Should I Leave my Boyfriend Because of His Debt?

Debt is a serious problem in the modern world. High levels of debt have sunk major corporations and taken down big banks. Is it any wonder ordinary mortals have so many problems making ends meet?

If you are dating a guy who has accumulated some serious debts, you may be wondering if you can (or should) salvage the relationship. That is certainly a valid concern, since financial stress is a leading cause of divorce. If your current boyfriend has a debt problem, there are a number of things you need to consider.

What Kind of Debt Does He Have?
There is a big difference between student loan debt and credit card debt. There is an equally large gulf between mortgage debt and gambling debt. The former shows a degree of foresight and planning for the future, while the latter just demonstrates irresponsibility and possibly an addictive personality.

If your boyfriend bought a first home and saw the property drop in value, that is not his fault. Millions of people made the same error during the housing crisis and learned from their mistake. If he was smart enough to buy a home, he is intelligent enough to work his way through the debt and recover his thrifty ways.

The same is true of student loans. Having to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt is certainly not fun, but the education he received should help him earn a higher salary going forward. A higher education is an investment in the future, and you and he can work through the payments as a couple.

As for the other types of debt, you might want to tread a bit more carefully. High levels of credit card debt could indicate an impulsive nature and an inability to delay gratification. Gambling debt can be an even worse sign since it could mean an addiction to gambling and other destructive behaviors.

Does He Show a Desire to Change?
Even if your boyfriend has amassed high levels of problem debt from past credit card use, gambling and other vices, he may still be able to turn things around and lead a successful life. Many young people make some serious mistakes when handling money for the first time, and it is easy for things to spiral out of control.

What separates the otherwise financially responsible guy from the lost cause is the desire to change. If your boyfriend now recognizes the error of his ways and genuinely wants to change, you can give him the support he needs to recover. Whether that support is financial, emotional or both is up to you.

If your boyfriend is in debt but continues to make the same mistakes, it might be time to cut your losses and see what other guys have to offer. A financially irresponsible boyfriend is unlikely to morph into a financially stable husband, and even dating such a guy can be an exercise in frustration.