Teen break-ups: No money, no dating

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Friday is finally here, and if tonight is date night for you, you're lucky. For a lot of people, unemployment has put a big hurt on their social lives. We're going to hear more now from Youth Radio's Summer Sewell.


Summer Sewell: A year ago, Emmanuel Ricketts lost his job and his income. Soon after, he broke up with his girlfriend.

Emmanuel Ricketts: It was weird; we would get into a lot of fights on the weekend, because there's an expectation to do stuff.

He says he couldn't afford his girlfriend. He had no extra money for dinners or movies.

Ricketts: When I lost my job and I had to slow things down, I don't know if she got, like, the real memo about that.

And that's just a fact of life for a lot of young people. No job, no relationship.

Frank Blaney is Director of Youth Development at Peace over Violence. That's a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles. He works with high school students.

Frank Blaney: It's a lot of internal pressure and I think sometimes that may cause them to even step back, or out, of a relationship, just because they know they don't have the resources to make this whole thing roll.

There are no hard statistics for teen break-ups, but money experts say financial problems in relationships can start young. Blaney says parents often don't realize that their children worry about having enough money to date.

Blaney: I think a lot of them are probably unaware how big of a factor that is, since they're not seeing how young people socialize.

Sewell 5: He says economic anxiety plays a key role in teen break-ups -- just like adults. More than half of married couples get divorced because of financial problems.

Still, Emmanuel Ricketts says he's a long way off from getting hitched. For now, dating is on the backburner because of his money woes. But he says his current situation will help him have a healthier relationship in the future.

Ricketts: I feel I did the wrong thing in building up this expectation that I couldn't keep up throughout the entire relationship. And it's going to make me analyze who this person is, what their motives are, beforehand, because I'm not established yet.

He's waiting to find a partner who is a little, or maybe a lot, more understanding.

I'm Summer Sewell for Marketplace.

Radke: That feature was produced by Youth Radio.

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