According to Intrum Justitia’s European Consumer Report 2015, 15 percent of the respondents say that they stay in a relationship for financial reasons and the difference between men and women is minimal, 16 percent of the men versus 15 percent of women.
The picture is however much more disparate when geography is taken into account and the Nordic region seem to be least concerned with only 6 percent of Swedes saying that their financial situation is a reason for not ending their relationship, followed by Norwegians and Estonians, both at 7 percent.
At the other end 37 percent of French couples cite finances as the reason for remaining in a relationship, trailed by Swiss couples at 30 percent and every fourth couple in Portugal. The survey includes 21 European countries.
- That finances may keep couples together is not surprising. It is more expensive to be a single household, largely because of advantages of scale you have as a couple. What is surprising is that there isn’t a greater difference between men and women, especially in some countries where the female labour participation is low, like Greece and Italy, says Anita Nyberg, Professor emeritus at the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies at Stockholm University.
In Greece 14 percent of both men and women say yes to the question if their financial situation is a factor in not ending their relationship and in Italy 10 percent of the men and 14 percent of women give the same reply. And when couples do go separate ways there is a real gender difference in the consequences.
- Past studies indicate that men in general do better financially after a separation than women which largely reflects their higher labour participation and higher wages. In general, for both men and women it certainly helps to be finically independent, to have your own income and there is evidence that women, who often work part-time, tend to increase their work hours if a divorce is on the horizon, says Anita Nyberg.
Finances also influence divorces and separations in other ways than making couples stay together.
- Divorces are more frequent among families with lower income families than more affluent families and divorces overall also tend to increase during more difficult economic times, says Anita Nyberg.