Are you keeping your debts from your partner?

Posted 07 January 2015

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Are you hiding your financial problems from your partner? It can be stressful to deal with debts alone.

At one time or another, all of us may be slightly guilty of telling a white lie to our loved ones. But it seems that some of us may be keeping some more important secrets too, as one in eight Brits admitted that they owe money that they haven’t told their partner about.


New research* carried out for us found that one in six of respondents in a relationship say that they owe money or have secret debts that their partner doesn’t know about. Whilst one in 10 of those say that their secret borrowing is less than £100, over a half owe more than £1,000 and one in 12 of those keeping debts secret from their partner say that they have borrowed over £10,000.

Isolating experience

Borrowing money without telling your partner may not be a problem … you might repay what you owe on time and nobody is any the wiser. But what if, for some reason, you struggle to repay what you’ve borrowed? If your secret borrowing becomes a debt problem should you tell your other half about it?


You may think that by keeping the extent of your problem debt from your partner that you’re sheltering them and preventing them from having to deal with it. Or, you may be worried how they would react if you told them about your financial difficulties. In reality, you may well be making an already stressful situation even more difficult to deal with. Being in debt is often an isolating experience, particularly so if you can’t share and discuss the problem with your nearest and dearest.

Talking to someone

Problem debt is one of those things that can get worse if you ignore it … for example, interest and charges can start to mount up. If you don’t know where to start in tackling the problem then speaking to your partner is a great first step. Most likely they will be supportive and tackling the issue together will be easier. Even if you don’t feel comfortable coming clean to your partner and telling them about your secret debts, there is plenty of help and advice available. You can find help on the high street … for example your local Citizens Advice or online or on the phone … via the Money Advice Service. Alternatively debt specialists, such as the ones at the Debt Advisory Centre, could help you start to get back on track as they can offer you expert advice about the options available to you. They may also be able to advise you about the different debt solutions … for which some fees may be payable. It may be that taking advice and putting a plan in place to help you get out of debt will give you the confidence you need to confide in your partner.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 21st November and 28th November 2014, of whom 636 were in Scotland.

by Christine Walsh

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