It might not be a fun conversation to start, but you need to talk to your partner about money. How much you make, how much you spend, and most importantly, how much you owe. Keeping your debt a secret from your partner will come back to bite you, especially if you hide it for a very long time.
What If You’re Really in Debt?
Your credit cards are maxed out. You’re getting calls from bill collectors every week. You’ve had to borrow money from family and friends in order to get by. Essentially, you’re in a rough financial spot, and you have no clue when you’re going to get out of it.
If you’d like to get a better handle on your financial situation before talking to your partner about it, you should go to a licensed insolvency trustee firm. The trustees will assess your personal finances and come up with a clear strategy to clear your outstanding debts. It can be something as simple as taking credit counseling services to filing for a consumer proposal.
A trustee will also give you practical guidance on how to deal with collection agencies and how to make a budget. With this information under your belt, you can feel more confident to tackle your debt and share the news with your partner.
When Should You Tell Them?
Obviously, you don’t want to bring up your debt on a first date. You’re just getting to know each other, and serious news could be too intense for a lighthearted conversation over coffee.
Ideally, you will have a frank talk about money within the first year of dating and after establishing that you’re in a serious, committed relationship. Basically, you want to bring it up before you start thinking of other milestones like moving in together, getting married or having kids.
It shouldn’t be one short talk. It should be a new habit. Couples need to have conversations about money on a regular basis in order to stay on the same page about their current financial standing and to get a clear idea of their future goals. It will be easier the more often that you do it. Keep practicing!
Why Not Keep It a Secret?
Talking about money feels deeply personal, touchy and often embarrassing, but you have to do it with your partner. The main reason for this is that your finances will impact your relationship sooner or later. You can’t avoid the topic when you’re paying for rent, saving for a vacation or planning a wedding.
More importantly, hiding money problems can be considered a serious betrayal. Keeping your debt secret from your partner is called financial infidelity because you are purposely omitting the truth or outright lying about an important part of your life. For a healthy relationship, you should always try to be honest.
Remember — your romantic partner cares about you deeply. After you confess, you may be surprised to find that they’re willing to help you fix the problem by cutting costs and contributing to the household savings. At the very least, they will be your cheerleader and encourage you to push through this challenge. You would do the same for them.