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I have a debt of between $6000-$7000 strewn across two credit cards that are maxed out, and my boyfriend doesn’t know about it.
I’d like to say I’m paying it off, but I tend to pay back the minimum and mostly ignore it. My debt has always felt intensely personal, like telling someone the number of sexual partners I’ve had. It just feels like irrelevant information that only really impacts me, but I’ve been living with my boyfriend for over a year now and I’m wondering: should I tell him?
I didn’t originally plan to keep the debt from him. It just didn’t feel like any of his business for a long time. We were simply dating, and our bank balances didn’t come up, and then we moved in together.
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Sure, we’ve shared our salaries and our basic financial goals, but we live in the expensive inner city, so big dreams like buying a house aren’t exactly near in our future. We do talk about day-to-day money, like who’s paying for what and how we want to split certain things, but still my debt hasn’t come up.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Maybe you should bring it up! But I’m not sure. Should I? When does the money I owe become relevant to him? I suppose my reluctance stems from not wanting him to judge me about how I spend my money or even what I splurge on.
Then there’s the emotional side of it: admitting I have debt, feels like admitting guilt and, to some extent, failure. "Look at me, I can’t manage my money!" And I suppose I’m just not prepared to face his reaction. Logically, I know he's a sensible, reasonable and kind person, and he’d probably approach my debt with fresh eyes and see it as something we could get rid of.