Real life MMD: Should I pay off her debts?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Money Saving Polls
202 replies 53.3K views
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  • Don't do it!

    My ex was in debt 22 years' ago...we were buying a flat after only a year of dating when he told me about his debts so I paid off his then £1k debt with my savings. 5 years' later he had another £5k of credit card debt on camera equipment/clothes which I also then mostly paid off (this time helping him take a loan to consolidate which I helped him pay each month for 3 years). We lived very carefully to pay it off so we didn't go out much or do anything to the house or buy any big stuff like tvs etc., And then in 2000 we split when he met someone else.... and guess what....he'd run up another £3k of credit card debits....that time I left him to sort it.... life is much easier with my new partner who is very careful about spending and who saves up for stuff he wants....
  • I met my husband 3 and a half years ago and I had almost £13k of debt spread everywhere. He helped me consolidate a lot - he paid of a couple of £'s and then I worked to pay off the rest. He earns loads more then me but he was quite keen that I learn the hard way. Now, we have a joint credit card which I don't dare touch except in emergencies and he has really shown me the error of my ways. I think mostly about what I am spending and we set our budget every month with me getting an allowance that I can spend. Once its gone its gone though so it really has made me think. I only have a few £'s on a credit card (0% interest) and I couldn't of done it without him. We got married without putting a penny on a credit card!
  • This is a very personal decision for only you to make, every relationship is different and while for some people 8 months seems like a short period of time, for others this is enough time to be very serious about your partner.
    I have only been with my partner for 14 months and have had previous relationships which have lasted much longer, but already I feel more strongly for my current partner than I have ever felt before and would do anything for him. He also has quite a large debt but he does earn a lot more money than me and is working at paying it off, if I had the savings to wipe his debt then I would do so in a flash.

    Maybe speak to her about your thoughts and she what she thinks, if you can afford to lose the 16k then you have got nothing to lose by suggesting it. She may not want to take that amount of money from you and have a better suggestion as to how you could help her?
    You have just got to remember, at this current moment in time your relationship is obviously going very well but it may not always be like that, and if the relationship does come to an end then you have no right to throw this money back in her face, you would have helped her out of your own free will.

    Hope everything works out for you, you are obviously a very kind man!
  • AD_92AD_92 Forumite
    14 Posts
    I have been down this route with my partner where i have paid off debts through adding my name to a loan application and paying off with my money. In my case though the relationship is much longer than 8 months, my advice would be to listen to the others above paying off would be premature this early in a relationship and for such a large sum and if you were to pay it off be aware that it will affect the dynamic of your relationship. Is it strong enough to deal with the extra stress, how would you react if the same behaviours stay and more debt comes in.

    Its a difficult question and there's no right answer but the sensible route for me certainly would be to help, support and the things others have suggested and in 2-3 years if she's nearly there maybe revisit but be absolutely clear on the impact this can have.
  • DawnCBUkDawnCBUk Forumite
    26 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    My experience is that paying off one's debt is a very personal thing. I had $7000 worth of debt when I moved to the UK from the US in 1996. My ex and I worked together to pay it off once we were married/living together. It was a joint thing. My parents(dad and step mom) inherited about $100k of debt thanks to the us medical system after my mother died they worked together on clearing it.
    If the debt is joint then the debt should be paid joint as a couple. If the debt belongs to one person and they bring it into the relationship they need to agree as a couple on whether they way to pay it off or not.

    Now to the sticky point... what defines a couple? In my opinion marriage or long term commitment (years), living together, joint assets, children etc. Does dating define a couple? Yes but after 8 months in my experience there's still a lot of limerance going on. The true coupleship forms after the long term. As other posters have said investing £16k into a women you didn't know last year sounds a dangerous investment.

    I've been on my own for 7 years and left my marriage with about £17k worth of joint debt which I cleared alone. I felt so much better to have that financial independence and do it without being rescued. Some women, myself included in the past, like being rescued and it's a pattern for them. It's when the white knight starts to tarnish and the relationship breaks down that the resentment of rescuer and rescuee begins. Standing on my own two feet gave me more self esteem and respect than asking others to help me. Now I don't need rescuing just a decent pair of hands to help with my DIY *laugh*.

    Good luck!

    Dawn
  • For 2 years I supported my BF while he tried to set up his business as a painter and decorator, I paid all the bills, rent and majority of the food (he did contribute when he got a job tho it was sporadic). Having decided the business was not going well he decided to go back into employment... 2 months later he breaks up with me. We were due to get engaged (his idea) and he was so pleased he could now finally afford a ring. I have no idea why he broke up with me but I suspect having a weekly wage again made him realise that he could now go out with his mates again without having to take me...

    Do not pay off her debts, she got herself into this mess! I know how harsh it sounds but they are not your fault and when money problems are involved in a relationship it may make you resent her.
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  • lazerlazer Forumite
    3.4K Posts
    I think it all depends on teh stage of your relationship,

    Some couples are living together or engaged after 8 months, in which case helping her clear the debts might be a good move

    Do you need to save for a joint purchase together - car, house, wedding, honeymoon etc? Again, if so its baes to get the debts cleared asap to stop running up interest charges

    As others have said how would you feel if you paid of her debts and then you spilt up?

    I think what you should maybe do, is tell her that for every £1 she pays you will match it, give her a minimum amount you expect her t pay each month and if she does this for say 12 -18 months, you could clear the rest of the debt for her.
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  • No, you absolutely should NOT pay off her debts. From experience (as the one in debt) I know that you need to solve your own problems - however long it takes. If you pay off her debts she will have no consequences to her overspending, and will not learn how to manage her money - you will simply reinforce bad spending patterns. I know it's harsh, but I am now in year 5 of my own 6 year plan - and manage my money much better than I used to!
  • kipendokipendo Forumite
    22 Posts
    My suggestion would be to not pay off all her debts, but support her in day to day living so she can pay it off quicker - so you do the weekly food shop, keep her fridge full etc, maybe pay an occasional bill, then she can pay it all off quicker. Obviously this is easier if you're living together. I'd feel terrible if my OH were to pay all of my debts off, and it could have a negative effect on the relationship if she feels like she 'owes' you...but if you're supporting her on a daily basis then it's easier all round and it's not as big a gesture...
  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    It's fantastic you are such a generous person, and that you care for this girl so much.

    As nice as she is, an eight month relationship is not much of a commitment. Further down the line, maybe you could help her out a little with money, but it's too early.

    I would mention that this might affect your relationship too. If shes a decent person, she's going to feel very very "obliged" to you and in your debt. This is not necessarily a good thing for a relationship - particularly a relatively young relationship. You need to get to know each other without extra pressure.
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