Honestly share financial issues
Ask anyone who has been in over their head in debt and they will tell you it is very easy to rack up a huge amount in no time at all. Sometimes, it can happen when a business you believed in never took off and only have a big personal financial obligation to show for that former dream. It could be you grew up in a household where money management was never discussed and once out on your own, you went overboard and are suffering the consequences of those actions. Perhaps it's student loan debt that looms over your head. Whatever events led you to spending more than you could easily pay back, it is an area you will need to reveal to your significant other at the appropriate time.
When is the right time for the money talk?
If you are the one in debt, my advice is to share how you got in the predicament and the plan you have in place to work your way out of it since that time once the relationship is headed toward exclusivity. A person of character takes responsibility for past actions, does not hide failures and poor judgement - nor do you expect the person in your life to solve the problem for you, i.e. pay off the debt.
What are the signs of poor money management skills?
1. My boyfriend always asks for money.
One of the most often asked questions I receive as a relationship coach from women is, "Should I give money to my boyfriend?" I believe women by nature want to see the good in the men in their lives and have the mindset that what is mine is yours, including money from the very beginning. The problem with this approach is the precedent it sets within the relationship. Before you know it, he will expect you to hand over the cash as your girlfriend duty to prove you love him. It is very easily to get manipulated and feel extreme guilt when you push back on this demand. The right man in your life will know how to spend within his limits and not tell you to make up the difference for his rent shortage, car note payment or anything else he deems as important. Agreeing to loan him money he definitely will never pay back only sets the standard in the relationship that you are the free ATM to indulge in all his whims.
2. My girlfriend always has a crisis she can't afford.
Drama queens who generally have emergencies such as a car that needs immediate repairs, lost phones and rent issues are clear signs she wants a man to rescue her from these inconveniences of life. A responsible person usually does not frantically phone the man in her life with the latest disaster on a regular basis.
3. My significant other lacks self-control.
Clues can be seen in something as small as a habit of ordering the most expensive item on the menu every time you dine out. Overindulgence is a red flag for monetary issues and it is important to be alert to the small things while you are dating, not rationalizing away those tendencies.
Incurring debt before your relationship does not necessarily lead to its demise if you reveal the truth of your situation in an open and honest manner at the appropriate time. Gaining wisdom and turning away from the former behavior that led to recklessness with your finances is the key idea to communicate to the one you love.