How To Prevent Debt From Ruining Your Relationship

February 4, 2014

Ah, Valentine’s day! The day when the price for a dozen roses multiplies by 10, and the entire world claims to love romance. This is the time of the year where we throw caution to the wind and spend way more than we should in the name of romance. Unfortunately, debt can often negatively affect even the most sincere and stable of relationships, especially if it has been hidden from their spouse. Many couples fight over debt, and it can be a cause for much frustration, stress, and sleepless nights.

However, even if you’re currently in debt, there are still a number of things you can do to prevent it from becoming a problem in your relationship. If you’re interested in ways to stave off the negative effects of debt encroaching on your relationship, read on. Here are 4 ways you can stop debt from ruining your relationship, and help keep everyone happy.

1. Be honest.

If you have debt and are in a serious relationship, it’s time you fess up. Be honest and forthcoming about how much debt you have and what your spending habits are. It’s far worse to hide your debt from your significant other than to simply reveal the truth. Your partner will resent you for it, and distrust you if you don’t immediately reveal the state of your financial affairs transparently and as soon as it happens. Being open and honest, right from the very start, will foster a greater degree of trust and sincerity in your relationship, and this will help strengthen your relationship in the long run.

2. Do not place blame.

One of the worst things you can do when in debt is blame your spouse for the “mistakes” they have made. Blaming after the fact is simply pointless, and will lead to more harm than good. Sure, you can express your general disappointment and concern in what has happened. But anything more than a quick admonishment is counter-productive and will just lead to more fights and feelings of animosity. Instead, use your debt as a way to come together to overcome the obstacle. If you’re committed to a long-term relationship, then the fact is that you’ll need to face many obstacles in your future together. Working together now to overcome your obstacles will put you in good stead for any future difficulties you may have to face.

3. Communicate about your finances.

Open communication is essential in any successful relationship, and it’s also critical for paying off your debt. So talk about your finances. Should you be pooling your incomes together? Should you use the services of a debt consolidator like Fox Symes from the FSA Group to help you limit the damage? All of these things are important to consider and you should talk about them openly and honestly. Also, do your best not to hide spending from your spouse. Spending money on something that you have not agreed upon, especially if it’s a large purchase, will only harm your relationship. And this will only create a sense of distrust.

4. Stick with your budget.

A great way to pay off your debt, and prevent it from ruining your relationship, is to create and follow a budget together. When you’re both on the same page and working together to accomplish something, it really strengthens your relationship. Even if you have not pooled your finances, making a budget together can help you pay off your debt as soon as possible. Just remember to be honest about how much you’re making, and how much debt you have.

Being in a relationship and in debt at the same time can be a struggle. Try and remember to be honest and refrain from blaming the other. This will do little other than add fuel to the fire. Also, make sure you communicate well with your significant other, and stick to your budget to overcome your debt. Sure, things may be tense at times, but they will pass, and if you can come out the other end not hating each other, your shared experience will no doubt strengthen your relationship.

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  • Derek Chamberlain February 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I think you’re exactly right with #3. Communication is the key to preventing debt from ruining most relationships.

    • Marissa February 5, 2014 at 2:31 am

      It’s hard work, but so worth it!

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank February 5, 2014 at 6:35 am

    You really need to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to money, otherwise things are bound to get ugly 🙁

  • Brick By Brick Investing February 5, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    When my wife and I got together I was 100% debt free but she still had a student loan and auto loan. I didn’t place blame on her or make her feel guilty. In fact we lived off of my income and used her income to pay down all of her debts.

  • Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter February 7, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Communication is definitely key, as is being honest. I can’t imagine being in a relationship if one person didn’t know about debt that the other was carrying into the relationship. That would be setting the relationship up for failure.

  • Paul @ The Frugal Toad February 8, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I went through a divorce a little over a year ago and have been dating my girlfriend for several months now. We haven’t talked about the details of our finances yet, just in general terms. When the time is right we’ll have that discussion. Can’t imagine not being honest and open about my finances with her!

  • Deacon February 8, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Debt can definitely be a challenge in a relationship. Fortunately, my wife is on the same page when it comes to money. Great tips!

  • Stefanie @ brokeandbeau February 9, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I don’t know if you ever watched the show “Big Love”, but one of the wives would hide all her overdue bills under the bed so her husband wouldn’t find them. It made me cringe every time.

  • Lisa vs. the Loans February 11, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Lack of communication about finances played a huge part in my parents’ relationship falling apart. Communication and honesty are key! If you can’t be honest with each other, than what’s the point?

  • Dear Debt February 18, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Both my partner and I are in debt, but have separate finances. We try to support each other. Ours are both student loans, so it’s a different circumstance. It takes support, patience, and hard work to fight debt together.