Expenses are the most common cause of squabbles among couples, according to research. Which is no surprise, especially considering the fact that so many more people are living—and fusing their incomes—with their significant others today than ever before. “We all come from different financial backgrounds,” says Nikki Martinez, PsyD, psychologist and clinical professional counselor. “We may have had money, we may have always struggled, but with either situation, people have very strong ideals about how finances are managed.” To squash salary and spending scuffles, she suggests discussing how you each handle money and deciding who will take care of what expenses and how mutual funds will be managed.
Especially if you’ve been together several years, or decades, you might find that you no longer feel the same sense of urgency when it comes to spending quality alone time together. Especially if you live under the same roof and have similar schedules, you might feel like you’re spending too much time together—when really you’re not spending enough intimate time together. “This is a major issue that causes distance in a relationship,” says Martinez. “If people allow themselves to span longer and longer between intimacy, and lose site of the importance of affection, it can actually become uncomfortable and cause tension.” Discuss your views about how much and how often you each prefer intimacy and what you believe is healthy for your relationship. “Like a plant, it’s important to nurture and water your relationship,” Martinez adds.