Debt: Not only hurts your bank but also your love life, especially for men

Heavy debt is a turnoff in romantic relationships

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Just as banks and other financial institutions shy away from people who have bad credit, a recent survey found that heavy debt also is a major turnoff in romantic relationships.

That's certainly food for thought as we approach another Valentine's Day.

Most women would dump a partner who racked up mountains of debt and either could not pay bills or had lied about being able to pay routine living expenses, they told researchers in a scientific, nationally representative poll of 1,000 U.S. adults.

Some 70 percent of women expressed that sentiment.

Men are more tolerant of partners with financial trouble and would not be so quick to end a relationship over money and debt issues. Only 37 percent of men in the survey commissioned by CreditCards.com said they would call off a relationship with someone deeply in debt.

"It has a lot to do with being trustworthy and open, and women place a higher value on openness and transparency within a relationship," said Ben Woolsey, director of marketing and research at Creditcards.com, an Austin, Texas-based credit-card-comparison company.

"Money and credit is a proxy for someone's trustworthiness and overall responsibility," he said. "How people handle it and value it is very central to someone's character."

Study after study has shown that financial matters are the No. 1 cause of divorce and marital stress. The CreditCards.com poll once again confirms that when financial troubles enter a relationship through the front door, love will often run out the back.

CreditCards.com commissioned Germany-based GFK Roper to survey 500 adult men and 500 women between Jan. 11 and Jan. 13 by telephone.

The survey also asked respondents if they would stop seeing someone with a criminal record.

Seventy percent of women said they would. Again, men did not feel as strongly -- 60 percent would have problems being in a romantic relationship with someone who had been on the wrong side of the law.

Overall, 53 percent of those surveyed believe the statement "a partner with debt is a turnoff." More women (57 percent) feel this way than men do, but 48 percent of men also are not inclined to jump into a relationship with an indebted partner.

Women also felt more strongly about knowing their partner's credit score -- 57 percent -- before falling head over heels in love. But 47 percent of men also agreed that before they get serious with someone, they would like to know that person's credit score.

"For a relationship to thrive," Woolsey said, "partners must tell the truth about money and handle it responsibly."

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