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


  • All depends on how much you love her, and how much you'd miss the £16,000 if you were to split up.

    Think of your girlfriend as a product, say, a car. Would you "buy" the product, with the knowledge that it could disappear at any time and you'd not have anything at the end of it? Not at all romantic, callous even. But you've only been seeing her for 8 months.

    However, if you were to pay off her debts would that change the balance of your relationship? Would she feel beholden to you? Would you expect anything in return (commitment, "comfort", etc.)?

    If spending £16,000 with no ties will make you happy, then why not. But I suspect many others would say no. The alternative is to pay some of them off and she pays you back for those, rather than you pay the lot.
  • I felt compelled to post after being in a similar position recently. My BF at the time was in debt (with very little to show for it!) even though he had always had a good wage. I earned less than him but after having very little money as a student I have always lived within my means to ensure a stable future. I supported him through a few months of unemployment, paying for us going out and showed him that you didn't need to spend excessively to have a good life. Once he got a job I encouraged him to look at tackling his debt properly (instead of ignoring it) and showed him how to budget. Without him asking I was considering helping him with money to pay off at least some of his debt (after dating for a pretty similar time to you, as I thought we would be together for a very long time) - that is until my friends stopped me! They got me to take a step back and look at things first. After 8 months you don't necessarily see a person's true colours. I left my decision a few months, realising in the process that my BF had never put any effort into changing his financial ways (even when he had plenty of time to) and probably never would. As they say 'a leopard never changes his spots'! Once I had the blinkers off I realised that the self absorbed attitude that had gotten him into this debt applied to the rest of his life - he wasn't the person I thought he was. The relationship has now ended and I am grateful to my friends for looking out for me!

    PLEASE take a step back and assess the situation. It sounds harsh but I would only consider helping her financially if she is putting effort in to help herself otherwise you will be wasting your money, you could probably put it to better use. Also consider can you live with her financial habits - if she has lived like that for a longtime it is unlikely things will change greatly and you may find yourself in a similar position a few years down the line. Is this the relationship you want to be in?

    After considering this you should know your answer. Good luck :)
  • I so agree with everyone on this. What a nice person you must be. Financial responsibility is one of the basic tenets for a peaceful life.
  • Dude, seriously don't! I moved in with my ex after just over a year. This was 3 or 4 years ago.. We had a joint bank account which because of her had been kept open for ages and nearly dragged our credit rating through the mud. Also, I racked up £1500 of debt for having to pay her rent for 4 months - which I am still waiting to get back from her. This is PEANUTS compared to what you're talking about...

    Moral of the story, your money is your own responsibility and same goes for her. If for whatever reason it doesn't work out, regrets will be in full swing. I agree with the person who said let her get it down to 8, then help her out, but don't mention the plan.
  • TalentTalent Forumite
    244 Posts
    Sure, pay it all off for her. Then you can start all over again when she's gone. You'll both have learned a good lesson, she how to sponge, you how to be stupid.
  • Agree with everyone who says that you're doing her no favours paying it off. I had a friend who's boyfriend payed off all her debts. 20 years of marriage later she is still spending extravagantly, they are both in debt, and nothing has been learned.

    What you have to accept is that these lessons take decades to learn in the best of circumstances. Many of us who are struggling to become debt free don't have light bulb moments until we're in our 30s, 40s or older. By which time often inheritances have been blown, opportunities lost, and thousands lost to paying off creditors. Me and my husband were both bad with money in our 20s and are now improving together, but it's not something you wake up one morning and fix overnight. If you really like her, you have to accept that she'll drag you down financially, and her learning not to will probably be a slow process. She will ONLY change if she is forced to face up to it, but there's a balance between tough love and being controlling that you have to find.

    I've seen it from the other side, being struggling with a boyfriend who is better off. Things you can do to help her - offer to pay for dates, meals out and outings that you can't afford, or agree on what you can both afford to do together. The other thing is - if you are serious enough about her to move in together, you can split expenses so that she has more free to pay off her debts.


  • If you really do like her a lot, your time, energy and support will be most important.
    I do understand the dilemma, if you pay the debt off in full what will she learn?
    I would suggest offering to match paying off her debt on a 50/50 basis. This will give her some hope and will also focus the mind to clear the debt down quickly.
  • How does someone create a debt as high as £16k! WOW!
    i knew someone with a debt well over 100k, their partner cleared it for them, and a few years later the debt is back but bigger....

    8 months is a short period of time, you’re in your honeymoon period, everythings hunky dory of course. Your obviously a sensible guy to save money, so why could she not be like that? why could she not think twice before putting more shopping on her credit card knowing she hasn’t got the funds?

    I have no sympathy for people that are foolish, knowing they don’t have the funds still bombard their cards.

    This is my second post on here in like a year, only to say don’t do it! Your hard earned cash, doesn’t matter if you’ve got more than enough to go around, she needs to learn the hard way. Help her set up IVAs, and get statements etc in order, but don’t give the easy route.

    Let’s say you do, and a year later she wants to break up with you, but feels guilty and obligated to stay with you because you saved her neck? Not nice! And if you do break up, thats £16k you aint gona see again.

    The decision is obviously yours, we all can only advise, but don’t make the decision with puppy love in your eyes, think with your head logically. Consider all possible outcomes.
  • If i were you i would do the following:

    Ensure that these are all her debts. Tell her you will standby her (if your feelings are that strong) and that you want to help clear her debts. Get her to agree to go and see a financial advisor, if she refuses then you have to got to be straight and tell her if she's not willing to sort these debts out then there is no future for you.....this will be hard but would you want to go years down the line and find out she's racked up more and you'll be even more inclined to pay for it then?

    once you have seen the financial advisor to sort out legalities and ways of paying back the debt. If you wanted to help her out (which i would, someone you obviously love struggling under a ton of stress, is not what you want) you could offer a matching scheme with her. You have the money to save im assuming, you could cut some of your savings and help her out. You can match whatever she's clearing off the debt....this in turn will give hwer the drive to get the debts cleared.

    If she does decide she doesnt want to put that much effort in and wants you to pay it you've got some hard things to say. I personally would find it extremely difficult to throw her on the scrap heap im only four months into my relationship and im fairly sure i want to be with her for the rest of my life so debts would be an extremely tricky subject for me. Luckily mines still a student.
    8k/13k for 2013!
  • My experience shows me that if you pay her debt you will harm her and in long run yourself.

    If you pay her debt it is very likely that she will have similar or higher debt in no time.

    It will be better for both of you if you help her sort her finances out and give her support on the way especially if you think that you want to plan your future with her.
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