The global economic crisis is taking its tolls on jobs, home sales, pocketbooks and now relationships, with more Vancouver couples reportedly fighting over finances than in the past.

A recent study conducted by PayPal found that more than 30 per cent of Canadian couples admit they’re having more disagreements than usual about finances.

Paul James, a registered psychologist in Vancouver, said money is a more prominent source of conflict among his clients lately.

“The underlying issue in money conflicts is one about identity,” James said. “Who defines this part of the relationship? Who makes the decisions?”

He said in money conflicts, one person will be controlling and the other person will feel controlled.

“The person who ends up spending too much money is actually controlling the person who wants to save,” said James.

“It’s important for (the controlled) person to become more assertive and to say, ‘I don’t like how you’re defining money in our relationship and I want to have my say.’ “

He said he sometimes suggests couples see a financial adviser.

“It’s important to have some leadership around money and it’s best if that leadership is shared equally so that both people have a say and feel heard.”