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I can’t buy myself flowers: Cost of living crisis wreaks havoc on relationships

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From break-ups to financial infidelity, the cost of living crisis is putting a lot of pressure on Australian couples, according to new research by Finder.

The Finder survey of 1,054 respondents revealed that 1 in 5 (21%) Australians say the cost of living crisis has put a strain on their relationship over the last 12 months.

That's more than 4 million people with relationships in turmoil due to rising costs.

Romantic relationships have become expendable, with 3% of Aussies saying they ended a relationship to avoid extra spending.

The same proportion (3%) got back with an ex to keep costs down.

Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at Finder, said the rising cost of living is creating massive disruption in people's personal lives.

"Households are facing some very dire financial circumstances and not even romantic relationships are off limits when it comes to cost cutting.

"It seems relationships are under stress just as much as bank accounts are."

Aussies have lied to a partner about their spending (9%) and debt (7%) as cost of living pressures grow.

The research found 5% have had to ask a current or ex partner for money to help them get by while a worrying 4% have had to continue living with an ex after separating to avoid extra housing costs.

Cooke said money is one of the most common subjects that couples argue about, and the cost of living crisis is making it worse.

"Aussies now have to weigh up whether they can afford the cost of pursuing a love interest."

Cooke urged singles to focus on increasing their income streams before turning to a marriage of convenience.

"If you are in a couple, there are ways to recession-proof your relationship including talking about your finances regularly, setting financial goals together and having a shared budget.

"Whether single or with a partner, look to plug any financial leaks like unused subscriptions and overpriced energy bills," Cooke said.

How has the cost of living affected your relationship in the past 12 months?
I have had to end a relationship (e.g. break-up, separate, divorce) to avoid extra spending3%
I have had to restart a relationship with an ex-partner to keep costs down3%
I have had to continue living with an ex-partner to avoid extra housing costs4%
I have had to ask a partner/ex-partner for money due to rising living costs5%
I have had to lie to my partner about my debts7%
I have had to lie to my partner about my spending9%
I wasn't in a relationship in the past 12 months20%
None of the above59%
Source: Finder survey of 1,054 respondents, January 2023

Looking for ways to save? Here are 11 ways to save on household bills.

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