With February upon us, our minds turn to thoughts of love, romance and relationships. There are many ways to grow a relationship -- through affection, openness and trust -- and our focus tends to be on these things during this month.
But as couples increasingly trust each other, and as they see their lives become more closely connected, the conversation about credit will inevitably arise. (This may especially happen if a couple is thinking about making a major purchase together, such as a home). But what if one of you has a low credit score and unhealthy credit? When the credit conversation does arise in your relationship, will it threaten your relationship?
Here's Why a Low Credit Score Could Strain a Good Relationship
1. A low credit score could indicate problems with finances. Credit scores measure (among other things) how much debt load you carry and how regularly you pay back your debt. Although there may be extenuating circumstances in someone's credit history, a consistent problem of repaying debt could indicate a problem with organization or lack of care for finances.
2. Credit reports may reveal the skeletons in your closet. You're moving forward with your life and enjoying your new relationship. Unfortunately, your credit report reveals various situations and events from your past, and may include previous addresses and other debt you've formerly held that you may want to forget about if they are from a previous relationship. If you haven't told your significant other about this difficult time in your past, you may want to have that conversation soon.
3. A low credit score could indicate challenges you'll face in the future. As your relationship grows, your financial life will more closely connect to your partner's financial life. If one of you has healthy credit and the other has unhealthy credit, it could indicate potential challenges you'll face in the future, such as who will need to get a mortgage, loan, or vehicle financing jointly. This could place an unfair financial burden on one partner... and perhaps you're willing to accept that burden but you should at least think it through beforehand.
These are 3 ways that low credit can hurt relationships. But here's the good news...
Good Relationships Can Overcome Bad Credit
Even if someone in the relationship has bad credit, it doesn't have to be a relationship killer. Although bad credit can sometimes hint at problems in the past or problems in the future, you can overcome your credit challenges.
As Happiness Expert Keryl Pesce says: "Regardless of what has happened in the past or what mistakes we've made, we always have this moment to make a better choice. Be honest with yourself and others. Don't avoid it. Own it. Then get about making it better."
If your relationship is ready, work together to create healthier credit for both of you. Keep in mind that the work you put into this credit is an investment into your long-term relationship and can help you grow together in the future with the best advantages possible.