As part of their report ‘measuring national well-being’ in 2015, the Office of National Statistics found that people placed ‘money worries’ at the top of the list of problems that put a strain on relationships.
In total, 62% of respondents chose that option as the worst, while ‘working long hours’ came in second with 40% – thanks, capitalism.
Interestingly, 36% thought cheating put the most strain on couples – so if money issues combine with an affair, your relationship will be in a lot of trouble indeed.
Another study by the Washington Post published an article that found that those seeking extramarital relationships, showed memberships grew by 166% on websites like Ashly Madison worldwide in 2008 during that financial crisis.
Now, in the middle of the cost of living crisis and with a stressful winter of soaring energy prices on the horizon, we could be seeing a similar pattern emerging – with Illicit Encounters, a dating site specifically for people who are already married, seeing a 169% spike in new members in the weeks ending July and beginning August.
So why do financial stresses push people to cheat?
It’s a stress reliever! Regular arguments over bills have pushed people towards a no-strings affair where they can just get out of the house and feel less stressed.
If your home is under financial stress, it can also be hard to maintain romance when date nights, and holidays, become permanently unaffordable.
The need to escape reality when home life is understandably stressful, negative and even toxic leads people to stray to another reality.
Feelings of being a failure and not good enough become consuming and self-worth is smashed to pieces.
The desire or fantasy of cheating creates floods of happy hormones and feelings of euphoria, and we will be clouded by the reality of being in a serious relationship with that person.
Flirtation and affairs can boost confidence, making people feel ‘alive’ and desired when perhaps these feelings have been lost to them.
But in these high moments, you don’t think about the consequences or risks you are taking.