Why couples who earn the same salaries are less likely to separate

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Susan Devaney
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Our annual salaries play a huge role in the future success of our relationships, according to a new study. 

Contrary to popular belief, money might actually buy us happiness – especially when it comes to our romantic relationships.

A new study, conducted by researchers at Cornell University, has found that being on an equal financial footing to your partner may be the key to a long lasting relationship.

Not only are couples who earn a similar salary more likely to get married, but they’re also more likely to stay together for the long haul.

“Equality appears to promote stability,” says Patrick Ishizuka, the study’s lead author. “Equality in men’s and women’s economic contributions may hold these couples together.”

By exploring the ways that money can affect a relationship, the study delved deeper into the ‘marriage bar’ theory. Basically, the theory suggests that couples are more likely to get married after they’ve achieved a certain level of wealth, together.

“Once couples have reached a certain income and wealth threshold, they’re more likely to marry,” says Ishizuka.

And it’s understandable, as getting married is seriously expensive. The average wedding in the UK may cost £27,000 in 2018, but in 10 years’ time it’s predicted to have amounted to £32,064.

“They want to have a house and a car and enough savings to have a big wedding; and they also want to have stable jobs and a steady income,” says Ishizuka. 

Being on an equal financial footing to your partner may be the key to a long lasting relationship.

But, couples who live together (but aren’t married) and earn similar salaries are also likely to stay together. If they have an unequal economic standing then they’re more likely to separate.

In terms of gender equality, the study also found a comparable difference when it comes to ‘traditional’ male and female roles in society. Couples who live together first before tying the knot, were found to have more egalitarian views, than couples who go from not living together to marriage.

“It’s really the couple’s combined resources that seem to matter,” concludes Ishizuka.

Time to negotiate a pay rise

Images: Unsplash 


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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.