While everyone enjoys relationships for the fulfillment, love, and happiness they can bring into our lives, it’s also well known that every rose has its thorns. Emotional stress, incompatibility, arguments all play a role in putting some serious strain on the dynamic of a couple. While a lot of the challenges that come with being in a relationship are short-term, financial difficulties often lead to disagreements that can impact couples in the long run.

In order to prepare for these challenges, read on for five different ways financial difficulties can crop up, and how to prevent them from hurting your relationship:

1. Debt

Debt is not an uncommon part of people’s lives. Whether it comes from student loans, a mortgage, car loans, or even credit cards, it could inevitably be a part of your life at some point. While debt can be good in many ways, it also can be a drain on your life and cause unnecessary stress if it’s not kept in check.

If you and your partner are living with an overwhelming amount of debt, there are a few options you can take to work through them. One way is to use debt consolidation loans to compile all of your debts and make them simpler to pay off. From there you can set up auto payments to make sure every bill is paid in a timely manner.

You can put some of your budget towards paying more than the monthly minimum as well. If you find that you’re spending excessive amounts of money on non-necessities, you may be able to reallocate some of that money towards paying down your balance. Even an extra $50-100 a month can add up in the long run and have a positive impact.

2. Poor Credit Scores

Your credit score plays a vital role in many areas of your life. It can determine the rates available to you on certain loans and is often checked when applying for jobs, housing, and a bank account.

This is why a low credit score can put some couples in a tricky situation, especially ones who are looking to move in together or create a joint bank account to manage their money together. If this is something that’s currently impacting you, consider talking with your partner about the ways you can slowly improve your credit score. Paying off your debt using the mentioned methods and looking into a credit builder loan are steps you and your partner can take to slowly build up your credit scores.

You can also take measures to help mitigate the damages that a low credit score could be causing in your life. For example, there are many ways to get exceptions for credit score checks for housing such as underwriting or getting a co-signer such as a family member or trusted friend.

If you enjoy organizing your life through the screen of a smartphone, there are also financial institutions that offer second chance banking. This allows you to sign up for an account without a credit check, meaning that bad or no credit is no longer a dealbreaker. Having access to a digital savings account can positively affect your savings goals so you and your partner can efficiently work towards improving your financial health.

3. Overspending

Having a partner who’s constantly overspending can be a problem if the behavior isn’t spotted and prevented from growing into something serious. Managing money as a couple is about give and take and having one person spending far too much can make it harder for you to pay your bills.

It’s important to work with your partner to create a joint budget. By doing so, you can list out how much each person needs to have set aside to pay monthly bills and buy food and other necessities. Within this budget, you can include a section allocated towards individual spending, which can be used towards entertainment and other non-necessities. Always make sure that you and your partner are involved in creating this budget, so no one feels like they’re being left out of the discussion.

4. Financial Infidelity

Trust is a key component of any relationship. But what happens when you’re starting to realize your partner cannot be trusted when it comes to how you’re both managing money as a couple?

Hiding financial information and keeping secrets related to money may be pointing to a type of infidelity called financial infidelity. This is when a partner is being secretive about money and can sometimes mean they are spending their money on other people.

However, this doesn’t always mean that secretiveness with money is a sure sign of infidelity. What it does mean is that before you immediately accuse your partner, sit down with them and discuss how their secretiveness around money is making you uncomfortable. If they open up, chances are you’ll be able to get to the root of the problem and encourage more open and honest communication going forward.

5. Financial Control

Finally, one thing that cannot be overlooked is how money can often be used as a tool to mistreat or manipulate someone in a relationship. In relationships with financial abuse, one partner may be using money as a way to gain control over the other. This can come in many forms, whether it be limiting someone’s access to certain financial resources, to flat out refusing to let them use a credit or debit card.

If you feel that this is applicable to your relationship, among other red flags, have a conversation with your partner about the way you’re being treated. Unfortunately, this can often escalate into other areas of control in your life, and at the end of the day, if things do get worse, it may be time to take a break to focus on yourself.

Financial difficulties are certainly a strain on many relationships. However, with open and honest communication between you and your partner, and the correct money management system in place, you’ll be able to work through these difficulties and achieve a happier, healthier relationship.