping you feel more in control of a difficult situation.
‘Sit down together with a spreadsheet and draw up a budget,’ explains Dr Elena.
‘Work out what finances are available and how you can better manage your spending.’
Make room for fun
With the cost of living crisis, there’s no denying that things are feeling pretty heavy at the moment – but ensure you’re making room for lighter and fun moments, too.
Dr Elena says: ‘Don’t forget to make space for activities that will bring you together and provide you with a sense of fun and wellbeing too.
‘It’s even more important to stay connected through challenging times.’
These can, of course, be free activities or date nights at home.
Take it one day at a time
‘Don’t try to predict the future or consider the most negative outcome,’ explains Dr Elena.
Instead, put the focus on what you can control now, together. This should help you feel better and more connected as a couple.
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