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Money worries biggest cause of marital distress

THE majority of struggling relationships are under pressure due to financial concerns, new research has uncovered.

Counselling service Accord said that approximately 66pc of couples had turned to them for help with cash issues.

Money pressures were a "serious issue" for 39pc of clients with Accord.

Similarly, almost 7,000 new clients of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service in the first six months of this year were couples or those with children.

Couples in the west of Ireland are feeling the most pain -- 54pc of clients in Galway admitting that it was causing serious problems in their relationship.

Increasing stress brought about by reduced income through wage cuts, higher taxation and the possibility of unemployment are also a cause for concern as this raises the spectre of the repossession of the family home.

And more couples are turning to the Catholic marriage advice service than ever before.

Co-director of counselling with Accord Jane Ferguson said that there was a 10pc increase in clients in 2010 and an additional 11pc increase so far this year.

In 2007, 20pc of clients identified finances as a problem for their marriage, in 2008 this rose to 25pc and 28pc in 2009.

Ms Ferguson said that 80pc of clients said that insults were part of their relationship - usually caused when there is external difficulty such as being made redundant or being unable to find work.

"People experience a whole range of emotions which might include anger, resentment, disillusionment, frustration, stress, anxiety," she said.

"Some feel a sense of failure at not being able to provide a level of income sufficient to maintain the lifestyle that had been planned and some resent the fact that they are now financially dependent on the state or on their partner."

The recession has had a massive impact on relationships as more males are out of employment. Figures from Accord in 2007 revealed that only 4pc of males attending were unemployed but this had tripled to 11.5pc for the first quarter of 2009.

Money Advice Service MABS said that budgetary worries have corrosive psychosocial effects.

"We believe that there are individual, economic and societal imperatives to put in place measures to rehabilitate over-indebted consumers," MABS said.

"We hope that the many people currently experiencing this will return to employment or otherwise increase their incomes as the economy recovers."