Home > 2014 > Managing Debt

I Want to Break Up With My Girlfriend (& Her Credit Card Debt)

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

Here’s an unfortunate scenario that popped up on Reddit recently: A man moved in with his girlfriend, and he opened a credit card to handle shared expenses. First, he added her as an authorized user, but then he added her as an accountholder, at which point she transferred $10,000 of balances from other credit cards to their shared card (which had a $12,000 limit). He now feels the relationship isn’t working and wants to break up with her. However, he doesn’t know how to get out of the debt situation because she doesn’t have any cards with a credit limit high enough to handle a $10,000 balance transfer.

Sounds bad, right? It is.

Dumping Debt Is Harder Than Dumping a Person

Some members of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors weighed in on the situation based on the few details provided by the Redditor, noting there’s little you can do to extricate yourself from debt in your name, regardless of how it got there.

Not that divorce is in any way enjoyable, but there’s a legal process for dividing assets and debt when a marriage ends. (Even then, it can take several months for you and your ex to untangle finances.)

“I don’t have an issue with living together, but every time you make a major financial decision, you have to think about the exit strategy,” said Jorie Johnson, a certified financial planner in New Jersey. Whether you’re going into a credit card or a couch purchase together, you need to know what you’re going to do with it if the relationship doesn’t workout. A mindset that seems pessimistic in the moment may save your finances later on. “Anyone can change their mind at any time.”

Negotiation Works Better When You Like Each Other

Ideally, the Redditor would have discussed the credit card debt with his girlfriend before she did the balance transfer, rather than try and deal with it in addition to his desire to end the relationship. Once she added that debt to their card, he was accountable for it, so it would have helped to work on a way to start paying it down and helping her rebuild her credit.

As it is, he has to hope for an amicable breakup, otherwise he should count on paying that credit card bill.

“If you’re breaking up, and you have debt in your own name, you’re going to remain responsible for that debt,” said Alan Moore, a CFP in Milwaukee. “That doesn’t mean she’s liable for half, and he’s liable for half — they’re both liable for all of it.”

Considering the girlfriend is likely going to get dumped, the boyfriend had better hope she doesn’t refuse to pay out of spite, because his credit rating is on the line.

When you’re thinking of combining finances — either when you’re single or married — don’t rush into it. You should both look at your credit scores and have an understanding of how the other person approaches spending and budgeting, so you can work out a way to live in emotional and monetary harmony. To see how you and your significant other fare in the credit world, you can review your credit data for free on Credit.com and kickstart that important conversation about finances.

More on Managing Debt:

Image: Design Pics

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team