Chances are, you’ve seen or felt at least some of the effects of the Great Recession on your checkbook.
Perhaps you’re grappling with job security, or cutting back on anything from dining out to movie tickets. If such cutbacks and worries take a toll on our own mental state, what are they doing to dating and relationships?
Depression, low morale, and less money to spend can put pressure on both men and women when it comes to dating and marriage.
“One of the first thing that tends to go wrong in relationships is that you lose the economy of gratitude that makes a good relationship go on. You’re less likely to notice the things that your partner does that make you happy and that make your life easier. And more likely to notice the things that make life stressful,” said Stephanie Coontz, Professor of History and Family Studies, The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
Stress caused by money worries can also cause health issues and physical symptoms that can even affect libido. The recession may also be one of the factors for a decrease in marriage and birth rates.
David from Century City said his new dating life has been affected greatly by the recession. He now feels he is a prospect rather than a person when meeting new women.
Steven from Hollywood felt financial issues contributed to the ultimate demise of his first marriage and are affecting his current partnership as well.
“Relationships [in the 1950s and 60s] were just deals. Where women looked at men as the only chance they had to get supported and men looked at women as ok I’m gonna take on this financial burden and what I want in return is deference and sexual services and all these things. And we’d really started to move away from that...but under economic stress, I think some people are falling back into that old [pattern],” said Coontz.
It’s not all bad news. Some couples are getting through these hard times by coming closer together.
Joe from Cypress said he felt he and his wife had come closer together and realized what was important and what wasn’t. Wendy, whose husband lost her job shortly after they were married, felt it gave him a new respect for her contribution to the family.
“It’s very important to remember that it’s not your partner’s fault. That this is a systemic problem not an individual problem. You should try to help each other as much as you can,” Coontz added.
So what is to be done? How can one keep the romance alive when they may not even have a job in the morning? How have these tough times affected your love life?
Stephanie Coontz, Professor of History and Family Studies, The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington; Director of Research and Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families; Author, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, and Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage