4 min read

Talking to Your Partner About Debt

Talking to your partner about debt can be a difficult topic. We’ve discussed below why telling your partner may be a good idea and provided some tips on how to have the conversation.

The bedrock of all relationship advice seems to be that ‘communication is key’. However, this can be a difficult ideal to maintain. This is especially true when it comes to talking about personal finances, which is perhaps one of the hardest conversation topics around.

Why should you tell your partner about debt?

The link between struggling with debts and declining wellbeing is extensively researched. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found 46% of all people in debt suffer with mental health issues. This is unsurprising as it’s easy to see how having creditors relentlessly demanding money, which you don’t have, may increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Suffering this in silence, or going to great lengths to hide it, may make the situation worse.

Opening up to your partner about debt allows them to support you. It’s worth asking whether you would want them to be undergoing this alone. Not only are you helping yourself by being honest, but you may be helping them. For example, your partner may have plans for the future which could be affected by hidden debts. Telling them the reality of your financial situation sooner will allow them to adjust expectations. Frankly, your honesty may allow you to build a better future together.

How to tell them

You may have imagined what your partner’s reaction to the debt would be over and over. Don’t torture yourself with this any longer. Often we build up these scary conversations and they are not usually as bad as we think. That being said, as with all important conversations, try and prepare beforehand. We advise telling your partner that you need to have a chat, at a time when you know they have no plans for the rest of the day. Just bringing it up out the blue may add a surprise element which could worsen their reaction.

Before the conversation, you could write down everything you want to tell them. Having a structured plan which covers everything they want to know may help reduce both of your anxieties. They will probably want to know why you got into debt, your creditors, and how much you owe.

A proposed template could cover:

  • Reason behind the debt;
  • How much is owed;
  • Who to;
  • What you will do about it

Further reading