What To Do If Your Partner Has Debt (Common Mistakes Revealed)

By Aaron Sarentino Reviewed by Nima Vahdat Updated Jan 30, 2024
What To Do If Your Partner Has Debt (Common Mistakes Revealed)

Financial stress is a common cause of relationship problems, but it doesn’t have to be if you can communicate and plan effectively!

Although money woes aren’t the only reason couples fight or split up, it is often a major factor. A partner with significant debt can cause tension and strain on the relationship, and even potentially fall into a state of depression from overwhelming debt.

If your partner has accumulated a large amount of debt, it’s important to tackle the issue together and find a solution that works for both of you.


  • Honest and open communication concerning boundaries is key when discussing your partner’s debt.
  • Have a clear agreement and plan in place if you decide to help your partner with their debt.
  • Discuss if they want to tackle the debt on their own or accept your assistance.
  • Consider using debt relief options such as debt consolidation or debt settlement to help manage excessive debt.

Understanding The Impacts Of Debt In A Relationship

If you are in a relationship with someone who has debt, it’s important to address the issue together. A poor approach towards debt can lead to financial stress and relationship problems. 

With emotions and relational factors at play, dealing with someone else’s debt can be vastly different from dealing with one’s own personal debt.

Open and honest communication is key when it comes to discussing financial matters with a partner. It’s important to approach the conversation in a non-judgmental manner and work towards finding a solution together. 

However, respect for boundaries and individual autonomy is also necessary to maintain a healthy relationship.

Debt can come in many forms, such as credit card debt, student loans, or medical bills. 

Understanding the type and amount of debt your partner has is crucial in finding the right solution. This will also help you determine if outside resources, such as debt consolidation or debt relief programs, may be beneficial.

Before we go through an action plan of what to do if your partner is in debt, let’s take a look at some common mistakes that people make when dealing with their significant other’s financial struggles.

Common Mistakes When Dealing With Your Partner’s Debt

The first mistake is ignoring the issue altogether. Ignoring debt will not make it go away, and can actually make things worse in the long run. It can be a touchy subject to bring up, but it’s important to address it instead of pushing it under the rug.

Another mistake is aggressively pushing your partner to pay off their debt. This can cause unnecessary stress and resentment in the relationship. It’s important to find a balance between encouraging them towards financial responsibility and being understanding of their situation.

Finally, enabling your partner’s spending habits can also be a mistake. 

It’s important to set boundaries and have open communication about budgeting and financial goals. If the root cause of the debt is a shopping habit, forcing your partner to be the one who buys household items can entice them to spend more as they’ll be the ones seeing the sales. Instead, volunteer to be the one who takes care of household purchases.

An Actionable Plan For Dealing With Your Partner’s Debt

Now that we’ve covered some common mistakes, let’s dive into a plan of action for dealing with your partner’s debt. 

The first step is to have a calm and respectful conversation about the situation. Let them know that you are there to support them and work through this together. It’s important to approach the conversation in a non-judgmental manner and focus on finding solutions.

Next, gather all of the necessary information about their debt. This includes account balances, interest rates, and minimum payments. This will give you a clear understanding of the situation and help determine the best course of action. Without this practical knowledge, it can be difficult to come up with an effective plan.

From there, you can explore different options such as debt consolidation, debt relief, or debt settlement. 

It’s important to carefully consider each option and their potential impact on your partner’s credit score and overall financial situation. Seeking professional advice from a financial advisor or credit counselor may also be helpful in this process.

For example, debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into one loan with a lower interest rate. This can make it easier to manage and pay off debt over time. Debt relief, on the other hand, involves negotiating with creditors to reduce the amount owed. This can come in the form of debt settlement.

With any debt solution, it’s important to keep in mind that it may not completely eliminate the debt and there may be associated fees and consequences. It’s crucial to thoroughly research and understand the terms of any debt solution before making a decision.

Should You Be Held Liable for Your Partner’s Debt?

In most cases, you are not responsible for your partner’s debt unless you co-signed or shared accounts with them. 

However, it’s important to consider the impact of their debt on your finances and relationship. If their debt becomes a burden on both of you, it may be necessary to have an open and honest conversation about how to address it.

There are also situations where one partner may be held liable for the other’s debt, such as in community property states or if there is a joint responsibility agreement, especially if you are married and have debt. It’s important to research your state’s laws and understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to your partner’s debt.

If you’d like to volunteer to help your partner pay off their debt, it’s important to have a clear agreement and plan in place. 

This can help avoid any misunderstandings or potential conflicts in the future. It may seem like you are doing the right thing but it may also belittle them and create a power dynamic in the relationship. 

It’s important to understand that some people prefer to tackle their own debt on their own for personal growth and responsibility.

If you are also not in the best financial situation, it’s important to prioritize your own debts and expenses before considering helping your partner with theirs. 

If your own debt levels go too high trying to pull your partner out of the hole, it can result in both of you struggling financially and causing more strain on your relationship.

At Americor, we understand the importance of managing your finances wisely. 

As America’s trusted source for debt relief solutions, we aim to empower you with financial knowledge that can lead to informed decisions, whether it’s about savings, investments, or managing debt.

If your debt has become unmanageable and you have difficulty making your debt payments each month, then you should consider a free consultation call with one of our certified Debt Consultants, who can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.

By taking proactive steps today, you can put an end to your financial stress and work towards a brighter financial future. 

Remember, there is always hope for debt relief, and our team of experienced professionals are ready to guide you on your journey to regaining control of your finances.

For more information on Americor’s debt relief services, contact us today to see how we can help you eliminate your debts, and get on the fast-track to becoming completely debt-free!


Aaron Sarentino

Aaron oversees executive, administrative and management functions for the firm. Aaron has a Bachelors in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He is responsible for helping customers at every stage of the debt settlement process and focused on building loyalty to ensure long-term client retention by addressing customer issues. Aaron plays a pivotal role in the upliftment of the Americor team to ensure the best possible customer experience for clients.