When you’re in the early stages of a relationship, you’re busy getting to know each other and figuring out if you’re compatible. Some of the first things you’ll likely ask the person early on are his education, career, religion, political views, hobbies and interests, and maybe where he’d like his life to take him. It’s only after you’ve learned all these things and decided he’s boyfriend material that you dare ask about his financial health. So now you’re two months in, you’ve been on 15 dates, and you really like the guy. Then he mentions that he’s in debt. What do you do?
Your first reaction might be to panic. If you don’t have any debts of your own, dating someone who is in debt introduces a slew of questions, potential problems, and a much greater need for communication. The first thing you need to do is give yourself time to process this new information. Don’t make any hasty decisions, and ask as many questions as you need to give you enough information to make a decision on how to move forward.
(It’s just too difficult to constantly write him/her, s/he, boyfriend/girlfriend, but everything I’m writing is intended to be gender neutral. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the man or the woman who comes into the relationship with debt. But for the purposes of this post, I’m going to make it easy for myself and assume it’s the man coming in with debt.)