Love Results In $250B-Worth Of STD. That’s Sexually Transmitted Debt

Written by Dana Sanchez

Financial status is important in most relationships, but watch out for that STD — sexually transmitted debt. One in three Americans has this type of debt, according to a study by consumer savings site

The shock value of the study’s title gives debt a bad name. Not all debt is bad, experts say. About 74 million Americans have taken on responsibility for debt from a current or ex-partner.

Purchases made in someone’s name, purchases made through joint accounts, secret spending by a partner, and divorce settlements help account for $250 billion in total acquired debt from partners.

Of all the different types of household debt out there, the one Americans find most unacceptable in a partner is credit card debt, according to the study by The survey was conducted in June with 2,000 adults. Respondents were asked this question:

What types of debt do Americans consider unacceptable in a partner?

The study found that 77.55 percent of respondents named credit card debt most distasteful in a partner, followed closely by payday loans (77.35 percent). More than three-quarters of respondents may not fully appreciate student loan debt — 76.2 percent of survey respondents said student loans are unacceptable debt, with $51,000 in student loan debt considered a problem.

Americans find it easier to accept a partner’s need to borrow money for a business than for medical purposes — 72.2 percent named medical bills distasteful in a partner vs home equity loans at 71.25 percent, who found home equity loan debt unacceptable in a partner. Some 70.90 percent of respondents considered borrowing for a business unacceptable in a partner, according to

There’s a critical need for people to be completely transparent about their finances in a relationship, according to Jacquette M. Timmons, author of “Financial Intimacy.”

A financial behavioralist, Timmons said that while researching her book she came across many couples who actively hide debt, CNBC reported.

Most couples have some sort of debt but the U.S. has a huge debt-shaming culture, Timmons said. “We treat people as if there’s something wrong with it … Not all debt should be treated in same fashion.”

You can take steps to protect yourself, Timmons said:

  1. Have some compassion for yourself and your partner. “The majority of people do not go into debt believing they’ll never be able to get out,” Timmons said.
  2. Use plastic wisely.
  3. Come up with a plan, working together to pay down the debt.
  4. Keep the lines of communication open. “Share progress on getting out of debt,” Timmons said.

Prospective partners might be wary of getting too involved with someone who could bring a lot of debt into a long-term relationship, HuffPost reported.

If your debt burden limits your spending, getting past the first couple of dates could turn out to be a challenge. Common date expenses like dinners, drinks and movies might not be in your budget.

“Money determines where you go on dates and what you do for fun,” said Christi Garner, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

But that doesn’t mean you can only find love if you’re debt-free. “If those amongst us looking for love were to dismiss anyone with debt, we would find our dating pool greatly limited,” said Jennifer McDermott, a consumer advocate at Finder.

Here’s some more advice from McDermott on how to handle STDs — the financial kind:

  • “Have ‘the talk.’ Crucial to any good relationship is talking honestly about your finances. Get an idea of the types of debt your partner carries for insight into how fiscally responsible they are. Many of us still have student loans to pay off, but an aging personal loan for a jet-ski bought a decade ago could be a red flag.
  • Use protection for plastic. There’s no condom equivalent for debt. Still, you can get control of your finances and protect yourself from credit card debt with responsible spending.Drastic measures include cutting up your cards or freezing them in ice. Or take only cash to avoid the temptation to swipe at 2 a.m. on a Friday night.
  • Develop a treatment plan. Your or your partner’s debt isn’t a terminal illness. Your first step toward a cure is working out together how to do away with the debt. Consider tactics to pay it off quickly or over time.”