Managing debts in a Long distance relationship
You dont realize how massive a problem it is until it affects you or someone you know.
There is no faster way to strain/kill a vibe/ attraction than to find out that your bae is currently thousands of dollars/ Euro in debt. In the US, it is “normal”. Everyone and their parents have student debts, credit card debt and so on. So it is normal to ask what their credit history looks like and even with that, it is still a major issue for then in relationship/ marriage. How do you explain as a man who has struggled to pay off your own loans and saved up $45K, madam has only saved $5k but has $50K in debt (insert 27 million excuses why she didn’t/ couldn’t save), they get married and now have $50K, then she demands to or even uses the entire $50k to clear off her own debt.
No matter how much you love that person, if they do that, the relationship will be strained and may not recover. That is even for people who are upfront about their debt. Tons of people prefer to lie about the fact that the loan exists or how much they actually owe for several reasons including but not limited to the fact that they are afraid that their “love” (who they have been searching for their entire lives 🙄) will run away. You need to avoid this people tbh. They are very dangerous. For the purpose of this conversation, we will focus on those who are open and upfront about it.
So you (man or woman) have been single since forever, infact, your last kiss was 5 years ago. You finally meet bae. Bae is in the aboard. Y’all catch feelings. Everything is going good. You are glowing upandan. Y’all are sharing deep stuff and then you mention your debt (prolly even bae mention his/hers too). It is a staggering amount. You are shook. All the konji inside you just dies, all the chemistry varnishes. If you are in the aboard or attempted to date in the aboard and you are single, chances are that you have experienced this at least once. So where do we go from here? For me, the first thing to do is calm down! Your mind will be racing 440m/s. Take a deep breath and calm down.
The first and prolly most important Q is this: how did he/she accumulate so much debt: medical bills? education? or credit card misuse? The follow up Question is what is their level of financal intelligence/ literacy? You would think that someone with such much debt would have at least the discipline enough to save. You will be shocked. Some of them are the biggest evangelists of YOLO (You only live once) which is a terrible excuse for financial recklessness. What is their lifestyle like? Honestly, I think at this point it is important to ask how much they earn and how they spend it (in the most polite, non-condescending way possible). Their spending habits usually reveal plenty.
Next, Is there interest on the debt? (Simple or compound interest), how long do they have to pay it? Do they think it is good or bad? There are people owing so much but feel comfortable taking holiday trips aboard. How long have they had the debt? What steps have/ are they taking to reduce that debt? At no point in ALL of this should you commit to/ begin to help them repay that debt. At least, not yet. If they want to manipulate you to help them (ladies do this a lot, keep your money, people!), you already can tell the kind of people they are. If you are the one with the debt, please know that you have absolutely NO right to demand that they pay that debt for you. None at all.
Yes, you can love someone and refuse to contribute to their debt repayments which they have piled up before you arrived on the scene. If you are in the US, Europe, their terrible credit history can affect your own access to credit if y’all marry. Now, let them share with you their repayment plan and see if they are consistent with it for at least 2–3 months. If in those 2–3 months, all they are giving is excuses, you can decide if you still want to carry on or not. But if they have made progress (no matter how little), this is at the point where you can decide to help out but not at risk to yourself especially cuz y’all are not married yet. You can pitch in BUT it should be 100% your decision.
Please bear in the mind (Ladies, listen!), that your pitching in DOES NOT guarantee that he/she will marry you! The moment you start paying, have it at the back of your mind that you may not get anything back: not money, no relationship or marriage. Infact, DO NOT borrow them. You either give them or nothing. Dont make it another loan. Be wary of victim mentality. I.e.: a situation where you help out and the person transfers the responsibility to you then acts as though they are helpless. Now, should you get married with the debt or wait till they finish paying that debt?
Great question! The marriage question is a heavy one. If you have been observant all through the questions I have listed and the answers they have been giving you all along, you would have noticed this person’s mentality towards money, their entitlement (if any) and if money triggers them or makes them angry. If it is a guy, your questions about his finances and spending might have upset his ego and made him angry at least once. If you are smart, you should have observed ALL of this. Now, if you choose to walk away at this point and with all that you have gathered, you are well within your rights to do so and dont let anybody drag you for it.
BUT, if you choose to press on, there is more. BEFORE the marriage, you must start putting checks and balances in place to ensure that the loan keeps going down, to ensure that he/she does NOT incur another loan needlessly AND that they agree and commit to a frugal lifestyle as well as accepting certain changes. They cannot have N5m in debt but want a N10m wedding or demand certain luxuries/ accommodation after the wedding. Infact, save money on your honeymoon. Start from there. Remember that they are in the aboard, are you going to join them? Are they coming back home? are y’all going to a different country? These things will cost money. How do you intend to fund it? PLUS the debt repayment?
There is NO one size fits all BUT those are the general ones. I hope this helps someone. Please feel free to share with your friends in the aboard, especially your single friends and those currently dating.
All the best and remain blessed