How Bad Credit Can Affect Your Relationships

Good relationships aren’t easy, as the 40 million Americans using online dating services will attest. There’s a minefield of things you can do wrong, including game playing, talking about your ex, and ignoring important red flags. But there’s one relationship wrecker that most couples aren’t even aware of: the bad credit score.

Having bad credit impacts your life in a myriad of negative ways like making it hard to borrow money (or get good interest rates if you do manage to get loans). And even though it’s just a number, it’s a number that carries enough weight to impact other areas of your life, too, including your relationships.

Here are four ways that bad credit can be detrimental to your love life.

1. Money is the Biggest Cause of Fighting with Couples

Financial problems are among the top causes of discord between couples. Just take any stressful situation, add a few financial issues into the mix, and let the fighting begin. Now, imagine if one of you has a questionable credit history while the other is as financially responsible as they come, with savings, no credit card debt, and even an emergency fund. Irreconcilable differences? In many cases, yes.

2. It Will be More Difficult to Move in Together

Lots of people aren’t aware that landlords do credit checks these days. Understandably, landlords don’t typically like renting to people who have too many loans. Even if your soon-to-be roommate/significant other has the best score possible and a great job where they could cover the rent themselves, the landlord won’t see it that way. Rather, they’ll foresee your future financial troubles, the ensuing debt spiral, or worse, and they’d rather not be part of all that.

If you’re applying to rent an apartment together, you and your mate will have a harder time if your credit is lower than average. If you do manage to find a place where your score doesn’t disqualify your rental application, you’ll likely be hit with a higher security deposit.

3. An Ugly Score Can Make You an Ugly Prospect

Forget tall, dark, and handsome. The new dating differentiator is the credit score, especially for women. According to a survey conducted by Bankrate.com, half of women say a low credit score makes someone less appealing. Plus, a surprising 42% of adults say that a potential mate’s credit score affects their willingness to date them.

4. It Can Stand in the Way of Having Serious Relationships

That same Bankrate survey also revealed people’s thoughts on knowing someone’s credit history while dating. In general, people agree that while it might be OK to date someone without knowing their credit history, getting serious is a different matter. Serious relationships require some serious talk about finances and the bad credit score serves as a gauge of how responsible someone really is with loans, credit cards, and other financial decisions.

In other words, it’s not just employers and those giving loans or credit cards who care what your score is. People looking for a long-term relationship often see bad credit as a sign of irresponsibility. Making bad financial decisions can signify bad decision-making in other areas of life.

Furthermore, it’s common for married couples to share at least one bank account or have joint credit cards. When one of you is bad with money, it’s not exactly an equal partnership because of the risk that’s involved for the other person. It might even seem unfair to that person, who has managed to stay out of debt, pay off their bills, and put a little something away for the future in their savings.

It’s Not All Gloom and Doom

For those who have too much debt or who’ve let their loans get out of hand with missed payments, there’s no stopping the dings you’ll get on your credit report. But the good news is, you can recover from a low credit score and you can overcome the relationship challenges that come from having bad credit. For the former, it can mean simply talking to a credit counsellor for counseling on how to build your credit back up. For the latter, it takes good communication with your partner, patience, and a talent for good compromises so you both feel comfortable as you work together to build your financial future.